Mandatory Evacuation (Part 2)


Mandatory Evacuation (Part 2) b“The Coach”


On Sunday, August 31, 2008 at approximately 7:15 A.M., my wife arrived home from working the midnight shift. We finished securing our home, said a prayer for our safe evacuation and left shortly after.

            My wife had her pistol with her in her vehicle and I had my pistol with me in my vehicle. We both have permits to carry those pistols concealed and we have trained with them extensively. We both carried Leatherman, multi-tools on our belts. During Hurricane Katrina, we found multi-tools very useful.

            We decided to evacuate using I-10 east and entered the I-10 at the Williams Blvd., La., State Highway 49, entrance in Kenner, Louisiana. That is where vehicle traffic became stop and go. Someone could have literally walked faster than we were moving. Once on I-10 east, we could not get off. ALL of the exits off of I-10 east were blocked all the way to the Louisiana/Mississippi border 41.8 miles.

            pic-2It took us eight (8) hours to travel from the Williams Blvd., La Hwy. 49, entrance to I-10 in Kenner, Louisiana, to the New Orleans east sign, a total of 21.4 miles. (See the Photo to the left) At this point my wife radioed me advising she needed to urinate. I had to go also. We could not get off of the I-10 and the government did not place any port-a-potties along the evacuation route. Our only option was to pull to the side of I-10 and do what we had to do. My wife pulled over to the right emergency lane and stopped. I pulled my pickup truck behind my wife’s car to conceal her as much as possible. We both kept a roll of toilet paper, in a zip lock bag, in our bug out bags. My wife exited her car, opened the passenger’s side door and relieved herself. When she finished, I did the same, since there was nowhere else to go. Once other evacuates, traveling on I-10, realized what we were doing, many started to pull over also. When you have to go, you have to go!

NOTE: I had my C.B. radio operational in my pickup truck. I found it totally useless because of the amount of radio traffic being transmitted on it. I could not understand anything being transmitted on it because of numerous people talking at the same time. However, the little hand held radios worked great between my wife and I.

Before getting back on I-10 east to continue our evacuation, I put five (5) gallons of gas, from the five (5) gallon cans on the back of my truck, in my wife’s car and ten (10) gallons of gas into my pickup truck. While doing so, a vehicle pulled up behind me. He asked if he could buy my last five (5) gallons of gas. I told him, no. The driver told me he was almost out of gas and would pay me $50.00 for the five (5) gallon of gas. I told the gentleman, no, that I did not know how much longer it would be before we could get off of the interstate to get gas for our vehicles and refill the five gallon gas cans. I told him I may need the last five (5) gallons for my truck or my wife’s car. The “gentleman” got very aggravated and demanded I sell him the gas. I had to get in his face and tell him to back off. He was not a happy camper!

When we attempted to reenter I-10 traffic, there was no problem. A driver stopped his vehicle and allowed both my wife and I to get back into traffic. As a general rule, most evacuating drivers were civil and realized no one was going anywhere fast.

            We were still moving at a stop and go speed.

            Approximately two (2) hours later, we made it to the I-10/I-12/I-59 split. I noticed that the I-10 east portion of the split was barricaded off and no one was allowed to go that way. I asked a Louisiana State Trooper why? The trooper replied that the Alabama State Police had closed I-10 at the Mobile tunnel because of the large volume of traffic and the bottle neck it was creating.

            We took the I-59 north fork of the interchange.

            trafficTraffic continued to move at a stop and go speed. (See photo to the left. That is I-59 north in Miss.) After entering Mississippi, I noticed that ALL of the I-59 exits we passed were blocked by police vehicles. The police were not letting anyone get off of I-59. Many drivers tried to explain that they had nothing to eat, needed fuel and needed to go to the bathroom. However, the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers did not want to hear it. They told people if the attempted to force their way off of the interstate onto the exit ramps, they would be arrested. I then learned that ALL interstate exit ramps on I-59 were closed from the Louisiana/Mississippi border to just before Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

            We finally made it to Hattiesburg, Mississippi and continued north to Meridian, Mississippi. At approximately 11:15 P.M., on August 31, 2008, we arrived in Meridian, Mississippi and located our host. (See photo to the left) I will not use their real names, but Mr. and Mrs. Smith were VERY helpful and accommodating. They made us feel at home and had a meal ready for us.

            To this day I do not know how my wife worked all night and then spent all of those hours driving without falling asleep.

            On Monday, September 1, 2008, Hurricane Gustav hit the City of Houma in southeast Louisiana, exactly where the Hurricane Center had predicted.

That morning, we filled our gas tanks and checked the engine and transmission fluid levels. I also checked the tire pressure in both vehicles. I filled all of the five (5) gallon gas cans. We got our vehicles washed and picked up some canned soft drinks and sandwich meat. Upon returning to our host’s home, we squared away both vehicles and got them ready for the return trip home the next morning.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

            On Tuesday, September 2, 2008, we thanked our hosts and said a prayer before returning home without incident. Luckily, our home did not sustain any hurricane damage.

            The Law Enforcement authorities did not tell anyone that all of the exits off the interstate would be closed all the way to Hattiesburg, Mississippi during the evacuation of southeast Louisiana. Also, no one was told that I-10 east to Mobile, Alabama was closed. It was a total surprise. If we had not packed the vehicles with the supplies that we did, we would have been very hungry, thirsty and ran out of gas.

            Always prepare for the unexpected when planning for an evacuation or bug out. Plan for all of the situations that MAY occur. Remember Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, at the worst possible time!


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana (1863 – 1952),   The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

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  1. Wow,Coach, very informative that the road closures weren’t posted or advertised. That nugget is tucked away in my mind now! G_d bless your host family for sharing their home with you. Much knowledged shared here, thank you!

  2. Great information! I was wondering if you can more specific on the gas storage with your car/truck. What type of can did you use and how did you store them in or on the car? That would be very helpful!

    Thank you!

  3. Coach,
    I teach Survival and Emergency Preparedness at the local University extension. Next class is commo. May I use part of your story to drive home the need for commo and CBs don’t always work when needed due to traffic.

    Best Regards, Rick

  4. To answer some of the above questions.

    J. D. asked how I store gasoline.
    I have four (4) five (5) gallon METAL gas cans.
    I use ONLY gas without ethanol in it.
    I then add the appropriate amount of “Stabil” in each gas can then put the gas in.
    I label each can with the date I filled the gas can.
    I find I can store gas for approx. one (1) year.
    After one (1) year I put the gas into my truck and refill the do the above procedure.
    I DO NOT recommend you use plastic gas cans for over one or two month storeage.
    I hope this has helped J. D.

    Ranger Rick,
    As far as I am concerned, you can use anything that I write.
    The Coach writes to help spread information that I have learned.
    If you have any questions for The Coach, send them to this e-address and ask if they will forward them to me. I will be glad to answer your questions.

    The Coach

  5. Thanks very interesting. How was the drive home, bumper to bumper also?
    How many cars ran out of gas ? Would police allow someone to ride out the storm in your car?

  6. Good article – I was down in New Orleans within hours after Katrina passed. I could only use my HAM radio and CB for comms! Without them and my Bearcat scanner, I would have not known anything that was happening due to law enforcemtnet not telling anyone anything! At one point I got jacked up by several policeman froma small town near New Orleans and theyh attempted to disarm me; however, a policeman from Beaumont, TX that I had met earlier when working in texas saved the day for me adn told the other officers to abandon their efforts to disarm me!

    Hurricanes are not a good tiome for our civil liberties!

  7. Thank you for the info on the gas storage. I wanted to also know how did you carry the gas cans while driving. Where did you store them and how.

    Thank you!

  8. Coach, we most likely passed each other, I was heading South with a Disaster Team. I use to live in Indiana and worked disasters for many years. I now live in North Idaho and my only disaster so far is a cougar and a broken weapon.
    Thank you for letting me use your info. I also teach Eastern Washington, North Idaho, Western Montana, Tea Party, OATH KEEPERS, Boy Scouts and some Government agencies. I will share you good information,

  9. To Joan,
    The ride back to New Orleans was uneventful. The exits were not closed so you could get off when you wanted to. There were some vehicles on the side of the road but I could not determine if they were out of gas or just broken down. This is the reason why my wife and I decided to take two vehicles, just in case one broke down or ran out of gas. What we found interesting is that we did NOT see any law enforcement or tow trucks ANYWHERE along the evacuation route except blocking the exits. There was NO ONE to assist you if you had a problem evacuating. Again, this is why we took two vehicles. If you do not have two vehicles, I would recommend carrying a bike on the back of your vehicle or even tow a trailer with a motorcycle or four wheeler ATV.

    To JD,
    As far as carrying gas. I have a metal carry rack that connects into the trailer hitch on my pickup truck. I can carry four (4), 5 five (5) gallon metal gas cans it. Check “Northern Tool and Equipment”. I bought one of their “500 Pound Premium Folding Cargo Carriers”. They work great. When I speak of 5 gallon gas cans, I do not mean the military type. I am talking about the 5 gallon round metal safety gas cans. I got my gas cans from “Northern Tool and Equipment”. Their e address is “”. The cans are called “Justrite, Type 1, Safety Fuel Cans” They are expensive, $49.99 each. However, they are well worth it. If you use the plastic type and carry gas in a rack on the back of your vehicle, the exhaust from your vehicle could ignite any gas fumes leaking from the plastic cans. I also have had problems with gas leaking from the plastic gas cans. The metal ones are well worth it. You do not need another problem while bugging out.

    NOTE: I do not get any compensation from any company or item that I recommend. I just write about things that work for me.

    I hope I have answered your questions!

    The Coach

  10. Highway 90 my friend….Highway 90. It goes all the way from California, straight through Louisiana and into the back roads of Mobile. Once it reaches Mobile it goes right into downtown Mobile and becomes Govt Street. It’s never blocked off and was not during that time either. I sent my sister that way. It goes right along the Mississippi Gulf Coast shoreline. She went the same day you did. Once she made it off I-10 down to was smooth sailing at slow speed of 35 to 45 mph. She re-connected to I-65 North to B’ham and normal traffic flow. Of course there are traffic lights, but she said 90 was hardly being used. Everyone was on the Interstates because they didn’t want to wait on the traffic lights or figured it would be to slow. Even if 90 was slow or congested. There a multitude of side roads and entrances back to the Interstate. Good old Hwy 90. No one uses those old roads anymore that sustained the country before the Interstate was established. Side, note. Ask a trucker…they ALWAYS Know the side roads like the back of their hands.

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