Weathering the storm

August 31, 2008

Charles AbbyadCharles Abbyad, 58, is the maitre d’ at Arnaud’s, a classic creole restaurant in the center of New Orleans. With his wife, Jill, he keeps a guesthouse called The Chimes in the city’s historic Garden District. While thousands of residents are packing their cars and fleeing Hurricane Gustav, Abbyad is staying behind with Reuters reporters Matt Bigg and Tim Gaynor to ride out the storm.

“We learned from Katrina that if the city is going to be closed up for any period of time, the food would spoil in the refrigerators at the restaurant. Last time we would have opened much sooner if we had prepared better. This time, we threw some food away on Saturday, and gave the rest to the fire department. By the time we walked out of the restaurant yesterday, it was locked up, all the computers were put away and then I came over here to get everything ready.”


“I am staying behind because my bed and breakfast is my life. Tonight the winds are supposed to come, and so we are shuttering up the windows. I made a commitment to Reuters during Katrina, that the next storm if there was one, they were going to be taken care of. So, we have enough food to feed you for a week. I also have a shotgun and a .38 so that if someone is going to loot the house, they have to get by me — If I dare to use them!”

Follow Abbyad and Reuters  reporters Matt Bigg and Tim Gaynor as they weather the storm in New Orleans.

Above: Charles Abbyad holds a plank of wood he plans to nail to the outside of his home to protect it against Hurricane Gustav. Abbyad is seen carrying the plank in the second photograph. Photos by Matthew Bigg/REUTERS.


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Be carefull!

I would also like to thank the reporters for putting themselves in harms way so the rest of us can see what is happening first hand.

Thank you!

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

Please keep us posted – we will ride the storm out with you, even if we are several hundreds of miles north.

Posted by Susan Erb | Report as abusive

Hopefully everyone will be safe!

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive

Do you have a satellite telephone? After Katrina, everything was broken for a week or two. I went through the 1969 Hurricane Camille at the Holiday Inn Biloxi and it was a long time before anything worked, except gas lights in the courtyard. The storm surge came over the levee (US90) and did a lot of damage to the hotel.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

keep us posted. thank you for doing this, be careful and look after each other. i’ll keep my norwegian fingers crossed.

Posted by vilde | Report as abusive

I wish you all the best. Hope it ends soon. Love from Norway

Posted by Marianne | Report as abusive

Why risking your life for some stuff that can be replaced?
Why threathen someone else with guns to protect the same stuff you might not even need in a normal situation? (He or she might be in need of serious help instead of a color tv). Bolt and tighten everything down and leave the area. And remember all the help from the volunteers of the Food-not-bombs/anarchist groups after Katrina. Not every stranger in sight is a possible looter or thief.

Posted by Maarten | Report as abusive

Hello, we own the house next to where you are staying (grey house on Coliseum St). Would be grateful if you could post an update as to how our house and car are holding up! Thank you.

Posted by Rebecca | Report as abusive

Having stayed at the Chimes while Reuters was still there three years ago, I know you will be well cared for.

Posted by Merrilee | Report as abusive