This hurricane season has been eerily quiet for the Crescent City and neighboring Gulf Coast cities. There’s always that lingering feeling of when the moment will happen or the next shoe will drop. Call it a form of PTSD stemming from Hurricane Katrina (or hurricanes Betsy and Camille, among others) or the lingering effects of Hurricane Ida that are still felt throughout south Louisiana, but until the last day of hurricane season, it is as if all of us are holding our breath, just a bit, in wait and anticipation for what may come our way.
This week, after weeks of silence in the Gulf, Invest 98-L – a blip on the radar just days ago – has become Tropical Depression 9, with the note from local meteorologists that it is likely to be a named Category 1 hurricane by Sunday.
Yes, it can be a daunting time, waiting around to see what Mother Nature has in store, but there is time to prepare and there is no better advice than that of fellow New Orleanians and hurricane survivors.
Below, the team at Renaissance Publishing has shared their tips and necessities for riding out a storm or when preparing to make other arrangements in neighboring cities and states.
As someone who fosters kittens regularly (but this applies to ALL animal owners in my opinion!), having comfortable pet carriers/portable pet supplies is a MUST. Take it from someone who had no cat carrier (like a fool) and had to sit in the car with two crying kittens in a plastic storage container with air holes cut out for 13 hours. Not fun. Something like this is a total life saver. It straps into the seat belts, can fit cats and small dogs, their food & water bowls, and you can keep an eye on them! – Eliza Fillo, Sponsored Content Editor
Get a cargo carrier to haul back gasoline from your evacuation location (see image). And if you have a small child – don’t forget to bring the potty seat, otherwise you break your back holding the child hovering over the seat (not letting my boo touch a rando gas station toilet). – Sarah George, Art Director
I highly recommend a solar charging station. It was INVALUABLE to us after Hurricane Ida. Also, bagging all of the things in your refrigerator that might go bad if the power is out too long and leave them there, in case it doesn’t. That way when you come home, you can just grab the bag and toss it in the garbage if the power went out and it’s bad or questionable or you can just take things out of the bag and put them where they go. – Melanie Spencer, Editor
Get yourself a portable radio that can charge with solar or a hand-crank so you’re always able to get updates when the power is out. If you’re able to keep devices charged, keep an eye on social media for updates (they can often pop up there first). Check in with your neighbors – you’re all in it together! – Drew Hawkins, Research Database Coordinator
Have board games – to distract you from the spooky storm sounds if you’re not able to sleep through it. Also… Booze helps, too. – Ali Sullivan, Art Director
After last year’s storms, people are focusing on getting the infrastructure in place to be able to live without power for days or possibly weeks. Wealthy homeowners are installing whole-house generators that can cost $20 thousand or more. People with a few thousand dollars to spend are buying portable generators, like this one, to power one window unit, the fridge, a TV and an LED light or two. Folks who have to prepare on a more limited budget still have options. This solar-powered fan, for instance, has great reviews. – Rich Collins, News Editor
My suggestion is, if you have kids and decide to evacuate, try and stay somewhere with a pool and a park near by or movie theater. That way your kids are entertained and not cooped up in a hotel room. – Tiffani Amedeo, Creative Director
We typically evacuate. For that, I’d recommend creating a packing list beforehand so you’re not scrambling to get things together under stress. – Kim Singletary, Editor
My local doctor buddies (ER to OBGYN) all say the same thing, because it’s just that important. It may be a pain, but plan ahead each hurricane season and get your prescriptions filled for a 3 month supply. If you’re on dialysis, make sure it can be set up where you’re going. And, pregnant women should always ask for their records or make sure they have access to their patient portal to easily obtain necessary information. You’ve heard it before, but it’s because medical professionals have seen way too many families deal with terrible obstacles due to problems that could be avoided if prepared. – Andy Myer, Editor
Don’t ride out a storm alone! Not only should we band together during these times, but it’s much easier to get through the dark and the heat with others around you. Stock up on books and magazines you’ve been wanting to read and make sure you have your favorite snacks if you decide to stay. – Kelly Massicot, Digital Editor
Other must-have items suggested by the team:
A multi tasking charger/radio
Battery operated fan
Extra cases of water
Disposable cleansing bath wipes (in case you can’t take a shower!)
From a reader:
Remember to have cash, whether you are evacuating or staying, because if you are staying and the power goes out, the ATMs won’t work. If you evacuate, you may not be able to readily locate an ATM when you need it. Cash will always work. Additionally, if you evacuate and target staying in a hotel, try to find one that has both a microwave and a refrigerator in each room. Then, do not forget to take along an electric skillet (or a slow cooker for larger families), so that you can cook in your room. If you have a family and you are away for at least one week, you will run out of money if you try to eat in restaurants the entire time. With an electric skillet, you can make simple meals in your room to stretch your finances. An added bonus would be to find a hotel that has a continental breakfast, so you are only making two meals per day. – Stephanie Bialobok, Metairie
Have something to add to our list? Email us at email@example.com, subject line: Hurricane Preparedness.