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Hurricane Gustav Update

By now everyone knows that I had to evacuate from Hurricane Gustav. Yes, I had JUST moved back to New Orleans and hadn't even finished unpacking yet. Yes, I know, it's crazy. But we did. We left at 3am on Sunday morning, ahead of the mandatory evacuation call... but clearly not early enough. We sat in bumper to bumper traffic, literally, on the 610, then the I-10, and then I-59, pretty much all the way through to Meridian, MS. At 1am Monday morning, after being in the car for 22 hours straight, we stopped at a rest stop right across the state line in Alabama and slept for a few hours. The traffic had cleared by the time we got going again on Monday morning, and our intention was to make it to at least Nashville, where we have other evacuated friends, or on to Louisville, which was our original destination. Our car, however, had other plans, and as we approached Birmingham, after putting it through the misery of driving 2 mph for 22 hours, it stopped wanting to accelerate. We could only go 40 mph, up on the interstate, and it was chugging, hesitating, jerking. We feared losing all ability to move. So we pulled over.

Long story short, we lucked out and got a hotel room and have one other friend from NOLA also here with her pets, keeping us company. We took the car in to a Kia mechanic, and there are multiple things wrong with it, the biggest being our clutch is dead. I-59 ate it. So we need a new clutch, a new tire (well really 4 new tires, but one is in the process of separating and will surely blow, while the others *might* make it back to NOLA), and the spark plug wires had to be replaced. All of this is running us around $800-$900 that we don't have, with the hotel room for 3 nights on top of it. Not to mention the gas and food we've had to pay for.

And not only is this "evacucation" costing us over $1K, but my income for the month was largely revolving around the Freret Market, which was supposed to be this coming Saturday in New Orleans... and which will now likely not occur. (I'm praying they reschedule it, postpone it a week or something, but so far, no word.) My partner, who is a grad student, is also unsure her paycheck will be forthcoming from Tulane, given the cirmcumstances.

Needless to say, we're kind of freaking out.

But many of our friends far and wide, and several people we don't even know, have been incredibly kind and generous, donating money to us, without us even asking. Words can't even express how grateful we both are and what a miracle it is. We NOW HAVE ENOUGH to pay for the entire repair!

We have now decided to head home tomorrow, Friday. The city is open, we may or may not have power (there is power reported 2 blocks away, but we are still unsure about ours), and very few businesses are open, but we just want to be home.

That's my update. (Updated again on Thursday, 9/4/08.)

Thanks for reading all this. Thanks to all who have emailed, texted, tweeted, called and otherwise checked in on me to make sure we got out and were ok. And special thanks to all of you who have so graciously and generously donated to our plight. I can't believe I'm in this position again for the second time in my life where I'm having to rely on the kindness of friends and strangers, but I feel so blessed and lucky and loved and held up by so many. I am truly humbled and beyond appreciative.

More updates as soon as I know 'em.

Suzanne and I have been thinking about you and Mamalicious in all the turmoil. You both can put me down as another place to stay in Lou-y if you are ever in need.
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