Page last updated at 19:54 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 20:54 UK

Staying put as Gustav storms in

A worker boards up a business on Bourbon Street, New Orleans
Hurricane Gustav is moving inland from the US Gulf coast after the worst of the storm missed New Orleans - the city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Here, some of those who decided to remain in the area as the storm made landfall share their experiences.



Multiple parishes, including New Orleans are banning citizens from returning and have closed the main interstate through the city. I have found an area not to far from me that has power so am here in the Maple Street bar in the AC.

The army just walked in to buy cold drinks. They are loaded with M60's. Quite a sight.

I just met a young man named Randy Richardson, who is in the Louisiana National Guard and he is also an Opera singer. He sings in the New Orleans Opera when he is not a guard and has sung in Cambridge UK.


It has been raining all morning, but it's very quiet. I went to see what happened to my trailer and it was just fine, although some branches of a tree fell six feet away from it.

So I am happy that I will be able to go home tonight after two days. Our clients are still away at the centre because we are waiting for the house inspector to check that their cottages are safe, so they will be staying there.

The people I talk to over here are very relieved that the storm wasn't any worse than it was, but they do feel bad for the people in Louisiana that had it bad, because they know how it feels. I feel the same way.


Glen Warner
I'm going to have to go out to the gas station to pick up fuel for the generators. I'm down to my last four hours of power.

I'm also going to drive round to see if my business is still there - I have absolutely no idea at the moment.

It was pretty miserable last night. It's so hot here but we had to turn off the air-conditioning to save energy.

Lots of trees are down, power cables are cut and I've lost my internet connection - the cable was ripped up and is half way down the block. Nobody seems to have tarpaulin for their roofs here, and its still raining.

I've been keeping up with the news but I miss my internet connection.


Last night was pretty hairy. The wind was blowing branches and debris all over the place - we just didn't know what was going to come our way next.

Luckily the wind was blowing from behind the house. Had it come the front it would probably have ripped up the covered veranda. We lost power, phone lines and the internet from about 1pm yesterday until later that night.

The emergency centre in Baton Rouge where my son-in-law was working was evacuated because conditions were so bad there.

Looking out of the window now it looks like an autumn day with leaves covering the ground.


The weather is quite quiet at the moment, though we have heard warnings of possible tornadoes. It is pretty cool at the moment but apparently it is going to turn hot and humid later.

We have been without power for 24 hours now. But we have a generator and so will be turning that on soon as the fridge is starting to warm up. We can see some lights on in other parts of the city.

The local emergency radio station has been excellent - they have been broadcasting information from local officials and the emergency services.


There were lots of heavy winds yesterday but luckily the worst of the storm passed us by.

Today the town looks, well, like it's been hit by a hurricane.

There are tress branches and leaves all over the streets and some minor damage to buildings. Some parts of the city had electricity cuts but we only lost power for five minutes. We even had internet connection for most of the time.

We felt confident enough to drive around town yesterday at 5pm to check on some business properties owned by friends who had left the city.

Living here, hurricanes are just part of life. There will be others. It is actually better to be here during the storm than to be watching and waiting from abroad like my family back in England.


We took a risk and we were really lucky that the storm wasn't too bad.

The rain is easing off now and the weather is improving.

There are lots of branches on the streets, some minor structural damage to some places - and one of the buildings opposite has lost part of its roof.

I've already been receiving text messages from friends saying they are coming back to the city.

I know lots of people who stayed in New Orleans because they wanted to get their business going again and the city back on its feet. Now we will be ready to re-open the city.



The weather is much improved now, winds are still gusty but not anything like this morning which made me quite nervous. It is extremely quiet here, normally a busy street. We have seen a water board truck, the electrical company truck and several police cars driving past and that is all today.

I heard from friends that their evacuation trips were long and arduous. It seems that everything has been so much more organised for this hurricane than before. Katrina, what a lesson that was. The bus stops were crowded for two days prior to the storm with people being picked up to take to the rail stations and coach stations for evacuation.

At the height of the storm this morning, I saw two ducks flying over the house. They were certainly having a hard time and were flying much lower than usual. They normally fly over in large flocks in the morning and fly back at night. I was amazed that they could fly in those conditions.

I believe we have been extremely lucky with this storm. I hope that luck holds for the years it will take them to work on the flood defences. I am not sure it will. In the meantime I will stay put. I love this town, it has a heart and soul.


Lance Myer's trailer
I am a charity worker and have been working in Long Beach, Mississippi, on the Gulf Coast, as a relief volunteer helping people affected by Katrina.

I am now a lot less anxious than 24 hours before, because Long Beach was thought to be the on the path of Gustav. We had a lot of wind and rain, but not any severe damages. But it was kind of scary for a while.

Everyone was well prepared and lots of people were evacuated.

I work at the Specialized Treatment Facility, STF, where we take care of people with special needs. 42 of our clients spent the night there because they lived too close to the Gulf, and some of the employees also stayed there fearing for their safety.

I haven't gone to see what happened to my trailer as I've been busy taking supplies to the centre. I hope it is still there, as I put three more tie-downs.

Coming down three years after Katrina, and seeing all the effort volunteers have made to remedy all the damages, it was depressing to see that it could have been gone in a couple of hours.


We've been told that the eye of the storm is about two hours away so we're staying indoors and waiting for it to pass.

Most of our power is down, the TV and internet have stopped working and the lights are flickering. We were listening to storm reports on an emergency radio but the batteries are going flat!

There are currently sustained winds of 75 mph. We've also had tornado warnings around the state and reports of hail stones the size of golf balls. We've been told a tornado sounds like a freight train, so we will take cover if we hear one.

I've boarded up my house and am staying with a friend as there are some big oak trees next to my place that could fall. Non emergency vehicles aren't allowed out at the moment but when the worst is over, I'm planning to go for a drive and see if I have a house left!


I'm stuck at home in Siegenlane, Baton Rouge in Lousiana. My home has lost power now and a few minutes ago my generator went as well.

The winds are getting very high - the trees are starting to bend and we are all getting very anxious. I think I'm going to lose my patio roof soon.

This isn't the first time I've experienced a serious hurricane. I went into the 9th ward of New Orleans after Katrina - I was hired by the insurance company to give satellite TV coverage after the hurricane.

I have never seen so much death - there was a dead horse up a tree and gangs shooting at fire fighters.


Alan Pond is originally from Aylesbury and now lives in New Orleans.

I have been out of power since 6am. I think the storm is now dying off. We felt gusty winds and very little rain, and it should be cleared in the next two hours. It is currently 30C and humidity is 50% to 60%, so the weather is a bit clammy. I am very worried about my boat, which is in the Marina in New Orleans. I will try to go and check it before the curfew.

I still believe the authorities exaggerated Gustav's strength and I think I was right to think that it wouldn't live up to the hysteria I saw in the media.

I can't see any major damage, but that is of course from what I can see from my house, which didn't flood when then levees broke with Katrina.

We've got plenty of food, liquid, and Tilley lamps. My wife is an expert camper, so we had a delicious omelette.


Shane Hubbell's video of hurricane Gustav as it starts to pick up.

My brother and I and our families decided to ride out the hurricane together, since it was not a category 4 or 5 storm.

We are not in a flood area, and we basically just have to prepare for the strong winds. We boarded up our homes, stocked up on water, food and other necessities, and cleaned up our yards to minimize the threat of flying debris.

We are currently experiencing the worst of the storm that we'll see. There are a few very powerful gusts of wind, and it seems to be hurricane strength sustained winds now. For most of the morning we felt tropical storm force winds.

We have not lost power, internet, or satellite television just yet.

Once the storm passes, we will check for any damage to our property, and then we'll help out any others who may have sustained damage or need help in any other way. I posted a few videos on YouTube.


Photo: Kenneth Pottete
Kenneth sent a picture of the tree they are most concerned of on his street.

We get an occasional wind gust that shakes the house and there's a good bit of rain.

We can see a number of rental vehicles with "TV" duct-taped to the hood and doors.

Yesterday, we boarded up any windows that didn't have storm shutters.

We left our cars parked on the street in front of the house, though we can see that many people parked on the neutral ground, which is a few inches higher than the street.

We have had a hurricane kit for a while that includes more than gallons of bottled water, peanut butter, tuna fish and assorted canned items. We also have a stack of books.

Primarily, we are trying to stay entertained. We are mentally prepared for whatever might occur. Some adversity is good for the human spirit.


We're on the edge of the storm. The winds is changing between heavy gusts and lighter blasts.

There are lots of leaves and small branches on the ground and the winds are predicted to increase in strength in a couple of hours.

We still have electricity and internet connections at the moment. We're not doing much, just watching the news and waiting.

We have stocked up on food and water. We are boarding up the windows and filling sandbags.


The rain has eased off now but the wind is starting to pick up. Trees are starting to bend in the wind.

There is the occasional sound of emergency vehicles in the distance.

We are still feeling quite calm but we have the news on and can see the effect of the wind in New Orleans which is a little worrying.


I've moved to my friend's house just round the corner from my own as there are a couple of large trees in my garden.

Before moving, I boarded up the windows in my house and anything made of glass - like parts of the doors.

I put down sandbags to stop flooding coming into the house and walked around the garden to make sure any loose items don't become projectiles.

I was here for Katrina when lots of trees came down and trailers were blown on their sides.

Actually Katrina went to our left, Rita went to our right - but this time the eye is heading straight for us.


It's been raining heavily on and off. I took advantage of a gap in the rain to take my dog out for a walk - but the wind was so strong that I nearly got blown off the porch!

Predicted route of Hurricane Gustav (31 August 2008)

I was nervous when the wind started moaning a little earlier, but I'm more frightened of tornadoes so I'm not feeling too stressed out at the moment.

I'm originally from Oxford, Britain but have lived in New Orleans for some time. Luckily I was out of town when Katrina hit. At that time my house was flooded and I have since moved to higher ground.

I did think about leaving, but I have just got back from an overseas trip and felt too jet-lagged to leave the city.


Rain is coming down in sheets and small pieces of debris are being blown around.

We still have power, but this is cutting out from time to time. The street lights are still working.

I have text messages from friends in other parts of the city saying power is failing there.

I've decided to stay here because I don't think it's going to be as bad as Katrina.

My room mates have left the house and headed off to Mississippi and California. I've spoken to friends on the phone so I don't feel too bad.

I feel Mayor Ray Nagin is scaring everyone. In some ways it's good that people are being given a chance to prepare but I think it's also an over-reaction.

The rain has been stopping and starting and you can feel the pressure so you know a storm's on its way. It's feeling quite gusty.

I've put some tape up in preparation around windows but that's it.


Cian Heasley
Cian says the mood is currently calm
We are shuttered in a bar-diner called Nighthawks, waiting out the storm with two generators, a lot of liquor and food.

I was caught in the first tendrils of the storm yesterday evening and made my way to this bar with my house mate.

There are nine of us in here and we are all pretty calm at the moment.

I did think about leaving with the other evacuees - but I have so many good friends here now and I love this place.

Like the people in this bar, many others decided to stay in the city so we can put this special place back together again after Gustav has passed.


At the moment it's like the calm before the storm. It's very warm but not very windy. We're just waiting and watching the weather.

We're not on a flood plain and a lot of our neighbours have also stayed. I think the winds could be the major worry though, as there are some big trees round the house.

I am here staying with my daughter and her partner who has a week-old baby.

My son-in-law is a paramedic and has gone to help out with the evacuations.

He called back into work in Baton Rouge outside New Orleans first thing Friday morning. He was told that he will have to stay there and won't be back here until Gustav has passed. He's obviously worried too.

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