Actress and Ernest Hemingway's granddaughter Mariel Hemingway is urging everyone in Key West at the Hemingway House to please evacuate immediately before Hurricane Irma hits. Previously, the manager of the famed Hemingway historical site said she was going to ride out the storm with some of her staff and the 55 residential polydactyl cats who live on the property, but Mariel Hemingway wants her to leave quickly.
The manager of the Hemingway House in Key West, Jacqui Sands, has been working with her nine remaining staff members to board up the Hemingway House, a French Colonial limestone house built in 1851. The Hemingway House stands on the highest point on Key West and is set 16 feet above sea level, but there are concerns with the high winds and water, Hurricane Irma could still do significant damage.
Hemingway House manager Jacqui Sands said her children want her to evacuate, but she has a sense of duty to the Hemingway historical site and the many cats who live there.
"If I didn't have to, I wouldn't stay. My kids told me to get the hell out. But I have an obligation to take care of the building and the cats."
And Sands also wants to stay with the Hemingway House employees who can't leave.
"They couldn't leave because either they don't have a car or couldn't find a flight out of here. I think we are going to be fine."While there is still time to leave, Hemingway's granddaughter Mariel Hemingway wants Jacqui Sands, who is 72, to get out of Key West. Hemingway says that she is incredibly touched that Sands feels an obligation to stay, but she says that safety must come first.
"I mean, it's really frightening. I really think that this hurricane is a big deal."
While Mariel Hemingway has concern for the 19th-century Hemingway House, she has more concern for Sands, the employees, and the cats that reside in Key West.
"I think that you're a wonderful and admirable person for trying to stay there and save the cats and save the house and all that stuff, but ultimately it's just a house. Save the cats. Get all the cats in the car and take off."And local authorities agree with Mariel Hemingway -- they want Jacqui Sands and her staff to leave while they can. Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi wants all Key West residents to evacuate.
"You might as well leave now, while you have a chance because when you dial 911, you will not get an answer."
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Sands should take note that even the wild chickens and roosters of Key West are evacuating. When cockfighting became illegal, people set their birds free, and they have come to roam the island. But with Hurricane Irma threatening, people have gathered the wild fowl, put them in their cars, and driven north.
The photo of the chickens in the car, wrapped in newspaper, looks odd, but it's for the safety of the birds according to Lacey Bacon-Stonebraker.
"The way the chickens are wrapped up with their wings tucked down, is how you carry a chicken you flatten their wings to their sides and carry them like a football under your arm, so really over all the chickens should be moderately comfortable and should not get hot."
Do you agree with Mariel Hemingway that everyone should evacuate the Hemingway House with cats, chickens, and people?
[Featured Image by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images]