Hurricanes: Plan for worst, hope for best
6/16/2017, 1:33 p.m.
I was born in New Orleans in 1949 and moved to Arabi, La., in 1960. During my lifetime, I have experienced every hurricane and tropical storm that ever hit the New Orleans region.
On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina violently flooded our home with no warning. My wife and I avoided drowning by escaping through a window. Once outside, the raging water violently tossed us onto our roof. Tethered only by an anchor rope, Katrina pounded us for hours. The deafening roar of the wind was unnerving, the hail and rain were painful.
When the hurricane ended, we were physically exhausted. In less than a full day, we lost everything — our home, our camp and our business warehouse filled with inventory and trucks. We had no flood insurance, a financial reality that mentally drained us almost to the point of despair.
Hopefully, my story can serve as a warning to others as to the real and present danger of these storms.
Hurricanes are dangerous on many levels, packing energy more powerful than a nuclear bomb. Cavalier attitudes regarding emergency preparation are recipes for disaster.
Anyone living in a region vulnerable to hurricanes should have a survival plan well established while skies are blue and seas are calm. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.
If evacuation is an available option, then by all means leave — sooner rather than later. Material things can be replaced. Lives cannot.
JOSEPH E. BELLANDE III
Editor’s note: The 2017 hurricane season began June 1 and will continue through Nov. 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast 11 to 17 named storms this season, more than the 30-year average for the Atlantic Basin.