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Hurricanes Gustav and Ike Report


Leather Pride / Katrina Aid logo

This page provides information about the effects of Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike on the gay, leather, bear, and pansexual BDSM communities.

Feed subscriptionFor automatic updates to this page, subscribe to the updates e-mail list or blog feeds.

Sections below: Resources | Hurricane Relief | Breaking News.


Many of the resources in the Hurricane Katrina Report remain active. For coverage of Hurricane Ike's effect on Louisiana, check the links in the Hurricane Gustav section.


Gay/leather/bear/BDSM resources:
BearPodcast. A Texas-based podcast. Hurricane Ike is discussed in broadcasts 225 and 226.
Houston Voice. GLBT newspaper.
Texas Conference of Clubs. Links to leather-related clubs.
FetLife: Gustav thread in the "Texas BDSM" group. Viewable by FetLife members only.
True Tales: Hurricanes Gustav and Ike issue. Erotic art, fiction, and nonfiction.

General resources:
Red Cross Safe and Well List. Post a message to family members and friends, telling them you are well.
Texas Hurricane News.

Live cameras:
Galveston WebCams.
Houston traffic cameras.

Weather news and maps:
City of Houston: Hurricane Wind Data.
Ike on the WunderMap (Weather Underground).
Hurricane Ike Tracking Map (Stormpulse).
Hurricane Ike: Interactive Tracking (KTRK).
National Hurricane Center (latest official updates).
National Weather Service Forecast Office: Houston/Galveston (latest official updates).
Prediction of water level at Galveston (animation from LiveScience.com).

Live television:
KHOU (Houston).
KTRK (Houston).

Beaumont Enterprise. Newspaper.
Galveston County Daily News.
Houston Chronicle. Newspaper.
Houston Chronicle hurricane blog. Minute-by-minute reports.
Port Arthur News.
Texas government Websites.
Texas newspapers.
Texas television stations.

—Galveston: Before and After. The statue in these photos, a memorial to Galveston's Great Storm of 1900, was swept away by Hurricane Ike.
Detailed photos, from the air, of areas affected by Hurricane Ike. Useful to anyone wondering whether a particular home or building survived.

—Texas: Brazoria County.
—Texas: Galveston County.
Texas counties.
Houston and Texas coast (Mapquest).

The 1900 Storm: Galveston Island, Texas.
Galveston Hurricane of 1900. Wikipedia.
Remembering the Hurricane of the Century: Babies, grandfathers. Wives, brothers. All stolen by a sea when a hurricane demolished Galveston a century ago. Austin American-Statesman.


Gay/leather/bear/BDSM resources:
Ambush Mag. New Orleans GLBT newspaper.
brettcajun. Blog and videos by a gay man in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
MageBear. Blog and videos by a bear in Baton Rouge.
Victoria Sparda. Videos by a BDSM group member in Slidell, Louisiana.
WickedGayBlog. By a Boston gentleman who went to New Orleans for this year's Southern Decadence.

General resources:
Gustav on the Internet (Doc Searls Weblog). Places to find information.
Hurricane Gustav (Wikipedia).
Hurricane Gustav Wiki.
Louisiana parish map.
Schedule of network news coverage.
Texas Hurricane News.

Live cameras:
Coastal Cameras (WDSU).
Louisiana State Webcam Directory (WebcamBigLook).
Louisiana Web cams (WWL).
Louisiana Webcams (Leonards Cam World).
New Orleans Area Traffic Cams (WDSU).
New Orleans Live Cams (New Orleans Website Directory).

Live television and radio:
Streaming TV news coverage of the Louisiana governor's updates (WLPB: Baton Rouge). Coverage is not continuous.
Streaming TV news coverage (WWL: New Orleans).
TV news coverage from several New Orleans stations.
Web-Radio: Louisiana. Search on "news" to find the news stations.

Weather news and maps:
Doppler radar (NOLA.com).
Gustav on the WunderMap (Weather Underground).
Hurricane Gustav Tracking Map (Stormpulse).
National Hurricane Center (latest official updates).
Weather Radio (NOLA.com).

Hurricane Gustav Resources.
Louisiana government Websites (parish, city, etc.) and Texas government Websites.
Louisiana newspapers and Texas newspapers.
Louisiana television stations and Texas television stations.
NOLA.com (major source of New Orleans news and discussion).

Hurricane Relief

Resources below apply to both hurricanes.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana: RSVP (a pansexual BDSM group) is offering housing. E-mail.

Austin, Texas: boy warren of the Central Texas boys of Leather is tracking who needs or is offering housing in Austin.

Houston, Texas: Gay & Lesbian Switchboard, of the Montrose Counseling Center, is tracking who needs or is offering housing in Texas. E-mail, or phone 713-529-3211.

Houston, Texas: The GLBT e-mail list Houston's Rainbow Cross is tracking hurricane relief resources.

Breaking News

Unless otherwise attributed, articles are by Dusk Peterson.

* Aug. 29: Leather and BDSM folk in Louisiana and Texas prepare to help New Orleans evacuees.
* Aug. 30: Southern Decadence cancellations.
* Aug. 30: Gays leave New Orleans as Hurricane Gustav strengthens.
* Aug. 31: Remaining Southern Decadence events cancelled.
* Sept. 1: Reports arrive from club members affected by hurricane.
* Sept. 1: Upper Ninth Ward threatened as BDSM and leather community members remain safe.
* Sept. 1: Levee begins to fail in parishes outlying New Orleans.
* Sept. 2: A toast to the truncated Southern Decadence.
* Sept. 2: No injuries reported from club members after Hurricane Gustav.
* Sept. 11: As Hurricane Gustav evacuees return, Texas prepares for Hurricane Ike.
* Sept. 13: Leatherfolk and BDSM folk in central and northern Texas await Ike.
* Sept. 14: No loss of life reported yet, but Hurricane Ike survivors in the gay/BDSM communities face serious aftermath.
* Sept. 15: Bears and BDSM folk speak of Hurricane Ike and recovery.
* Sept. 15: An update on Houston's GLBT businesses.

Sept. 15: An update on Houston's GLBT businesses

By John Szewczyk.
Reprinted with permission from the Houston's Rainbow Cross e-mail list.

I have heard of no one being injured so we all are very, very fortunate.

Recovery will be long. Not only recovery in ways of rebuilding but the emotions. As Sally posted earlier the Montrose Counseling Center will open soon and they will be there for all of us. The volunteers at the  Gay & Lesbian Switchboard (713.529.3211) will be up and going soon. At the present time they are only able to handle crisis calls as Sally stated in the earlier e-mail. 

A partial Houston GLBT business update.

Some of this I have seen first hand. The rest of it is from dependable people. Many will know these bar and businesses from attending the LUEY Weekends. 

The BRB (Brazos River Bottom) had a couple windows blow out upstairs. Not all of the windows as rumored.

Tony's Corner Pocket had their railing / lattes work on the parking lot side of their upper deck blown off. They were opened.

611 looked OK.

The Ripcord's patio wood fence, when you walk onto the patio, was knocked down when their tree next to the fence fell into the side neighbor's back yard. No damage to the neighbor's house.

All of the wooden fences of Mary's very back outback are down.

I saw no damage at E/J's. It was opened without electricity Saturday night.

Chances looked like it fared well.

Decades was in a pocket that had electricity so it was filled with people drinking and staying cool with air conditiong. One customer was very upset that they ran out of vodka. lol.

Black Hawk Leather appears fine.

Leather Forever appears fine. 

Many will remain closed until they get power. So it may be tomorrow or in a week. For those here in Houston, please check on the status of these bars and support them as soon as they open their doors. These bars and their bartenders are our communities' hubs. The guys and gals that sling the drinks are out of work. These bars and businesses support all of us and we need to support them as soon as we can.

We need to remember that Galveston and Houston were not the only places effected. Orange is 120 east of us (also east of Beaumont) and got hit very hard by the east ends of the hurricane. Westward from Houston the damage goes about 50 miles that I have heard about. That is at least a 170 mile wide swatch. To be very conservative, the bad damage goes a minimum of 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. That is at least 8,500 square miles of devastation with many, many cities, towns and communities in it. 

The bars in Galveston will not even have a chance to open until city services are restored. It may be over a month. The hospital, the main priority there, may not get electricity for a week. The other parts of the Island may not have power for a month. The water supply and the sewers will be out for weeks and weeks. 

I know there will be requests for donations very soon. Please use the internet to research any and all organizations you may want to donate to. Do not feel shy about calling or e-mailing these organizations and asking "WHAT ARE YOU DOING AND HOW WILL MY MONEY BE SPENT?" The donations will be needed desperately and remember, "It is your money and you have a say." 

Please do this research. Do not depend on what you read or hear.

After Katrina an e-mail was sent by a supporter of one GLBT / HIV Services organization. That supporter solicited donations for them, claiming that the organization was providing services to New Orleans evacuees. That was false. The fact was that the Harris County Hospital District was providing those services at the evacuation centers and not that organization.

Copyright © 2008 John Szewczyk. All rights reserved.

Sept. 15: Bears and BDSM folk speak of Hurricane Ike and recovery

No serious injuries or deaths from Hurricane Ike have been reported yet in the gay, leather, bear, and pansexual BDSM communities, but survivors have been speaking of their hurricane experiences and of the long recovery time that is expected.

Rashi, a heterosexual slave who works at a hotel in a town between Houston and Dallas, writes, "We had the lights flickering on and off from about 2 am until they finally went out about 6 am. It was kinda freaky and created a feeling like a scary movie, watching them dim, brighten, or go off and come back, until they totally left. For some reason the managers didn't think to take the flags off the poles so i watched them dance most of the night. i don't think metal should bend that way. Overall, not a lot happened until morning, when things started flying, but it was a scary night for me."

She adds, "When i finally heard just how big this thing was, well, i just wanted my Dom. (i know, not the bravest thing to admit, but He can calm me so well.)"

BDSM Beaumont members, who are primarily located in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana, have continued to post messages at the group's e-mail list, speaking of storm damage at their homes or of their concerns about homes they have not yet had the opportunity to inspect since evacuation.

At the Texas-based BearPodcast, host Nard, who evacuated to New Orleans, asked on the air, "What is worse, the hurricane itself, or the aftermath?"

His co-host Ray, who remained in Houston, replied, "It's the aftermath. . . . There's no power, there's no water pressure here – you can't even take a shower or flush the toilet."

Big Daddy Eric, a pansexual dominant who belongs to the BDSM groups Houston PEP and Houston EROS, rode out the storm in the Montrose district of Houston. He also speaks of the difficulties of the storm's aftermath.

"We have been in touch via cell and text (charging them in the truck while the gas holds out or at a friend's with power) and have not heard of any particularly Leather/GLBT-related tragedies from our many friends in the community," he reports. "Though ambulances and Life Flight [an air medical transport service] are constantly running, so no one can say right now.

"We had Coastie helicopters and gunship-rigged National Guard blackhawks overhead yesterday. I assume they were aiding with search and rescue as well as recon.

"Power is VERY limited. From what I know, around 97% of citizens in the greater Houston area are down. This is millions of people. We're traveling to our friend's apartment to use the internet and cool down for a few hours before going back to the house and continuing to clean up.

"Only two or three drugstores are open on generators in the Montrose so there are essentially no or few groceries and there is no gas. The stations either have it in the ground and no power to get it out or the couple that had [generators] are out by now. No obvious fuel trucks entering the city centre to my knowledge.

"Folks are running out of ice, food is low and most fresh food is bad by now or will be in a couple of days because the stores lost power long enough for their perishable stocks to thaw before they could get generators in. We'll be strictly canned or dried by day after tomorrow unless more power comes on and grocery trucks come in."

He concludes, "We got fairly lucky in the Montrose in avoiding a lot of catastrophic property damage but many folks inside the loop are gonna be pretty hungry in a few days if things don't rapidly improve."

Sept. 14: No loss of life reported yet, but Hurricane Ike survivors in the gay/BDSM communities face serious aftermath

No reports have surfaced yet from the gay, bear, leather, and pansexual BDSM communities of deaths from Hurricane Ike, but concerns about the aftermath of the hurricane remain high. 

"No stories of any loss of life in the rumor mills," reports John Szewczyk of Houston at the GLBT e-mail list Houston's Rainbow Cross. However, he adds, "We all now face a very serious future that scares me more than the storm I / we went through. . . . All four grocery stores within three miles of me are without electricity. There may be a need for people away from Houston to open their doors as they did with Katrina and Rita. Not because of the flood waters but because of the lack of the basic needs such as a place to buy food and water."

"Trees are down everywhere but neighbors have cleared most streets," says Alexis, a bisexual domme who lives near downtown Houston. "Houston has just announced a curfew from 9:00 pm - 6:00 am . . . My personal observation is that this is needed. Last night I was in front of my house and watched several cars swerve up onto the curb to avoid downed trees. I decided that it was too dangerous to be outside."

Taipan, a straight top from Dallas, says, "We are working on making contact with other members of this community in the area [of the hurricane], but because of the outages even the cell phone service is very spotty."

BDSM Beaumont's geographical range - southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana - encompasses some of the hardest-hit areas of the storm. The group has received a handful of posts at its e-mail list from members saying that they are fine except for loss of electricity.

Sept. 13: Leatherfolk and BDSM folk in central and northern Texas await Ike

As Saturday's first media reports tell of widespread damage from Hurricane Ike in Houston and along the Texas and Louisiana coastlines, leatherfolk and BDSM folk in other parts of Texas are preparing for Ike's arrival.

The secretary of the Central Texas boys of Leather (CTboL) in Austin, boy Jo/e, reports that their club has hosted evacuees, as has Austin's pansexual BDSM group, the School of Advanced American Dominant Education (SAADE). As a result of the many guests and the looming storm, CTboL has cancelled its monthly cook-out.

Tiemeupalso, a heterosexual switch living in Milam County, Texas, said that the effects of Ike has been lighter than he had expected. "They were expecting at least tropical storm winds and lots of rain," he said. "As of 12:30 p.m. Saturday, we had a little rain (which we needed more of) and no heavy winds."

"Gas prices have gone up dramatically, and traffic was worse than usual yesterday," says Volcano, a mostly heterosexual dominant who is a member of two pansexual BDSM groups: San Antonio S&M (SASM) and Group With No Name (GWNN) in Austin. "Those are the only effects I noticed in the San Antonio area."

Meanwhile, Ike continues northeast as a tropical storm. "Right now winds picking up here in Dallas and expected to get heavier and tornado watch in effect right now," said Ed "boy ed" Kosary, American Leatherboy 2006, at about noon CDT.

Sept. 11: As Hurricane Gustav evacuees return, Texas prepares for Hurricane Ike

As evacuees of Hurricane Gustav return home, GLBT, leather, and pansexual BDSM groups in Texas and southwest Louisiana are beginning to issue announcements concerning the arrival of Hurricane Ike, which is currently expected to land near Houston in the late hours of Friday.

The Cowtown Leathermen of Fort Worth, who are holding their silver anniversary run on September 12-14, have announced that their run will take place as scheduled.

Houston Erotic Literature Lovers (HELL), a group within the pansexual BDSM club Houston PEP, has postponed its tenth-anniversary party.

Houston PEP's Bondage SIG has postponed its play party.

BDSM Beaumont has cancelled its munch and play party.

Masters And slaves Together (MAsT) Houston has cancelled its meeting this weekend.

John Szewczyk of the GLBT e-mail list Houston's Rainbow Cross wrote to the list members that, in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, "people were safe but did not have phones, electricity or cell phone service for weeks. Many did not have homes to return to. If the home was there the damage made it impossible to live in it. They needed places to stay. Most of all, what they needed were people who cared."

Mr. Szewczyk urged people affected by the hurricane to have on hand information they could access without electricity. He also asked people outside the affected area to offer information on hurricane relief.

Meanwhile, Louisiana residents have been returning home since evacuation orders were lifted in their areas. Serena, secretary of the pansexual BDSM group New Orleans Bondage and Leather Enthusiasts (NOBLE), had earlier reported that a tree had crashed through the roof of her house in Baton Rouge. A follow-up post to her fellow group members reported sad news: "I had to put my 14-year-old beagle to sleep. He was already having health issues but without electricity and humidity, it got really bad."

The True Tales page devoted to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike has been updated with additional Texas resources.

Sept. 2: No injuries reported from club members after Hurricane Gustav

Throughout Tuesday, members of leather and BDSM lists expressed relief that Hurricane Gustav had turned out to be much milder than forecasters had feared.

Victoria Spada, the member of New Orleans Bondage and Leather Enthusiasts (NOBLE), lost power during the storm but came back online this morning to post further videos of the hurricane at her YouTube account.

Although a number of evacuees have still not had the opportunity to inspect their homes, only one report of damage has occurred on club lists: a tree fell on the house of a member of a pansexual BDSM club. Although the family was home at the time, no injuries occurred. No other injuries have been reported on club lists.

The Times-Picayune in New Orleans reported today that there was no damage to New Orleans's major art institutions, including the Contemporary Arts Center. During Katrina, the center was flooded at a time when it was hosting an exhibition on queer art.

This is the final update in True Tales's Hurricane Gustav Report. The report's Website will remain archived for future reference.

Sept. 2: A toast to the truncated Southern Decadence

By Rip and Marsha Naquin-Delain.
Reprinted with permission from Ambush Mag.

If Hurricane Gustav had not come our way, yesterday, Sunday, August 31st, would have been a giant 35th Southern Decadence Parade. Instead the City of New Orleans was under mandatory evacuation. Several of us locals who never leave for hurricanes stayed once again to ride out the storm. Our dear Billy came over to help us prepare for the storm at 9:30 am. After boarding up the windows and dormers on the third floor of Ambush Headquarters from inside the building, it was time to tackle the second floor. First we removed the plants, pots and shelving from the balcony over the courtyard. Then it was off to the balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. Before tackling that balcony, we had to roll up the oriental rug under the dining room table and get it off to the side. Then we moved the dining room table up against the rug. From the balcony we removed five tables, two stands, eight chairs, two shelving units, forty-six potted plants, plant hangers, wind chimes, the mirrored centerpiece fleur de lys, and two lamp posts. There was only enough room for a narrow walk through space in the dining room. Then we closed all of the shutters, wiring them together to protect the walk through windows from flying debris. On the first floor we wired shut the shutters on the two windows on the front of the building. From there it was on to the courtyard. Here we opened up our slave quarter unit and placed eight chairs, a table and grill inside and closed the wooden shutters. In the breeze way, we moved all of the Ambush shipping boxes and furniture into the office on the first floor. We finally finished around 1 pm. 

Sunday was a beautiful afternoon. Only two gay clubs remained opened that we're aware of in the entire city, JohnPaul's, 940 Elysian Fields, and the Phoenix, 941 Elysian Fields. All of the other clubs were boarded up and closed. The Quartermaster was also open and a great stop for a warm bite to eat, booze and cigarettes. 

After completing our hurricane preparations it was definitely time for a cocktail so we headed over to JohnPaul's around 1:30 pm. We met up with club owners John and Paul, Eva Las Vegas, Nicklaus and Wendy. All of a sudden we realized it was 2 pm, which should have been the start of the Southern Decadence Parade, so we all did a SD toast and celebrated the event with a bar crawl to the Phoenix. At the Phoenix we found club owner Bobby Connell, bartender Marty, Marcos and a couple of other customers. We all celebrated SD here as well. No grand marshals were in town, but all of us Susan Lucci's would have done them proud. 

We headed home around 5 pm to get inside before the outer bands of Gustav arrived. Around 8 pm the winds picked up and in came some of the rain bands. The howling winds came more frequently around 10 pm, and after watching the latest weather forecast, we felt the French Quarter and the East Bank of New Orleans would be spared the brunt of the storm. We decided it was time to turn in and get some sleep. We woke up around 6 am when the electricity went out. It was time to turn on our battery operated TV and catch up on the weather updates. Gustav was making landfall almost exactly where it was expected to and was being downgraded to a Category 2 storm. After getting some essentials done, we headed down to our slave quarter unit which has a gas stove so we could make a pot of coffee. The main building is all electric except for the hot water heaters on the second and third floors. 

We had coffee in the breeze way and then had more on the stoop in front of the building on Bourbon Street. Then we saw them. The winds were slinging our neighbor Mary's giant avocados off her courtyard tree through the air over her home into the street. We scrambled and picked us up some. Can't wait till they're ripe. The winds calmed so we decided to take a walk down Bourbon past Johnny White's bar which was packed since it was the only drinking establishment open in the French Quarter. We turned on Toulouse and then on Royal for the walk back home. After some lunch, we decided to get the car out and head over to JohnPaul's. When we got to our off street parking lot, we thought we'd just be able to turn the key and push the electric gate open since there was no electricity. But no, that did not work. We went through the side pedestrian gate. Finally, Marsha figured we'd have to use the hand crank to open the gate. Once we got that done, we drove on out, and closed the gate once again. 

There was quite a crowd at JohnPaul's even though there was no electricity here either. The boys had prepared quite a cookout with hamburgers and hot sausage sandwiches courtesy of Gene's Poboys, pasta salad and an array of baked goods from Billy's Bites. Cocktails were flowing, and then the first responders began to arrive. John and Paul supplied all the eats they had and bottled water to members of the National Guard, New Orleans Fire Department and New Orleans Police Department. With all the first responders and all the bar patrons, the guys served up over 250 sandwiches. After all of this went on, it was almost 2 pm when several of us realized it would have been the time for the Southern Decadence Survivors Outer Loop Bar Crawl. After all, we were indeed survivors so why not continue the tradition, but this year it was without Ted and it was between JohnPaul's and the Phoenix since none of the Quarter bars were open. It really was a whole bunch of fun and we did not let Gustav get us down and out this Labor Day Weekend!

Copyright (c) 2008 Ambush, Inc.

Sept. 1: Levee begins to fail in parishes outlying New Orleans

St. Bernard Parish and Plaquemines Parish are threatened by possible impending levee failure, New Orleans media reported late Monday afternoon.

Caernarvon Diversion Levee, a private levee near Braithwaite and Scarsdale, was reported by local government officials to be overtopped by water, with a breach possible in the future. The communities are southeast of New Orleans, near the Mississippi River.

The town of Lafitte and the Mandeville neighborhood are also threatened by flooding, media reported.

Reports from other parts of the New Orleans area indicate that damage from Hurricane Gustav has been light, although there has been isolated flooding, wind damage, and other hurricane-related damage, including a few deaths. Water was earlier splashing over the west bank of the Industrial Canal, but has begun to subside.

Meanwhile, reports on club and group lists continue to offer reassurance about the safety of members of the leather and BDSM communities.

"Houston is still sunny," Badpoet reported around noon. Badpoet, who is a member of New Orleans Bondage and Leather Enthusiasts (NOBLE), is currently in Texas. He said that a brother of someone he knew "is a jackup oil platform captain. I spoke with him a few minutes ago. He is in down by Grand Isle [Louisiana, and says that the] wind is crazy, bending up stuff and breaking guide wires, but flooding isn't too bad – just over the roadways. So far, so good."

Hurricane Gustav has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, but officials warn that danger is not over from possible flooding.

Sept. 1: Upper Ninth Ward threatened as BDSM and leather community members remain safe

As Louisiana residents and evacuees from the BDSM and leather communities continue to report that they are safe from the storm, New Orleans media sources are reporting that waves are coming over the western side of the Industrial Canal levee into New Orleans's Upper Ninth Ward. The Lower Ninth Ward suffered devastating flooding during Hurricane Katrina.

There have also been media reports of tornadoes, house fires, and loose barges. Overall, engineers and government officials are expressing cautious optimism about the situation.

Sept. 1: Reports arrive from club members affected by hurricane

As a new day dawned on Monday, leatherfolk and BDSM folk who are currently undergoing Hurricane Gustav have been reporting that all is well so far.

Victoria Sparda is a member of New Orleans Bondage and Leather Enthusiasts (NOBLE) who is riding out the storm in Slidell, a small city just north of New Orleans in Tammany Parish. At seven p.m. on Sunday evening, she reported on NOBLE's e-mail list that the hurricane was just beginning.

"The winds are starting, our pine tree lost a branch (about 4 inches around) we have sporadic bursts of wind and heavy rain followed by a drizzle," she told the members. "The rain was so thick a moment ago we couldn't see across the street, it was just an outer rain band, but it is a small sample of what to expect. Don't worry, the branch didn't touch the house."

This morning, she posted a video at her YouTube account, showing what the storm looked like from her perspective.

Leatherfolk and BDSM folk who have not yet lost power have been sending reports to lists for their groups and clubs, indicated that no grave problems had yet occurred in their areas. Reports arrived on Sunday evening from New Orleans and from Orange, in eastern Texas.

Weather forecasters say that the storm surge threat has lessened but that the danger of flooding remains in New Orleans and the surrouding area. The area is currently being plagued by sporadic tornadoes and power outages. Gustav's landfall is predicted to occur this morning. It remains a Category 3 hurricane.

True Tales has added links to live cameras, television, radio, and doppler radio to its Hurricane Gustav Report. The editor is currently seeking information from folks in the gay, leather, bear, or pansexual BDSM communities who have been affected by the hurricane, including people who have evacauted. Reports may be sent to Dusk Peterson. Please mention whether you want your name used, whether you have an affiliation to a club or group, and whether you hold any titles within your club or group.

Aug. 31: Remaining Southern Decadence events cancelled

[The following is a press release from Ambush Mag, the GLBT newspaper in New Orleans, concerning the gay New Orleans festival, Southern Decadence, scheduled for this weekend.]

All remaining Southern Decadence events have been cancelled. A mandatory evacuation is now in effect for New Orleans. 

Only two clubs remain open including JohnPaul's, 940 Elysian Fields Avenue, and the Phoenix, 941 Elysian Fields. They're serving ice cold cocktails and beer. Ambush remains in the city to cover Hurricane Gustav.

Aug. 30: Gays leave New Orleans as Hurricane Gustav strengthens

Hurricane relief efforts by the gay community in the Gulf Coast continue as Hurricane Gustav was upgraded to Category 5, the strongest type of hurricane.

John Szewczyk of Houston's Rainbow Cross reports that the Houston Gay and Lesbian Switchboard at Montrose Counseling Center is gearing up to start a database system for relief housing "throughout Texas and [also] contacts with GLBT organizations in other states." People needing or offering housing can e-mail or phone 713-529-3211.

Mr. Szewczyk adds, "Something we learned after Katrina [is that] other good sources of info are the gay bars who have clubs and organizations that use those bars as a Home Bars. A few in Houston are The BRB, The Ripcord, George, 611, and E/J's."

True Tales has added links to resources and relief organizations to its Hurricane Gustav Report. The links will continue to be updated as needed.

Many events connected with the New Orleans gay festival Southern Decadence have been cancelled on the request of the mayor's office. A blogger at GayCities.com, Scott, reports that "while the gay part of the [French Quarter] still shows signs of life, most of Bourbon Street is boarded up and military vehicles are roving the streets in preparation for the storm."

Gay radio host Derek Hartley said on his blog that, as he was flying in to Southern Decadence on Friday, the plane captain said to his passengers, "Welcome to flight 119 to New Orleans. The weather is beautiful there now. I can't say it will stay that way. Why are all of you going to New Orleans today? Shouldn't you be headed the other way?"

Saturday evening, Mayor Ray Nagin told the media that a mandatory evacuation of the city would begin Sunday morning if the hurricane continued on its present track toward a landfall a few miles southwest of New Orleans, in the low-lying Terrebonne Parish.

Among other GLBT events cancelled in New Orleans this weekend was One Voice: The North American Convocation of Pro-LGBT Christians, which was to be held by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, a poster at Answerology.com had a light-hearted take on the situation.

"Do you ever wonder why the really bad hurricanes or potentially scary hurricanes have such ominous names?" she asked. "Gustav sounds like black leather, whips and cuffs. . . . Don't you wonder about the people who come up with these S and M sounding names?"


Video: Southern Decadence 2008, by David Foucher of edgenewengland.com. Posted on August 29.

Photos: Cancellation of Southern Decadence 2008, by Scott of GayCities.com. Posted on August 30. (Accompanying article.)

Aug. 30: Southern Decadence cancellations

[The following is a press release from Ambush Mag, the GLBT newspaper in New Orleans, concerning the gay New Orleans festival, Southern Decadence, scheduled for this weekend.]

The Mayor's Office of the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Police Department have asked that all major outdoor events of Southern Decadence Weekend remaining on Saturday and Sunday be cancelled. The Mayor's Office is recommending all tourist and locals evacuate the city. A mandatory evacuation has not been ordered at this time.

The 4th Bourbon Street Extravaganza on Saturday, August 30 has been cancelled. However, the majority of events scheduled in the clubs are still on for Saturday evening. 

The Southern Decadence Parade and Southern Decadence Bead Toss on Sunday, August 31 have been cancelled. Please check with your favorite club for Sunday openings, activities and events. 

The Southern Decadence Survivors Outer Loop Bar Crawl on Labor Day has been cancelled. Please check with your favorite club for Monday openings, activities and events. 

Starlight By The Park, 834 N. Rampart; and JohnPaul's, 940 Elysian Fields Avenue, are staying open for those remaining in the city. Should your bar or club remain open please e-mail info@southerndecadence.com, and your bar or club will be added to this list.

Aug. 29: Leather and BDSM folk in Louisiana and Texas prepare to help New Orleans evacuees

 As Tropical Storm Gustav was upgraded to a hurricane Friday evening, leatherfolk and BDSM folk made plans to assist anyone in the Gulf Coast who might be affected during the emergency.

Mr. Louisiana Leather 2005, Alan Bowers, said on Thursday that city plans were proceeding apace, with many New Orleans residents "panicked and gun-shy."

Dr. Bowers, who works as a primary care physician, said that "elderly patients are pouring into the emergency rooms, hoping to have a reason found to necessitate being admitted so they can be housed and fed during a storm if it comes. I had one lady take an $1100.00 ride in the ambulance to the ER from her nursing home across the street from the hospital because of her painful hemorrhoids."

By Friday, plans were being made for a Saturday evacuation of elderly folks, disabled people, and people without transport in New Orleans. Decisions about a mandatory evacuation of all residents has not yet been made, since Gustav is currently in the Caribbean Islands, and its point of landfall on the Gulf Coast is not yet known.

Several surrounding, low-lying areas have already ordered mandatory evacuations.

Dr. Bowers noted that the news coverage was so heavy that even the Weather Channel mentioned the New Orleans gay festival Southern Decadence. Southern Decadence, which had to be cancelled during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is continuing with its plans for this weekend.

"Caravans of National Guardsmen are trucking all over the city to get into position," Dr. Bowers said. "We now have a system in place to get people evacuated who would otherwise have no ride (like last time). They need only call and reserve a spot on the bussing system – so far nearly 8000 people have reserved a spot on one of these buses. Contraflow may start on Saturday (that is where they make all the interstate lanes as an exit route from the city – none into the city)."

Friday began with bells ringing throughout New Orleans on the third anniversary of Katrina, a Category 5 hurricane that killed at least two members of local BDSM groups after levees failed in the city.

Gustav is predicted to be at least a Category 3 hurricane upon landfall. Whether the partially rebuilt levees will hold depends on where the hurricane travels. Currently, the National Hurricane Center is predicting a landfall anywhere from Texas to Florida, with Louisiana as the most likely target.

"Aurora" Deborah West, leader of the RedStick Volunteer Players (RSVP) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said that her club has opened its doors to evacuees, as it did during Hurricane Katrina.

"The space has candles, flashlights, radio, lighters, snacks, ice, places to sleep, sheets, first aid, paper products, etc.," she told members of the New Orleans Bondage and Leather Enthusiasts (NOBLE). "I will make sure that if a hurricane watch is issued, that there is an abundance of bottled water, batteries, and other necessary items."

She told True Tales that she has received offers of help from people in Houston, Lafayette (Louisiana), and Baton Rouge to shelter evacuees, especially evacuee families who would not want to shelter in RSVP's "dungeon / education facility." 

Warren, a pledge of the Central Texas boys of Leather, said that he has been working to find Austin housing for evacuees, in case there should be an overflow from Houston.

Warren, who evacuated from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and remains a member of NOBLE, is coordinating his efforts with members of pansexual BDSM clubs in Austin. He told True Tales that he is trying to reach BDSM and leather evacuees to let them know he can find them a place where "they can go where they'll be understood and not judged."

"Water and routine supplies one stocks up on in the event of a hurricane are going quick," Dr. Bowers said on Thursday. "All TVs are glued to the Weather Channel or some local variation. The city and parishes are on full activation and alert. Sandbags are being filled at lightning speed. At this point the uncertainty is almost unbearable."

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Except where otherwise credited, this text was originally published at truetales.org as part of the Hurricanes Gustav and Ike Report (truetales.org/news/gustav). Copyright © 2008 Dusk Peterson. Some rights reserved. The text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0). You may freely print, post, e-mail, otherwise distribute, or adapt the text, provided that you include this paragraph.

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