Global Milonga Reports: Deluge and Flood, but Great Success

The Global Milonga was very special for us in New Orleans.  That night, torrential rains caused widespread flash flooding throughout the area.  In one hour alone, about 2 1/2 inches (6cm) of rain fell, and many streets became impassable.  In some places, water was above the level of the canals, making it difficult to discern whether you were about to drive into one (and the local news was reporting that a university professor did exactly this, and drowned).  Although this was trivial compared to hurricane Katrina, this was bad stuff.  Cars were stalled all over the place, and it was a night that no one should have attempted to drive anywhere.

We received many phone calls from people assuming the event was cancelled; we assured them that it was still happening, and to please come if they could find a safe way.  Our own street was not flooded, but we were hearing reports of two feet of water in the street less than a mile away.  Then one of the co-organizers showed up, and luckily the route she chose was passable.  We quickly put up a notice on the website that IF anyone could get to the freeway from the west, they'd likely be okay, since we now knew a safe route from the freeway to the milonga.

We honestly expected that only a couple of people would attempt to make it.  We did our best in the moment to allay fears, but driving or parking on the wrong street could mean destroying one's car.  Another person showed up, having tried a different route, and she said she had a tough time trying to find a way around all the water.  It was still raining, and the situation was not appearing to be getting better.

An hour went by, and hardly anyone was there.  But then a few people showed up.  Then a few more.  Then the rain slacked, and more showed up.  Eventually, we had close to 40 people!   Most recounted stories of their adventures, adding that they really wanted to go to this and were determined to make it one way or another.  About 8 or 9 people showed up from Baton Rouge, 70 miles away, driving in rain so heavy they could see for only a few feet.   A person who was staying in a downtown hotel hailed many taxis, and eventually, with enough persistence, finally found a taxi driver crazy enough to go into the flooded areas.  Another person had to wade through knee-deep water to get to her car, but she made it.

Our hearts are truly warmed by the outpouring of support in these circumstances.  A great time was had by all, and everyone there had an acute awareness that they were part of something very special.  Thank you, everyone, for helping to make this happen!

David Gentry
New Orleans, LA

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