Thursday, September 22, 2005

Parents, They Just Don't Understand

I shouldn't say that totally, because my parents have been through many hurricanes in all of their time in south Louisiana, but until now, they have never had to deal with an evacuation. The plan was for them to leave before dawn this morning and head for Lafayette, but as everyone now knows from the news, there is massive gridlock on all roads leading out of Houston. I found out that my parents had changed their plans when Joel called me this morning from New York to tell me his parents had made it to Dallas after driving for nine hours. That is only a 270 miles drive! That's an average speed of 30 miles per hour!

So after talking to Joel, I checked my email and saw that my mom had written saying that they had decided to stay. Of course I got on the phone right away and was actually get through to them. They said they have been receiving calls all morning from people urging them to leave. I joined the chorus and told them that the threat of having no power for several days should be enough to get them out. My mom said she had wanted to leave last night but they were staying to see what would happen. I told my dad in no uncertain terms that there is absolutely no reason to stay in Houston at all. While I was still talking to my mom, my dad got a call from his parents in Lafayette and I think that all this got him moving. At the time they were at Target buying water and other supplies. I told them as soon as they got back to their apartment, they should take what they need and get on the damn road!

They will be on the road for a long time, but thankfully, Houston officials are opening the interstates to contraflow (using both inbound and outbound lanes for outbound traffic only). So I told my parents to just get on whatever outbound road they could and start heading north. They can always get to College Station or Austin once they are out of the gridlock.

The really good news that I have gotten through this blog today is that my friend Jason, an MD/PhD student at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, has evacuated safely all the way to his hometown of St. Louis.

UPDATE: Since starting this post, I have received another email from my mom:


Wes and June have read Jack the "riot act" and he is loading the trunk as I type. We are headed for College Station or Lafayette. Jack wants to go to Lafayette via 45N (now contraflow north of the Woodlands) which will be slow going for a while, then 105 and backroads that we are familiar with (from our travels back and forth the last four years during massive road construction). We can eventually work our way to Opelousas and then head south. As we make progress we may decide to College Station is the way to go, BUT WE ARE HEADED NORTH!!!

Thanks to all for your concerns and prayers! We will take out time, be very careful, and not take any chances.

I'm already packed (did that last night) and will help Jack load up. We're shutting down the computer now as we are taking it with us.

I'll be in contact as often as I can and hopefully will let you all know by tonight where we end up.


So I am very glad that they are getting a move on. I would have been very nervous about them staying not just through the storm but through the communication blackout that will inevitably follow.

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