Weathering the storm
Charles 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.