A good friend of mine rode out the storm in Uptown New Orleans. She and her husband hadn’t heard about the levee breach, and he took off for his job Tuesday morning, thinking like most people that the city had survived a near miss. After he’d left, my friend found out about the flooding and the looting, and drove out of town on Tchoupitoulas Street, which runs next to the Mississippi River levee on the south side. She went right past the Tchoupitoulas Wal-Mart as it was being looted (with New Orleans cops joining in), and made it out on the Crescent City Connection into Gretna. I don’t know whether she was stopped at the bridge or not.
Here’s an interesting addition: after she’d made it out of town, my friend realized that she’d brought along all the emergency supplies–when her husband could well need to go back to their house before leaving himself (she was never able to reach him during all this time, but they’d arranged for a meeting place with relatives out of town, just in case). So she drove back over the bridge to her house, dropped off the supplies, grabbed as many of her valuables as she could quickly pack, and left the city again, once more crossing the Crescent City Connection to Gretna. Her husband eventually made it out as well, they’re both fine now.
She’s white, if it matters–and maybe it did.