Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Until I get caught up, I'll post the dates this content happened on.

Saturday, August 27th 2005

Considering how close up against deadline we were, it was still business as usual with AG. We were aware of the storm, but as most people, we figured it would turn eastward and spare us, much like Ivan did last year. I did take the day off of work, though. Since so many people were evacuating, it would've been difficult to get out to Metairie, and I did want to watch the news. Michelle and I decided to wait at least until the 11 p.m. tracking map came out before we made plans to leave. In the afternoon we went over to (AG Senior Editor) Noah's house to work on the magazine, and we did little work before conversation turned towards leaving. Noah and (his girlfriend) Eden had a houseguest, a friend from Austin. I was all about leaving if the track map didn't change, because at that point the map had New Orleans set to take a direct hit. Michelle and Noah didn't want to leave. They had the same mindset that a lot of people did, I think. It would turn, surely, like every other storm in our lifetimes did. We figured that it'd be better if we left, though, because we needed electricity to run our computers and internet access to turn in the magazine when it was time. Just to be sure we had a place to go, I called our friend Toby, who lives in Houston, and he said we could stay at his place if we needed to.

Noah, Eden, and their houseguest took a vote, and they decided to leave. Michelle still didn't want to, but agreed to wait until that 11p.m. tracking map. She wanted to go to work, at TwiRoPa for Latin Night, because we figured we'd still have to pay rent whether we left or not. We left Noah and Eden to pack their house, went home and cooked dinner. I actually continued work on AG. Our deadline was Monday the 29th, and if we wanted to stay on schedule, or close to it, it needed to get done. Michelle left to go to work, and I watched the news.

The more I watched the news the stronger I felt we needed to leave. At that point the only thing stopping Nagin from calling the first ever mandatory evacuation of New Orleans was some law (it turned out that by law, if there's a mandatory evacuation, the city must provide transportation out of the city for those with none. As city officials have taken plenty of heat since, they weren't prepared to do that.). Now that landfall was inside of 48 hours, they all felt that the tracking map would hold. The 11p.m. map was unchanged, so I started packing. In hindsight I should've packed a lot more, but I guess I still felt that it would turn at the last minute. I never thought that we wouldn't be able to go home for awhile, and at the same time figured that moving stuff around in the house was futile. If it flooded, a foot here or there wouldn't make a difference.

Michelle wound up getting cut from work at midnight (because, who'd've guessed, Latin Night was dead). She'd already packed a bag, so I packed mine, filled our ice chest with groceries we'd bought earlier in the day, packed the dogs a few bowls of food, put all my business papers and checkbook in a bag, and grabbed my laptops, then loaded the car.

Back in the day when I'd evacuate for hurricanes with my parents, I'd load all my comics into my mom's van. Fifteen years ago that was just a box or three that consisted of maybe a thousand comics. Now it's dozens of boxes consisting of maybe 50,000 comics, not counting all the hardcovers, novels, statues, posters, original art and other assorted stuff that I've collected over the years. There was no way I could take all of it, and I brought no books with me. There just wasn't room in the car for us, the dogs, our essentials and comics. The only thing I brought was a piece of Andi Watson original GEISHA art I bought in San Diego '02. Why I grabbed that I don't know. I didn't even grab my book of autographed quotes, which I'd gotten dozens of comics pros to scribble in over the years. The only other thing I took was a pop-up book Michelle made for me months ago.

We left New Orleans around 1:30 am, sat in a bit of contraflow traffic, and arrived in Houston around 8am. We took Toby to breakfast and basically watched the news all day Sunday. Katrina was coming to New Orleans.
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