Leg One: New Orleans to Baton Rouge, 80.1 miles
Sunday, August 26th: Becks and I met for dinner, catching up. During dinner, I got a call from my boss, confirming that the office would only be open for a few hours the next day so that we could prepare it for Hurricane Isaac. This was meant to be our last week and now the office would be closed for at least two days. Also, she said, I should fill up my gas tank, because gas stations were already running out. Becks and I finished dinner, grabbed some hurricane supplies and looked for gas. One station we passed had a line for several blocks and two others were sold out. As we separated, Becks said, “You might want to pack the car in case you have to leave straight from work.” So, I stayed up late Hurricane-“proofing” the house, packing for both the Grandma Road Trip and for evacuation. Have you ever had to pack as if you’ll be gone for just 14 days and also maybe indefinitely at the same time? It’s pretty hard.
Monday, August 27th: Monday should’ve started our last week in the office and instead, we had to get it ready to face the storm, as well as a bit of business as usual. As the hours passed, it became clear I was going to Baton Rouge. Several people were encouraging (begging, in some cases) me to leave. I was grouchy. This had happened a few years ago for Gustav and I ended up trapped in Baton Rouge for a week. But, I knew they were right, so I headed to Baton Rouge. I ran a few errands and stopped by to see my editors at the 225 offices. Then, I went to stay with friends who are like family to me. We hadn’t gotten to see much of each other lately, so between that and the BBQ dinner, it felt more like vacation than evacuation that first night.
Tuesday, August 28th – Thursday, August 30th: We had power the entire time I was with my friends, which made them call me their lucky charm. It was so comfortable to be there, but I was still restless. I knew everybody was safe back in Nola, that my house still had power (amazingly, it didn’t go out once), but I didn’t know when or if I would be able to go back to Nola. I knew I’d done the right thing by leaving when I-10 was flooded at LaPlace, making it extremely difficult to get back into the city. It would’ve been difficult to leave on our trip from Nola, had I stayed. As it was, the office had a bit of flooding and we wouldn’t be able to reopen to the following week, so after four days in Baton Rouge, I left a day early for the the Grandma Road Trip.
I texted Mums: On my way home tomorrow.
She texted me back: New Orleans home, or here?
That question of home was a better one than either of us realized, and would echo throughout the trip.