Jean-Paul Villere: Birth control and chainsaw practice — a local’s guide to hurricane prep

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Jean-Paul Villere

Hurricane season.  Here again.  And possibly the longest measurable annual event we as a society take the time to acknowledge and name its progeny.  It begins at the end of spring, sweats you out all summer, and finally gnaws into fall.  Daylight savings may be its only contender in terms of expanse, only when you lose or gain an hour it’s never as eventful as losing a week of electricity in the soupy humidity of the Crescent City.  Will last year’s Isaac excursion make you better prepared?  Or more ready to leave sooner?  And don’t tell me you’ve already forgotten or perhaps you’re a new New Orleanian? 

Ok, let’s run through some basics.

(Inhale deeply and read aloud quickly) Dry goods – gas – pets – batteries – old people – children – beer – toilet paper – board games – car chargers – candles – matches – diapers – and – – – don’t forget the birth control.  Heellloooo Superstorm Sandy!  Who’s about to experience a population boom?  Why it’s the affected areas from the Franken-storm last fall of course.  You might think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  And it makes total sense.  One natural event deserves another really.  So unless you want to actually try to become pregnant during a hurrication then one best be on one’s game, yes?  Okay.  Cause you’re not heading to the CVS to get your notions amid 100+ mph winds and why?  Because they’re closed!  And will remain closed until, well, whenever – – –

Let’s move beyond the fundamentals for a moment and posit a little more deeply.  A quick top 5 should do it:

(1) Yard care – Whether you rent or own you likely have a bike or two (or six if you’re like me and have 4 kids), potted plants, patio furniture, grills and other exterior accoutrement.  Wrangle that stuff now.  These are potential projectiles; let’s keep them inanimate, shall we?

(2) Trees – If you have trees on your property or that cross your property, they’re your responsibility.  If you don’t have a chainsaw, best to at least have access to one.  Between branches and unwanted uproots, you’ll be glad you thought ahead.

(3) Chainsaw – In the vein of (2), it’s best to practice a little, and not just have ear plugs and eye cover.  Do you have a spare blade?  Have you ever changed it?  Got oil?  This is a great tool, but requires at least some experience for the uninitiated.

(4) Bare refrigeration – Don’t fight a losing battle.  Go lean on perishables for the next 6 months and thin out that freezer.  Let somebody else brag about how they kept their beer cold for 5 days.  Go the canned rations and liquor route.

(5) Atlas – Don’t shrug.  What if the interwebs gets spotty on you?  A 2013 Rand McNally could be your new best friend if your smart phone goes dumb and you’ve decided to evacuate.

And one more for lagniappe: cash.  The banks will be closed, people.  I’m not saying go all Thurston and Lovey Howell on the island, but keep a stash for emergencies.  And be safe.  If this is your first rodeo, you need not act like it.  The locals who stay for storms generally know what they’re doing – generally.  Although based upon the marathon outage that Isaac brought upon us, I’m curious how many this season will roll the dice and hunker down again.  Are you in that number?

Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and Du Mois Gallery on Freret Street and a married father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at, he also shares his family’s adventures sometimes via pedicab or bicycle on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

4 thoughts on “Jean-Paul Villere: Birth control and chainsaw practice — a local’s guide to hurricane prep

  1. great article. There might be a distinction between us and Sandy as far as baby booms go, however. As I recall, it was cold up there when they lost power and people were trying to keep warm. I doubt we’ll have to contend with that factor in New Orleans!

  2. I learned the hard way that an electric chainsaw is not what you want. I’m currently looking for a non-electric coffee pot.

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