Blackhawk Down

Yesterday was great. I never made it to town, but I got a tour of the Supple's sugar cane plantation by my host Felipe. He is also a bird hunter and I have enjoyed, when I have the energy, swapping stories with him at the end of the day. We share many of the same interests and enjoy the same authors.

He showed me where he hunts woodcock, a bird I believed only to exist in the pages of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunting Annual. He showed me a crawfish pond where they duck hunt. He showed me the tree lines where he flushes quail with his beautiful german short-haired pointers.

Towards the end of the tour we stopped and chatted with his friend Mark who lives alone in a grand house just off the river road. Giant oaks draped with Spanish Moss line the drive to the house, which was the home of John Randolf while he built the famous Nottoway Plantation home in the 1850s.

Over all it was a good day.

Taken in stride today was just as good. But the military can be so frustrating sometimes. Today we rode into the city on Blackhawks. We being a group of media attracted to the National Guards' promise of soldiers returning to their homes at the hard hit Jackson Barracks for the first time. We were all accounted for; Gannett, AP, The Advocate, The Times-Picayune and an amazing photographer from Corbis working for the New York Times.

Unfortunatly, when we disembarked from the helos we were informed there would be no soldiers returning today, but there was ONE Lt. who would be along shortly to talk with us and walk us through his home.

ONE soldier to share between 5 still photographers and 2 tv stations.

You can imagine the ensuing three ring circus.

We all made our photos as politely as we could and boarded the choppers to fly back to Baton Rouge. Other than the ride out, being able to see the friendly face of Bill Feig and chatting with the lovely Lynsey there wasn't much point to the entire exercise.

Tomorrow I go to stay in the city for a few days. It will be the first time I have slept in the city in weeks. Each day we have traveled in and out of the city and found that it was becoming more and more time consuming every day.

Now a new storm looms on our horizon. As Rita moves across the Florida Keys tonight we wait to see where she will turn.

The city cannot take another hit. But the possibility is a very real one. And this time if she strikes near the city we will be on the east side where the strongest winds, largest surge and heaviest rains reside.

Its a scary thought, but I can't think it now. We have till Thursday to see what happens.