The people of New Orleans have learned their lesson it seems. A lot of people decided to ride the storm out when Hurricane Katrina hit them three years ago and no one quite expected the disaster it brought with it. New Orleans was practically wiped off the map. Looking at it from an aerial view it was like Lake Pontchartrain got bigger.

Many people were left homeless, hungry, bitten by mosquitoes and thirsty while waiting on rescue teams to save them from the flooding waters. If they had evacuated like they were asked to, they would have at least not feared for their lives while struggling to find a safe and dry place to wait.

Well now, we have a new situation for the southern part of Louisiana. Hurricane Gustav is not far from the Louisiana coastline, just south of Houma, La. threatening the city with probable storm surges. New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city and for once most people complied to the order and left town.

Well I say most but that doesn’t mean all. Nola.com is reporting about one little establishment in the city that has decided to stay open for business Sunday night. If you guessed that place would be located on Bourbon St. then you guessed right.

The Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club has remained open. An employee, Dawn Beasley reported for work as usual Sunday night but wasn’t wearing her normal skimpy uniform with heels that are uncomfortable. Instead she showed up wearing an oversized t-shirt, shorts and running sneakers. She had her blond hair pulled back in a pony tail and was ready to go to work to serve any of the patrons that came in with a smile and with the promise of the $3 drinks throughout the storm. Darn, my husband and I are moving down there next week. He would have loved those prices.

Bartender Frank Ruiz and general manager Jon Olmstead were there to keep Beasley company. “We’re open until the wind gets too bad. That’s what our plan is,” said Ruiz. They said a few customers came into the club before 10 pm . One guy came saying he was just looking for fun but he was escorted out the door when the bartender realized that the man didn’t have enough money to pay for his drink.

There are a few restaurants that stayed open to help feed police officers and the media that are there to cover the story about the storm but most other places have boarded up their windows or sandbagged their doors.

All I can say is that this sounds like the New Orleans I have always loved. I hope they don’t wait too long to get out if things get bad there. My prayers are with everyone in Gustav’s path. I have my kids and grandkids down there not to mention almost all my family facing this so I doubt I will get too much sleep tonight because I fear for their safety.

Jan Barrett

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