UPDATE 08.30.08: My flight is still good for tomorrow. I'm going to spend today with local journalist Ariella Cohen from CityBusiness as she reports on the voluntary evacuation. One way or another, Gustav adds to my film, and I need to gather additional elements to tell this story. We may even attempt a small house party premiere tonight if there's anyone left in the city. My hotel closes tomorrow at noon, and I intend to give myself at least 3 hours to get to the airport (normally a 20 minute drive). Shades of Baghdad!
Geez, I thought I had escaped a life's sentence in breaking news when I left my career in TV journalism a few years back. All I wanted was to premiere our Katrina-related documentary here in New Orleans tomorrow. And, now, on the 3rd anniversary of that terrible disaster, Gustav has forced us to cancel the event.
To protect ourselves, we held a "sneak preview" screening last night at Fair Grinds coffeehouse. Happily, folks were thrilled with this outsider's view of their city, so it looks like I hit the mark. It'll be interesting to see how these last few days might play into a final cut of the film.
I spent today shooting Katrina memorial footage, and preparing for a worst-case scenario if my flight doesn't happen on Sunday. I made sure I was fueled up, had a case of water and a few boxes of granola bars, and I bought a vehicle power supply to keep all my gadgets charged for whatever long drive might lie ahead.
And then I got a nasty flat tire. Hertz had someone come out and do the change for me (too hot and too dirty!). I decided I had better make sure I have a good spare, so ended up on a wild goose chase to two different Firestone stores. One didn't have the right tire, the other one was backed up until Saturday morning.
So I finally called another Hertz location and swapped out vehicles (and watched the National Guard muster at the Convention Center).