For those of you who are new to the site, allow me to explain something. I am from New Orleans, Louisiana. Not only from there, but currently residing there, as I have for 42 years now. At the moment, our city is disturbing, a level of deja vu (and the worst kind at that) has everyone in its grip as Hurricane Gustav rolls through the Gulf of Mexico. Downgraded on Wednesday to a tropical storm, it is nonetheless projected to return to full hurricane status, with some meteorologists predicting the dreaded phrase “Category 5.”
I remember Katrina and the levee failure that followed. My wife and I left the day before landfall. It was the first hurricane I have ever run from. I remember being trapped in traffic that was more parking lot than escape route as the first storm bands rocked the car, hoping we would move before the winds worsened and we would be blown off the overpass and into the bayou.
At this point, cell phones were almost useless; the towers overloaded as the entire population attempted to phone loved ones and friends to either make sure they got out or to offer the two golden words, “I’m okay.” The radio was our only connection to any sort of news for the next 18 hours that it took for us to make the five hour drive to Memphis.
Now I write about a lot of aspects of radio on this site: advances in technology, the convergent evolution of broadcast and Internet, industry-related legislation and more. Not today. Today its all about the batteries for my radio.
If we decide to leave, we will need radio for news about Contra Flow (the evacuation plan set by the government), about traffic and where we can get through, about storm updates and tracking. Basically, everything.
If we stay, we will need radio for when the cell towers become overloaded and the Internet drops out. As it was when we returned after Katrina, it will be the go-to medium for survival information. Three years ago, the only way we knew what water was safe and what was polluted into poison by chemical spills was the radio.
So today I am buying batteries by the pound and grabbing a backup portable storm radio with crank power since I gave mine to an elderly neighbor.
There are lots of things that I could write about right now, but at the moment it’s all about the radio….