Wednesday, September 24, 2003


On the Friday morning (Sept. 19) after Hurricane Isabel blew through town the sky was blue and the air smelled clean. The residents of the Fan District, at the heart of Richmond, Virginia, woke from an uneasy sleep. Day One of the unplugged life was underway.

Before the worst of the storm passed, about midnight, Isabel tossed huge trees around like a handful of Pickup Sticks. Power lines snapped. Cars were crushed. Roofs caved in and basements flooded. As the shocking and unprecedented devastation dealt out by the previous night’s onslaught of wind and rain was revealed to the stunned urbanites, so, too, did the reality of widespread electricity deprivation.

On my block the lights came back on Wednesday afternoon. Other areas of the Fan are still doing without.

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