Michael Oberndorf
Isaac ain't Katrina, Part II
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By Michael Oberndorf
August 28, 2012

By four o'clock on Monday, the sky had become overcast and a breeze had started to blow. Not a wind yet, just a breeze, but with the occasional gust hinting that things were probably going to get more "interesting." Isaac is still just a tropical storm though, since the National Hurricane Center has the wind speed at four o'clock at 70 mph. Seventy-four is the minimum for calling it a Category 1 hurricane.

My neighbors spent an hour or so earlier in the afternoon, nailing sheets of plywood over windows. I rent, so that probably won't happen at my house. However, I did go out and gather up all the stuff that sits around on the ground, and moved it up onto my back porch where it is less likely to be blown into the next parish.

No one is answering the phones down at the Plaquemines Parish offices, which I take to be a good thing, the result of the staff being out, working hands-on to make sure preparations are moving ahead for the inevitable flooding and probable power outages.

Indeed, later on, Plaquemines Parish President, Billy Nungesser turned up on local TV news, down in Venice, the last town on the Mississippi before it empties into the Gulf. What a contrast to national politicos. He actually talked about what was going on, what the Parish was doing, not about himself. We could use a lot more like this guy.

At seven, the storm is still at 70 mph winds. However, the computer projection for rain for New Orleans, and Plaquemines Parish, where I live, is predicted to be 15 inches, and Billy Nungesser said the Parish is expecting the storm surge to be three feet over the levees, so flooding is, indeed, inevitable.

Around eight, I went up to the Belle Chasse Civic Auditorium, which along with the Belle Chasse High School gym, has been converted into the official Plaquemines Parish shelter. A mandatory evacuation order went into effect this morning for the east side of the parish. That's the side most vulnerable to storm surge and least protected by levees. About 300 people were already there, with a few still coming in. Things were clean, calm, and relatively quiet, with mostly older folks, but a smattering of small children, and even a few teenagers, actually being helpful. The National Guard was there, too, but not to confiscate guns. They were providing security for the shelter occupants. Food, too, was being provided by the Red Cross. Even the dreaded FEMA was there in the form of a container, likely emergency supplies like cots. Isaac is definitely not Katrina.

Obviously, the worst is yet to come, but one thing is very clear at this point: the "mainstream" media is trying to create fear, and perhaps even panic, in the people, trying to make them believe that they are about to be struck by a disaster equal or worse than Katrina. As I hope I have indicated, this is not even close to the truth. Whatever the motives for this outrageous manipulation of the truth are, whether political or otherwise, this is the sort of behavior by the "press" that, freedom of the press notwithstanding, needs to be severely curbed (although in this case, the local media seem to be doing an excellent job of keeping the public informed).

Sometime tomorrow, the storm will make landfall, and I will try to get out and see what I can. So far, though, I have been impressed with the fact that there's genuine action accompanying the talk. It looks like there's a new generation of elected officials, and that even the federal government learned from the huge mistakes of Katrina. In spite of what the media are claiming, Isaac ain't Katrina.

© Michael Oberndorf

 

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Michael Oberndorf

The son of a German immigrant, Michael Oberndorf is an archaeologist by profession, with a BA from Metropolitan State College of Denver, and an MA from Leicester University, in England. He's also the Chairman of the Freedom21 Legislative Committee. Over the years, he has lived and worked all over the country, and traveled in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, Australia, and Japan. He sincerely believes in the old saying, "America, love it or leave it." Michael can be reached at: moberndorf@yahoo.com

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