Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where I Was Then

I was working in the 50 story building owned by a major oil company in New Orleans. I had dropped my wife off at the airport that morning. She was going to Connecticut via Atlanta for a meeting. I first heard about the towers when I went downstairs to the coffee shop. I came back to my office but was unable to get into CNN to get the news. I had to go through BBC to find out what had happened. Shortly after that, the major oil company decided to evacuate the building feeling they may be a target as well so I left the office and walked to my car. While I was walking, my wife called me. She had finally gotten to a phone and was stuck at the Atlanta airport. I told her I was on my way and would find her - somehow. As I left NOLa, I saw that the Superdome was surrounded by State Police. I wasn't sure what I would find on the highway, whether it would be roadblocks or crazy people, but I headed for Atlanta some 8 hours away with the clothes on my back and no side arm.

It turned out that all the police were on duty guarding buildings so I had a free run on the interstate. I put the hammer down, set the cruise control on 80, and went to get my wife. She eventually called me and told me she was in a Holiday Inn. It seems the mayor had asked local hotels with empty rooms to send vans to pick up people at the airport and take people out. My wife got a ride and a room. Thank you Mayor of Atlanta and Holiday Inn.

My wife told me that the airline had told them very little - only that they had to land as a problem in the northeast had grounded all air traffic. The passengers soon learned what happened when they started making phone calls about their changed plans. She sat on the runway for a few hours before getting to a gate. Then all passengers were told to get out of the gate area and go to the main lobby of the Atlanta airport.

We spent the night at the hotel and then drove home the next day.

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