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Don't Let Hurricane Season Catch You Lacking!

A hurricane sign in a skyview

Hurricane season hasn’t always made me anxious. As a native, born to generations of natives, my family usually stayed put during storms. The only time we left was for Katrina. So, I kept up this trend.

In my younger 20s, I had no issue buying non-perishables, moving trash cans, or waiting for ice to keep the items I needed cold! I've driven in questionable rain conditions to get my nails done (do NOT recommend this) and even had my 25th birthday party only moments after Zeta. But now, as I’m about to turn 30, my dog is older and I am responsible for my daughter, things are different.

I’m anxious. I’m nervous. I'm so nervous, I'm afraid to buy clothes because what if my house is covered in mold and mildew come November?! Oh, and everyone is saying this season will be crazy. Whether it’s because the Gulf is the hottest it’s ever been, the winter was warmer than usual, or simply that “we’re just due for one,” I am worrying. But you know what they say...

"Worrying is just a false sense of control."

So, how do you get control???

First, acknowledge your concerns. This season means living in flux. Will Essence Fest happen? How many times will we evacuate? Will the Governor give us enough notice? Not to mention if you’re pregnant. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and it’s human nature to be nervous about your safety and that of your loved ones. Honor that—realize these concerns and fears are rational.

Make a plan. My daughter was born during hurricane season. The summer before, I planned like hell. I even made a PowerPoint that I sent to my family. I kid you not—I wasn't going to be caught off guard by any hurricane. Having a plan means that when the "ish" hits the fan, you can move on auto-pilot!

Decide if you’re leaving. If so, how do you know it’s time to leave? What are the indicators? Are you waiting for the governor? Will a Category 2 be enough? Remember to consider all medical needs for everyone in your household. If you leave, where are you going? North to Memphis, West to Houston, East to Atlanta?

If you’re staying, what supplies do you need to gather to do so safely? How much cash can you withdraw to have on hand in case the power goes out?

Talk to your kids. When I taught in schools, we would prepare our classes for tornados, hurricanes, floods, and fire drills. Before we practiced, we talked about what these words meant and what the sky and ground would be doing around them. Remember—they are living in this season, too, and ignoring it won’t help. So, prep them. For younger children, it can include picture books. For older children, consider a refresher course or even have them help with hurricane preparation. Let them pack their own bags, make a list of tasty hurricane snacks, or set up your safe area to be comfortable and fun. Their participation will reduce their anxiety too!


Prepare. Here is a list of what the city recommends you have in your bags, whether you're staying or going. Regardless, you need THE BINDER. This binder includes all necessary documents, like birth and marriage certificates, mortgages, and insurance papers. While you're at it, sign up for NOLA Ready Alerts. Preparing includes making sure your car is prepared for an evacuation - go to your local mechanic to see about any check-ups.

Once you’ve prepped, be where your feet are. It’s one of my new mantras that reminds me to stay in the moment.

Hurricane season lasts until November 30th, and sitting, fretting, and worrying for the next six months will take away your joy. Attend those cookouts, book the vacation, go to that Saints game. Enjoy your life!

Black New Orleans Mom


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