I left Jackson, Miss. around noon and hit I-55 south. Squalls and rain bands along the way, but remarkably little Gustavian damage visible except wet leaves everywhere. Word was that Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Tammany parishes were still "closed," so I hopped off the interstate and took back roads well before the Louisiana state line.
Listening to WWL-AM the whole way, it was clear that while locals were happy enough to let emergency responders and the like be the first in the city, no one wanted to cool his or her heels any longer than necessary, racking up hotel bills, eating out every meal, and dealing with bored children in a motel room. Caller after caller expressed the same thought: I pay taxes; I understand there's no electricity; I can fend for myself for a few days -- just let me go back to my damn house.
Over and over, St. Tammany Parish president Kevin Davis and Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard explained why that wasn't possible at this time. Jeff Parish seemed to mean it, with serious roadblocks. Furious and near-tearful callers who had been waiting hours at the parish line kept calling in to the station (the Times-Pic has a photo and story here).
Occurred to me, rather grimly, that this was the suburbanite version of the Gretna Bridge incident following Katrina.
Now back in downtown Covington and watching the Bogue Falaya River rise at an alarming rate (some areas in the river's path have been evacuated as of today). It's right outside the back door, so I've got an eye out.
When I got home, there was a large box turtle on the porch.
That probably can't be good.