LilaTovCocktail: Ingredients: one part NE Ohio; two parts politics; two parts media, and one part each: culture, family & the Jewish community. Directions: Shake well.

Gustav: Alan Smason's Riding Out the Storm in NOLA


Would you defy the mandatory evacuation order so that you can document Hurricane Gustav?

Alan Smason is planning to do just that.

The New Orleans native who, in his words, "hunkered down in Cleveland during the Katrina crisis" returned to New Orleans over a year ago and, like many New Orleanians, was planning to spend much of the weekend at events commemorating the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Instead, Alan (pictured left, with son David) will be riding out the storm.

This is Alan's home a few days after Katrina. The photo caption says:
"Hard to believe, but the front door seen at the top of the stairs is leading into the SECOND FLOOR of my home. This picture was taken by famous photographer Sidney Smith, a cousin. He took it from a boat approximately four days following Katrina hitting landfall."

Alan has begun by reporting on storm preparation and evacuation that are well under way right now. on his blog, Kosher Computing, where he writes:
We are on the bad side of the expected track of the storm, even more so than Hurricane Katrina. The exodus out of the city has been going on all day with most every channels out of the city slogged down to a snail's pace at the edge of the city. All Home Depot, Loew's, Wal-Mart, and Sam's Club stores have closed down as of yesterday. Gas stations have shuttered their doors and most essential services are but a memory. I have resigned myself to the fact that this is a life threatening situation.

Family members have all called and urged me to get out. Yet, I believe it is necessary that someone be here to document what is happening here as we prepare for the worst and hope for he best.
One of his biggest concerns, he writes by email is whether he can remain connected enough to the outside world to report on things as they happen.
"I am at the epicenter of the biggest story in the country. The question is: will I have a working cell phone, computer or landline to report on it?

Five hours ago, he posted this radar view of Gustav on his music/personal website with the caption:
Well, here we go again. New Orleans is square in the target for Hurricane Gustav.

The difference is that I am in the city this time rather than stuck in Cleveland looking at it helplessly.

To tell you the truth, I think I'd prefer to be in Cleveland again, but I believe it's important for me to be here to file reports and let you all know just how bad it will be. Say a prayer for me and wish me luck.
Good luck Alan. I know all your friends in Cleveland and your former colleagues at the Cleveland Jewish News will be thinking of (well, worrying about, which for Jews is practically the same thing) you. Keep safe.

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