For some reason, lately I’ve thought about the biblical Book of Exodus. Perhaps you’ll recall that it tells the story of the plagues of Egypt rained down on the Pharaoh when he refused to allow the Israelites to free their bonds of slavery and depart the country. It took a lot of convincing with some pretty nasty stuff occurring before the ruler acquiesced and told Moses to take his people and leave.
Just a partial list of unpleasantness includes water turned to blood, frogs literally all over the place, boils breaking out on anything and everyone, swarms of locusts consuming whatever got in their way, thunderstorms of hail and fire, darkness for several days, and even the death of firstborn Egyptian children.
Now, not to equate the state of Louisiana with ancient Egypt. Perish the thought. But quick research shows that just within the last 20 years, there have been more than a couple dozen substantial storms to hit the Parishes of the Creole state. The most intense one prior to Ida was the never-to-be-forgotten Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The levee system in New Orleans basically gave up the ghost during that one, causing almost 2,000 deaths, power outages and fires, and $100 billion in damage. Some people actually left the area for good after Katrina, but many more simply rebuilt and stayed put. Then, as now, people standing on rooftops waiting to be rescued from the floodwaters filling their homes beneath them were all too commonplace.
All that on top of Covid too. Which leads me to wonder if many of the fine folks who reside at the mouth of the Mississippi aren’t thinking it may be time to start looking elsewhere to live?
If you’ve ever been in a hurricane, you’re well-aware of what those high winds can do. I was in a Category One blow once. The 75-MPH breeze let me know I didn’t want to be in another one. Being young and foolhardy at the time, I stepped out onto the balcony of my apartment building, pressed my back against a wall, and tried to move. The feeling I got was similar to how it is on that amusement park ride where you stand up and get spun around so fast that the centrifugal force makes it impossible for you to move, even when the floor below you disappears. I could barely get one arm across my body to turn around in the hurricane wind without straining every muscle. And all that effort got me was my face plastered against the wall. I quickly retreated to the safety of the inside . . . but not without great difficulty. It’s impossible for me to imagine what Ida’s 150+ MPH felt like.
With seemingly a continuous battering of hearth and home, perhaps a mass relocation might be in order. Since We the People usually have to pony up big dollars whenever there’s a catastrophic even such as Ida, maybe Congress could authorize a one-time payment to Louisiana residents to move elsewhere.
There’s a lot of room in places such as South Dakota or Iowa or one of those big square states out West. Maybe the whole of New Orleans and its environs can create its own Exodus and move everything lock, stock and barrel to one of those places. The last time I checked there has been little, if any, hurricane activity ever reported in say, rural Utah for example.
I’m pretty sure the music of New Orleans and its associated culture would be more than welcome anywhere the citizenry and its horn players relocated. And there’s no reason to think those Mardi Gras parades couldn’t still take place every year. It may be a little more difficult for the transplanted restaurants to get fresh seafood right off a boat, but I have no doubt the Cajun chefs would rise to the occasion and come up with clever and tasty cuisine. And it would still be just fine to offer up those signature Hurricane cocktails Bourbon Street is famous for.
Granted, displaced residents would probably have to forego the pleasures of reptile hunting or airboat rides through black-water swamps, but surely other recreational pursuits can be found. The dangers of grizzly bears, for instance, might be a substitute for alligators.
The new locale (wherever it is) would probably welcome the tourist dollars that go along with great music and great food. Residents wouldn’t have to worry about flooding. And the U.S. taxpayers wouldn’t be hit with a big clean-up bill every few years. Which might make the whole re-lo a win-win-win for everyone. Just some food for thought.