New Orleans Mardi Gras Flambeaux

Preparing for Subtropical Storm Alberto

Since it is becoming a pattern, that new depressions, subtropical storms, tropical storms and hurricanes are developing sooner than June, which is when the Hurricane season officially begins. Traditionally, the Hurricane Season was noted as beginning in June and ending in October. Later, the Hurricane season timeframe changed and extended to November. My family and I are preparing for Hurricane Season a bit sooner than usually. Not by much since, subtropical storm Alberto has left parts of Mexico and heads for Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast. To prepare we will be buying more purified water, more batteries, restocking a few items of our medical kit, knitting blankets and towels and canning freshly prepared food. Garden plants will be priority.

Normally, a week worth of supplies, food and water storage is advised by officials outside of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast for the set minimum goal for Hurricane preparations. But we are going to take it a bit farther with the amount of supplies, food and water storage and set our goal for two weeks worth. We are going to begin with the amount that is need for two weeks and then build up from there until we have enough for at least a few months. Canning is apart of Louisiana Créole culture, so food and water hurricane preparation will not look like the rest of America that stockpile with dry paper/foil packaged food.

1.) Recite the Prayer for the Hurricane Season

2.) Mackinaw blankets
Blankets are one of the items that are suggested on the Hurricane preparedness list. My planned was to knit wool blankets prior to Hurricane season but hadn't gotten around to it. Traditionally, one of the blankets Louisiana Créoles, whether Upper or Lower Louisiana, handmake is a two striped wool blanket. The Louisiana Créoles two striped wool blankets resemble the Two striped blankets of Senegal.

Usually, the créole two striped blanket is woven and made with créole sheep wool which is known as Gulf coast wool these days. We are a family of six and I want to knit two for each person of out family. I am unable to get my hand on any créole gulf coast wool at the moment so I will use berat brand wool from Walmart or Target. I am also unable to weave these blankets at this time, this is why I stated I will knit each two striped blanket. It is Louisiana Créole tradition to knit with wooden knitting needles, however, because of the time frame the developing storms are occurring, I have to change up the way I knit. I will have to use a Lilian for speed. A Lilian is what Americans and Europeans call a French knitter, knitting Nancy or a knitting spool. It is one of the predecessors to looms, which is very popular today.

Through the use of a Lilian, French knitter, the Louisiana créole two striped blankets will look different than the Traditional woven Louisiana créole two striped blankets. I am using my families favorable coloures.

  • Ma fiy (My daughter)
  • The coloures I have chosen for ma fiy are rose (pink) and Blanche (white) and for the other blanket, rose (pink) and dark gray. The tassels on each end of the blankets will be the same as the its base coloures, which are Blanche and dark grey. The Rose colour will be the two stripes with Blanche or dark grey in between each stripe depending on which blanket I am knitting.

  • Ma sons
  • For all our sons' blankets the base coloures are the same as our daughter's. For our eldest son, the colour for the stripes are bleu (blue). For our middle son, his blankets two stripes colour will be (Jaune) yellow. And for our youngest child, his blankets two stripes will be sea blue or sea green.

  • Ma Mari
  • For my husband, I have choose Blanche and noir (black) and I will simply reverse the colors for the blankets' base colour and the two stripes coloures for each blanket. For my blankets, I will knit them the coloures of

    Once my daughter and I are finished knitting the two striped wool blankets , I will store them into seperate storage bags with sac of vetiver.

    3.) Purified water
    Purified water is collected by Louisiana Créoles, Upper and Lower, by using a Cypress Cistern or terra cotta Tinaja/ollas to collect and store the rain, Spring, River or well water. Since, we currently don't have a cistern built, nor ollas to collect the rain water from our metal roof from our gutters, we are purchasing Sam's clubs purified water. The rain, Spring, or River water collected by Louisiana Créoles in ollas/Tinaja were then purified with alum, lime or charcoal. Ollas and Tinaja are Spanard olive oil and water jugs used historically by Louisiana Créoles to collect and store water.

    Reference: Venture. Volume 3 pg 73 1966 African Arts, Volume 17 African Studies Center, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983 pg 21