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Have Grease Will Travel

Article Index

Before hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Joseph Prows, a 23 year-old medical student at Tulane Medical School, was told to evacuate his 5th floor dorm room. Mr. Prows, however, signed a waiver to stay. He figured the local hospitals could use some volunteers. But when the storm was upgraded to a category 5 and it became clear that it was headed directly for the heart of the city, he wasn't sure what might left be standing, let alone his dorm room or nearby hospitals.

Despite an abundance of food, camping fuel and over two hundred gallons of water it was clear that it was time to leave. Joseph knocked on a few doors in the dorm to see if anyone wanted to join him. His pickup could hold a couple more. Manuela, a new transfer from Columbia and Gerardo, her brother, joined him. They were headed for Houston come hell or high water, quite literally.

Joseph, Manuela and Gerardo traveled at less than a ' mile per hour for over 5 hours before reaching the interstate. It wasn't looking good and the radio stations were already warning drivers that gas supplies were drying up. Luckily for them they didn't need gas. What they needed was a fast food place with an abundance of grease.

Joseph had modified his Chevy truck to run on diesel and vegetable oil. They had about ' tank left of each and traffic still wasn't moving. The trio spotted a boarded up Popeye's Chicken. Out back was, as Joseph described it, a beautiful sparkling dumpster of wonderful Cajun grease. Ten minutes later they were back on the road with a full tank of grease. Eventually traffic picked up. Thirty hours later with no A/C the trio made it to Houston. Best of all they did it on a single tank of grease.

Joseph was first exposed to 'grease cars' as a freshman in college. A friend of his had converted an old diesel Ford F-250 to run on veggie oil she got from a local Tai restaurant. It worked and it smelled pretty good too. Years later while living in Alaska Joseph decided it was time to pursue his grease car dream. He found a 1992 Chevy ' ton 4x4 diesel pickup and he never looked back aside from a peak over his shoulder while running from Katrina.

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