Gulf Coast dealers bracing for Isaac

Publish Date: 
Aug 27, 2012
By Holly J. Wagner

HOUMA La. - With the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina looming on the calendar, Gulf Coast dealers are bracing for Tropical Storm Isaac, looming off the coast and expected to make landfall -- possibly as a hurricane -- just a day before the fateful anniversary.

“It’s kind of ironic, but we’ve all been through this before. We’ve got it down to a pretty good science. We’re hoping for the best,” said Felton Broussard, service manager at Performance Powersports of Houma. “We’re about 45 minutes south of New Orleans. People don’t think there is anything south of New Orleans, but there is.”

The dealership was open as usual Monday, with generators selling like hotcakes. Broussard said the store had nearly sold through a truckload of 100 generators that arrived Friday, and had another truckload on the way for Tuesday morning.“We are bringing all the [powersports] units into a centralized location inside the building and selling a bunch of generators,” he said.

Cycle World of Houma was also open Monday selling generators, even though the store is usually closed Mondays. Employees had stacked sandbags and covered computer equipment with tarps.

“We’ll probably have to board up some windows,” dealership accountant Nick Damen said, adding that the store will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday as the worst of the storm hits. “Thursday we’ll just wing it.”

Mike Bruno’s Bayou Country Harley-Davidson was closed, although the store is normally open Mondays.

The HOG chapter at Cajun Harley-Davidson in nearby Scott, La., had to cancel a Saturday MDA poker run and the store was closed Monday, though normally it would have been open.

“We’re just helping people out. We can’ sell anything today, nobody wants to buy a motorcycle,” said John Soileau, owner of Performance Suzuki of Houma. But he sold 50 generators in two hours Monday morning and was debating whether to take delivery on another 100, given his plans to close Tuesday.

“We’re going to board up our store. We don’t need to sandbag because we’re on high ground,” he said. “We put crates around the store to prevent wind damage.”

Service staff was busy repairing customer generators and processing ATV and SSV loans to local emergency responders. (story continues)