When Judy and I moved to lovely Alvin, Texas, in 1983, we didn't know a thing about hurricanes. We didn't even know that one was developing out in the Gulf of Mexico even as we began our move here. We arrived about five days before Hurricane Alicia. We heard on radio and TV that it was coming, but we really didn't know what that meant. We did know that we couldn't leave town, even though we were only a few miles inland and right in the path of the storm. If we left, we couldn't close on the house we'd bought, and we'd lose the loan. So we stayed.
Alicia was "only" a category one hurricane, so it wasn't anywhere nearly as powerful as Katrina, which is churning toward New Orleans as I write this. We had hardly any damage at all, though two days after the hurricane we had to go to the closing in a darkened building with no air-conditioning. Our own house didn't have power for five days, and the water was undrinkable for about that long. Some of our new neighbors weren't as lucky as we were and had trees blown down and serious damage to their homes. I can only imagine what the damage in New Orleans will be like if the storm makes a direct hit there.
Robert Skinner, a writer friend, lives in New Orleans and has a house full of books and other collectibles. He's left the city, and he must be feel truly awful when he thinks of what he might have to return to. I don't suppose there's any way the storm will turn aside, but I hope it does. However, if that happens, there's going to be a serious catastrophe somewhere else. This is a frightening thing to me, and I'm not even there. I sincerely hope it all turns out much better than now appears to be the case.