Saturday, September 03, 2005

More Close to Home

I took care of a few chores this afternoon after putting in some time at work re: the server issue...what's going on in BR is NOTHING compared to the Crescent City, but I'd like to paint a small picture of things here...where, as the national news points out, the population has almost doubled.

Like most of y'all, filling the tank is a bit of a challenge. Rule number one: if there's no line at the station, there's no gasoline. Last night some friends of mine went searching--it took them some fifty stations to find an open one. Prices are up, of course, although I'll bet it's not as bad as elsewhere (more on that in a second). Stephen told me about the place they finally found--while they were waiting, a tanker truck drove up--but no one wanted to give up their place in the line. Finally, the tanker opted for the "lean on the horn and proceed slowly" approach, which worked. I guess gasoline doesn't hold much value when your vehicle resembles an accordion.

Traffic is a perpetual problem here in Red Stick (indeed--in last year's mayor's election, traffic flow was THE issue...I also remember a Gambit contest--the winning entry was "You know you're in Baton Rouge when...someone tells you 'yes, it's only three blocks away, but it'll take you a half hour to get there'" ), and of course more people means more congestion. Also, as I mentioned earlier this week, BR, like a lot of cities its size, has dealt with traffic issues in a piecemeal way. Locals know the quirks, new residents will require a bit of time.

Gasoline, by the way, is $2.90 a gallon over here--which is probably fairly cheap by national standards. The place where I filled the tank now has individuals directing lines of approximately 20 to 30 cars to the pumps

Long lines everywhere seem to be the rule, and for at least the near-term future, and some downtown streets are being controlled by police--they're directing buses to the Centroplex/River Center (now a shelter housing some 5,000 people)--other areas downtown are filled with work/utility vehicles. I'm doing my best to limit my driving to essential trips--there's no sense in me adding to the congestion.

The national news focused on increased gun sales, of course...I guess I'm not all that surprised--gun shows are a local pastime--although fortunately I haven't had to deal with that aspect of local life. Ugly rumors are rampant--the whole "bad folks from New Orleans" stuff--but as far as I know, the rumors are all false.

There are still some fallen trees and utility poles in some neighborhoods, although crews took care of a number of them this week along the roads I normally use. Electricity is almost--but not quite--fully restored, making me feel even luckier...and a little guilty: I was without power for only about ten hours or so.

Anyway...again, this city was incredibly lucky, and the changes here aren't even in the same league as what New Orleans is facing. NOLA needs our help, and we'll do whatever we can to assist.

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