Saturday, September 6, 2008

Louisiana 2-1-1

I am happy to report that we escaped Gustav's clutches unscathed. After three solid days of rain, the water never breached our driveway line so those of you who were looking for pictures of me on CNN floating down the street on my air mattress with 72-hour kit in tow (Lindsay H.) must have been sorely disappointed.

There were, however, many in the state who were not quite so fortunate. I volunteered at the Louisiana 2-1-1 call center which is supposed to be a resource where residents can call for information and assistance. When the coordinator explained what I'd be doing, she said they'd been getting a lot of phone calls from people wanting to know where hurricane shelters were located and needing directions of how to get to them. I decided not to tell her that spatial awareness and sense of direction are not on my list of "talents" especially in a new place with no mountains. When I told David what I was going to be doing he said, "Oh, boy! Some poor guy is gonna end up in Florida looking for a shelter." (please note that Hannah AND Ike were headed straight for Florida at that point).

I am happy to report that there were only a few calls requiring direction-giving, thus minimizing the damage I could do. There were lots of requests for tarps to cover damaged roofs, people wanting to know where they could get water and ice, and lots of people wanting to know how they could, "git my money from the gov'ment."

When I volunteered, I envisioned being stationed at a Red Cross check point handing out vital, life-sustaining supplies to the needy. Instead, I was answering phones as the bearer of bad news: "I will take your information for a tarp and hopefully (doubtfully) someone will call you back with a distribution location in the next 24 hours. Yes, I understand there is water gushing through your roof and destroying all of your personal belongings so I'll pass your information along right away;" "Well, I'm in Shreveport, so I can't tell you where to get ice in Baton Rouge, but try asking around." (I refrained from adding, "Of course, asking around is going to be difficult since everyone else in Baton Rouge heeded the mandatory evacuation and got the heck out of town!!!"); and finally, "Sorry, ma'am but because this storm damage was not declared a national catastrophe, there is no money available from the gov'ment."

There were many people with whom I spoke, however, that just needed a listening ear and those conversations made the day seem worth while. So, we bid a fond farewell to Gustav and send our best wishes to those preparing for Hannah. It looks like I'll be skipping town just in time for Ike to make it our way. Reno, here I come!:)


nevadanista said...

Did the people you spoke to on the phone have trouble understanding your foreign accent?

Glad you didn't have any damage, and that you'll be on your way to Reno soon :)

Melanie S said...

I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one directionally challenged. It's one of those things you either have or you don't! By the way, your posts are SO FUNNY. I knew you were funny in person, but it comes out even more in your writing. Can't wait to see you!

Greg and Sariah said...'re living the life now. You have experienced a whole "nutha" country over there in Louisiana. Keep the stories coming. I especially love David's text messages from the ER post. Too funny. Can't wait to see you and the lovely adorable belly!

Nellie said...

How civicly-minded you are to volunteer! I can just hear the sound of all those southerners calling in. Good thing you used M'am and Sir. Those go along way down there. Glad you and David are well. Glad, too, that you are escaping the heat for a while.

Whitaker Family said...

oh my I am so glad that you did not have to resort to the air matress and the 72 hour kit! Whew! I am very impressd at your willingness to serve and possibly protect those of your fellow Louisianans, how lucky they are to have you!(If they are not asking for directions).
I am so Excited to see you this weekend, reading your witty posts make me miss you all the more!

Brittany Wagner said...

I cant wait to see you!! I have a fun surprise for you1!!! YAY!!

eryn said...

I loved this story. You have a great way with words. Glad you guys are safe. Are you ready for the baby?