Hurricane Katrina Hits New Talavan & New Orleans
Posted August 31, 2005
Hare Krsna! Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Sri Nrsimhadeva!
Yesterday New Talavan and New Orleans were hit by Hurricane Katrina, a devastating Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 175 MPH. The eye of the storm came ashore near Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, and passed within 10 miles of New Talavan.
By Krsna's grace and Lord Nrsimhadeva's mercy, everyone here at New Talavan is OK. There were no casualties or injuries. However, we have had no contact with New Orleans temple since the storm. The situation in New Orleans is critical: extensive wind damage and flooding, highways into the city are devastated, and many casualties. We advised the New Orleans devotees on Sunday to evacuate to the farm before the storm hit, but they could not be convinced to leave. We are very concerned about the devotees there.
Here are the details: the storm hit yesterday early morning. By dawn the winds were over 60 MPH. The hurricane peaked about 11 AM. There was a short lull and then the winds picked up again in the reverse direction. Many trees are down-up to 50% of trees in some wind-exposed areas. The roads are completely blocked, electricity and phones are down, even cell phones because the towers rely on electricity to function.
We had no significant damage to the Temple and kitchen. There was some slight damage to the men's ashram, temple office and *sannyasi *quarters. There was heavy wind and rain damage to the Gurukula building, and our workshop building was devastated. One devotee's trailer was destroyed by falling trees, and another devotee's cottage lost part of the roof. There may be other damage in remote parts of the farm that we have not yet seen. Extensive cleanup and repairs will be required before we are back to anything near normal status.
Krsna's cows are fine; as far as we know none were injured by falling trees. They were seen placidly grazing in 120 MPH winds! Cows are something else. We do have a lot of fence damage, however, and will have to manage our herds carefully to keep them on the property and out of danger until the fences are repaired.
We do not expect to have electricity for a few weeks. Roads everywhere are blocked by fallen trees until county bulldozers can get around to clearing them. So no one is going anywhere for awhile. Fortunately, we have plenty of food, gasoline and diesel fuel. Our water system has a propane-powered generator. As soon as we can clear some roads, we will have a diesel generator for the temple and kitchen. The devotee community is pulling together to repair the damage, and we expect that things will turn out well. We are thankful for Krsna's merciful protection.
Our only means of communication is via our satellite internet system. All other means of communication and travel are presently down. We can't even get out of our driveway because of huge fallen trees! We will check our email daily and keep the devotional community up to date on our progress. Please especially pray for the well-being of the devotees trapped in New Orleans.
Now we know why Srila Prabhupada wanted self-sufficient farm communities. What happened in New Orleans can happen anywhere.
*ISKCON New Talavan Community*
Addendum by HH Bir Krsna Goswami:
The devotees are fine in New Orleans. I just spoke to them last night after
the hurricane was over and the temple building was untouched as was the
residential building next to the temple. Today there is some flooding but
the devotees are continuing their service and have plenty of Prasad. The
Deities are accepting Their regular offerings and arotis.