Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My, What A Strange Trip It's Been ...

The last time I blogged I was pretty sure I was going to avoid the mayhem that would certainly be hurricane evacuation and not go through with my plants to visit New Orleans for the weekend.

And then, of course, I woke up and was like, "I'm Robby Johnson so why the Hell am I making a smart, wise decision?" There was too much uncertainty and dammit, I just felt like I needed to be there in the event I had to slap a bitch, or go help my buddies who call New Orleans home. I have boarded up a window or two in my day, believe it or not.

I did opt out of the Amtrak trip since I knew the train was a major part of the NOLA evacuation strategy, and that the route to Jackson, MS, was NOT the route to Tuscaloosa and had I taken it, I'd have been stuck in the middle of Mississippi. No thanks! So I hopped in my trusted little Banzai and zipped down.

When the mandatory tourist evacuation was enforced at noon on Saturday, I was glad I had my car. Despite taking 1.5 hours to get from New Orleans to Slidell as we crept along I-10, we did, at least, creep along. On Sunday, during peak contra-flow, that same drive was taking 4.5 hours. (On a regular traffic day it takes about 25 minutes!) I was in a position to spring J-Dawg from certain travel Hell as he attempted to get back to Dallas by driving him to Mobile's airport where he caught a hassle-free flight. I then went to my parents' house where we got our hurricane on.

In truth, it all worked out the way it was supposed to. Not only did I selfishly get to visit New Orleans (because I deep-down thought it might be the last time) and see my friends, I also was able to meet my new second cousin from Houston, as well as see a beloved family member prior to his second military deployment. I struggled a few weeks ago as my family is very important to me, and I really wanted to see them even though my New Orleans plans wouldn't allow for the travel.

My drive home was somewhat skeery yesterday. Even though I left after the Tropical Storm Warning was lifted for Mobile County, there were still quite a few active feeder bands and sometimes the rain was overwhelming (I had to drive 40 mph at one point up Interstate 65).

I call this photograph "Calm Before The Storm." I shot it Saturday morning around 9 a.m. in the French Quarter.

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