Monday, September 20, 2004

Back to Normal for Some

Well I am back at work today and things are getting back to normal in Mobile. There are still a lot of people without power and the schools will not be back open for a while because they are still being used as shelters. We were very lucky. Gulf Shores and Pensacola were not so lucky. They have horrible damage and it will take months to get back to normal. It is amazing. They are less that an hour from here. I found some pictures of the damage there.

A big rig is partly submerged after running into a collapsed section of a bridge over Escambia Bay north of Pensacola, Fla., on Thursday, shortly after Hurricane Ivan stormed ashore. Rescue crew found the body of driver on Friday. Nobody is sure as to why he was driving across the bridge during the worst part of the storm.

A boat, washed ashore by Hurricane Ivan, lies next to the highway in Orange Beach, Ala., Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004. Hurricane Ivan made landfall close to the town. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta)

Debris and floodwaters cover the main road leading to the beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004. Hurricane Ivan caused widespread damage in the town, located on a barrier island off Alabama's coast. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

Keith Swayer checks the damage to his home caused by Hurricane Ivan Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, on Oriole beach in Gulf Breeze, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

A man rides his bicycle past a collapsed building in Pensacola, Florida after Hurricane Ivan.(AFP/Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

A Florida state bridge inspector looks at the destroyed bridge from Gulf Breeze, Florida to Pensacola Beach September 16, 2004. Hurricane Ivan brought a surge of water off the Gulf of Mexico into the bridge ripping parts of it out. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

A fish lies on the road after being washed ashore in Gulf Breeze, Florida a half mile from the water September 16, 2004. Ivan had killed 68 people in a deadly trek through the Caribbean over the past 10 days and its eye hurtled ashore in the early hours near Gulf Shores, Alabama, just west of Florida's panhandle. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Sheila Webb looks through what remains of the mobile home where her uncle James Marshall and his wife Mary Lee Marshall lived in Blountstown, Florida, September 16, 2004. James and Mary Lee Marshall, both correctional officers at Calhoun County Correctional Institute, died when a tornado spawned from Hurricane Ivan destroyed their home Wednesday night. Photo by Carrie Niland/Reuters

Sarah Brown (lower R) views the rubble of her dress shop in the historic district in downtown Pensacola, Florida September 18, 2004. The front of the building collapsed as Hurricane Ivan swept through the area. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Mike Dungan checks the damage to his home from on top of a wall in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. AP

Waves crash against a sailboat lodged under a bridge in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. AP

An Exxon gas station was under water in Mobile, Ala. AP

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Hurricane Ivan

9-14-04 I went to the office this morning and handled two customers and then helped to secure our office. Luke got up and went to get the wood to board up the house. I got off work about 1 and went to the bank and then went to Walmart for supplies. We came home and began boarding up the house. About 7 my dad called and told me that my Aunt Liss had passed away. She was like a second mother to me and we are going to have to wait until after the storm to make arraignments. She was 98 years old but it is still extremely hard.

9-15-04 10:46pm Winds are about 40mph sustained 70mph gusts. Luke is outside doing Indian chants. The first chant he did was a funeral march and the winds seemed to start ragging. When he started the next song that was a happy chant the storm seemed to calm some. Very strange. It is an amazing thing to sit on the porch and watch the winds bend oak tree branches. We are getting gust that actually seem to almost blow you over. The rain is not that hard yet.

9-16-04 12:20am We have setup camp in the hall at this point. We are still waiting. They are saying that the storm surge is going to come right up Mobile Bay. They are expecting a 16ft storm surge which would flood all of downtown Mobile up past Broad Street which is only a couple of blocks from my house. It has always been a joke when someone asks me about flooding in my area I always say I am not worried about my house flooding because if my house flooded all of downtown Mobile would be under water. The eye is suppose to come through around 3:00am now but we will start getting the bad wind and rain within the hour. Ivan is still a Category 4 storm.

4:00am At the last few minutes before landfall the storm wobbled to the west and the eye began to fall apart some. This put the storm surge at Gulf Shores and the worst hit was that area and Pensacola, Florida. It was a category 3 when it made landfall with 135mph sustained winds. From what we are hearing part of the beach road in Gulf Shores is completely washed away and an old very popular landmark bar the Flora Bama was almost completely destroyed. The storm surge came into Fort Morgan and has flooded inland over a mile. Ono Island has 8 feet of water in all the homes and the bridge leading over is not safe to travel on. In Pensacola the main bridge on I-10 leading accross the water has big section missing. We ended up being on the west side of the storm and didn't get much of anything. We did have high wind gusts and rain but nothing like we were bracing for. The streets around my house are flooded up past the curbs but it doesn't look like any of the houses are affected.

6:00am There is a lot of debris everywhere and a lot of smaller trees are uprooted. Our power went out last night around 7:30pm and still is not back on. It could be a while until we get power back because there are 80% of the residents of Mobile County without power. We are under a mandatory curfew from 6pm to 6am to cut down on looters. We are lucky because we have a gas stove and hot water heater so we are able to cook and take showers. We got up this morning and went to look at the damage in town. There were a lot of small trees down and some of the awning from the businesses were torn off the buildings but it did not look bad at all. We came back home and took some of the boards off the windows so we could have some light and air. The wind is still gusting pretty bad. Tomorrow we will clean up the debris in the yard and take down the rest of the boards.

8:00pm Having no power really sucks. We sat around and I drank some beer and Luke drank two bottles of wine and was a little drunk. Luke and Gavin took the dog and decided to go for a walk. It is so dark you can't even see the house across the street. They went around the neighborhood and visited some of the neighbor that were sitting on their porches to keep cool. When they got back Luke said he had to go see someone and would be back soon. I went to sleep and about 3am I woke up and he was still not back. When he left he was on foot and it is so dark outside I was really worried. My phone was dead so I went to get Gavin's but Luke did not answer. I got my keys to go out and put my phone on the car charger to see if he had left a voice mail and realized his car was gone. Because of the curfew I then started thinking he may be in jail. There was no message so I came back in the house trying to figure out what to do. A few minutes later I heard the car. He had gone off to a friends house and drank hot whiskey. He got out of the car and puked in the yard a couple of times. I am extremely mad. It is so dark and all our windows are wide open so anything could have happened and he left us here and did not even tell us he was going to be gone all night. Asshole.

9-17-04 8:30am Well day 2 with no power. We got up and cleaned up the debris out of the yard. Walmart was open so we went to restock our sodas and beer. We are lucky because we are able to get ice from the clubs where Luke works. The power came on for about 2 minutes this morning but went right back off. They are talking about opening the club tonight if the police will let them or if they lift the curfew.

8:30pm Gavin and I were out on the porch Luke had gone out to get pizza. Luke came around the corner of the house and the power came back on you could hear cheering from blocks around. Now things can get back to normal.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Blu Bistro Grand Opening

Last night Luke, Gavin and I went to the grand opening of Blu Bisto. My best friend, Catherine, and her husband, Chef Michael Blucas are the proud owners. The restaurant features fine southern cuisine. Michael has definitely outdone himself with this menu. It was absolutely wonderful dining experience. Catherine chose all the wine selections and they were superb. The dining room is reminiscent of a New Orleans style bistro. Perfect lighting and beautiful background music lead you into another world.

We ordered a bottle of Rabbit Ridge and sat back to enjoy the surroundings. For our starters I chose the baked brie in puff pastry with cranberry orange glaze and Luke decided on the seafood gumbo with shrimp, crab and smoked sausage. The gumbo beyond compare and the baked brie (one of my favorite dishes) was divine. I could eat that everyday for the rest of my life and I would be a happy lady. For the entrees we both had the pan seared eight-ounce USDA choice filet mignon with herb butter. Luke added the sauteed mushrooms. The waiter told us he could provide us with steak knives but the chef proclaimed the steaks to be so tender they could be cut easily with a butter knife. This was in fact the truth. The filets melted in your mouth. Luke said he was drunk on taste. Gavin had the pan roasted breast of range chicken stuffed with conecuh sausage and smoked gouda stuffing. This delectable dish was a perfect smokey blend to stimulate the taste buds. The spinach madeleine, yukon gold mashed potatoes and garlic herb cheese grits were perfect accompaniments to the main courses. Although we were completely full and relaxed we had to try the creme de broule. The perfect encore to a perfect evening and meal.

Several of Michael's family and friends were there to celebrate the opening as well as many others from the area. I would recommend anyone visiting this area stop in for dinner and enjoy some fine southern cuisine and hospitality.