By Chris Meehan
All 63 men, women and children in the New Orleans branch appear to have come through Hurricane Isaac in fine shape, says Lloyd Mehaffey, the branch’s principal branch coordinator. Hurricane Isaac, which was downgraded to a tropical storm late on Wednesday night, brought 80-mile-an-hour winds and up to two feet of rain to some areas of Southern Louisiana. Flooding occurred in areas to the north and to the south of most branch members, who were protected from high waters by levees.
In Mobile, Alabama, branch member Donna Ganzarain reported, “We were getting beat up by three days of rain, but we’re all OK. Nobody got flooded out and nobody lost power.” In Biloxi, Mississippi, Dede Schneider said, "We had heavy rain for a few days but it didn't have much negative effect." Community members in Shreveport reported a brief period of intense rain but little disruption as Isaac passed by.
Only five New Orleans branch members left the area because of the storm, reports area coordinator Phil Slattery, and that was simply to avoid anticipated power outages. Phil estimates that about a third of the branch eventually lost electricity before the slow-moving storm ended its three-day stay. “Everybody was looking out for one another,” he says, noting that the Arguses, Coneys and Valerios each hosted branch families who had lost power for a night or two this week.
Downed trees caused much of the interruption in power in New Orleans. John and Christine Barnitz, who had evacuated to their daughter’s home in Georgia, had a large tree fall by their house, but only a few branches fell on the roof, appearing to cause no serious damage.
“In short,” says Phil, “members of our branch suffered only minor damage, for which we can thank the Lord.”