Does this content look wrong? Click here to report any errors.

Silver Threads: Hurricane prep 101 … again

It’s 11:15 on Sunday morning, and I’ m pacing our back porch, listening to the yard man cut the grass and thinking that if Hurricane Isaac hits New Orleans at least number 35 Kings Canyon Drive will look spiffy.I’ve already called off our dinner party for tonight, and our friends are incredulous because they’re younger and cope with the threat of an emergency better than I can. One of the women is worried, though, because she has booked a Tuesday flight to Germany, where her son and grandson live, and that’s when it’s possible they might close Louis Armstrong Airport.Just for something else to do, I’ve also moved four of the nine or 10 rockers on the porch into the garage so they won’t blow into a window, and am considering scheduling my next credit card payment online. I’ve already been to the drugstore to ask about my only essential medication; there are five or six pills left in the bottle and no refill and I have an appointment with the doctor who prescribed them tomorrow morning and who knows whether he’ll be there to write me another prescription.

The pharmacist tells me, though, that if I have to go to another state I can visit one of the stores in their chain and get a month’s supply. She can’t just give them to me now.

Our daughter and son-in-law have already been here. They dropped by two hours ago from down the street, in case we hadn’t turned on the TV this morning — and we hadn’t. It’s on now, though. They want to check out how doddering we are this morning and figure out whether we’re capable of making yet another evacuation alone, just a few days short of the seventh anniversary of the arrival of Katrina on our shores.

Cliff is ready to start boarding up our windows so he can get that done before he has to do theirs, but we convince him we can handle it if need be. After Katrina, I’d told my husband we were entirely too old to wrestle plywood in place, and he spent a fortune on real hurricane shutters for the front and accordion-pleated, light metal covers that screw into place on tracks for our huge windows in the back.

I sit down to get a start on this column in case I’m not here to write one Tuesday, and my husband makes a run for bottled water, and the phone rings.

It’s a cousin from Texas who’s in Pass Christian, and the latest news is that Isaac will make landfall between there and Mobile. She’s visiting at her daughter’s boyfriend’s house on the beach, and he wants to get her out. She’s a long-term patient whose cancer is now in remission and things on the Mississippi coast won’t be good for her should the electricity go out and the stress rev up.

“The storm is definitely gonna hit Pass Christian, he says.We agree to pick her up in Slidell and then take her back to Texas if the storm turns east, because that’s where we’ll be going then anyhow.We head out to the nearest gas station, because even though we’ve filled our cars up since our daughter plugged us into the situation, the guy in Pass Christian has told us that lines there have as many as 40 cars ahead of you, and Wal-Mart has run out of gas cans, too, and could we please bring a filled five-gallon one with us.

At the pumps, everyone in this neighborhood has come out of the woodwork — or their churches — since I went to the drugstore and the ATM. There are so many people that the pumps are beginning to malfunction, but my husband gets behind a fellow who’s filling up and heading to Destin, which, he says, isn’t in Isaac’s path at all: “The storm is definitely gonna hit New Orleans.“

When he finishes with his car, he fills up our can and waves away payment, saying “That’s my good deed for the day!” and taking off for Florida.We arrive back home with my cousin, and tune into weatherman Bob Breck, who has just rushed in from Boston, and who says Isaac is only a tropical storm and probably will go into Mobile and the Florida panhandle.We are copasetic with that, and my husband takes a long nap (I read “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” which I’ve never done and I get for 99 cents on my e-reader.) My husband and grandsons put up the stuff on our back windows, and set out two pieces of plywood for our back doors. My husband fixes shrimp and pasta for us and we relax on the back porch until our daughter arrives again.

Bob Breck has now declared that Isaac will develop into a category four and that we should all leave in the morning. But in which direction? My sister’s in Alabama, or the cousins’ in east Texas?

We’ll know in the morning. And you’ll know, by Wednesday, whether New Orleans is under water again.

NolaVie columnist Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at



You must login to post a comment. Need a ViaNolaVie account? Click here to signup.