Well at least this time it was from the outside looking in. Watching the coverage of Hurricane Irene last week I was struck by this piece of advice issued to our east coast brethren as it appeared on The New York Times website:

"Residents riding out the storm should not tape windows; it does more harm than good, federal officials say."

What! For all the past hurricanes down here taping windows was one of the first things we were supposed to do. Now feds are saying we shouldn’t. Why? What’s changed?

That question was also raised by many who replied to the website. A similar article in USA Today said that taped windows would not stop a projectile, perhaps a neighbor’s garbage can, from crashing through a window, but we knew that. The purpose of taping, I thought, was to at least hold the glass in place once it had been cracked. The USA Today site concedes that the tape might indeed at least contain the shards, but still, those pesky federal officials warn, it is better not to tape at all.

Why? Maybe the tape industry has always supported Republicans and this is the Democrats way of getting back. To tapemakers, hurricane season must be like what Christmas is to fruitcake bakers.

I never did find a satisfactory answer as to why it is better not to tape, although from the discussion I might have gleaned what the feds are trying say.

But first, a digression: During earlier big name hurricanes to hit this area, namely Betsy and Camille, what the feds had to say did not matter because they never said much. Back then emergency protection was regarded as a state responsibility with the federal government on call as needed. That changed in 1978 under the Jimmy Carter administration when someone had the wisdom to realize that since these disasters cross state lines the feds should take the lead.

A once little-known emergency managements agency was created to coordinate federal response. It was called FEMA. Through the years the federal government has re-jiggered storm preparation procedures. It created mandatory evacuations and has obviously rethought some of the once standard recommendations.

Why is taping windows bad? I think what the feds are trying to say is that during a storm no one should be in a room with windows anyway. Instead, everyone should be gathered in interior rooms. Taped windows offer little protection yet provide a false sense of security. There’s the problem.

Not taping windows suits me fine. Now we don’t have to worry about washing off the sticky glue residue when we remove the tape. That may be a blow to the makers of Windex. I wonder if they vote Republican too.


Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival – Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via e-mail at gdkrewe@aol.com or (504) 895-2266.