We thought we were prepared for this hurricane. We thought it couldn't possibly do too much harm. It was only a Cat 1 we assured ourselves as we decided to shelter in place, riding out the storm at home, instead of evacuating. We had boarded up the back windows and stocked up on non-perishable food, water, and batteries. We'd be fine! And then Isaac decided to take his time, stall over the area, pound us with wind and rain, and move ever so slowly away.
It was 4:00PM on Tuesday when the lights went out. I was editing photos on the computer and dinner was cooking in the crockpot. Obviously I never thought we'd lose power so soon. The storm wasn't supposed to hit until the wee hours of the morning. But the wind had picked up and caused a wire to come out of the fuse on the pole outside our house. 7 families were now without power. This number would increase exponentially through the night until most of the metropolitan area of New Orleans was in the dark. Over 600,000 households would lose power in south Louisiana.
Here's what initially caused our outage:
We finished cooking dinner on the burner of our propane-fueled BBQ pit, then tried to entertain ourselves with games by candlelight. Here we are playing Chicken Foot dominoes, one of Kevin's favorites. It was going to be a long, long night.
Since the wind was blowing at the back of the house, we realized we could sit out on the front porch and be sheltered from the rain. We stood outside most of the night listening to Isaac's howling and watching transformers blow, their eerie blue-green sparks lighting up the distant skies. Every once in a while, the sound of the raging winds would scare me in, but a little later, I'd be back outside. Like watching a train wreck, I couldn't look away. Besides, there was nothing else to do in the dark, hot house but listen to the battery-powered radio give blow by blows of what I could witness myself.
We just had to wait out the storm.
Just before dawn, we could see one of our neighbors in the next block waving a flashlight around. A minute later, he was in his car shining headlights on his house. In the half-light of early morn, we could just make out what was concerning him. The huge oak tree in front of his house had toppled over.
A couple of days later, he would be standing outside watching a crew with a crane remove the tree from his roof.
Meanwhile, we had other worries. The rain was forecast to be several more inches and the streets were already flooding.
Although it continued to rain, we were never in a true deluge, and the water in the street went down after Brendan went outside with a rake to clear the storm drains of the branches and leaves that had fallen during the night.
From the back porch, we see that another neighbor's tree had split, but the branch just grazed the house.
Down the block however, a huge oak had crashed through the second story of another home causing significant damage. Only the horses seem unaffected.
Isaac's wind had certainly wreaked havoc. Most of the city was now in the dark and a dusk to dawn curfew was in place. Intersections were particularly dangerous.
And thus began our 123 hours without power.