GUSTAV Relief Trip to Baton Rouge a Success

After one heck of a road trip, I am very pleased to report “mission accomplished” for Krewes Kare in delivering three truckloads and a large trailer full of supplies to relief workers assisting Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.

We spent the morning and most of the afternoon shopping for needed supplies last Wednesday, with Channel 8’s Jeff Patterson and his photographer Maurice along with us to tell our story (and help shop!). Well, as we were wrapping up, we received a call informing us that Angel Flight Pilots were grounded until Monday, 9/8, at the earliest. This was due to all the upper level disturbances from the tail end of Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna. We made a last minute decision to drive the supplies to Louisiana, especially after reports from Pair O’ Dice member MJ Maruca who was in Baton Rouge told us of the devastation there and in towns between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. What the road trip allowed us to do was carry even more supplies, and some that were very heavy like 2 generators and 2000 lbs. of pet food for SPCA Shelters in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We called on our resources at Tampa Police Dept. to coordinate with Mississippi State Police and Louisiana State Police to help ensure we’d be able to get through to our destination of Baton Rouge. F-Troop Member John Crowley, a “first responder” supplied us with a GPS unit, and the Bead Barn supplied us with walkie-talkies to be able to communicate with each other in case there was no cell phone service along our way (both came in extremely handy!). So, using Christie’s truck, Debi’s truck, and a truck we borrowed from Board Member Randy Conte, seven of us took off at 10:30 PM Wednesday night. They included Krewes Kare Board Members Christie Hess, Debi Tomlinson, and myself, along with my husband Scott, Pair O’ Dice members Charlie Gifford and Jessica Prentice, and a friend of John & Lisa Crowley’s, Kerry DeMark (what an initiation to krewe life for her, right?).

In the Panhandle, at 5:00AM central time, the trailer blew a tire and wheel. We had wait until 7:30 to have a tire business come to the side of road on I-10 and jack up the trailer to replace the tire and wheel. A pain? You bet…but it got handled without having to unload that big trailer! Back on the road at 9::30AM Thursday, we made our way through the “parking lot” of evacuees trying to return to see if their New Orleans homes were damaged and how badly. Relief workers kept in touch with me during our trip and along the way, made a decision to meet us at a shelter in New Orleans to spare us the hard trip to Baton Rouge. They were able to get through to that city and those along the way, easier than we could. At least New Orleans would be more accessible. We finally made it to the shelter at 3:30 PM and volunteers there were elated to see all the desperately needed supplies – you can imagine their thrill that 2 generators were part of our haul. The shelter had no power and actually, half of New Orleans was still without power. The SPCA shelter was expecting 400 animals that were to arrive beginning at 11:00 PM that had been housed in Shreveport for evacuees. We passed a lot of neighborhoods along the way where roofs were torn off of houses and buildings, walls blown down on buildings, trees ripped from their roots lying along roadways with signs. Some of the damage we saw was due to Gustav but sadly, some was still left over from Katrina. One of our team referred to it as a “war-torn city” and that’s a good description. We took some photos as we went and they are posted on this page.

The road home should have been a breeze compared to the trip there but turned out to be pretty grueling – due to 2 breakdowns of one of the trucks. Once on Friday afternoon in Marianna, FL where we ended up having to have it towed to Tallahassee and scramble to find a service place that could fix it on a Saturday morning, and then again as we were about 30 miles outside of Tallahassee Saturday afternoon. The truck was towed back to Tallahassee and we continued back to Tampa. Poor Randy will have to retrieve his truck sometime this week. We arrived back home at 9:00PM Saturday.

With all that, am I glad we went? You bet. Krewes Kare succeeded in helping those that needed it and needed it fast. With Hurricane Ike barrelling through the Caribbean headed for the Gulf, I’m not sure what our next call will be. What I can say is thanks again to the road trip team and also to those who helped get us there. A special thanks to Ken Donofrio, our webmaster for documenting our trip online during and after our trip. Plus, I thank all of you from so many different krewes that emailed and called me offering your help with obtaining and delivering supplies when we thought we were sending them aboard Angel Flight SE Planes. It’s great to know so many of you truly care and want to be a part of this great inter-krewe organization. We are ready and willing to help victims of Ike or whatever storm comes our way next – but I really hope we can do it via Angel Flight SE planes! Since this is turning out to be a really nasty hurricane season, regrettably, I’m guessing you’ll be hearing from me again soon asking for your help. I just hope to have a lot more notice for shopping and Angel Flight SE for shipping!

Kindest regards,
Yvonne

2 Comments

  1. Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your website is very helpful.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. The key is to add a pop of color in your footwear selection.
    This year I had one of the most glamorous experiences in my life – I attended Toronto Fashion Week.
    that can offer you a great deal of fashion tips for your special occasion.

    My web page long dresses casual (Forest)

Leave a Reply