Hammond, LA – Tropical Storm Isaac clearly made the students of Southeastern Louisiana University nervous Monday afternoon. Southeastern made school closure official Monday, saying that campus would be closed after 3:30 P.M. Monday afternoon, and would remain closed until Wednesday. Once classes were over around 3:30 P.M., students began to leave campus in a hurry. Students who live on campus began evacuating their dormitory rooms and leaving town. Traffic in Hammond became noticeable quickly. Long gas lines also accompanied the traffic, making fueling up before leaving town a problem. Chevron on W. University Avenue had “Out of Order” signs on all of their pumps – a sign that they were out of gasoline. And they were not the only station that was out of gas, forcing students to scramble around town looking for gas stations that still had fuel. Similarly, other gas stations were out of basic gasoline, forcing students to pay top dollar for premium fuel.
Tara Thiel, a senior at Southeastern, was forced to pay $4.70 a gallon to fill her car up before heading to her family’s home in Lacombe, LA. “When everyone is spending money on necessities for this storm, the last thing anyone wants to do is pay nearly $5.00 for a gallon of gas. But if premium gasoline is all that is available, I don’t really have a choice, now do I?” Thiel commented. Long gas lines and nervous citizens made waiting in line and fueling up nerve racking at best. Tensions were high at the gas station, as people honked horns and yelled at each other. Disagreements over who was next in line and the pace at which people were filling their cars seemed to be an issue with impatient and angry customers.
As always, bottled water and gallons of water flew off of the shelves just as fast as they were stocked. Walmart ran out of water at what seemed to be record speeds. Many students went to Walmart seeking water for when Isaac knocks out power in Southern Louisiana. Jean-Luc Desselle, a junior at Southeastern, was shocked to find the water aisle in Walmart to be completely empty when he arrived to stock up on fresh water before Isaac hit Hammond. “Target was out of water. Walmart’s water aisle was completely empty. My girlfriend and I eventually found some bottled water and gallons of water at the Winn-Dixie. But they were running low as well. We plan on riding out the storm in our apartment across from campus. We have plenty of water and food now, so we will be just fine,” Desselle explained. Desselle also said that stores were running low on other supplies, such as batteries and bread. Louisiana citizens are taking this storm seriously, stocking up on food and water. Since Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana has learned what can happen when not prepared properly for a hurricane.
Tropical Storm Isaac turned into Hurricane Isaac Tuesday afternoon, and is expected to make landfall late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. Southeastern did not cancel school on Thursday, but due to power outages and students being spread out away from Hammond, school will most likely remain closed for the remainder of the week.