Incredibly, three years after Katrina devastated the New Orleans area it faces another Category 3 storm bearing down on it in Hurricane Gustav. Gustav wreaked major havoc and took 68 lives as it whacked Haiti, Jamaica and the western tip of Cuba enroute to the Louisiana coast.
I lived on the West Bank in Marrero as a toddler for two years. My dad worked for a New Orleans radio station before we moved back to Houston in 1967. We were living there when Hurricane Betsy clobbered the New Orleans area back in 1965, taking a path similar to what Katrina would follow 40 years later. Betsy caused flooding in the New Orleans area when the levees were breached by storm surge.
Gustav is going to make landfall in the Houma-Grand Isle area sometime between 6 AM-12 Noon CDT, which will unfortunately put New Orleans on the 'dirty' or east side of the storm. It's also expected to make landfall around high tide, which will add to the storm surge as well.
With Gustav hitting that area, it means that the Harvey Canal, which is the eastern border of my old neighborhood in Marrero, could possibly get a storm surge that will overwhelm the Harvey Canal flood control gate and flood most of the West Bank like New Orleans got in 2005.
I'm also concerned because I haven't heard anything from my godsister Angela or her family yet. All I can do is pray they are all right and will call us soon.
Gas prices are going to get jacked with because Gustav is running through not only an area with a large concentration of refineries but there are a large concentration of offshore oil rigs in the area as well. One fifth of the United States' oil refining capability is concentrated between Houston and New Orleans.
Another problem is that the pipelines leading from the LOOP (the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port) come onshore in the Houma area.
Interestingly, we have evacuees from New Orleans being housed here in Louisville. As of the time I'm writing this 1500 people have arrived at the Fairgrounds Exposition Center and it has room for 3000 people.
I and others who have family and friends in the area will have some anxious moments over the next several hours until Gustav makes landfall. And hopefully this time, the GOP and Karl Rove will refrain from playing politics with people's lives like they did in 2005.