Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Gustav: New Orleans Deities Evacuated to New Talavan
By Sukanta Sakhi Devi Dasi   |  Sep 13, 2008

Hurricane Gustav had looked like a monster on its way toward land. On Saturday, Aug. 30, the National Hurricane Center described Gustav as an “extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane” that could become a Category 5, and was on a track that would take it slightly to the west of New Orleans. Mayor C. Ray Nagin ordered an evacuation for what he called “the mother of all storms,” and an estimated two million people got out of southern Louisiana before the storm hit on Monday.

By landfall on Monday morning, however Gustav had weakened considerably and its track had slipped a bit farther west. The impact on New Orleans was blessedly slight.

At 9 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Monday 1st Sep 2008, Gustav was on the Louisiana coast as a strong Category 2 hurricane. As Hurricane Gustav spun ashore as a Category 2 storm rather than the Category 4 mega-storm that had been predicted just a day earlier.

Gustav unleashed powerful winds and heavy rains on Monday, after hundreds of thousands of people had evacuated their homes. The specter of Katrina loomed large over the Labor Day weekend but fortunately there were few true parallels between the storms. Not only was the storm weaker but it cut a slicing path across the state rather than barreling straight into the coast, reducing the magnitude of the storm surge. New Orleans’s levees held. Political leaders at all levels of government provided a degree of leadership and coordination that was largely absent when Katrina struck three years earlier.

All the devotees here in New Talavan Farm are happy to inform that we all are very safe by Guru and Krishna’s mercy. The Iskcon New Orleans temple which is a sister temple to New Talavan temple in Mississippi, had to vacate due to the hurricane “Gustav”. Most of the temple devotees and deities Sri Sri Radha Radhakanta, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Their Lordships Jaganath,Baladev,Subhadra and Srila Prabhupada; had moved to the New Talvana farm. Other devotees went to devotee’s home in Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. Three years back during Katrina the deities where moved to Dallas for the first time. Now this was the second time the deities had to be moved. The devotees in the farm were feeling very fortunate to get this rare opportunity to serve two set of deities. Every need of the deities and the devotees was very nicely taken care of. By Lord’s mercy all the devotees who were staying in New Talavan were very comfortable and safe. There was no electricity for two days. Generators were being used to solve the problem of energy and water supply from the well. The devotees from New Orleans are good cooks and they cooked sumptuous prasadam everyday during their stay. After one week, when the electricity and water was back in the city, they went back, just a day before Radhastami. Each deity was very carefully packed and moved in different vehicles. It was a bit painful for the farm devotees to part with Them.

New Orleans may have been spared the worst of Hurricane Gustav. But the hurricane season has been terrible so far for some of the big Caribbean islands. Haiti has suffered the most. But Cuba has also had a rough time. And deaths have also been reported on other islands.

Gustav is in the top ten list of most expensive hurricanes, losses would need to exceed $3.8 billion. At the high end of modeler estimates, Gustav would be the fourth most expensive hurricane in history. The average of midpoints from each modeling firm’s estimated range is $5.3 billion, which would slot Gustav as the eighth most expensive hurricane in terms of insured losses.

Hurricane Gustav will be a storm for the record books, if not for its cost but for the anxiety it caused millions who still live in the shadow of Katrina.