Weather Hazards, New Orleans
I rode out hurricanes Betsy, Camille and Katrina in New Orleans. I personally experienced the three worst natural disasters in the history of the state. (The eye of Betsy and the west wall of Katrina passed directly over my head!) I know what I am talking about, please do not doubt me.
1. If in town enjoying the sights, leave immediately if there is even a remote chance of a hurricane strike. The main hwys. become hopeless backed up with those fleeing, so use your head and leave early. 2. The thugs go absolutely insane after a storm strike. Rapes, robbery, car jacking, looting, arson are all part of the post storm experience. 3. Riding out a hurricane is not a death sentence, I am living proof of that. However, it is the post storm conditions that must be considered. The power loss, incredible heat, violence and caos are all good reasons to GET OUT. 4. The levee system did not fail and flood the city after Katrina. It was the flimsy Corps. of Eng. concrete "T Walls" that tipped over under water pressure and flooded 80% of the city. If we get another direct or indirect hit, I have ZERO faith that the Corps. will be able to keep the city from flooding again. When in doubt, get out! I will NEVER ride out another storm in the New Orleans metro area.
as most people know new orleans was partly destroyed by hurricane katrina in 2005. there are a number of neighborhoods in the city that have still not recovered from the effects of the storm. fortunately for the tourist the historic districts of the city were not damaged by the hurricane. there is usually a three day warning of an expected hurricane land fall. when the authorities announce an evacuation leave the city immediately. the exit roads will become jam packed with traffic, gas stations will run out of gas, and you may have to drive 100 miles or more to find a hotel room. anyone who has seen the images of the flooding and anarchy after the land fall of hurricane katrina knows that it is not a good idea to ride out a hurricane in new orleans.
As we explored various districts, driving through some affected by Katrina three years ago, we saw homes which were still not repaired.
Shortly after leaving City Park, which experienced quite a bit of flooding during the devastating storm, we came across this boarded up residence.
Although New Orleans waged a massive drive to restore itself, remnants of the past destruction are still visible. How far this city has come!
We all know what happened to New Orleans' levees--they topped and overflowed inundating neighborhoods with flooding and debris after Hurricane Katrina.
Levees are 'a natural or artificial slope or wall, usually earthen and often parallel to the course of a river' (wikipedia). The word is French, meaning 'to rise'; also referred to as a 'dike' by the Dutch.
It is the Dutch with whom New Orleans authorities are consulting in regards to constructing efficient levees--and who could know more than the Dutch, with water levels just as low as in New Orleans!
Our guide, Jenny*, wanted everyone to know that the problem with the city's levees was caused by an engineering flaw. Hopefully, the problem will never put New Orleans' population and historic structures in peril again.
*Tours by Isabelle
Watch the weather!
If a hurricane approaches...don't wait for FEMA, just evacuate (but America's super-mayor Nagin might save you)!
Rain, rain, go away...careful on the roads when they're wet & slippery.
Anything written in VT about Nawlins before September 2005 should be taken with caution. EVERYTHING changed after Katrina (even if it escaped physical damage): attitude,spirit,services,suupplies and food sources. In VT all entries are post facto (and many are very distant memories, mine included). Few are identified in a time dimension (not the time they were entered in VT). As an example: here is a "landmark" eatery , the Camelia Grill. It is trying (?) to reopen. The proprietors will be new and the colorful employees will undoubtedly be irreplaceable. BeforeKatrina as its original owners superannuated it was going down-hill fast. It will have to "reestablish" itself . Since there are no streetcar tourists, it will once again have to rely on college students and locals like me or it will perish even though it has a "classic exterior". In New Orleans we need new visitors and new descriptions for VT. I am not a tourist here, so I cannot experience many things with an open sensorium. I can still eat (but my way) . Should you drive by the Riverbend (where the Camelia was) you will still be fortunate to find Cooter Brown's "a dozen raw" and 300 varieties of imported beer as they were before (such things are hard to change, but I would not eat there or places very close by).
As of yesterday (April21,2007) the Camelia Grill was open for business again, 7 days a week, but only from 8AM-8PM.
Itsa gunna flood again. You cannot hold back a hurricane. I dont care how much they pretend to be doing about flooding, it will happen. I have heard of many people personally that will not return. It does not make sence to a rational person. The hype on the tv and in the papers is to make things look rosy down there so tourist will come. The tourest area was mostly spared but they would have fixed that part up anyway. I worked for FEMA for seven weeks doing trailor maintenance all down the gulf coast. I met a lot of welfare people that have a bad attitude and theire hearts are full of hatred. This comes from years of living off of the working peoples backs and they get nasty when they dont get their freebies fast enough! On the other hand the Cajuns I met are thankful and are working hard to get back on track with their lifes. They were already used to scrounging and working hard for a living. Below are some pictures of my house I grew up in. I found some on the net and some I took myself. The picture with water in the street is after about a week when the water went down about 15 feet.
Most of the time when you visit New Orleans, especially in the summer you will want to dress for the heat and humidity, bring sunscreeen and an umbrella. It is hot, humid and rainy there.
We, however, were here just before Christmas and it was COLD, and the wind was bitter. I had looked at the weather forecast before I came, and did not think it was going to get that cold, so we weren't prepared for it.
Just remember - it will still be humid and that will make it a biting cold. Instead of going indoors to get to the A/C, you will be going indoors to get warm.
And if you go on a swamp tour, most of the animals (the cold blooded ones like the crocodiles and turtles anyway) will be burrowed down into the mud to keep warm - you won't see them outside freezing their tushes off.
Louisianans say that August is the worst month for heat. I thought summertime in Hawaii was hot, but this surpassed any tropical experience I've ever had. Think greenhouses, think jungle... There was a reason they didn't wear much in those old Tarzan movies! When we were there one year in August, it was close to 100 degrees F. and so humid that it was like trying to breathe through a wet blanket.
On the plus side, almost all restaurants and shops are air conditioned, and hotel prices are often lower in August.
Usually the weather is nice (humid and warm) in the 'Big Easy'. But there is always the risk of a hurricane finding its way up from the Gulf of Mexico.
If you have a hurricane warning, make sure to go to a shelter. Fortunately hurricanes don´t come that surprisingly. People know when a storm moves in. Sometimes days before it happen. So you have the time to even leave the city on one of the evacuation routes.
When I was in New Orleans for the first time in 1998, hurricane "Earl" hit the Louisiana gulf coast just about 30 miles away from New Orleans. At the Big Easy most windows were covered with wood to prevent them from bursting because of the high winds.