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USGNN Original StoryGlass Shops Attempting to Get Back to Business in Wake of Gustav

For those areas that prepared, Hurricane Gustav wasn't nearly as damaging as forecasters had originally predicted. New Orleans and surrounding parishes, for example, were ready this time, having learned well what to do from Hurricane Katrina.

Jill Foxworth with Dependable Glass in Covington, La., says her company made sure it was ready for whatever Gustav would bring, and boarded up last Saturday morning to make sure it was safe.

"We learned a lot from Katrina and because of that we already had a plan in place," says Foxworth, who explained that plan included having generators ready, as well as a payroll distribution plan and alternate phone contacts. "All in all, we learned how to be ready."

As far as glass damage to the New Orleans area, Foxworth says there wasn't as much compared to after Katrina.

"I think people boarded up more and also with Katrina there was massive tree damage. Now, we don't have all the trees that we did then so there was less damage from flying debris," Foxworth adds.

And as far as getting business back on track? Foxworth says it's a matter of adjusting operations to the current situation.

"Your employees might not all be back and plus phones might not all work so people can't get calls through," she says.

Vitro America has a distribution facility in New Orleans, and according to Alice Dickerson, director of sales and marketing, the company has had to deal with some electrical outages and a few computer glitches at this facility-but nothing major. However, the facility is still enduring the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina.

"Since Katrina, the real problem has been scattered employees," Dickerson says.

"Employees left and not all of them came back [possibly deciding] they didn't want to live in that type of area anymore."

She adds, "The [New Orleans] branch has suffered because there's a lot of work to do when the glass shops are busy and it's hard to find the manpower to make all the deliveries. There's definitely a shortage of employees and it's been tough for them to find the people they need to do the work."

While much of New Orleans was prepared, other areas were not. For Baton Rouge, Hurricane Gustav has been reported as the worst storm the city has seen since Hurricane Betsy in 1965. And unlike New Orleans, Baton Rouge was not ordered to evacuate so the city is still feeling the brunt of the storm's impact.

On Tuesday this week Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden told the United States Conference of Mayors that approximately 300,000 homes were still without power; wind damage was extensive and there are approximately 1,000 trees down.™ was able to reach only one glass business in Baton Rouge. A representative from Wooddale Glass says they were definitely impacted.

"Everyone is really strung out," is the only thing else she would say.

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