New Orleans, Biloxi, Katrina Etc

I am transfixed by everything that is going on in relation to Hurricane Katrina. It is another sign about how small we are in relationship to the earth. Mother Nature burps and we go running for the hills.

Some of the clips I have read have just held my attention.

A million people fled the New Orleans area before Katrina arrived. But former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged U.S. President George W. Bush to send more troops.

“We have to send the army to stop this or we will lose New Orleans and we will lose 80,000 people,” Barthelemy told CNN. “If we can spend the monies that we are spending to help the people in Iraq, then we can do the same thing for New Orleans.”

The U.S. military was sending a hospital ship and two helicopter-carriers to assist two other Navy ships already conducting rescues in the area. Governors of the afflicted states mobilized 8,000 National Guard troops.

Amid the looting, gun-toting citizens took to the streets in some areas to try to restore order in New Orleans. Where it was still dry, some store owners sat in front of their businesses, guns in hand.

One had put up a sign reading: “You loot, I shoot.”

I am so curious how the former mayor arrived at that number. I have to imagine that the evacuation created the worlds biggest traffic jam. It must have been so hard to leave not knowing if there was anything to come back to.

And the looters, what the hell are they thinking. Talk about making a bid situation worse. This does not help with my opinion of the general public.

“New Orleans at first appeared to have received a glancing blow from Katrina, but the raging waters of Lake Pontchartrain tore holes in the levees that protect the low-lying city, then slowly filled it up.

Mayor Ray Nagin said 80 percent of the city was submerged in water that was in places 20 feet (6 metres) deep.

Attempts failed on Tuesday to plug a 200-foot gap (60-metre-) in the levee system with 3,000-pound (1,360-kg) sandbags and concrete barriers, but officials said they would keep trying.

“The National Guard has been dropping sandbags into it, but it’s like dropping it into a black hole,” Blanco said.

The lake should return to normal levels within about 36 hours, and the water now flooding New Orleans would begin to drain, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers senior project engineer Al Naomi.


He said the historic French Quarter, the main draw for New Orleans’ huge tourist industry, should escape with only minor flooding because it sits 5 feet (1.5 metres) above sea level.

But Nagin estimated it would be 12 to 16 weeks before residents could return. The floods knocked out electricity, contaminated the water supply and cut off most highway routes into New Orleans.

In hard-hit Jefferson Parish, parish president Aaron Broussard said, “Jefferson Parish as we knew it is gone forever.”

Police said there were dozens of carjackings overnight, by desperate survivors trying to leave town or obtain supplies. Somebody fired at a rescue helicopter Tuesday night, forcing its crew to abandon efforts to evacuate patients from a hospital, a state official said.

Authorities were so intent on rescuing flood victims that at first they let the looting go unstopped, Nagin said.

But he told CNN the situation had escalated and authorities were “bringing it under control as we speak.”

He said 3,500 National Guard troops were being sent to New Orleans. Louisiana state police were sending 40 troopers and two armored personnel carriers.”

I understand desperate situations. I survived the LA Riots and the Northridge earthquake. That picture is of a parking structure at the university I attended. Eleven years later there are still some places that were never rebuilt,homes and businesses that were lost, perhaps forever.

But this is different. The size of the storm and the number of people affected is vast. I expect that New Orleans will be rebuilt, but some of the smaller towns that were hit, what will become of them.

Some of the long time fixtures are now just gone and I don’t know if they will ever be replaced.

When my grandfather was a much younger man he worked in the carnival business. They used to spend the winters in New Orleans. I grew up hearing some amazing stories about that city. And from what I heard from people who lived/visited there it sounded like some of the haunts he used to frequent were still there.

I had wanted to visit and to have a drink or two in some of the places I heard about. I thought that it would be kind of cool for me to hang out there 70 some odd years later. Now I wonder if that will even be possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not bemoaning the opportunity to share a beer. The tragedy of this far outweighs and overwhelms my small desire.

As I said, I cannot help but be amazed by all of this. My best wishes go out to those who were most severely impacted. I hope that the repair, return and recovery is as fast as possible.

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1 Comment

  1. BarbaraFromCalifornia August 31, 2005 at 9:33 pm

    Yes, these types of diassters put life into a proper perspective, and also show how fragile it can be. It a flash of a moment, everything can change.

    Having faith truly helps, at least from personal experience.

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