Thursday, September 13, 2007

Katrina stories, 10

The people that stayed behind to ride out the hurricane can be placed into two broad categories: one group just didn't have the means to leave, the other chose not to leave. Most of those that chose not to leave had been through many hurricanes in the past and have stockpiled enough supplies to ride out a storm. And of course, a small minority of the group that chose not to leave were just obstinate.

One of the nurses who stayed behind to help had a generator at his house, which was enough power to run the small window AC, a small refrigerator, and some lights in the house. This is his wife's story:

It was mid-afternoon. She was sitting in the bedroom, listening to the radio and trying to get the TV to work. It's now been about 4 days since the storm and like everybody else in the nation, she was curious about what was going on with the flooding and the looting and the general mayhem.

Frustrated about not being able to get a decent signal on the TV, she turned that off and just listened to the battery powered radio. All of a sudden, the window AC unit just died. Thinking the generator ran out of fuel, she got up from the couch to go outside and refill the tank, but she could clearly hear it chugging along outside.

She then realized that the window AC unit probably blew out a fuse, so she took the front panel off to have a look. A noble effort, but no serviceable parts other than a filter were available. Stumped, she decided to go outside and see if there was anything she could do from there that might get the AC working again. Who knows, maybe the extension cord plug had become disconnected from the generator.

Sure enough, that's what happened. The extension cord plug had been pulled. But she was also surprised to find that the generator had been stolen, and in its place were the remnants of their padlock and chain and someone's beat up lawn mower happily chugging away.