August 31st, 2008
01:38 PM ET

'The last minute is up... you should be gone'

Drew Griffin
CNN Correspondent

Location: New Orleans, Sunday 9am Mass St. Louis Cathedral

There were just a dozen of us at the 9am mass at St. Louis Cathedral. The last Sunday in August should find this church filled with Labor Day weekend visitors and locals, spilling out into Jackson Square, strolling to Café Du Monde and plotting the day.

Today, the few locals in church hugged each other, shared plans of escape and quietly left.

The French Quarter is empty. Shuttered doors have padlocks; plywood covers the first floor windows. You have a hard time buying a cup of coffee and there is nowhere to buy last minute supplies.

The last minute is up, you should be gone. For those of us still here, the priest who said mass wasn’t praying for Hurricane Gustav to miraculously go away, he was praying God would intervene in a more human way:

“Pray we use our God given brains and heed the warnings.”

There will not be another mass said at St. Louis Cathedral until Wednesday morning, that’s the plan anyway. Let’s hope that mass will be one of thanksgiving.

I took these pictures to show you just how empty New Orleans is:

Chartres Street, French Quarter

St Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square

St Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square

Filed under: Drew Griffin • Hurricane Gustav
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Darren (Glasgow, UK)

    I'm so glad to see that this crisis appears to be being prepared for much better. On the other hand its an terrible sight to see New Orleans and its streets deserted again. I was it the city a few weeks ago, New Orleans is a truly remarkable city and I wish everyone there the best. Stay safe, good luck and god bless.

    August 31, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  2. William Anderson

    The resources in place, the Guard is there – do what they say and get out now...

    August 31, 2008 at 9:20 pm |
  3. Brenda Harris

    To the people in the storm area

    Please don't go back. I think waterfronts are for everyone to enjoy but, not to live there. Please move to higher ground. Don't make us have to worry about you all .

    August 31, 2008 at 8:53 pm |
  4. Kim

    You must be kidding that they are allowing this Children's Hospital to remain. I mean, are they kidding?
    Why hasn't anyone FORCED them out? we are talking about children here.
    Secondly, they don't know how many people remain? WHY NOT?
    They should be knocking door to door NOW, instead of after and forcing people out.
    What do you mean, you have no idea how many people remain. Incredible, just incredible.

    August 31, 2008 at 7:58 pm |
  5. Dee Janssen

    Has the mayor made provisions for those who are in a financial position where they need assistance to leave and stay somewhere? It's all well and good to order a mandatory evacuation but there is a portion of the population who just don't have the financial resources to do so even if they wish to leave.

    August 31, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  6. Katy

    You reporters should get out of there, too. We don't need pix of empty streets as much as your family needs you to be alive after the storm passes....

    August 31, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  7. Isabella, California

    Great pictures. I am glad people are heeding the warning this time, and that there aren't any "shelters of last resort" in New Orleans this time. People need to be out of there and heading north. Stay safe Drew.

    August 31, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  8. Alex

    Hi drew im alex and 11 years old ur right!!!

    August 31, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  9. Marilyn

    My heart goes out to all who have lived and love NOLA. I have a friend who owns a beautiful boutique on Oak Street. It has taken me three years to find her since Katrina. I personally spoke to her only day before yesterday. I can't sleep at night knowing that I am OK in Minnesota and Lousiana is waiting for this next storm. Now I do not know where she is again.

    August 31, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  10. Donna

    Hoping for the best, fearing the worst. One question, how are the networks ensuring their correspondents are safe during this storm? I worry for all the reporters who are there if this thing is as bad at it sounds. Be safe.

    August 31, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  11. Chet

    If there is a chance of loss of life than the local government should take all precautionary measures to inhibit injuries. People should be just as mindful of this storm as they were about Hurricane Katrina.

    August 31, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  12. pati mc, camp hill, pa

    Hi Drew!

    Thanks for the update. Glad you made it to mass. All I can say about the photgraphs is THANK GOD everyone listened.

    August 31, 2008 at 1:45 pm |