Here in New Orleans one tends to become slightly blasé about tropical storms and hurricanes. Certainly, most people take the threat of a big hurricane seriously, but we're rather casual about the "little" stuff. Tuesday, as Tropical Storm Cindy was bearing down on us, the general attitude was "business as usual". Few if any preparations were made. Life went on.
That attitude changed for most people around ten o'clock Tuesday night as the wind began to howl and sheets of rain pounded against the windows. Potted plants tipped over. Lawn furniture flew across yards. Branches began to fall and transformers exploded.
Wednesday morning people woke up groggy from a poor night's sleep to find a city which had been substantially affected, because, as we all suddenly re-remembered, a direct blow from a tropical storm is no small matter. Many people had no power. Traffic signals were out. Businesses were closed. Streets were blocked. And the local news was eagerly looping their favorite seasonal footage, a shot of some vehicle that some foolish person had driven into some flooded street somewhere which was now submerged up to its windows - a site as predictable as robins in the spring.
But in general, people made out O.K. Lots of folks were home from work. They were out cleaning up their yards, and chatting with their neighbors, tallying up the minor damage. It's our equivalent of a snow day.
Now we really are more or less back to business as usual, getting into the regular flow of things. But we're keeping one eye on Dennis.