Many of us are sitting in hotels or hot homes waiting for Entergy to restore our power. As we sit there feeling anxious, helpless, etc., there are some lessons we are all taking away from Hurricane Ida. Even the experienced hurricane pros are learning something new this go-round! Here are the things we learned from Hurricane Ida.
#1: Your Ring doorbell is a more reliable way to know if you have power
I have never been a person who wanted a Ring doorbell. But since Entergy’s power map has been so unreliable, citizens of the New Orleans metro area have taken to using their Ring doorbells to know when they actually have power restored!
We have had more than one person confirm their home is lit up again from their doorbell, and it’s enough to give us pause and consider one for our own homes now.
#2: Get a lockbox
If you have evacuated and want people to check on your house – do you know how they will get in? Invest in a lockbox for your house so that your neighbor or friend can pop back and make sure everything is ok.
After Hurricane Ida, I have been able to send over a tree person and someone to clean out my freezer because of my handy lockbox!
But if you ran out of town and didn’t leave a key…
#3: Key Hero
Key Hero allows you to digitally scan your house key and send it off to a recipient of your choosing to get cut! Key Hero has Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, and Home Depot locations in the New Orleans area. This way, if you didn’t leave a key behind, you can always send a copy out to a friend!
We would suggest going with a lockbox first since these locations may not have power right away.
#4: Generators need love too
After running a generator for days, some people have learned that your generator will need more than just more gasoline.
For portable generators:
- Oil should be changed every 50 hours
- The air filter may need to be changed as well
- Have extra spark plugs on hand
- Don’t forget to run it every few months!
For whole-home generators:
- Have it serviced every 6 months by a professional
- Oil should be changed every 200 hours
- Have extra filters and spark plugs on hand
- Ask the installer how to do these things when it is installed!
#5: New Orleans restaurants truly are the best
We have seen all kinds of restaurants in the area that cooked up all their food and gave out free plates to residents. Others donated to World Central Kitchen to have them cook it all for them!
Twitter user @KevinAllman made a comprehensive list of the restaurants in New Orleans and the surrounding areas that had the capability to help during the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Use it next time you can’t decide where to eat!
#6: Facebook donations are not immediate
For the folks who want to help and get donations to organizations ASAP, donating through Facebook does not allow the organization to get money immediately. Head to their website and donate directly.
#7: Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
Legitimately, I had never heard of their website and even knew it was possible to see what roads and interstates were closed beyond going to Google or Apple maps and hoping it was right! Using 511la.org before evacuating after Hurricane Ida rolled through, I determined that heading East wasn’t possible yet. While we all rely on Google maps regularly, they couldn’t show us what was shut down at the time!
#8: Gas Buddy App
Y’all. This app saved many friends from heading to a gas station that was out of gas!
Available on iOS and Google Play, Gas Buddy is the go-to app for finding out who has gas or not.
#9: Neighbors will try to out-help each other
It’s a beautiful site to see when neighbors band together to help out. But New Orleanians take it to the next level and will always go above and beyond!
I have seen all over social media make-shift “stores” for people to come and get supplies, cool down and charge phones. Neighbors are doing wellness checks and cleaning out fridges for one another.
This is an aspect of New Orleans that is just something special to witness! And why so many of us can never live anywhere else in the world…
#10: For the noobs
If you’re newer to New Orleans and haven’t been through an evacuation before, here are some tips that you likely picked up this go-round. Keep them in your back pocket for later!
- Cash is king! Make sure you ALWAYS hit the ATM before a storm rolls through.
- Post-storm feelings are real. Talk to your friend or a professional. We all go through it, and you’re not alone!
- Make sure you regularly maintain your car so you can get out of town if need be.
- You can never have enough water if you plan on hunkering down through a storm. We can go anywhere from a few days to weeks without power. You need to be hydrated.
- DampRid is your friend for a wet or humid house after a storm.
- You can never pack enough if you’re evacuating. You may not be able to come back for a bit, and do you want to spend money on things you could have grabbed from home? (I type this while in desperate need of fingernail clippers!)
- BringFido.com can help you find pet-friendly hotels.
At the end of the day, we are all in this hurricane mess together. Don’t forget to pay kindness forward and be gentle with those around you during and after a hurricane!