At last, here are the details of our Gustav evacu-cation. Yup, you read that right. Evacu-cation. That’s my new word for a combined evacuation/vacation – something we have a great deal of experience with. See, Kevin’s never one to miss the opportunity to turn any time away from home into a vacation. We’ve evacuated for storms that had only the slightest possibility of hitting New Orleans. Just to be safe of course. And maybe to have a little mini-trip too. But that was all before Katrina. Evacuating these days is serious business.
As it turned out though, we really did have vacation plans for just before Gustav was about to hit. We had our annual trip to Percy Quin State Park which took us to Fernwood, Mississippi, just over the state line. I have to say the trip just wasn’t the same this year. We tried to be light-hearted and fun, but in the end we spent a great portion of the weekend glued to the Weather Channel. My in-laws had orginally planned to stay home through the storm and were watching our dog, Nola, for us. But when the parish issued mandatory evacuation orders they joined us at Percy Quin and we scrambled to find a kennel (with a generator) for the dog. Happily we found one in nearby Auburn, MS.
With the dog safely ensconced at the kennel, we then turned our minds to our next destination. We had to check out of the park at noon on Monday – and Gustav had just hit Louisiana that morning. We knew that although the New Orleans area had been spared the brunt of the storm, there was still no way that we would be able to return home for at least a few days. Kevin had made reservations at a bed & breakfast, the Cole House, in Philadelphia, MS. Ever heard of Philadelphia, MS? Me neither.
Nevertheless we dropped our cat, Kasey, off at a kennel in Jackson, MS (some people leave a trail of bread crumbs… we leave a trail of pets) and headed for Philadelphia. It was a nice small town and I can’t say enough good things about our hosts, James and Linda. They are the living, breathing embodiment of southern hospitality and we are very grateful for their graciousness. I’m sure they don’t see many rambunctious almost-2 year olds and little 3 month old babies pass through their beautiful home!
At last on Wednesday morning we got the go-ahead from parish officials to return home The good news was that there was a much straighter way back to New Orleans than the route we had taken to get to Philadelphia. The bad news was we couldn’t take it. We had to re-collect our animal companions from their various locations all over the state. So for us, it was back to Jackson. Then back to Auburn. And then, finally, back home. In reverse evacuee traffic. With two whiny, small children, a full car, and a boat in tow. Jealous yet? Oh well, the important thing is that we did get back and everyone was safe, our home is intact, and the city avoided a potential catastrophe. All I have to say is that Ike better turn around and go home. I don’t need another evacu-cation for quite a while.
The kids on the Natchez Trail…