New Orleans, 2005. America confronted, for the first time in decades, the horror of deprivation. People made homeless and destitute by Hurricane Katrina scavenged for food and shelter while emergency-management plans failed. Petrovich points out: "The people in the Lower Ninth Ward knew that somewhere outside the city, the government was still there. Now take that away."

Petrovich is likely to stay in town after a disaster, while the humans around him go into starvation mode, the canals flood with fetid water, and mold takes over untended houses. The preppers in his personal group will have enough gasoline to escape. Petrovich has helped them cache extra fuel and food, stashed in public-storage units and underground, at intervals on an 800- to 1,200-mile path out of the state. Amid darkness and chaos, skirting burning sugarcane and accidents and roadblocks, they'll drive from cache to cache toward a secret inland hiding spot, exhausting the last available remnants of the petroleum age.

The government may try to implement an evacuation plan, under a federal policy that was heavily revamped after the botched evacuation of Katrina victims. In short, evacuees will be corralled out of town on the same three major routes we use every day: I-595, I-95, and the turnpike.

Chris Petrovich has been a prepper for 25 years.
Jayme Gershen
Chris Petrovich has been a prepper for 25 years.
Neal Wiseman has enough food to sustain his family for a year.
Jayme Gershen
Neal Wiseman has enough food to sustain his family for a year.

Petrovich knows that if he stays — hell, if he goes — he'll encounter people he doesn't agree with, preppers of a different political stripe. Anarchist hippies, communists, gangsters. He doesn't mind, as long as they're prepared. His response to them during his decades of prepping has been cordial, with a simple acknowledgment:

"I guess I'll see you out there."

Darkness falls on his patio, and I'm one of the last guests to leave. On my way out of the house, Petrovich hands me two DVDs of zombie-apocalypse movies and two books: one about a complete halt in oil production and the other, One Second After, about an EMP attack launched from container ships. They're some of his favorites, and he wants them back the next time we meet.

He also hands me a tomato seedling he dug up from his garden and transplanted into a 20-ounce McCafé cup, a gift meant to be a small step toward my own self-sufficiency. I drive home with it in the cup holder: a tiny, living thing, the last step in an unbroken chain of growth and survival that stretches back millions of years, persistent against all the odds.

Stefan.Kamph@BrowardPalmBeach.com

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8 comments
KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Homeland Security  just placed an order for 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammo, for domestic distribution to various and sundry law enforcement agencies. War baby. WTF?

Chris J Petrovich
Chris J Petrovich

We welcome one and all to join us on our  southfloridapreppers meetup group or find me on my facebook and linkedin pages  or  on  survivalistnow    To clarify, it wasn't Zulu Rebels, it was IFP Zulu Nationalists demostrating against Mandela's ruling ANC Party, and it wasn't a slit throat, it was a burning tire on the poor guy's head. They also omitted my best experiences from Angola, Liberia, Mozambique, Zambia, and Uganda watching the bodies wash up on shore from Rwanda.....while America's President in 1994 ignored it, because it was an election year. 1 million people in 100 days. Also, I am a plain Non-Hyphenated American........

Chris J Petrovich
Chris J Petrovich

We welcome one and all to join us.   To clarify, it wasn't Zulu Rebels, it was IFP Zulu Nationalists demonstrating against Mandela's ruling ANC Party, and it wasn't a slit throat, it was a burning tire on the poor guy's head. They also omitted my best experiences from Angola, Liberia, Mozambique, Zambia, and Uganda watching the bodies wash up on shore from Rwanda.....while the US President in 1994 actively suppresed coverage , because it was an election year. 1 million people in 100 days. Also, I am a plain Non-Hyphenated American........

Chris J Petrovich
Chris J Petrovich

We welcome one and all to join us on our  southfloridapreppers meetup group or find me on my facebook and linkedin pages  or  on  survivalistnow   To clarify, it wasn't Zulu Rebels, it was IFP Zulu Nationalists demostrating against Mandela's ruling ANC Party, and it wasn't a slit throat, it was a burning tire on the poor guy's head. They also omitted my best experiences from Angola, Liberia, Mozambique, Zambia, and Uganda watching the bodies wash up on shore from Rwanda.....while America's first Black President Bill Clinton ignored it, because it was an election year. 1 million people in 100 days.Also, I am a plain Non-Hyphenated American........

FQS9000
FQS9000

The alternative to these guys are the Democraps who think that you can spend money you don't have forever.  Neither one is likely to be correct.

AnotherSoFloPrepper
AnotherSoFloPrepper

Allegedly, they need it for practice.  However, it may that a lot of us will be getting two to the chest and one to the head. 

Steven g.
Steven g.

Not gonna defend the prepped , we saw civil collapse in he wake of hurricane Katrina... Just 1 example of a million that could happen... Question is when. For our families sake , we cannot pretend that everything is in crystal clear color... When over all we only control ourselves and not our external world and the forces that work within it. I don't think having a backup plans a bad idea.

 
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