A Vieux From Toulouse

(Meme by Eric T. Styles)
Quick, close everything down!
Board up all of the windows!
Everyone cower inside out of fear!
Oh wait, we already good.

I feel the same way for every hurricane: I am sick and tired of hearing about them even before they make landfall. It’s all that anyone talks about. It’s plastered all over the media and Rouses is packed with people hoarding tuna fish and liquor. Then the storms turn out to be nothing.

Granted, I wasn’t here for Katrina. I know a lot of survivors from that storm and I’ll cut them a break when it comes to over reacting to predictions. I did grow up on the Jersey Shore and have seen my fair share of hurricanes and Nor’easters. You folks down here think you are the champs of surviving storms? Have you ever had hurricane winds with ice and snow? Ok, go sit down then.

Do you know how I could predict a storm was coming when I was in New Jersey? News trucks. I use to drive a line bus for New Jersey Transit into a little shore town named Sea Bright. It just happened to be the lowest lying town on the shore and would easily flood with moderate rainfall or even an exceptionally high tide. I’d pull into the town on my first run and see all of the local news trucks from New York City lined up on Ocean Avenue and I would say to my passengers “Looks like we’re going to get a storm.”

The over zealous reporters would do a dramatic live broadcast on the stone seawall with waves splashing foam behind them, or they would find the deepest puddle in town and stand in it. I understand how the need for viewers and ratings drive these theatrics. I believe the need for sensational news coverage can be traced back to our bloodlust at the Roman Coliseums.  

My first major storm down here was the not very impressive Hurricane Isaac. The usual 5 days of hype and fearporn prior to landfall. During the night of the storm, my buddy and I did what any rational Quarter Rat would do, go bar hopping. We wandered around the near-desolate Quarter and ended up on Canal Street looking for the predicted devastation, but only found a Weather Channel news crew. The water was just only splashing at curb level, much the same as any heavy summer storm would produce.

In 20 minutes we found ourselves ducking out of the shifting winds and into dark Aunt Tiki’s on Decatur Street. A handful of locals were ten drinks into the night and repeating the phrase “This ain’t shit.” Our eyes were caught by the TV showing a reporter standing at an angle in New Orleans. That was the crew we had just passed by. The footage didn’t look how we remembered it. The camera man had placed the camera on the sidewalk. From that angle, the water looked like it was 3 feet deep across Canal Street. We elbowed each other pointing and yelling “BULLSHIT!”

I guess I could get on a high horse about the news media sensationalizing a nonstory and filling the public with unwarranted fear for ratings and profits. Maybe it rests on us, the public. We like the drama of impending doom. Perhaps we need these panics to keep us on our toes, a reminder of what can happen. Not that 2020 actually needed anymore unwarranted fears and near tragedies.

On the plus side, we were already boarded up. Good luck everybody with this meteorological gang bang.

UPDATED Tropical storms Marco and Laura forecast to reach Louisiana as hurricanes