Saturday, September 03, 2005


Got out of Louisiana today. The furthest south I got was Alexandria; the furthest west was Vidalia/Natchez on the Louisiana/Mississippi boarder. There was no damage to any of the towns I've stayed in, but lots of refugees. It is both scary and sad. Scary because gas stations are running out of gas - and limiting people to either $50.00 or 50 gallons depending on the gas station. Especially in small towns (like the size of Live Oak, California pop 6,000) it's really bad. You'll see LONG lines at the gas station(s) that still have gas. Some people have 50 gallon drums in the back of their trucks that they are filling/hoarding with fuel. The situation is also sad, because now people have to leave the hotels and move to already crowed evacuation centers because they have no more money to pay for hotel rooms and food. Surrounding towns are trying their best to take care of all the people who've evacuated to their areas, but many of them are not receiving any funds/aid from Red Cross/United Way yet. And I only think it’s just beginning to sink into those who were evacuated that this is going to be their living place for a long time ... months and months ... maybe even years! Last month when I was in Pensacola there were still 60,000 homes that still had "blue roofs" (plastic tarps placed on them by FEMA as a temporary emergency fix), until the owners can afford to have new roofing or get scheduled for roof replacement from IVAN which happened LAST September. The destruction from Ivan wasn't nearly as catastrophic as Katrina, plus there was no flooding ... so I can't imagine how long it will take to repair New Orleans, Biloxi, Slidell, Bay St. Louis, etc.I continue to hear that farm-grade diesel is last on the list of necessary/vital production, so the farmers are nervous about harvest and if they'll have enough/any tractor fuel to harvest. The upper Mississippi River is a mess. There are barges backup up all the way to Saint Lewis – ‘cause they can't unload in New Orleans. All along the levee you see huge piles of grain/beans stacking up because they have no more storage at the landings or in the silos. Of course any rain that may fall is bad news. And the markets are all down.I guess the good news is on a personal note. God has been so good to me through all of this. I continue to thank Him that I wasn't in New Orleans last weekend, that I have transportation, have been able to find gas and know I am going home to my house which is still in one piece and I still have a job which allows me to meet my most basic bills.I am back in Arkansas today. I am staying with friends over the 3 day weekend and fly out of Little Rock back to NC on Tuesday. >>>J’suis fini

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