Posted: Aug. 31, 2005


Carper scouts Katrina & the Waves

U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. spent his summer vacation testing the presidential waters for the 2008 Democratic nomination. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper spent his summer vacation testing the waters for real.

He weathered the early throes of Hurricane Katrina, when it was not yet a killer but only an agitator.

Carper, a Democrat up for election next year, was in the Florida Keys last week on a long-planned Boy Scout outing with his sons, 17-year-old Christopher and 15-year-old Ben. Along with another adult leader and four Scouts, they were sailing, snorkeling, fishing and sleeping under the stars aboard a 41-foot boat with a captain, whom Carper described as "the one person who knows what he's doing."

They sailed from Monday until Thursday morning, when the seas became choppy. It was the beginnings of Katrina.

Still, no one expected the storm to be much of a problem. They tied up for the day at a marina on Marathon, one of the keys, and figured they would be out again the next morning. When it got dark, the Scouts went into the tight quarters below deck to sleep, while Carper and the other leader took cover under a pavilion.

Carper already had some serious experience with a hurricane through the Navy. Although he mostly flew on reconnaissance aircraft, he did go to sea as a college midshipman. That time he had a destroyer to protect him from the storm. This time he had picnic tables.

They turned the picnic tables on end as a shield -- for all the good it did them against winds of 70 miles per hour and rain pouring more than two feet in under 12 hours. "The wind just moved those picnic tables around like they were Tonka toys," Carper said.

Carper and his gear were soaked. The boat was undamaged, but the water was too rough for any more sailing. The Boy Scouts sent vans, and the Carpers managed to fly home Saturday evening.

They named their trip after a rock band that had one big hit in the 1980s. The group was called Katrina & the Waves.

Oh, that explains it

There is a new development in the surprise severing of the long ties between Kevin G. Abrams and Richards Layton & Finger, the premier Delaware law firm where he worked as a top corporate attorney and his father worked before him.

A press release, sent Tuesday by e-mail, announced that Abrams was forming a new law firm with J. Travis Laster, also from Richards, to be known as Abrams & Laster.

The release seemed somewhat premature, as though it was issued in a rush as a response to the growing curiosity of the state's bar and bench about Abrams' abrupt departure last month. It could not say where the firm would be located or who else would work there, promising instead that "future announcements will be made shortly."

The reason Abrams left still is unclear, and he did not return a telephone message for comment. Laster said in a telephone interview that he was parting with Richards after nine years for a "new set of challenges" and for the chance to shape his own law firm -- "the type of thing a lot of attorneys dream about."

The press release said the two lawyers would continue doing what they had been doing -- complex cases in business law -- and would continue doing it with existing clients and co-counsel from nationally prominent firms. They noted with appreciation that Richards was assisting with their transition to the new firm.

"I have nothing but good things to say about Richards," Laster said.

It seems as though they left Richards but not really. "I'd be thrilled to work with them on cases," Laster said.