The best thing you can do this or any hurricane season is just plain have a plan. Primarily are you going to evacuate or are you going to stay? That’s number one. Pretty important. If you stay, stock up on dry goods, and empty out of the ol’ fridge. But also If you evacuate, stock up on dry goods, and empty out the ol’ fridge. Why? If you return before the Winn Dixie and their staff do, you’ll be thanking me, because they conversely depleted all their dry goods. In the event you evacuate, at the very least after you’ve emptied your fridge, unplug it and leave the doors ajar. Really. Otherwise brown outs might burn out the motor. Plus: closed doors on an unpowered icebox breeds some stanky, stanky funk, even when totally emptied. But don’t take my word for it, just think about the physics of enclosed environments. Stagnant pockets of air paired with remaining rotting food particles and voila: stank. If you didn’t have the unpleasant experience of cleaning a single Katrina fridge, trust me and avoid anything comparable. Because it is avoidable.
And remember everyone: despite floods, termites, tornadoes, or hurricanes, New Orleans has been here for centuries: she isn’t going anywhere. And she will always be rebuilt no matter what comes her way. So plan your hurrication now – or not. You can sit in traffic and wear out your welcome wherever, or you can sit in your home barring any damage you may sustain and mend it in a more timely fashion. After all, lest we forget, the five-week closure of our city in 2005 may have done more to damage any home than the actual event. Open roofs and broken windows don’t repair themselves, and when your home is exposed to the elements willy-nilly and you are prevented by your own military from spending more than a few scad hours to do anything about it, you can argue that’s what insurance is for. However, after meeting my share of adjusters post-K, I will offer in fact that is not what insurance is for, unfortunately. Glass half full is this: water recedes, and people do return. Even if sometimes it takes them a couple of years. So try not to think too much about this unavoidable annual few months of potential peril; you can’t charge hurricane-season rent in your head.
Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and the Du Mois gallery on Freret Street and father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at UptownMessenger.com, he also writes an occasional real-estate blog at villererealty.com and shares his family’s adventures via pedicab on Facebook and Twitter.