By Jim Seida, msnbc.com senior multimedia producer
I was walking down Bourbon Street this evening, reporting on how New Orleans is empty of residents and tourists. As I looked south, I saw a movie-like bulging clouds, layers of lighter clouds on a dark black background. I heard people say, "Here it comes."
The wind started to blow, kicking up "to-go" beer cups that rattled down the street. The rain fell in sheets. While many of the neon lights of Bourbon Street were off, the ones left on reflected off brick streets that were shiny from the rain. And as full gutters poured onto the sidewalk, the famous strip became dotted with new waterfalls.
As I returned to the hotel, I saw TV reporters setting up for live shots, with cameras and equipment under cover of parking garages and overhangs while the reporters stood in the pouring rain to do their reports. Once their shots were over, they got to come in from the deluge.
Other than media, the majority of what you see in New Orleans now are police and National Guard.
It's a very different New Orleans than it was a half-hour ago, when photographers were wandering around looking for stories in t-shirts and shorts. After the clouds turned dark and the sky opened up, people became less willing to hang out looking for stories.
The rain soon turned to a drizzle, but the darkness stayed.