Did I mention those holiday newsletters are gold mines of information? J. R. Madden’s family letter just arrived via e-mail and it contains more than a little drama.
In 2008 the Worldcon was over weeks before Labor Day rolled around, yet when the weekend started Madden was away from home, volunteering. That’s because Hurricane Gustav was headed straight for his corner of Louisiana. The night before Gustav hit, Madden managed the Red Cross shelter at Dutchtown High School, temporary home to 500 evacuees.
He was back home with his wife and son when the hurricane struck. At the height of the storm it blew the turbine vent off the roof of Madden’s house. His son, Paul, climbed onto the roof to try and cover the hole and keep out the rain. (You or I might have hesitated, however, Paul is a Marine.) After the storm passed, the missing turbine vent was found a block-and-a-half away.
Madden wasn’t able to return for his next shift at the shelter because roads were blocked by debris and downed power lines. But he was a help around his neighborhood, because his home generator could supply enough power to run his and the neighbors’ refrigerator and freezer.