RUSH: Here’s Robert in Pensacola, Florida. I’m glad you waited, Robert. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, mega dittos from a displaced beach enthusiast from New Orleans.
RUSH: You are a refugee from New Orleans, and you made it to Pensacola?
CALLER: Yeah, well, we evacuated up to Birmingham where we rode it out, and then we learned that we lost everything and we can’t get home, so we said, “Why not go to Orlando, go to Disney World?” So we have the clothes on our backs, a couple changes of clothes in the back, and my kids, and we’re headed to Orlando, go see Mickey Mouse.
RUSH: Are you in the car now?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: You’re driving right now?
CALLER: Oh, yeah, we’re on 75 headed down. So got a couple more hours left and we’ll be in Orlando.
RUSH: How are your kids? How are your kids? How old are your kids, by the way, and how are they doing?
CALLER: Well, I have a six-year-old, a ten-year-old, and a nine-year-old, and they’re fine. They’re excited that we’re getting a chance to go to Orlando.
RUSH: Have you seen any of the pictures from New Orleans?
CALLER: Just last night, Rush. We woke up this morning about six o’clock and learned that a second levee broke, and at that point we said, “Well, we’re not even going to turn around and go home because we know that there’s nothing there.”
RUSH: What did you do for a living?
CALLER: I’m a business manager, and so is my wife.
RUSH: So tell me —
CALLER: You know, I don’t have a job to go back to right now, so…
RUSH: I live in a hurricane zone, too, and I’ve thought about — every time one heads our way I start thinking about — the what-ifs, and now that it’s happened to you. I know you’re doing a great thing by going to Disney World and you’re trying to make the best of this, and I applaud that. We all understand, especially for your kids. But what are you thinking about that you have to do? (sigh) I mean, where do you start? I don’t want to lead you anywhere by giving you —
CALLER: Well, you know, it’s kind of funny because me and my wife are both concerned about the same thing, and that’s about our employees, more than anything else. Everything else is replaceable. However, some of our employees weren’t able to evacuate. So our concern is for them, and we’re not able to speak with anybody in New Orleans. So it’s been quite an emotional roller coaster — not for our personal belonging, because all of that stuff is replaceable, but more for the people who work for us.
RUSH: Where was your place of business?
CALLER: On Poydras downtown in New Orleans, and my wife is actually in the French Quarter.
RUSH: Well, you know, the French Quarter, everybody is sort of surprised, the French fared the best, if I can draw a distinction. People are surprised.
RUSH: So far, anyway, the French Quarter has fared the best. Not that it’s a panacea out there. Everybody thought the French Quarter would be the first place to go, and it hasn’t gone yet.
CALLER: You know, not to go all religious on you, Rush, but they showed some pictures of a church that was surrounded with oak trees, and all the oak trees that got pulled up and fell down, all around the statue of Jesus with his arms outstretched, and the statue wasn’t touched. Everything around the statue was. There’s, you know, there is a reason for everything.
RUSH: Hey, you don’t need to apologize for “going religious” on this show.
CALLER: But, you know, I’ve been listening and, actually, Rush I’ve been watching you on TV since I was in college, and I listen to you just about every day on the radio on 870 AM and we were just now on the road and coming down the street and I was flipping through channels and there you were, and it was the first sense of normalcy I’ve had.
WIFE (in background): It’s the first time you’ve smiled all day.
CALLER: It was the first time I’ve smiled all day when I found your radio station, so…
RUSH: Well, I appreciate that. Anything that helps, I guess, is good. But, you know, I really empathize with your situation. I have some friends who live across the lake. I’ve talked about them on this program, the Fish God.
CALLER: In Slidell?
RUSH: Steve and Kathy Abernathy and I met them way back in ’88 or ’89 and I stayed friends with them, and the Fish God raises tilapia. He’s got a tilapia farm across the lake across Lake Pontchartrain, and I sent them an e-mail over the weekend to check on them and I hadn’t heard back from them, and I said, “I hope you’re making plans to get out of there,” and I finally got an e-mail back from them today. They were in Washington. They had taken a vacation to Washington, and it was the first time Steve had been there and he was just overwhelmed with it all, seeing all the historical monuments and so forth, but they wrote back and they said that they’re probably out of business. Their employees are okay, but their car is at the airport and it’s under water, so it’s totaled. But they have the same attitude you do, that they’re alive and that their kids don’t live with them. Their kids are in different parts of the country. They’re okay and their employees are okay, and they’re just eager to get back and see what they have to do to start all over. I think people like you in this situation are able to face the gravity and reality of it a little bit easier than those of us who are not in it who are imagining ourselves to be in it. Because people who are imagining it, like looking at these pictures and imagining ourselves to be in this. “What would we think?” We ask ourselves, “What would we be doing?” and it’s probably nothing close to what we would actually be doing if it had actually happened to us.
RUSH: And that’s why —
CALLER: You know, I truly believe that. I was going to ride it out, Rush. I was one of those people who had means to get out but was just stubborn and thought I was in the right frame of mind for a good fight, and my wife actually saved my life, because she convinced me that, “Look, you know, we have to go.” So the right frame of mind, you know, it could just be just the smallest little thing, you know, to change your mind.
RUSH: Do you have any friends in the Orlando area?
CALLER: My wife has family in Lake Wales. So that’s kind of where we’re headed to.
RUSH: All right. So you’ve got assistance there?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: And you left with — you take your credit cards? Have you got ability to —
CALLER: Got my credit cards, got my laptop. Like I said, a couple changes of clothes, and my vehicle. That’s all I own now.
RUSH: Stop and think of this. Is your bank destroyed? Stop and think of this. I mean, we’re looking at the destruction. Your bank is probably gone or damaged or something. You’re going to have to go through a process with the bank of establishing that what you had with them is there. You hope their records are backed up somewhere off site. I mean, it can be overwhelming if you stop to think of all those little bitty details of minutia — and of course you’ve got your credit cards with you but at some point they’re going to send you a bill but your bill can’t be delivered.
CALLER: Well, that’s why we have insurance, Rush. You know, that’s the whole thing. You have insurance for these kind of problems. I’m saving all my receipts and we’ll give them to the insurance agent when it’s all said and done, and they’ll take care of them.
RUSH: Well, I’m thrilled that you called. I’m glad you all made it out of there, and I hope you get in touch with some of your employees soon so you can find out their fate — and by all means, let your kids have a ball at Disney World.
CALLER: Oh, they will. Thank you, Rush. I just wanted to tell you again. Thank you for being on. I think you’re a credit, and I’m sorry that Bush caused this hurricane.
CALLER: He was probably over in Africa wading around in the water, and started a little ripple that sent the wave to us. So it is indeed his fault.
RUSH: Well, you know, laughter is the best medicine, and sometimes that’s all you can do. Robert, thanks so much. That’s Robert on his way to Orlando. He’s in Pensacola driving from Birmingham after escaping New Orleans.