Our fourth day of recovery from Gustav was spent in our car – but at least we had air conditioning! We drove to Jackson, Mississippi to transfer my mother-in-law to my sister-in-law for a few months. All along the way, we saw damage from Gustav but the degree of damage decreased as we went east and north from Baton Rouge. Near McComb, Mississippi we began to see signs of available electric power and short lines at gasoline stations. There was a lot of southbound traffic that we assumed to be New Orleans evacuees. In addition, we saw a number of utility trucks from northern electric companies that were heading south. It took us four hours to get to Jackson but almost six hours to return as we mixed in with that traffic.
While in Jackson, we replenished our supply of gasoline for the generator. We were down to our last five gallons – about a day’s supply. On the return trip through McComb, we topped off the tank for the car because very few stations were open in Baton Rouge and the lines were extremely long. In fact, the police department was overseeing traffic into the gasoline stations.
About an hour from our house, our son-in-law called to say that the official timetable for restoring power to our area was two weeks! We were not expecting such a long outage. On arriving, we were shocked (no pun intended) -- estatic is probably a better description -- to see that electric power had been restored to our neighborhood. What a homecoming present! Apparently our loss of power was due to a single broken overhead line. Naturally the electric company was looking for simple fixes to restore power to groups of homes and we were among the lucky early ones.
Before leaving the house, we had turned off all the electric appliances, air conditioning, etc. What a pleasure to walk around turning things ON!