Sorry for the off-topic post, but watching the news coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav (or lack thereof) is really getting under my skin. As a service to my readers, I want to share with you the real story the national media isn’t bothering to tell.
Listening to news coverage, you would believe that there were virtually no effects of Gustav. They are delighting in the fact that damage in New Orleans was minimal. However what they are bothering to tell you is that New Orleans is not the biggest city in Louisiana, and the damage in Baton Rouge (which by the way is Louisiana’s largest city post-Katrina) was extensive. The highest wind speeds ever recorded in Baton Rouge were recorded during this storm, which is impressive considering the city has also taken blows in the past from Hurricanes Andrew and Betsy, just to name a few.
I rode out the storm with my in-laws in Baton Rouge, and can tell you first hand of the damage I saw as my family made our way back home to Houston after the storm. Trees were down – everywhere. Trees blocked roads, demolished homes, and downed power lines throughout the area. Area rivers were rising from the massive amounts of rain the area received, with many rivers cresting well above flood stage. The electric power infrastructure was so badly damaged that 1.2 million Louisiana residents lost power. While about 200,000 had been restored at this point, estimates for others are as long as 4 weeks due to the need to repair transmission lines (think the big cancer-causing lines) as well as distribution lines (lines that go to individual neighborhoods and streets). Lines for necessities such as gasoline are massive and are reported to be several hours long. Essentially the largest city in the state of Louisiana has been thrown back into the dark ages, but I’m glad the national media seems to think this is a non-event.