I've been watching the news about Gustav with growing dread and a sense of panic. When Katrina hit, I was in Hawaii. I don't think any of us knew what to expect then. Did I mention I have family there? A brother and his family, aunts, a grandmother, a cousin. They are north of New Orleans in a town on the edge of Lake Ponchartrain. Last time, they were lucky. This time?

I don't know, but my brother isn't leaving yet. He's waiting to make a decision. And I look at this picture and say, “What in hell is there to wait for? A miracle!?” My grandmother is in a nursing home, and they've already evacuated. The aunts and cousin? No idea. We aren't close, so I don't know.

So keep New Orleans, and all of lower Louisiana most especially, in your thoughts. I'm hoping for a miracle too. But I don't expect it. I hope my brother piles the family in the car today and decides to come to Alabama. We're waiting with open arms and a safe haven.