NEW ORLEANS (KMOV.com) -- As the first day in New Orleans draws to a close, the city is eerily quiet. As the night shift at the station, bleary-eyed and in need of a shower, made for the cars, we were greeted by empty thoroughfares. The streets were still save for a small contingent of police cruisers wandering through town.
Their lights, flicking blue and red, bounced off the walls and sidewalks, but the sirens didn't make a sound. It added to the oppressive stillness of what usually are bustling streets- even at 3 a.m. Standing outside the hotel which is home to a gaggle of media all in town to cover Isaac, I couldn't bring myself to go to bed.
A profound silence has settled over the Quarter, and it's perhaps more engrossing than watching the throngs of adventurous tourists that normally fill the sidewalks with drinks in hand. I walked a block or so to make sure it wasn't just our intersection, but the entire district seemed to have vanished. It was like waking to find out I had missed the last ferry to safety. It was just myself and the glowing police cars drifting between buildings silently.
Isaac may be losing some steam as it approaches the coast, but it's already making an impact. It has turned the streets of the Big Easy into something more closely resembling 18th century London. The silence is so strong that my phone buzzing at a newly arrived email startled me.
Maybe it's the anticipation that has everyone so on edge. The notion that it the rains and the wind won't come all at once, but start slowly and grow to a roar. Not knowing when the storm will hit, when the water will rise, or when the power will go out is sapping the energy from the city in a breathtaking way.
We still don't know what time Isaac will begin its assault, or with what ferocity. We know it will begin sometime late Tuesday; and a cloudy night sky - growing blacker as it stretches toward the water - assures us that our wait will soon be over.
Until then, an uneasy rest has settled into the city's bones.
...John Bailey is a web producer for KMOV.com and arrived in New Orleans this morning to assist with storm coverage at our sister station WWL-TV.