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Live Local Coverage Of Hurricane Katrina
August 28, 2005 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Live Local Coverage Of Hurricane Katrina New Orleans television stations WWL and WDSU are providing nonstop live coverage of Hurricane Katrina. The Mississippi Department Of Transportation has live cams along the major highways which show the massive evacuation of the coastal areas of Louisiana and Mississippi including the metropolitan areas of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. With gusts of 207 MPH this could set a new record for the largest hurricane to ever hit the United States.
posted by robliberal (624 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
What was wrong with the other thread?
posted by muckster at 12:31 PM on August 28, 2005


The other thread had a different focus. Mine is on live coverage of the storm.
posted by robliberal at 12:35 PM on August 28, 2005


[this is good].

I'm watching the coverage on WWL right now. Scary stuff. Better for this to be a seperate FPP and possibly a duplicate than post the links in the other thread and have it be buried in all the noise. Especially with seriousness of the event.

This might be a good thread to list other media and info sources.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:41 PM on August 28, 2005


Great Forum
NOAA Update thread

NOAA Data (For the plane that's flying around the hurricane)

Explanation:

"First column is time (GMT or EDT+4 hours). Second column is latitude in degrees and minutes (2528 means 25° 28'N, NOT 25.28N). Longitude is the third column, same format.

As for flight-level wind, those are the 6-digit groups. The first 6-digit group is the 30-second wind. The last 6-digit group is the 10-second wind. For both, the first three digits are the wind direction in degrees, and the other three digits are the measured wind speed in knots.

NOAA aircrafts are also equipped with SFMR, which estimates surface wind; these estimates can be found in the second-to-last column. As a bonus, SFMR also estimates rainfall, and that, in millimeters, is the final column."

Report from the eye:

192530 2635 08852 9967 -2532 072007 +277 +082 073011 015 002


I can't really make heads or tails out of the data, but i'd kill for a combination of live storm location updates and overlay of the location and reporting data for the plane layered onto google earth..

So someone should make that..
:)



Google earth overlay

Bourbon Street webcam


Some links require registration..

posted by Lord_Pall at 12:58 PM on August 28, 2005


If you have MSNBC, they're showing the local NBC affiliate.

Does anyone know of any HD coverage of the storms?
posted by geoff. at 12:58 PM on August 28, 2005


New Orleans is sinkin'...

Seriously, this is going to be biblical (from the NOAA alert):

HURRICANE KATRINA
A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.

MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.

THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
posted by docgonzo at 12:58 PM on August 28, 2005


I was in New Orleans for Ivan last year and nothing happened, despite the hype. Is it the real thing this year?
posted by cillit bang at 1:00 PM on August 28, 2005


On the one hand, thank you for posting this - it's interesting stuff; OTOH, and I do realize I'm being somewhat hypocritical here, I have misgivings that people not directly affected by the storm (such as me) are now consuming limited bandwidth being made available by those providers that would best be reserved for those more directly involved. Just my two cents' worth (change provided upon request).
posted by RichAromas at 1:00 PM on August 28, 2005


docgonzo, I think that would be better (and in fact is within) the other thread. This is more for coverage of the storm.
posted by geoff. at 1:01 PM on August 28, 2005


And more:

URNT12 KNHC 281950
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE
A. 28/1923Z
B. 26 DEG 34 MIN N
88 DEG 51 MIN W
C. 700 MB 2235 M
D. N/A
E. N/A
F. 225 DEG 148 KT
G. 126 DEG 18 NM
H. 902 MB
I. 14 C/ 3055 M
J. 29 C/ 3032 M
K. 9 C/ NA
L. CLOSED WALL
M. C28
N. 12345/7
O. 1/1 NM
P. NOAA3 1812A KATRINA OB 12
MAX FL WIND 160 KTS NE QUAD 1743Z
EXCELLENT RADAR PRESENTATION


902 millibars.. Looooow..

to put it into perspective:
(third column is milibar report at landfall)

1 Unnamed (FL Keys) 1935 5 892 26.35
2 Camille (MS, SE LA, VA) 1969 5 909 26.84
3 Andrew (SE FL, SE LA) 1992 5 922 27.23
4 TX (Indianola) 1886 4 925 27.31
posted by Lord_Pall at 1:01 PM on August 28, 2005


Two maps of projected storm paths.
posted by danb at 1:03 PM on August 28, 2005


God's a terrorist.
posted by substrate at 3:27 PM on August 28, 2005


The other thread had a different focus. Mine is on live coverage of the storm.

It's like a duplicate of the first thread, link for link. All in one thread would have been better. There was live coverage links there also.

Of course, you wouldn't get as much attention.

docgonzo, I think that would be better (and in fact is within) the other thread. This is more for coverage of the storm.

No moderation of threads. Thanks.
posted by justgary at 3:32 PM on August 28, 2005


I think a thread dedicated to coverage is probably a good idea. I sidebarred this thread, the other thread, and the MetaTalk thread for people offering/needing shelter. Keeping the all-caps cut and pastes from NOAA to a minimum will probably help keep this thread readable.
posted by jessamyn at 3:32 PM on August 28, 2005


metachat thread while mefi was down.
posted by moonbird at 3:40 PM on August 28, 2005


To me, the most interesting aspects of the news coverage has been the industry analyists that they've brought in. They had three, recently: oil industry, insurance industry, and economist.

The insurance industry guy was kinda boring, just reassurances that they would be covering people's insurance costs but it'd take a long time to rebuild.

The oil industry guy was fascinating. He made a couple of very good points. First, the price of gasoline is expected to surge by $0.25 by the middle of this week, because the price per barrel of crude imported into the US is going to skyrocket due to the uncertainty once trading opens electronically this evening. Apparently, 12 large refineries are in the direct path of this storm, as well as the only supertanker offloading station in the lower 48. Even if those refineries are not damaged at all, they
When asked what all that could do to price of gas at the pump, he pretty much shrugged and said something along the lines of "exponential".

The economist pointed out that there was already a shortage of building supplies in the US, so if you're building something right now you can expect to need to increase your budget. The stock market's going to wobble for a while, and if the gas price goes up as much as they think it will we could see some interesting things happen. If you're heavily invested in insurance companies, you can expect your portfiolio to lose some value on monday. Locally, in the gulf coast, there's probaby going to be a nice upsurge in business for those whose businesses don't get too battered... the rest of the country will be paying for that, though.
posted by SpecialK at 3:44 PM on August 28, 2005


ack. oil industry: .. they will take a few weeks to get restarted and begin producing again.
posted by SpecialK at 3:45 PM on August 28, 2005


US Crude futures surge $4 at open of trading to over $70.
posted by SpecialK at 4:20 PM on August 28, 2005


Anyone want to look at some scary satellite photos?... more here
posted by anthill at 4:31 PM on August 28, 2005


Does anyone have links to blogs of gulf-coasters that are blogging the hurricaine?
posted by SpecialK at 4:33 PM on August 28, 2005


"US Crude futures surge $4 at open of trading to over $70"

Wait a minute, people are profiting from other peoples' misfortune? Say it isn't so!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:44 PM on August 28, 2005


"Anyone want to look at some scary satellite photos?... more here"

Holy mother of God.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:46 PM on August 28, 2005


wow. holy shit. NO is such a great city - i hope the best for the city and it's inhabitants..... scary.
posted by specialk420 at 5:06 PM on August 28, 2005


Apparently, 12 large refineries are in the direct path of this storm, as well as the only supertanker offloading station in the lower 48.

I was surprised to learn tonight that the Gulf is the source of about 30 percent of U.S. oil production and 24 percent of the country's natural gas. On NBC Nightly News an economist pointed out that not only will we see price hikes at the fuel pumps, but also for home heating and natural gas - especially this winter for those living in colder climates in the U.S.
posted by ericb at 5:07 PM on August 28, 2005


wasnt there a new yorker article a year or two ago about what would happen if NO got hit by the big one?
posted by specialk420 at 5:08 PM on August 28, 2005


The Katrina Thread over at Hardcore Weather is pretty entertaining. You can follow their discussion of the weather system that formed into Katrina from it's formation through to now.
posted by SpecialK at 5:09 PM on August 28, 2005


SpecialK420: Yeah, the government modeled it as part of an energy crisis, and a bunch of media outlets (including A&E, the New Yorker, and a few others) picked it up and did future-mentaries, articles, or fiction based on it.
posted by SpecialK at 5:15 PM on August 28, 2005


hmmm.... i dug for that link - the article was fascinating/terrifying - i am pretty sure it was the new yorker... coulda been the atlantic.
posted by specialk420 at 5:18 PM on August 28, 2005


wasnt there a new yorker article a year or two ago about what would happen if NO got hit by the big one?

I don't recall, but tew linked to an interesting American Prospect article in the other discussion.

Also, ColdChef linked to a chilling "worst case scenario" in that same thread.
posted by ericb at 5:18 PM on August 28, 2005


ColdChef will be able to let us know. He's in Baton Rouge.
posted by SpecialK at 5:30 PM on August 28, 2005


So if you're in the zone take cover or leave and if your not, hoard gasoline?
posted by snsranch at 5:39 PM on August 28, 2005


I'm in the UK and obviously don't have this knowledge or I wouldn't be asking - but given the scale of expected damage, can we assume that we won't be seeing any updates whatever - pictures, blog postings, webcams - after the leading edge of the storm makes landfall?

I'm crapping myself about this, and I've never even known much about NO until today.
posted by paperpete at 5:47 PM on August 28, 2005


Here's another map, and this one has the locations of oil platforms and terminals. See the two triangles directly in the path of the hurricane? Those are two of the largest oil terminals in the United States. I'm in Lafayette, about 120 miles west of New Orleans, where the sky has been darkening and the wind picking up for about the last hour. I'll be blogging it here.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:48 PM on August 28, 2005


Yeah, you can pretty much expect that we won't hear from anyone for quite a while after the hurricane passes.

Post from the Hardcore Weather forum: "Tops look like they're getting colder again; the storm will be hitting tomorrow morning during the peak of the diurnal maxima (worst case scenerio). Whether or not the exhaust channel transition from equator-ward to pole-ward plays any effect has yet to be seen."
posted by SpecialK at 5:56 PM on August 28, 2005


Someone posted in metachat asking why the big hotels hadn't opened as evacuation centers ... the reason is that they've had to move all of their guests into the middle of the building because big hotels have big glass windows, which are not expected to survive. They've also had to evacuate the higher levels because the buildings are expected to sway under 160 mph winds, and there's a decent chance of collapse if the buildings were built pre-1970s, when the 150mph wind building standard was developed. They've had to evacuate the first several levels as well because waves are expected to be as high as a 4-story building.

Tourists couldn't get out of town because the airports closed a day or two ago and no rental vehicles were available.
posted by SpecialK at 6:09 PM on August 28, 2005


Up to the hour reports from various buoys, platforms and (!) ships in the Gulf is here. Note, don't hit refresh, use the "View the latest" link at the top, which updates with the hurricane's position.

For ship, you can put names to the callsigns via this form. The current "winner" goes to ELXL3, the Cajun Express, who reported a 55kt (64mph) wind at 0000Z.

A map of stations and buoys near New Orleans is here. The ones to watch are BURL1 , at the mouth of the Southwest Passage of the Mississippi Rivier, 42040, which is some 70 miles south of Mobile, AL and 42007, southeast of Biloxi, MS.

Ground stations of note are GDIL1, Grand Island, LA, WAVM6, Wavlend, MS, and closest to New Orleans proper, LABL1 , in Bayou LaBranch, LA.

As of now (2004CDT, 0104Z), BURL1 is report 50kt winds, GDIL1 38kts. 42007 is showing 29 kts, and 15 foot seas, while 42040 is fighting 35kt winds and 28 foot seas. Note that buoys often report wildly varying winds as they crest and trough in the storms waves.
posted by eriko at 6:09 PM on August 28, 2005


Damn strange to look at a live webcam image from Bourbon Street and see no one, no one at all.
posted by SPrintF at 6:17 PM on August 28, 2005




saw this link on the expected fallout wrt oil & gas prod in "GOMEX," e.g. 75% of overall oil production and over half of all gas production in the gulf is expected to be disrupted in the short term (less than 10 days)...
posted by kliuless at 6:26 PM on August 28, 2005


I find it encouraging that the Bourbon Street webcam shows an empty street at 8:30 pm. I hope the evacuation works, and hope even more that is becomes completely unnecessary.
posted by caddis at 6:38 PM on August 28, 2005


caddis: What they're saying on the news right now is that only 70 to 75 % evacuated from the city, and 50% or less from outlying communities. People are heeding the curfew, though.
posted by SpecialK at 6:41 PM on August 28, 2005


When did WDSU's web feed go off the air? I'm getting nothing but a black screen & static now.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:51 PM on August 28, 2005


A Florida reporter in the WWL studios just reported that there were only two uplinks out of New Orleans (WWL and a connection from the Superdome), and the Superdome fiber connection just went down.
posted by chrominance at 6:59 PM on August 28, 2005


It isn't google Earth, but the Google Maps hack of hurricane Katrina is here. Change the date in the URL and the s ("storm") number to see other 'canes.
posted by Sangre Azul at 7:14 PM on August 28, 2005


explaining the bowl- great info graphics here
posted by specialk420 at 7:14 PM on August 28, 2005


Those with shortwaves can tune to 14230KHz, which is the National Weather Service's Hurricane Watch Net. They have a webpage, but it's being slammed, so I won't link it here -- it's at http://www.hwn.org. Information about the station is here, and that website is fine. Yes, the link says W4EHW, the old callsign of W4NHC.

W4NHC, the net control station, is fairly huge, so while you may not here the local reports, you'll probably hear relays to and readbacks from W4NHC.
posted by eriko at 7:14 PM on August 28, 2005


So wait, is WWL broadcasting from in New Orleans? Are they nuts? Although I have to admit it would be interesting to watch that guy in front of the weather map get creamed by a wall of water.
posted by fungible at 7:24 PM on August 28, 2005


Interesting feature from the Hurricane Flyers that run C-130s into the eyes of hurricanes... they're in action now and if you want a taste of what the eye of a cat 4 hurricane looks like you can check out their website.
posted by anthill at 7:26 PM on August 28, 2005


A person on LiveJournal is desperately in need of assistance. Can anyone help them out?
---------------------


I have two friends who are stuck in traffic near Baton Rouge and need to find a place to stay immediately. They told me they can't find any hotel or shelter that can take them. They are nice and clean etc etc. If you have any leads or perhaps a windowless room for them from Baton Rouge towards Lafayette please call me. 407-484-4332.

Thanks. and Please Help,

Sheryl

posted by insomnia_lj at 7:27 PM on August 28, 2005


GAK! I completly screwed up that frequency. It's 14325KHz -- I don't know what I was thinking.
posted by eriko at 7:34 PM on August 28, 2005


Thanks for posting eriko. I'm going to try to access via web-based dx radio.
posted by moonbird at 7:35 PM on August 28, 2005


Why did they shut down the airports so early, wouldn't you want any available aircraft to evac anyone stranded?
posted by parallax7d at 7:38 PM on August 28, 2005


but given the scale of expected damage, can we assume that we won't be seeing any updates whatever - pictures, blog postings, webcams - after the leading edge of the storm makes landfall?
I'm sure there are cameras in some highrises, and CNN and other networks will have people out there until they get blown over, or almost hit by debris, as usual.

I think they shut the airports down early in part bec they didn't want people sleeping in them or stuck out there.
posted by amberglow at 8:04 PM on August 28, 2005


That smartass Bukvich lives in Metairie; for that matter there are 13 other Mefites nearby. Please tell us you're not all drowned.

(Is that a futile plea or what? "Yeah, I managed to get a couple hundred miles inland, and the first thing I thought of was Metafilter!")

Anyway, when Louisianans y'all get around to reading this thread, do let us know what 's up with you.
posted by davy at 9:00 PM on August 28, 2005


So wait, is WWL broadcasting from in New Orleans? Are they nuts?

They handed things over to their Baton Rouge affiliate about 15 minutes ago and headed for shelter.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:06 PM on August 28, 2005


I can't even get a feed from Baton Rouge anymore.
posted by trip and a half at 9:09 PM on August 28, 2005


i can't get either of them now.
posted by amberglow at 9:12 PM on August 28, 2005


WWLTV is back up now.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:19 PM on August 28, 2005


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina
posted by sourbrew at 9:27 PM on August 28, 2005


link to wikipedia article.... apologize for above
posted by sourbrew at 9:28 PM on August 28, 2005


The guys (and gal) on WWL are pretty depressed. I've never seen anything like it.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 9:28 PM on August 28, 2005


They're broadcasting from a college's journalism program somewhere.
posted by amberglow at 9:30 PM on August 28, 2005


I still can't get anything! This is making me sick. I love New Orleans!
posted by trip and a half at 9:33 PM on August 28, 2005


wwltv.com is still streaming here, but have switched from their personnel in the French Quarter to a makeshift set at the LSU Communications Dept.

Streaming quality has gone down somewhat, but I'm totally impressed that they are meeting demand and have the capability at all.
posted by spock at 9:38 PM on August 28, 2005


Imagine < a href="http://wizbangblog.com/archives/006917.php">the mess at the Superdome should the worst happen.

It's a near certainty the electricity will go out about midday Monday. The Dome has backup power but it is only for lighting -no environmental controls- and the backup lighting is not full power. The Dome is about 20 stories high, but people will be scattered all thru it.

If the worst happens -and at this point it seems implausible that it won't- the bottom 2 stories will fill with water. Dirty nasty foul water full of chemicals and raw sewerage. Further the bathroom facilities are only expected to function for the first day.

So in rough terms, 40,000+ people will be trapped in a building with no plumbing, little light and no air conditioning. The temps after the storm rolls thru will probably be in the low 90s. Considerably hotter in the building.

There is an elevated paved deck that surrounds the Dome. It will most probably be above water but inaccessible until probably daylight Tuesday. Once the people can get out to the deck, they will still be trapped there because the city will be underwater. They will be an island. We have no idea how long it will take to remove the water from the city. I've seen estimates from 10 weeks to 10 months... yes months.

posted by calwatch at 9:40 PM on August 28, 2005


amberglow, is it Tulane? I can't get through to them, either.

On preview, thanks, spock. I'll check the LSU site.
posted by trip and a half at 9:40 PM on August 28, 2005


Link
posted by calwatch at 9:40 PM on August 28, 2005


WKRG also has live coverage from Mobile.
posted by calwatch at 9:43 PM on August 28, 2005


First fatalities reported at 11:45 CDT. 3 people medical conditions related to the evacuation.
posted by stbalbach at 9:44 PM on August 28, 2005


WWLTV is reporting the first deaths due to the hurricane. A few medical patients being moved in buses.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:45 PM on August 28, 2005


WDSU had to move inland to Jackson, Mississippi. One of the Jackson stations said they hope to be back on the air soon.

When did WDSU's web feed go off the air? I'm getting nothing but a black screen & static now.
posted by robliberal at 9:54 PM on August 28, 2005


NEXRAD radar loop.
posted by brownpau at 10:00 PM on August 28, 2005


WLOX Biloxi (direct link)
posted by calwatch at 10:07 PM on August 28, 2005


WAPT Jackson, MS
posted by calwatch at 10:09 PM on August 28, 2005


Apparently the latest models are shifting the path slightly east of New Orleans, but rather than being a good thing, this could become the worst possible scenario. New Orleans proper could get run over by the west side of the eye wall (max. winds) while water pours into N.O. from an overflowing Lake Pontchartrain. After all, the eye is quite wide. Should it shift quite a bit east however, it could be the best news for New Orleans so far (relatively speaking).
posted by spock at 10:11 PM on August 28, 2005


The people on WWL seem to finally hitting the emotional wall of inescapable imminence when the topic of the destruction of New Orleans comes up.

Prayers with you Gulf Coast! NO especially. . .
posted by crasspastor at 10:12 PM on August 28, 2005


WTOK Meridian, MS (direct link)
posted by calwatch at 10:13 PM on August 28, 2005


.

I am so sad.
posted by trip and a half at 10:19 PM on August 28, 2005


WJTV Jackson, MS (direct link)
posted by calwatch at 10:20 PM on August 28, 2005


is it Tulane? I can't get through to them, either

No, Tulane is pretty evacuated itself — its only functioning website now is http://emergency.tulane.edu/. (I think the broadcast is from LSU in Baton Rouge.)
posted by Zurishaddai at 10:23 PM on August 28, 2005


WPMI Mobile, AL (direct link)
posted by calwatch at 10:30 PM on August 28, 2005


I don't know how long it will stay up, but there's a live RealVideo feed here, from a camera up near the roof of Fat Harry's near the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon. (If you get still webcam photos, look for the "live video" link on the upper right.)

Lots of wind and an occasional police car driving around with lights flashing.
posted by boredomjockey at 10:34 PM on August 28, 2005


Reports are coming in of price gouging for gas, water, food, and hotels on the evacuation routes. The La Attorney General was just on the air saying that people who price gouge will be charged with a crime.

For anyone on the evacuation paths who feels that they've run across price gouging, the AG asks that you call and report it at 800.488.2700 or ag.state.la.us.

Also, the news reports now note that there are almost 300K people in the SuperDome. They're closing the roads in and out of NO, and say that people who have not already evacuated the city are stuck there and should go to the superdome. Holy gods, this is just scary.
posted by dejah420 at 10:41 PM on August 28, 2005


300,000? I find that hard to believe.
posted by calwatch at 10:42 PM on August 28, 2005


Reading LJs of people who didn't evacuate makes just want to shake them and ask why they didn't get out.
posted by dial-tone at 10:47 PM on August 28, 2005


The Superdome only holds 70,000. I think we're talking 30K, if that, the most current estimate I can find is 8K. News reports says that 100K people in NOLA had no transportation out of the city.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:52 PM on August 28, 2005


300,000? I find that hard to believe. calwatch

Yeah, I thought so too...but that's what the man said.
posted by dejah420 at 10:53 PM on August 28, 2005


WWL has reported 26k-30k in the Dome.

via Brendan Loy
posted by pandaharma at 10:54 PM on August 28, 2005


Things are getting very misty and amazingly this video's still working.
posted by ed at 10:57 PM on August 28, 2005


Well, I wish that I had visited New Orleans before this happened.

Best of luck to those who are still there, and here's hoping that the city holds onto as best it can throught the upcoming challenge.

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:11 PM on August 28, 2005


Jon Donley at the Times Picayune has a really good news-blog here ... anybody who can still make jokes about Drudge and CNN when the city is about to be destroyed is someone worth reading.

/survived Betsy & Camille, with all the honor & courage a toddler should present.
posted by kenlayne at 11:24 PM on August 28, 2005


From that above link, here's a good look at the worst case scenario.
posted by calwatch at 11:32 PM on August 28, 2005


Apparently the latest models are shifting the path slightly east of New Orleans,

where are you getting this....? the new orleans forcasters seem to be saying its keeping a northwest track - apparently a really bad track for NO.
posted by specialk420 at 11:47 PM on August 28, 2005


I heard this also on WLTV, win media embeded. Not sure what king of difference it will make.
posted by johnj at 11:58 PM on August 28, 2005


A friend of mine is going down there in October (for the Nine Inch Nails show in Mr. Self-Destruct's former hometown). I had faint hopes of raising enough money to tag along. I have a big, uneasy feeling.

I was in New Orleans for Ivan last year and nothing happened, despite the hype. Is it the real thing this year?

Ivan had hit Cat5 at points, but by landfall it was stalled by a pressure system inland and came ashore as a Cat3. The storm surge for a Cat3 is considerably less.

For Katrina, there is no pressure system to hold it back, so they're expecting it to do its worst, depending on final position and other random factors.

I was really impressed that Bush was persuaded it was worth his while to make one of his more (apparently) genuinely heartfelt appeals. I'm guessing someone in FEMA gave him a Bin Laden Katrina Determined to Strike in U.S. memo, or something -- or more probably used the keywords American Tsunami, which have now been picked up by CNN.
posted by dhartung at 12:30 AM on August 29, 2005


dhartung, heh i just saw that link, i enjoy that in the url they include the words doomsday.... thats some haught journalism
posted by sourbrew at 12:34 AM on August 29, 2005


Is the wwl link still working for everybody else? I was watching it for a couple of hours, and then I lost it... and it won't load now, even after a reboot.

(I couldn't get the wdsu one to play from the beginning...)
posted by taz at 12:37 AM on August 29, 2005


I did an overlay in Photoshop of NWS radar image from station KLIX, (yesteday's 21:24 UTC and today's recent 06:58 UTC), and plotting the eye shows a displacement vector heading directly for NO. If the eye misses at all to the east, it's going to be close, at least by this plot.

If it does miss east, even though the w sectors of the system are weaker, 100MPH+ winds driving the lake water directly toward NO can't be good.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned anywhere is that IME (living in Japan in the 90s) the weather BEHIND a cyclone is extremely high pressure -- clear and sunny, ie HOT.

Here's hoping that only coping with higher temps this week will be the major issue for the people stuck in NO right now...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:43 AM on August 29, 2005


Jebbus! On WWLTV they're all but saying people caught near the eye have no chance of survival!
posted by johnj at 12:46 AM on August 29, 2005


Taz, I'm still getting WWL.
posted by LeeJay at 12:48 AM on August 29, 2005


gave him a Bin Laden Katrina Determined to Strike in U.S. memo

I was temped to make a similar joke: Aug 2, 2005 PDB: TD 13 Determined to Strike US but the joke seemed a bit...unseemly.

But at least disasters like this can remind us that we are stronger as one nation and not a bunch of quasi-independent states, as the Federalist Society folks would have us believe.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:49 AM on August 29, 2005


thanks, LeeJay... Another one of those mystery Windows things, I guess.
posted by taz at 12:52 AM on August 29, 2005


In that vein, before and after photographs of tsunami-hit areas. Even if the NO levee holds, many areas of Louisiana are going to look like this tomorrow.

dhartung, heh i just saw that link, i enjoy that in the url they include the words doomsday.... thats some haught journalism

Yeah, CNN is known for editorializing in their URLs ... I don't think they're wrong, though. When you tied yourself to the railroad tracks, eventually a train's gonna come. Look how well "we've gotten away with it so far" worked for the Space Shuttle. Wikipedia has a cross section graphic that is pretty unsettling. The subsidence of the overall region is startling; even if it fails to be biblical this time, the storm surge will wash away more of the shoreline, making it all the more vulnerable next time.

the joke seemed a bit...unseemly

The contrast is unseemly.

not a bunch of quasi-independent states, as the Federalist Society folks would have us believe

I thought they were "rule of law" folks, not "states' rights". < /offtopic>
posted by dhartung at 1:19 AM on August 29, 2005


Not to remove any of the drama but isn't "American Tsunami" just wrong? It's a frickin' hurricane, it's not like those can't not be scary as hell as well. Don't call an explosion an implosion just for dramatic effect, please, CNN.
posted by dabitch at 2:02 AM on August 29, 2005


dabitch : "Not to remove any of the drama but isn't 'American Tsunami' just wrong?"

Yep. There's no tsunami.

I think I'm going to refer to 9/11 as the "American Pompeii" from now on.
posted by Bugbread at 2:46 AM on August 29, 2005


> "We need to recognize we may be about to experience our equivalent of the Asian tsunami, in terms of the damage and the numbers of people that can be killed," said Ivor van Heerden, director of the Louisiana State University Public Health Research Center in Baton Rouge.
posted by dhartung at 3:02 AM on August 29, 2005


Anytime I think I'm having a sucky day, I'll just try to remember that at least I didn't have to spend Monday morning in the Superdome.
posted by alumshubby at 5:12 AM on August 29, 2005


Latest rumors :

The backup generators for the electric pumps in East Jeff Parish and Orleans Parish have failed.

Water is (very) slowly entering the Superdome. Water may be coming in through the roof.

The current recorded storm surge at Grand Isle and Southwest Pass is lower than expected.
posted by suckerpunch at 5:31 AM on August 29, 2005


The latest vortex data puts the pressure at 923 mb, with 120 kt winds. She's weakening.
posted by suckerpunch at 5:39 AM on August 29, 2005


Buoy 42040 is reporting sustained seas of 47-48 feet, but the pressure seems to be holding now at 28.92 in/Hg, as the storm slides to the west.

(Conversions: kts->mph or nauticle miles->statue miles, multiply by 1.15. Tropical Storm force winds=35kts, Gale=50kts, Hurricanes: Cat 1=64kts, Cat 2=84kts, Cat 3=96kts, cat4=114kts, cat5=135kts)


Grand Island recorded a gust of 89 knots on the 0400 CDT observation, and sustained winds of 66kts on the 0300, but hasn't reported windspeeds since, presumably due to instrument damage. Pressure appears to have just turned, with a low of 27.85 in/Hg reported just before 0700, now report 28.04 in/Hg.

Dauphin Island, AL is reportsing sustained hurricance force winds of 66kts, gusting 75, and a pressure of 29.20in/Hg, falling. This station about 75 miles north of buoy 42040.

Buoy 42007 report waves of 12.8 feet, with a "VERY_STEEP" flag at 0500, then stopped reporting waves. Sustained winds at 52kts, gusting 64, pressure is 28.56 and still falling. Last report shows a bit of slack to the winds, but this is a buoy station, and the buoy may have been in a wave trough.

28.56 is a very low pressure, and the chared at 402007 isn't show any sign of a turn.

Finally. Bayou LaBranch, just west of the city. 42 kts, gusting 61, pressure 28.85 and falling. The Combined wind/gust/pressure chart shows shows some very crazy gusts that, if I didn't know better, I'd suspect were instrument errors.

Finally, at Bayou Labranch, the composite plot of various things, including (at the top) the tide level. Currently, it's 1.34ft, predicted is 0.11feet.
posted by eriko at 5:45 AM on August 29, 2005


What is there in terms of live video from there? The video feed seems to be all sat imagery...
posted by ph00dz at 6:15 AM on August 29, 2005


Latest rumor : a levee has been breached. No word on where this levee is.

(There are always reports of 'a' levee being breached somewhere during tropical storms or hurricanes. Ignore this until they mention where the levee is, how bad it is, and how close others are to being breached.)
posted by suckerpunch at 6:19 AM on August 29, 2005


Nix that. The NWS reports a levee breach at the Industrial Canal at Tennessee street. This is very close to where the levee was breached curing Hurricane Betsy, which caused flooding and destruction of the Arabi and Ninth Ward neighborhoods.

(There's more history to this - much more - but I gotta keep on reading.)
posted by suckerpunch at 6:28 AM on August 29, 2005


On CNN they are reporting that a large section of the SuperDome's roof has already peeled off. It may have been "compromised" by the continuous downpour.
posted by solipse at 6:34 AM on August 29, 2005


sucker, you ok there?
posted by amberglow at 6:41 AM on August 29, 2005


Superdome has 6' diameter holes with a lightning bolt inside (!) according to WPMI.
posted by calwatch at 6:46 AM on August 29, 2005


amberglow - I'm at a coffeeshop in Jackson, MS. I'm fine. I have two friends in the Superdome and three in Uptown New Orleans. Please worry about them.
posted by suckerpunch at 6:46 AM on August 29, 2005


calwatch - that should read 'lightning rod', not 'lightning bolt'. Although a good thrash show by the Bolt would certainly be nice in the Dome right now.
posted by suckerpunch at 6:48 AM on August 29, 2005


ok--i am, believe me.
posted by amberglow at 6:50 AM on August 29, 2005


Brian Williams is in the Dome and reported they could see "daylight" through the roof, and that there was a wet mist throughout the interior.
posted by bardic at 6:55 AM on August 29, 2005


Omg, those poor people in the dome - this is horrifying - my thoughts are with the people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama - most particularly, with friends from Mefi.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:56 AM on August 29, 2005


My concern for folks in the 'Dome didn't include the place blowing open; I was mainly worried that if flooding got bad, they'd be stranded in there for however long.
posted by alumshubby at 6:59 AM on August 29, 2005


Lafayette is reporting downed power lines and trees, but we still have power. We're on the extreme western edge of the storm, so if you're anywhere west of Lafayette, it looks like you're safe. More updates from me here.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:09 AM on August 29, 2005


dabitch writes "Not to remove any of the drama but isn't 'American Tsunami' just wrong? It's a frickin" hurricane, it's not like those can't not be scary as hell as well. "

A storm surge has physical effects very similiar to a tsunami of the same height. It is a fairly good analogy especially considering most everyone knows the affects of a tsunami.
posted by Mitheral at 7:12 AM on August 29, 2005


i'm running a little hurricane shelter of my own, my cousin and his gf and dog evacuated from NO to my place yesterday (another 4 folks from NO are in the house nextdoor). He works at a casino down there and said folks were at the craps table till the mandatory evacuation saturday evening. we might get hurricane force winds here, but nothing like whats going on down on the coast.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:12 AM on August 29, 2005


stay safe you guys--i can't believe you still have power (but it's a good sign)
posted by amberglow at 7:15 AM on August 29, 2005


May that Dome roof holdout till everyone is safe to get out.

I was horrified to read all those that felt they had no option but to stay put. Truly sad and frustrating not to be in a position to get outta town when all things pointed to imminent danger.

Phew. The worst hopefully has passed.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:38 AM on August 29, 2005


"Apparently the latest models are shifting the path slightly east of New Orleans,"

where are you getting this....? the new orleans forcasters seem to be saying its keeping a northwest track - apparently a really bad track for NO.

specialk420: I got it from the guys who know what they are talking about on the Stormtrack forum. They were right.

posted by spock at 8:39 AM on August 29, 2005


MSNBC is showing pictures of the Superdome roof right now; half of the metal sheeting is peeled off of it and you can see holes in underlying tarpaper layers.
posted by SpecialK at 8:40 AM on August 29, 2005


Any working web cams?
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:10 AM on August 29, 2005


Not that I know of (the telecom network is pretty toast down there) but NOLA just posted a picture of the superdome.
posted by SpecialK at 9:23 AM on August 29, 2005


I'm getting some firsthand reports and even some phone posts this morning from the LJers who are inside New Orleans.

The news is generally positive, in that New Orleans will survive and the winds are getting lighter -- mostly around 50 MPH -- but it sounds like the evacuation also saved a lot of lives too.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:25 AM on August 29, 2005


"The news is generally positive, in that New Orleans will survive and the winds are getting lighter -- mostly around 50 MPH -- but it sounds like the evacuation also saved a lot of lives too."

Well...the apocalypse could always show up next week...
posted by ParisParamus at 9:48 AM on August 29, 2005


Heh. Don't forget with the radar pictures that all the radar stations in southern Louisiana are out. On radar, it looks like the storm is very light to the SW. That's not necessarily true, it's just that the remaining radar stations can't see through the storm.
posted by SpecialK at 9:50 AM on August 29, 2005


Seriously, the worst parts of NO are not visible right now, so I think it's premature to conclude that things aren't as horrible as predicted. Also, buildings generally collapse when the flooding recedes.

When was the last time that NO was hit with a hurricaine of any size?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:53 AM on August 29, 2005


This was taken from the WSJ's Opinion Journal:

Let us hope things don't turn out as bad as the National Weather Service predicted in a 6:19 a.m. CDT advisory titled "DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED" (quoting verbatim):

THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW POSSIBLY TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. MANY WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:55 AM on August 29, 2005


From the Weather Channel:

An amazing phone call just aired on The Weather Channel a few minutes ago from Jim Cantore's producer, Simon Temperton. The two of them are at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, Miss. (current conditions), where they have sought refuge from rapidly rising floodwaters on the second floor along with 300-400 residents of the home.

Here's some of what Simon reported in his phone call:

"We're going through some unbelievable conditions. Water is seeping into the building. I'd say we've had at least a 20-feet [of] storm surge. It has washed away all our rental cars, and everything else [in the parking lot]...

"Now water is seeping into the home and they are evacuating everyone to the second floor. I'm standing in 5 or 6 inches of water [on the second floor]. The power is out. There are a few emergency lights. It's a very daunting prospect right now....

"It's a very dangerous situation. I've been doing this for 15 years, and [I've] been Mr. Cantore's producer for many hurricanes, and I've never seen anything like this. This is probably the scariest situation we've ever been in -- just the sudden rise of water and how fast. They said we were good here for 27, 30 feet [of storm surge] -- they've never seen anything like it. They thought we were completely safe.

"We're not even shooting [video] anymore. We're basically in self-preservation [mode] right now. We're helping people put up boards and sandbags to keep the water from coming in. We've become part of the crew.

"In the time we've been talking, the water has risen, I'd say, another 3 inches. It's up to the top of my boots. The water keeps rising."

-- Posted by Laurel, Product Manager, The Weather Channel Interactive

posted by SpecialK at 9:58 AM on August 29, 2005


That's a very vivid dispatch, PP -- it came, AFAIK, from the Slidell, LA NWS office. The director of the National Hurricane Center yesterday urged media to stay away from that report, hopefully because it's too over-the-top.
posted by Vidiot at 10:00 AM on August 29, 2005


Mitheral, I know that. I still don't think calling an explosion for an implosion does anything but misuse and confuse terms that are rather precise, and that is dumb in my humble opinion. Hurricanes can bring giant waves, tsunami is a giant wave. Hurrianes are also so much more as tropical cyclone bring heavy winds and rain as well.
posted by dabitch at 10:03 AM on August 29, 2005


ParisParamus writes "This was taken from the WSJ's Opinion Journal:"

Look up, this was posted here already.
posted by Mitheral at 10:05 AM on August 29, 2005


sorry.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:29 AM on August 29, 2005


hurricane risk for new orleans... an interesting listen this morning.

I still can't believe santorum was calling for the gutting of public access to noaa information - who votes for people like this?
posted by specialk420 at 10:37 AM on August 29, 2005


Last big hurricane to hit NO was Camille. 1969 or 1968, I believe.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:41 AM on August 29, 2005




Looks like the old home town dodged the bullet one more time. Camille was 1969 and played out just about the same way Katrina seems to be with the MS coast taking the real beating.
posted by Carbolic at 11:14 AM on August 29, 2005


I just read CunningL's link. "None of your fucking business". Classic native NOLA'r response.
posted by Carbolic at 11:16 AM on August 29, 2005


I live in Baton Rouge and go to LSU. Last night I slept through the storm but I've been driving around and looking around campus. Trees are down intermitently. It seems that all traffic lights on campus are functioning while all lights off campus in south Baton Rouge seem to be out. Entergy trucks are all over the place. I have a photo blog I might put some photos up of and link but I need to work on that first.
posted by Chris_awesome at 11:54 AM on August 29, 2005


Yeah, highest damage estimate for a hurricane EVAR (just for New Orleans). They sure missed a bullet!
posted by spock at 12:22 PM on August 29, 2005


Well, dodged a bullet in the sense that the city wasn't wiped off the map.
posted by strikhedonia at 12:31 PM on August 29, 2005


Last night I feared the place was going to be wiped off the map. That has a lot to do with my "dodged the bullet" comment. At the time I made the comment I didn't realize that the 9th Ward was under several feet of water (they got it bad from Camille too). Still, things could have been so much worse for the city. I'm fearing for the MS gulfcoast at the moment. We are just beginning to see some hints of weather in Memphis. This is one huge storm.
posted by Carbolic at 1:33 PM on August 29, 2005


Not everybody dodged a bullet. Mayor Nagin is reporting that there are "bodies floating in the water" in the Bywater and in Eastover. The Bywater is my family's old neighborhood, where my grandparents, parents and uncles grew up, and Eastover is one subdivision over from where my folks live now. I'm worried that their house is underwater.
posted by chuq at 1:55 PM on August 29, 2005


The extent of the tragedy is just starting to be understood and reported:
"...an untold number of [people] were feared dead in flooded neighborhoods.

'Some of them, it was their last night on earth,' Terry Ebbert, chief of homeland security for New Orleans, said of people who ignored evacuation orders. 'That's a hard way to learn a lesson.'" [NBC News | August 29, 2005]
posted by ericb at 3:27 PM on August 29, 2005


Just heard on CNN from a reporter in the Ninth Ward:

"This is horrific. I am watching an elderly man holding a cooler. He has made his way to the railroad tracks, which are under two feet of water. He's trying to get out by himself. . .The rescue boats are having trouble getting in. . .the rescue crews have gotten out and are trying to pull the boat over the railroad tracks.

"This is a horrible situation not only for the poeple who live here, but for the rescuers themselves. They do not have enough boats. . .they have put out a call to others with boats, but they can't get them here. . .It is just mindboggling to watch this happening. . .There are helicopters overheard, but darkness is approaching and I'm not sure how much they can get done.

"There are multiple people up on their rooftops trying to get help...Lord only knows how many people are still in their homes."

(I may have paraphrased, but this is close.)

Another CNN reporter is reporting looting in some areas.
posted by Vidiot at 3:38 PM on August 29, 2005


they showed a whole neighborhood (8th ward?) underwater--there's going to be a lot of dead.

the looting will really start tonight--and they don't have enough National Guard at all, thanks to you-know-who.
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on August 29, 2005


Can we keep the freaking Iraq/BushCo discussion out of at least one thread?
posted by Vidiot at 3:49 PM on August 29, 2005


Lets just pretend thtat there are enough national guardsmen.
posted by pointilist at 4:11 PM on August 29, 2005


I know that New Orleans still got it pretty bad, though nothing like the predicted disaster. What I wonder though, is why is all the news still focused on New Orleans, Mobile, Jackson, when as far as I can tell, Gulfport and Biloxi really got it up the keister. I'm starting to get a bit frantic as my family home and most of my material possessions are (were?) on the Back Bay of Biloxi; I think my parents evacuated to Pass Christian, but of course I have no way of knowing yet, nor can I tell what happened to PC. I turn on the news and get New Orleans, Mobile, New Orleans, Pensacola, New Orleans, Jackson, Mobile, but *nothing* from the MS Gulf Coast except for the odd scrap of 2nd-floor flooding of the Beau Rivage and the Retired Armed Forces home. What's up on the Gulf Coast??!!!
posted by Hal Mumkin at 4:12 PM on August 29, 2005


9th ward is underwater. here is video. Those poor people.
posted by Sangre Azul at 4:13 PM on August 29, 2005


Vidiot: I'm surprised someone with a 10K user id would have to ask that.

Love the dog-walking guy.
posted by grouse at 4:16 PM on August 29, 2005


Can we keep the freaking Iraq/BushCo discussion out of at least one thread?

Can we keep the freaking National Guard here in the country like they're supposed to be exactly for emergencies like this ?
posted by amberglow at 4:22 PM on August 29, 2005


and they don't have enough National Guard at all

Just curious, on what do you base that? How many are needed relative to how many are available? How many LA guardsmen are in Iraq (your earlier link no longer works)? How many were deployed during the last comparable event in the same area? There appear to be 3500 national guard troops available in LA along with the local police forces, firefighters and other emergency workers. What would an acceptable number be?
posted by loquax at 4:34 PM on August 29, 2005


Hal Mumkin: Try WLOX, ABC's local affiliate in Biloxi.

And for what it's worth: "Despite the Iraq war, National Guard says plenty are available for hurricane duty."
posted by skoosh at 4:41 PM on August 29, 2005


In previous floods, people have drowned in their attics. They're gonna have to do house-to-house searches.

amberglow: All due respect, the National Guard has always been part of the military reserves, even before it got that name, and has often provided the majority of troops in conflicts including the Mexican, Civil, and Spanish-American wars. Ever since the abolition of the draft, the military has looked to them to provide emergency reserves, and especially more so since the end of the Cold War and the reduction in overall active-duty strength. The individual reason may not be to your liking, but the system is operating according to law and custom.

Additionally, some 25 states have separate, non-federalized State Guards, which can be called upon in the event of civil emergencies, including Mississippi and Alabama; Louisiana does not.

I don't actually believe that there will be a shortage of National Guard for this disaster -- they're just coming from farther afield than they normally might (states have always had the option of requesting Guard forces from neighboring states), and I feel for the Guard troops who've had to work harder.
posted by dhartung at 4:43 PM on August 29, 2005


Ok kids. Let's chill on the s*** talking, and keep our thoughts with our neighbors down there on the Gulf (of Mexico).
posted by snsranch at 4:53 PM on August 29, 2005




For miles in the 9th Ward, there were only rooftops, with floodwaters lapping at the eves, visible from I-10. Rows of homes were swallowed by water. Standing outside on the concrete interstate, in the whipping winds, signs could be spotted that so many of the city's residents did not evacuate."--and that's just in New Orleans itself.
You think 6,500 Guardspeople are enough for a whole state?
posted by amberglow at 5:03 PM on August 29, 2005


The Guard exists for emergencies like this, not for invading and occupying countries that didn't do anything to us. I'm done. You'll be hearing more about this in the next few days, unfortunately.
posted by amberglow at 5:08 PM on August 29, 2005


You think 6,500 Guardspeople are enough for a whole state?

What can 10,000 do that 7,000 cannot, leaving aside the question of additional resources from local forces and neighbouring states? Just saying that the resources available aren't enough because more would be better isn't good enough. Why not blame Clinton for not increasing the National Guard strength in LA to 50,000? All those troops would come in handy today.
posted by loquax at 5:12 PM on August 29, 2005


Hal Mumkin, re: your inquiry upthread about lack of coverage of the Gulfport/Biloxi area: the Gov. of Mississippi was just on CNN and voiced what I'd been fearing -- that the damage was severe enough that they still can't get people in to assess and report. They did have some CNN reporter on earlier broadcasting from Gulfport, who said they'd had seven hours of 100+ mph wind, which just -- I can't imagine it. Mind well and truly boggled. I hope most fervently that things turn out (as in N.O.) to be less horrendous than they might.
posted by Kat Allison at 5:20 PM on August 29, 2005


Why the Guard's men and material are overseas should indeed be an issue. What should be the bigger issue, however, is that we've squandered so much in taxpayer dollars in recent years, not only in Iraq but stupid crap programs here at at home. And we have a giant deficit and increasing debt, meanwhile. When disasters like this occur, you damn well better believe there could well be political implications.

Meanwhile, I am glad to see people getting excited about the hurricane again. For a while, it was all, Well, N'awlins got out of it, so let's move on, it's just a Category 4. Sheesh. I've been on hand for 75 mph winds before, and they were frightening enough. A switch to 100-145 winds does not a wussy storm make. And I took calls this afternoon from a friend in Jackson freaking over 40-50 mph winds, with trees blowing over. (I have family with a home in Mandeville - in the New Orleans metro area - for what it's worth, so this storm has hit close to home.)
posted by raysmj at 5:39 PM on August 29, 2005


Amberglow, ya know, many of these places are just plain inaccessible anyway. More "troops" would probably only add to the cluster eff already at hand. What they need are more civilians with come common sense who are able to just go out and lend a hand, which sounds like what is going on anyway.
posted by snsranch at 5:40 PM on August 29, 2005


some common sense, and I'm just trying to ease your mind about the thing too.
posted by snsranch at 5:41 PM on August 29, 2005


In disasters like this, the distance between "horrible" and "bad" is often how well people treat one another after the fact. Usually, all things considered, it works out much better than the nightmare scenarios (chaos and panic, rape and pillage, a war of all against all).

Would boots on the ground help? Sure. The sight of a uniform can doubtless do wonders for scared people in a disaster zone. Even if you only see them once a day. It's a reminder that there's still order in the world, still something worth struggling to save.

Hal Mumkin, I think it's understandable they got obsessed with NOLA; the nightmare scenario there was horrendous. And in their minds, people most likely though "oh, well, Biloxi will drain, New Orleans won't." Or something. Biloxi will now get her fair share of attention, I'm sure.
posted by lodurr at 5:54 PM on August 29, 2005


"That's a hard way to learn a lesson."

I'd say to heck with that. Most of the people I heard interviewed on staying did so because of a lack of money and transportation out of the city.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:04 PM on August 29, 2005


Great. The President is to blame for deaths in NOLA. This is what I expected. Only I expected it would take 48 hours to surface.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:11 PM on August 29, 2005


amberglow : "I'm done. You'll be hearing more about this in the next few days, unfortunately."

Please, just be done, amberglow. We know what you feel about this issue, so there's no need to go on about it.

raysmj : "Why the Guard's men and material are overseas should indeed be an issue."

Yeah, but not in this thread entitled "Live Local Coverage of Hurricane Katrina", linked to from the sidebar of Mefi as "Storm Coverage".
posted by Bugbread at 6:29 PM on August 29, 2005


What can 10,000 do that 7,000 cannot?

That's easy: what 3,000 people can do.

Which is probably pretty significant.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:44 PM on August 29, 2005


I don't think it should be harped upon either, but the immediate response bothered me a bit, so I wrote a rather restrained response of my own. Sue me.
posted by raysmj at 6:44 PM on August 29, 2005


raysmj : "Sue me."

No.
posted by Bugbread at 7:24 PM on August 29, 2005


Sorry to interrupt the squabbling in here, but someone posted an AskMe a few days ago about volunteering to help with the cleanup. Here's the phone #'s my local news station posted to their website of organizations that are actively looking for and organizing volunteers to help clean up. Keep in mind that even if you're not in the area, there are a lot of other volunteers needed to help with blood drives, organizing the logistics of getting releif supplies to the affected area, and doing organizational work out of regions of the country that are rallying to help.

And on top of that, any of these organizations would love to have a cash donation, no matter how small.

---------------

Adventist Community Services

1-800-381-7171

Catholic Charities, USA

703 549-1390

Christian Disaster Response

941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee

1-800-848-5818

Church World Service

1-800-297-1516

Convoy of Hope

417-823-8998

Lutheran Disaster Response

800-638-3522

Mennonite Disaster Service

717-859-2210

Nazarene Disaster Response

888-256-5886

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

800-872-3283

Salvation Army

1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769)

Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief

1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440

United Methodist Committee on Relief

1-800-554-8583
posted by SpecialK at 7:32 PM on August 29, 2005


Thanks, SpecialK, even if you're not strictly on topic either.
posted by raysmj at 7:40 PM on August 29, 2005


Hello, all. Does anyone have any links to NO tv on the Web that work currently?

Peace.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:44 PM on August 29, 2005


WDSU is compelling, and it's working. If you are reading this, turn on WDSU RIGHT NOW.
posted by calwatch at 7:45 PM on August 29, 2005


Right now on WDSU they are tossing a live preserver through a vent in someone's attic. They apparently got a half hour or so of footage off the satellite from a stringer and are showing it right now.
posted by calwatch at 7:48 PM on August 29, 2005


"Compelling" is quite possibly an understatement. They're currently showing footage shot by a cameraman on a rescue boat trying to free people trapped in their attics.
posted by chrominance at 7:54 PM on August 29, 2005


Brendan Loy's Irish Trojan's blog is actively updated with news, including the report of at lest 55 deaths in the gulf area of Mississippi.

His page of news photos has many dramatic photos.

Sangre Azul, the clip you posted is totally chilling. I wonder if those grammys are some of the 100 nursing home residents rescued?
posted by madamjujujive at 8:19 PM on August 29, 2005


calwatch, perhaps because you are connected, I cannot.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:32 PM on August 29, 2005


I stand corrected. it just took forever to buffer.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:38 PM on August 29, 2005


That's awesome SpecialK - does anyone know if there are similar, but secular, agencies planning on rendering assistance?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:42 PM on August 29, 2005


The Tzu Chi Foundation (aka the Buddhists) usually show up to these events as well, for those who don't want to give to the normal group of churches. There is a decent sized Asian population in the state of Louisiana and so they are very likely to provide relief.
posted by calwatch at 8:56 PM on August 29, 2005


I've been having the usual reactions to the hurricane that I have to disasters that don't directly affect me or anyone I know. I've been sad and sympathetic, but have basically gone on with my life today. I got a lot done at work today, and even found a few things to complain about.

It hit me a few minutes ago watching the news. They said there are hundreds of people who will be trapped in attics and on roofs all night. I realized people are probably going to be dying alone and terrified in their attics tonight. In one of the larger cities in the U.S. This is upsetting my sense of order more than the Sept. 11 attacks.

If you are reading this than you must have electricity. Take a minute and thank whoever or whatever it is you thank for all the good stuff you have in your life. Even if I don't know you, I know you have good stuff in your life.
posted by marxchivist at 9:03 PM on August 29, 2005


Nope...not secular enough...no atheist rescue group? ; 0
posted by ParisParamus at 9:03 PM on August 29, 2005



PP wrote:

"Nope...not secular enough...no atheist rescue group? ; 0"



No, no...we don't want any more Samaritans over here!...
posted by spirit72 at 9:08 PM on August 29, 2005


Now wouldn't it be weird if the next hurricane, which will probably happen in a couple of weeks, really did destroy New Orleans? D'oh!
posted by fungible at 9:18 PM on August 29, 2005


Again, not on topic, but one secular organization is America's Second Harvest.

Now, back to coverage discussions. Irish Trojan's Blog is awesome, and awesomely pissed off in appropriate measures. Still, some guy was on there going off about how the blog site owner is supposed to put his anger away for the day. Yikes.

I felt there was a disconnect between the local coverage I saw linked from here and the coverage on CNN, etc., however. The local stuff did not seem overhyped, even if the apocalypse scenario did not happen. Some of the earlier CNN coverage, however, was of the disaster-as-infotainment variety. That does breed complacency and the idea that, say, there need be no larger repercussions from all this, or no future extensive planning for the real Big One.
posted by raysmj at 9:19 PM on August 29, 2005


ParisParamus : "Nope...not secular enough...no atheist rescue group? ; 0"

The American Humanist Organization offered aid for the tsunami, so I'd be a bit surprised if they didn't for the hurricane as well.
posted by Bugbread at 9:23 PM on August 29, 2005


They just said on the WDSU feed that the Twin Span bridge is gone.
posted by amberglow at 9:30 PM on August 29, 2005


and a huge fire near I-10 now.
posted by amberglow at 9:31 PM on August 29, 2005


The local stuff did not seem overhyped, even if the apocalypse scenario did not happen

The people on WWL seem to finally hitting the emotional wall of inescapable imminence when the topic of the destruction of New Orleans comes up.

For what it's worth, that's the impression I got from the local coverage yesterday too (not that it was hyping, exactly, but certainly forecasting the worst, even moreso than CNN and the others at the time, IMO).
posted by loquax at 9:33 PM on August 29, 2005


I'd think the pickings would be pretty slim for looting with half the city underwater. Of course there's jewelry and so on, but won't most consumer goods like furs, fancy sneakers and TVs be ruined?
posted by davy at 9:37 PM on August 29, 2005


loquaz: Yes, but they said this would sufficient gravity. It did look as if New Orleans was going to be wiped off the map for a while there, it seemed practically unavoidable. And people did need to be warned about the severe danger, as the blog author points out. But the CNN coverage was all said with a bit of seeming glee, a bit of detachment that seemed almost deranged to me by comparison with WWL. That's the key difference.
posted by raysmj at 9:39 PM on August 29, 2005


yikes ... watching wdsu ... water all over elysian fields by 1-610 ... and i just saw a gator swimming in front of mcdonalds ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:39 PM on August 29, 2005


i'm watching too--unbelievable, and the grandma's still inside.
posted by amberglow at 9:47 PM on August 29, 2005


i read on one of the sites that the 7th, 8th and 9th wards are all flooded, and Elysian Fields (which i only know from Streetcar)
posted by amberglow at 9:53 PM on August 29, 2005




Another good source - Breaking news from Times Picayune
posted by madamjujujive at 10:02 PM on August 29, 2005


CNN is showing them working all night to rescue people, but only have 40? 50? boats out altogether.
posted by amberglow at 10:06 PM on August 29, 2005


Schools start in August in LA?
posted by amberglow at 10:12 PM on August 29, 2005


dammit--CNN's saying they're suspending rescue operations for tonight--Jeannie Meserve is crying as she speaks...
posted by amberglow at 10:25 PM on August 29, 2005


(I should have noted that it was Jeanne Meserve I was attempting to quote above.)
posted by Vidiot at 10:32 PM on August 29, 2005


Can anyone recommend a good livestream to go to?
posted by codeofconduct at 10:37 PM on August 29, 2005


WDSU's is really good.
posted by amberglow at 10:46 PM on August 29, 2005


oop--link
posted by amberglow at 10:49 PM on August 29, 2005


now they're showing live boats coming in with rescued ppl on cnn?
posted by amberglow at 11:10 PM on August 29, 2005


A levee on the lake has a 2-block long breach and that's why the water's rising--God...
posted by amberglow at 11:28 PM on August 29, 2005


On cnn right now, a very calm woman from Tulane U. Hospital in New Orleans Central business district says that there's a huge breach in the lake ponchartrain levee and the water is now rising at the rate of 1' / 5 min. (1ft/hr).

Oh my god.
posted by dersins at 11:30 PM on August 29, 2005


1" / 5 min. sorry.
posted by dersins at 11:43 PM on August 29, 2005


Thanks, amberglow.
posted by codeofconduct at 12:38 AM on August 30, 2005


The mayor says that the flooding is coming from the 17th Street Canal; the breach is on the levee on it? Or the breech is flowing into it? He also says there's 80% of the city under water. And they need a temporary morgue. And the twin spans bridge is gone?

Live streaming video of the Mayor's interview with the WWL anchors: unbelievable nastiness. Link The bright and cheery tone of CNN is absolutely *not* correct.

The mayor seems like a really, really cool dude.
posted by jrochest at 12:39 AM on August 30, 2005


cnn reporting that army corps of engineers will make a statement regarding rumored levee break some time in the next hour.
posted by dersins at 12:42 AM on August 30, 2005


Apparently the levee break happened quite a while ago: here's the story at the Times Picayune weblog:

link
posted by jrochest at 1:18 AM on August 30, 2005


Their eyes are watching God.
posted by jann at 2:00 AM on August 30, 2005


Their eyes are watching God.

?

Zora Neale Hurston reference? I don't get it.
posted by dersins at 2:19 AM on August 30, 2005


yes. a hurricane and its aftermath figure very prominently in the book:

Soon after that Tea Cake felt he couldn't walk anymore. Not right away. So he stretched long side of the road to rest. Janie spread herself between him and the wind and he closed his eyes and let the tiredness seep out of his limbs. On each side of the fill was a great expanse of water like lakes -- water full of things living and dead. Things that didn't belong in water. As far as the eye could reach, water and wind playing upon it in fury.
...She crept on hands and knees to the piece of roofing and caught hold of it by either side. Immediately the wind lifted both of them and she saw herself sailing off the fill to the right, out and out over the lashing water. She screamed terribly and released the roofing which sailed away as she plunged downward into the water.


That's just one of the scenes that sprung into my mind tonight, reading of the people on rooftops in the night.
posted by jann at 2:32 AM on August 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


That WDSU commentator suuure ain't gonna win any awards. It's always during these long broadcasts that the best arguments for ditching one's tv are made manifest. Talk about talking bullshit. Oy. That said, if I'm not prepared to hit the mute I guess I shouldn't complain too much. Amazing pictures of the flooding/rescues in NO, however.
posted by peacay at 2:33 AM on August 30, 2005


What has happened down here is the wind have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
Rained real hard and rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
The river have busted through cleard down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangelne

Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tyrin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away
Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tryin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away

President Coolidge came down in a railroad train
With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand
The President say, "Little fat man isn't it a shame what the river has
done
To this poor crackers land."

-Randy Newman
posted by madamjujujive at 6:08 AM on August 30, 2005


MJJ, that's exactly what's been running through my head while reading this...
posted by Vidiot at 6:16 AM on August 30, 2005


Hurricane Katrina - photos and video .
posted by ericb at 7:36 AM on August 30, 2005


The Times-Picayune breaking news weblog has been a pretty good source of New Orleans info, but their latest update says that with water continuing to rise around their building, they're evacuating their staff out of the city, and will try to get west across the Mississippi to Houma. So it may be a while before any updates appear there.
posted by Kat Allison at 8:03 AM on August 30, 2005




They're now saying that they're pulling people out of downtown hospitals and into the superdome because the water's rising so fast in downtown.

It's amazing that the damage is still happening two or three days later.
posted by SpecialK at 8:20 AM on August 30, 2005


SpecialK: To be fair, it's only one day...

Also, the Times-Picayune (who are doing the wonderful breaking news blog) did an all-digital edition today (center of the page, next to the thumbnail of the front page); there's some really well-taken photos of the carnage, and a lot of personal stories and the like. Definitely worth thumbing through.
posted by Remy at 8:29 AM on August 30, 2005


Until they can block the levee breach and pump out water, it would seem damage can only continue until the water finds a level.

Here is a large graphic of the levee system.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:32 AM on August 30, 2005


The destruction photos are incredible. Particularly this one. 13,000 tons, jeebus.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:49 AM on August 30, 2005


WDSU is reporting that martial law has just been declared for the entire city of New Orleans. A quick googling leads me to believe that this is the first time it has been officially declared since WWII.
posted by ewagoner at 8:59 AM on August 30, 2005


longdaysjourney writes ". Particularly this one. 13,000 tons, jeebus."

That's quite a testament to both the engineers of the platform and those of the bridge. I wonder if "oil rig hitting bridge during Cat4/5 hurricane" is in the design specs?
posted by Mitheral at 9:14 AM on August 30, 2005


Sorry all, I need some humor in these awful times:

Captain Murphy: Until we find the thief, I am declaring Martian law!
Sparks: Um, I think its martial law.
Captain Murphy: Silence! Under Martian law... uh... what are my powers, exactly?
Sparks: Under martial law, you could suspend habeas corpus, empower a posse comitatus...
Captain Murphy: That's crap. Mars is wild, untamed. I'm forming a cadre of Martian knights charged with enforcing Martian law.

Sealab 2021, the good version, before Harry Goz went away.
posted by cavalier at 9:14 AM on August 30, 2005


The video on CNN of the man whose house was ripped in half and his wife was taken, from his hands, with it...there have been few things in the world that broke my heart like that.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 9:51 AM on August 30, 2005


WDSU switched to an Oklahoma feed...talking about gas rationing there.

the water's still rising all over NO, apparently, from the levee breaks. they had said a few feet of water already by the SuperDome, and that people should try to get out town: Martial Law has been declared in parts of New Orleans as conditions continued to deteriorate. Water levels in The Big Easy and it's suburbs are rising at dangerous levels and officials stated they don't know where the water is coming from. Residents are being urged to get out of New Orleans in any way they can as officials fear "life will be unsustainable" for days or even weeks. ...
posted by amberglow at 10:05 AM on August 30, 2005


.
posted by jokeefe at 10:07 AM on August 30, 2005


Dfleming:

Of all the things I've seen these past few days with regard to this tragedy, that was the one clip that brought me to tears. Even the reporter interviewing him was in tears.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 10:12 AM on August 30, 2005






OMG - the psychological impact of the tragedy...CNN just reported that tension and angst is rising for those in the Superdome. A reporter inside the building relayed the fact that a man -- who moments ago was playing dominoes on the second deck -- calming walked to the edge, asked folks below to watch out and the jumped to his death!
posted by ericb at 10:28 AM on August 30, 2005


omfg...and they're still bringing people to the Dome too.

CNN just reported that a Louisiana National Guard Unit is being shipped home from the Middle East in 8 days, so they obviously don't have enough Guards at all, and were lying.
posted by amberglow at 10:49 AM on August 30, 2005


asked folks below to watch out and the jumped to his death!

Zuh!?
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2005


ldj- How alert do you have to be to notice an oil platform floating by?
In a hurricane? With rain and driving winds so thick that it's hard to see the other end of your own boat, much less 30 yards away, and 20 ft waves trying to crush your boat into the dock.... Plus the platform is low profile and was probably at least partly hidden by the waves.
posted by jlkr at 11:01 AM on August 30, 2005


jefferson Parish residents will be permitted in for a few hours in one week to gather clothes and assess damage, and then will be booted out and not permitted back in for another month.

Keep in mind that Jefferson Parish is pretty much the City of New Orleans.
posted by SpecialK at 11:15 AM on August 30, 2005


cavalier, nola.com is reporting that Marshall Law has been declared.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:28 AM on August 30, 2005


After watching the flooding models from LSU, I was filled with sadness and worry for friends in Slidell. 20ft storm surge plus sustained wind and wave action. I remember the good times at one of my favorite places, the Chicken Drop, and look at the sat image and know that it's gone. I think of everyone out there reliving similar memories, and whose love and concern are focused on the same place, and I pray.
posted by roboto at 11:30 AM on August 30, 2005


MrMoonPie, that's a pretty funny spelling error...

All of the webcasts that I was able to get from LA have now stopped, including both WDSU and WWL...
posted by SpecialK at 11:42 AM on August 30, 2005



How alert do you have to be to notice an oil platform floating by?


Very Alert.
posted by drezdn at 11:43 AM on August 30, 2005


WWL seems to be up

Right now WWL is showing video of the burning buildings. What a nightmare.
posted by Corky at 11:50 AM on August 30, 2005


Wow.

The damage that has occurred in the past day has been mind-boggling. I'm in Baton Rouge and what we got was nothing (30-40 mph winds, few inches of rain, and power outages) compared to what occurred in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. I'll pass along any information that I get...things are continuing to develop and news continues to roll in on the radio and on the television.

Martial law has been declared in New Orleans. All traffic in and out of the area is blocked. The causeway (I-10) over Lake Pontchartrain from Baton Rouge is damaged and they are only allowing emergency vehicles on the interstate. I just saw pictures of I-10 toward Slidell and there are pieces missing from the bridge.

St. Benard Parish (east of New Orleans) is currently under 12 feet of water. One report I heard claimed that the area looked like the Mississippi river had reclaimed the area.

The I-10/I-610 split in New Orleans is underwater, but they are using it as a staging area to pull approximately 20,000 people out of the area. It’s one of three areas that they are using to pull people out. There are reports of bodies floating out in the flood waters…

posted by rand at 12:09 PM on August 30, 2005


Apparently somewhere near the superdome or the superdome itself has caught fire...
posted by SpecialK at 12:19 PM on August 30, 2005


rand, is there anywhere in LA to put all the evacuees they're going to have? the SuperDome won't last much longer without water or sewage, and they keep sending people there.

And it's not just the people who are still in town, but all the people who drove away before it hit. They can't go back.

this is a nightmare...
posted by amberglow at 12:24 PM on August 30, 2005


SpecialK, where did you hear / see this about the superdome or the superdome itself has caught fire?
posted by Corky at 12:28 PM on August 30, 2005


amberglow - I really don't know if there are many places left for the evacuees. The hotels in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas are booked, not only by the people that got out early, but by the power companies for their personnel to have a place to stay at while they're restoring power. I heard reports this morning that Huston, TX was taking in a lot of people, but they're going to be filling up quickly as well.

Whatever the case, these people are going to be away from their homes for several weeks. Probably months. And that is if they still have a home to come back to...
posted by rand at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2005


You know, they'll never remember Andrew after this one. I don't think New Orleans will recover. Not in this economy.

From WWW-TV's front page.
Jeff(erson --evo) Parish President. Residents will probably be allowed back in town in a week, with identification only, but only to get essentials and clothing. You will then be asked to leave and not come back for one month.
Emphasis thiers. Running newsblog here -- it's very raw, so treat with caution.

The reason I don't think they'll recover are statements like this: "2:41 P.M. - Jefferson Parish officials say schools could reopen by Dec. 1." Who will stay? Who can stay? At a certain point, you do what the sooners did: you pack up what little you have, and you leave, to try and make a new life.

I don't know what will happen, but I'm deeply afraid that the worst of the misery is ahead of us.

Some hope, though. "2:39 P.M. - Jeff Parish councilman Tom Capella says pumps working near Veterans and West Esplanade and water is receeding there...." -- followed by some more darkness --"
He says break in levee at 17th Street canal continues to pour water into Lakeview."
If there is a god, he/she/it/them/y'all will protect the Mississippi floodwalls. Lose those, and there is no more city. Right now, if the Lake can recede, there's hope they can stem the waters and dry the bowl out. Lose the Mississppi line, and they'll never be dry.

posted by eriko at 1:02 PM on August 30, 2005


The WWL blog is very good, as eriko linked. Also Brendan Loy's blog. WWL radio is the only radio station currently broadcasting in the NO area -- on all transmitters, all available frequencies. Their TV coverage can be a little dull at times, but I think that's partly a result of numbness and fear. It's pretty impressive that they're still streaming after all this time. WDSU is a little less numb, but they don't seem to have the coverage and data that WWL is getting. (I think WDSU is still broadcasting from Jackson.)

Estimates from a hydrologist on Brendan Loy's blog and other engineers (I think?) seem to indicate that there are 6 million gallons per minute entering the city through all the breaches now. I don't know if the Corps of Engineers can do this. And at what point does it become more cost-efficient to write off the city? Water is welling up from backed up sewer systems, it's finally reached the French Quarter, downtown looks like a soup, there's oil and gas flooding out into the water, things are on fire, random gunshots, rampant looting. Martial law for the first time since WW2, as ewagoner posted.

This is pretty seriously fucked.
posted by blacklite at 1:20 PM on August 30, 2005


The Times-Picayune weblog is again being updated, with a really interesting and (for a change) heartening story of some rescues in Slidell.
posted by Kat Allison at 1:34 PM on August 30, 2005


From the WWL blog:
3:25 P.M. - With conditions in the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans rapidly deteriorating, Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Tuesday that people now huddled in the Superdome and other rescue centers need to be evacuated.

"The situation is untenable," Blanco said during a news conference. "It's just heartbreaking."
They're going to evacuate everybody from the entire city... it's just mindboggling.
posted by strikhedonia at 1:35 PM on August 30, 2005


Is there a link for WWL radio?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:37 PM on August 30, 2005


SpecialK: Gretna and suburban municipalities including Metairie are a part of Jefferson Parish, and are part of the NoLa metro area. However, the city proper is in the Parish of Orleans.
posted by raysmj at 1:38 PM on August 30, 2005


I suspect that things are likely to get even worse, as folks get desperate and frustrated.
"The city that prided itself on letting the good times roll today found itself overwhelmed by the hardships caused by Hurricane Katrina....Food and drinkable water were scarce, forcing city officials to order nonessential people to evacuate.

The fabric of civil order was frayed. The Superdome changed from an arena of sports heroics into a grim experience for about 10,000 refugees. Three hospital patients died in the dome and another death was reported by officials. One suicide was also reported, but could not be independently confirmed.

Inmates took over a local jail and looting continued for a second day downtown.

[Los Angeles Times | August 30, 2005]
posted by ericb at 1:39 PM on August 30, 2005


Is there a map of the areas affected by flooding anywhere?
posted by cillit bang at 1:43 PM on August 30, 2005


God almighty! I just watched the flyover of the I-10 bridge (section after section completely destroyed), and there were cars on it! How'd that happen? Didn't they close the bridge before the storm hit? Here's hoping they just stalled during the evacuation, and no one tried to ride out the storm, in their car, on the bridge.
posted by ewagoner at 1:46 PM on August 30, 2005


The video on CNN of the man whose house was ripped in half and his wife was taken, from his hands, with it...there have been few things in the world that broke my heart like that.

Video available -- link in the third paragraph of the CNN story.
posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on August 30, 2005


Law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the news media, said that inmates took control of an Orleans Parish jail. (from the LA Times article)

What does mean, exactly?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:55 PM on August 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


it's another shameful comment on the media that for some period of time, yesterday and today, networks, channels, and even people here were breathing a sigh of relief that things weren't as bad as feared. Unfortunately, that ALL CAPS quote I posted last night (see above) wasn't being downplayed because it was inaccurate, but because it would induce panic.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:59 PM on August 30, 2005


ewagoner, watch it again-- there are PEOPLE WALKING AROUND on it. Near the beginning, right after they show the first stranded car, they pan over to the other span, and there are two people walking around on the other span.

I first saw that on CNN a couple hours ago, and I've been trying to figure out how they go there ever since...
posted by dersins at 2:04 PM on August 30, 2005


60,000 in the superdome, according to the National Guard...

Must be getting pretty stinky in there. Is the visitors bullpen now the latrine, I wonder?
posted by anthill at 2:19 PM on August 30, 2005


Is there a map of the areas affected by flooding anywhere?

cillit bang: all I've seen are these improvised maps of flooding.
posted by longdaysjourney at 2:23 PM on August 30, 2005


Looks like one of the Superdome deaths was a suicide. That must explain why Superdome officials aren't commenting.
posted by ed at 2:29 PM on August 30, 2005


ParisParamus writes "downplayed because it was inaccurate,"

Well we didn't see the complete destruction of wood framed buildings (because of the near miss) so it was still a little worse than what really happened. That's the nature of forcasting of course.

Did any high rises come down? I know lots of windows predicably came out.

The power outages and sanitary interuptions are fairly close but even a smaller storm passing directly over or slightly west would have caused those problems.
posted by Mitheral at 2:37 PM on August 30, 2005


barges--they have to move barges in, and move people out of there, up the Mississippi or something.
posted by amberglow at 2:52 PM on August 30, 2005


so they obviously don't have enough Guards at all, and were lying.

CNN just reported that the four states most affected have an average of 70+% of their guard forces available, and that overall, there are over 31,000 troops available nearby that can aid in efforts, in addition to local forces. So far there are 10,000 activated. In the 17 states in the storm path, there are 130,000 troops available that can be called to active duty. Maj. Gen. Ron Young of the National Guard said that the forces available were ample and appropriate (paraphrasing).
posted by loquax at 2:59 PM on August 30, 2005


Mitheral, if my playing-on-the-beach hydrology means anything, there's damage from flooding, but also alot when the water recedes.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:10 PM on August 30, 2005


Also, the rotation of LA national guard units from Iraq back to LA was apparantly previously scheduled, and not in specific response to the hurricane, for what it's worth.
posted by loquax at 3:11 PM on August 30, 2005


and CNN is also saying now that 75000 Guards are in Iraq, making up 1/2 the force there. Guess what? We need them in the Gulf--NOW.

The fact that they're bringing some home proves it, loquax.

And why haven't they sent every single Guard out of those supposed 130000 down there? What are they waiting for??? People are drowning now, not in 8 days. People are buried under collapsed houses and buildings all over the Gulf. If you believe that Major General, or any govt. spokesman about this after all the lies these past few years, i have a lovely twin-span bridge to sell you--minor repair needed.
posted by amberglow at 3:12 PM on August 30, 2005




I was filled with sadness and worry for friends in Slidell.

I just found out yesterday that an online friend from La. lives in Slidell, and everything I read paints a bad picture of that community.

The T-P blog has a long story about a guy boating through Slidell. (I don't know if it's possible to link to particular section, but look for the byline by James Varney.) I tried calling what I think is her number and just got a clicking sound.

Anyone have more news of those near north suburbs?

Also, I heard a couple hours ago, and it's now on the T-P blog that hotels were closing down, kicking guests to the SuperDome. 1. How the hell are people supposed to get there through the floods. 2. Are the hotels still planning on that, even the the Dome itself is being evacuated?

I smell a bunch of corporation weasels who don't want to be liable for their guests' safety.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:18 PM on August 30, 2005


What are they waiting for???

What are they going to do? There are hundreds of boats on the streets, thousands of official troops and police, helicopters, heavy equipment, the army engineers, and likely tens of thousands of volunteers. What will sending additional national guard troops accomplish? Besides the fact that more is not always better, NO is almost devoid of people, and full of water. The survivors are being rescued efficiently, it appears. What will sending more people to operate in inaccessible areas accomplish? I am certainly not a expert in emergency management, but I would have to see concrete *evidence* of how the current efforts are deficient because of a lack of manpower before I would condemn the authorities for their handling of the situation. At that point, I would certainly agree, even while cautioning that hindsight is always 20/20.
posted by loquax at 3:20 PM on August 30, 2005


CNN: Are you getting the resources you need?

Deputy Director of FEMA: We certainly are.


The Red Cross is there, the coast guard is there, urban search and rescue teams are there, municipal, state and federal agencies are there. From what I can observe, of all the problems that are occuring, resourcing is not one of them.
posted by loquax at 3:27 PM on August 30, 2005


Loquax, thank you for making that point. More is not always better, whether its in the deep south, or elsewhere in the world.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:33 PM on August 30, 2005


I answered my own question re: confirmation of the suicide at the Superdome. It's still not 100% confirmed; here's the story.

I don't know if this has been posted yet: Mississippi Gulf Coast Damage. Click on the link at the top of the page. Get ready. It's about 20 minutes of heartbreaking images from a helicopter that viewed the damage this morning.

I am heartsick. I loved New Orleans. I used to visit often for the Jazz & Heritage Festival. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Gulf Coast. I'm sending a check to the Red Cross. It's the least I can do.
posted by Corky at 3:47 PM on August 30, 2005


Looting is turning nasty though, loquax; it looks like some fires are actually being set, and camera crews are saying that they're physically afraid of the looting mobs. This situation is not going to improve, and bodies of authority are going to be needed to keep any kind of order. I'm quite confident that any and all law enforcement/national guard, etc. can be used.
posted by taz at 3:52 PM on August 30, 2005


From ColdChef:
Hello, friends. Checking in from the Wasteland.

It is such a bright, beautiful day outside today. All you can hear are chainsaws and generators outside. Otherwise, the town is sickly silent.

I've been working all morning on clearing my grandparents' yard of debris. It's hot, it's sweaty, and my grandmother, god bless her, made me soup for lunch. She meant well, I guess.

Other tidbits:
We don't have power, we don't have phones, mostly. What we do have, though, is vice. One of my best friends was called into work today at a riverboat casino in Baton Rouge. The boat is now open to anyone who wants to gamble, since they were lucky enough to survive, I guess.

I've seen a little television today, but I can't really take it. I'm doing little tasks so I can avoid the big picture. Because if I stop to think about it...

Anyway, for those of you who pray, or have an otherworldly connection, keep my family in your thoughts. All of my family is here and fine, but my wife's family is missing.

They're from the Bay St. Louis/Waveland, Mississippi area. They evacuated to my sister-in-law's house, about 25 miles inland. They are probably safe from the flooding, but the winds were pretty severe there.

We haven't heard from them since noon yesterday, when the eye was passing over them. All cellphones and landlines are down in Southern Mississippi. My wife is a fucking mess. Her entire family was together in one home. And we have no idea...

It seems fairly certain that her mother, her father, her grandfather, her other sister, and her brother have all lost their homes to flooding. Oh, and if you've ever seen my flickr photos, the camp we often go to in Bay St. Louis is completely gone. We were there for July 4th.

I'll keep checking in because when I stop what I'm doing to do this, I just feel like I'm still doing something, when all I'm really doing is avoiding what I should be doing. Does that make sense?

Whatever. My love goes out to all of you. Everytime I check my email, I've got a ton of messages from MetaFilter people, just to check on us, and that feels good.
posted by Vidiot at 3:58 PM on August 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


taz: They can be used, but can they be organized? They're not useful if they're not in the right area or if they don't have the right equipment to get around there.

How about you armchair, long distance quarterbacks sit back for a bit and let the people on the ground there make those judgement calls about what they can use and what they can't use?
posted by SpecialK at 3:59 PM on August 30, 2005


Looting is turning nasty though

It does look that way. Although, if the 10,000+ guardspeople and the entire NOPD currently there can't maintain order eventually, I shudder to think at the size of these mobs. I still don't know that the answer is more troops, or that systemic looting and violence is a serious problem yet.
posted by loquax at 4:00 PM on August 30, 2005


if the place is flooded, how does looting happen? seriously.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:03 PM on August 30, 2005


Because the area around the south end of Canal St isn't flooded yet, and that's where the shops (and the survivors) are.
posted by cillit bang at 4:09 PM on August 30, 2005


sorry, but I'm tv-less and in an office: does " isn't flooded yet" imply it's going to be?

(image of someone carrying a plasma tv on their shoulders as the water rises....person should be shot)
posted by ParisParamus at 4:13 PM on August 30, 2005


PP:
Streets were patrolled by the National Guard, but despite their presence, looting continued, in some cases in full view of authorities.

At a Walgreen's drugstore in the French Quarter, people were running out with grocery baskets and coolers full of soft drinks, chips and diapers. Around the corner on Canal Street, the main thoroughfare in the central business district, people sloshed headlong through hip-deep water as looters ripped open the steel gates on the front of several clothing and jewelry stores, the AP reported.

One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store.

"No," the man told the news service, "that's EVERYBODY'S store."

Looters filled industrial-sized garbage cans with clothing and jewelry and floated them down the street on bits of plywood and insulation as National Guard lumbered by.


from here.
posted by item at 4:14 PM on August 30, 2005


My mother had an interesting viewpoint about looting last night in NO. She asked why it would possibly matter at this point. The businesses are total losses, most consumer goods would already be ruined, and what did survive the people would have nowhere to take the goods.

Someone steals a flat screen tv. Great. It probably is already water damaged, and the looter likely has no home to plug it in. And if they did, they won't have electricity for a month.

Looting a disaster area is not a serious problem, in her opinion. You don't prosecute people for taking ragged ruined clothes after a bomb goes off.

I kind of see her point.

cillit: surely if it is such a reasonably small locale that is experiencing looting, they could present enough force to bring that under control pretty well. The footage I saw was showing looters carrying stuff on their shoulders through knee-to-waist deep water. I can't say for certain if that was NO or somewhere in MS.
posted by Ynoxas at 4:15 PM on August 30, 2005


WDSU's showing gulfport right now. Holy shit. There's literally nothing left.
posted by SpecialK at 4:16 PM on August 30, 2005


In gulfport, whole buildings were picked up in one piece and dropped on other buildings. There's literally nothing left of a lot of the hotels and casinos.
posted by SpecialK at 4:20 PM on August 30, 2005


Uptown, the French Quarter, Marigny and most of the West Bank aren't flooded...

You all can be angry at me if you like, but I'm not making a political statement when I say that it's very unlikely that more helping hands aren't needed. The problem with the looters is not the looting per se, but mob violence. One camera crew reported that looters were yelling at them, and saying things like "give me that camera," etc. A lot of the activity is turning nasty, and things are not going to get any nicer as conditions get worse.
posted by taz at 4:24 PM on August 30, 2005


Paris,
Many places are flooded only a few feet, NO is not a swimming pool, more like a bumpy ass lake. (now that it's filled with water)

On the whole where are the troops I've been thinking about it and lashing out over on Metachat and I'm totally ragey right now, cause shit is fucked up for a city that I love and my mom probably lost her house (ie I ain't gonna blame a hurricane on anyone, but the response has to be looked at, more of these are in the mail), but I think I have to say that it probably makes sense to start pointing fingers a few days from now when there is a better picture. I will assume that there are things that could be blamed on Bush and then all the way down the power structure as always, under any president. But I really do wonder where all these responders are when there seems to be widespread looting as is described here:

National Guard
The National Guard of the four most heavily impacted states are providing support to civil authorities as well as generator, medical and shelter with approximately 7,500 troops on State Active Duty. The National Guard is augmenting civilian law enforcement capacity; not acting in lieu of it.


(permalinks are broken, on the page.)

and here:

enforcement efforts to contain the emergency left by Katrina slipped into chaos in parts of New Orleans Tuesday with some police officers and firefighters joining looters in picking stores clean.

At the Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street, an initial effort to hand out provisions to stranded citizens quickly disintegrated into mass looting. Authorities at the scene said bedlam erupted after the giveaway was announced over the radio.

While many people carried out food and essential supplies, others cleared out jewelry racks and carted out computers, TVs and appliances on handtrucks.

Some officers joined in taking whatever they could, including one New Orleans cop who loaded a shopping cart with a compact computer and a 27-inch flat screen television...

... One veteran officer said, “It’s like this everywhere in the city. This tiny number of cops can’t do anything about this. It’s wide open.”


Once again permalinks broken.


I will try to withhold public judgement for now, but it doesn't look good. Best to wait on all sides, though.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:25 PM on August 30, 2005


7,500 troops on State Active Duty. The National Guard is augmenting civilian law enforcement capacity; not acting in lieu of it.

This part I meant to post, indicating that there seem to be 7500 Nat Guards available/in use right now, which seems pitifully small.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:26 PM on August 30, 2005


Just adding since I didn't see it mentioned earlier, and it's relevant to the do-we-need-more-NG debate:

Police officer shot by looter

WWL -TV was reporting that a law enforcement officer was shot in the back of the head Tuesday afternoon on the west bank. The officer reportedly approached the looter near the intersection of Wall Boulevard and Gen. DeGaulle and, while talking to suspect, was shot in the back of the head by a second looter.

Information was not available on the condition of the officer. It was unclear if the suspects had been apprehended.

posted by Remy at 4:36 PM on August 30, 2005


You all can be angry at me if you like

I certainly didn't mean to imply that I was.

Best to wait on all sides, though.

I think that's an excellent suggestion.
posted by loquax at 4:40 PM on August 30, 2005


WWL-TV Headline

****ALL RESIDENTS ON THE EAST BANK OF ORLEANS AND JEFFERSON REMAINING IN THE METRO AREA ARE BEING TOLD TO EVACUATE AS EFFORTS TO SANDBAG THE LEVEE BREAK HAVE ENDED. THE PUMPS IN THAT AREA ARE EXPECTED TO FAIL SOON AND 12-15 FEET OF WATER ARE EXPECTED IN THE ENTIRE EAST BANK.****

Also a number of video clips linked under the photo on the main WWL page.
posted by anastasiav at 4:53 PM on August 30, 2005


I honestly wonder if the military could do more if we weren't so tied down in Iraq. Fixing the levee breaches and pumping out water, for instance. Or doing evacuations with helicopters.
posted by Mid at 5:01 PM on August 30, 2005


Or doing evacuations with helicopters.

From what the coast guard said earlier, the necessity of those is dying down, as thousands were rescued from rooftops today. They've estimated that at most, less than a thousand such rescues remain. The national guard, as far as I understand, is not participating anyways, as only the coast guard undergoes training for such things.

I honestly wonder if the military could do more

While I agree with waiting before passing judgement, I just cannot see what more they could do (with the possible exception of patrolling and preventing looting, which the local police force should be able to do, and far better then imported, unfamiliar troops, IMO). This type of thing requires specialized knowledge. Urban search and rescue, helicopter rescues, engineering. More "boots on the ground", won't alleviate any problems as far as I understand them. How could your average grunt help in the efforts to repair the levee? How can anyone seems to be the question at this point. Besides the fact that every report I've heard claims that there are more than enough resources available, and that there are more than 30,000 guardspeople in the 4 affected states. But, of course, time will tell whether the response was appropriate, and I'll bow out of this discussion. Nothing but good wishes for the peoples of the gulf coast.
posted by loquax at 5:16 PM on August 30, 2005


You can only fit so many helicopters in so much airspace. (and if you watched the news chopper earlier, there was a chopper lifting someone out everywhere you looked...) There's a limited amount of fuel and landing space in the area.

To me, it's amazing that they've got several thousand troops and actual operational helicopters and other assets into the area less than 24 hours after the storm died down.
posted by SpecialK at 5:34 PM on August 30, 2005


who's directing people towards the only way out of town? who's walking the streets and getting people either to the SuperDome or a shelter? who's handing out water to everyone? ...
posted by amberglow at 5:37 PM on August 30, 2005


(and FEMA just said on CNN they're only bringing food and water to already existing shelters)
posted by amberglow at 5:38 PM on August 30, 2005


I honestly wonder if the military could do more

Yes, they can. On the NBC Nightly News tonight the point was made that manpower is critical in that many areas of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are cut-off -- communication-wise and physically -- from rescure efforts. Time is of the essence to reach any and all that may have survived. The devastation is not conifined to the high population areas (such as Biloxi, New Orleans, etc.). The more people deployed for rescue operations, the better.
posted by ericb at 5:51 PM on August 30, 2005


*from rescue efforts*
posted by ericb at 5:51 PM on August 30, 2005


*not confined*
posted by ericb at 5:57 PM on August 30, 2005


WLL-TV is reporting (via the Mayor) that the pumps fighting the canal levee breached have failed, and they're expecting "Nine feet of water is expected on St. Charles Avenue that will be nine feet high." (sic).

I googled. Map, with St. Charles Avenue marked. The broken levee is near the lake.
posted by eriko at 6:13 PM on August 30, 2005


More from the Times-Picayune:
Prison riot

An uprising at Orleans Parish Prison and widespread looting contributed to a deteriorating situation in Louisiana's largest city Tuesday in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Tuesday, according to witnesses and second-hand accounts from evacuees.

The problem is being compounded, officials said, by a breakdown in the ability of public agencies to communicate with one another, said New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas.

Thomas said he confirmed with New Orleans police that an uprising - and possible “hostage situation” - took place at the parish prison sometime late Monday or early Tuesday. Details were sketchy, but Thomas believes the uprising took place when prisoners were being evacuated in the storm's aftermath.

It's not clear how many prisoners were involved, or how many hostages were taken, as Thomas said he has been unable to contact police since evacuating to Baton Rouge on Tuesday. Cell phones are not working.


The wife and I had booked a vacation to New Orleans a few months ago, scheduled for next week. I was really excited to get to explore such a rich and storied city. But now, I'm just left with this unshakeable feeling that it's never going to recover from this.
posted by Remy at 6:25 PM on August 30, 2005


Does anyone have bandwidth, server space, and technical expertise to donate? I have something I'd like to do, but I don't know how to go about pulling it off.

I would like to set up a simple repository of names and locations of people from the Gulf Coast region affected by Hurricane Katrina.

My thought on how to implement this would be to set up a simple Wiki system to do this. Each entry would be a person's name, and it would contain their location if known. Other entries would be for indexing names by location, then by last name. To wit : You'd like to find your friend John Doe. First you go to the New Orleans entry, which contains links to indexes of last names. You click on the entry marked 'Di-Do' which holds all last names starting with Di to Do. From there, you find the name John Doe. Alternately, you just do a search from the front page.

The hope is that people in shelters around the area (Baton Rouge, Lamar-Dixon Auditorium, the Cajun Dome, etc.) could hear about this and register themselves. As a Wiki, the system could be abused, but I believe the system would still work well.

Is this easy to implement? What are the weaknesses of this system? Can someone point me in the right direction to getting this done?
posted by suckerpunch at 6:29 PM on August 30, 2005


Reports of riots in Orleans Parish Prison are being disputed. Do not take them at face value.
posted by suckerpunch at 6:30 PM on August 30, 2005


I wasn't entirely sure what the announcement meant by 'east bank', so I found this, which is pretty informative. And scary.


Everything in dashed-pink is about to be underwater.
posted by blacklite at 6:31 PM on August 30, 2005


8:04 P.M. - Mayor Nagin: Unhappy that the helicopters slated to drop 3,000-pound bags into the levee never showed up to stop the flow of water. Too many chiefs calling shots he says.

Wait, so the levee wasn't patched because the sandbags never even showed up?

Holy crap.
posted by icosahedral at 6:42 PM on August 30, 2005


Suckerpunch - I've been thinking of doing that. I'm a PHP programmer and could set up a simple database of names, searchable, very quickly. I have the servers and other resources to do this. Email's in the profile if you can help.
posted by SpecialK at 6:43 PM on August 30, 2005


Could anyone explain the mechanism by which the flooding is progressively getting worse? Is it water from upstream and runoff from upstream? Is is the levees failing separate from that? Pumps? Where is the water pumped normally? I would have thought the worst would be over by now...
posted by ParisParamus at 6:49 PM on August 30, 2005


I heard one helicopter rescue worker say there were 19 aircraft out today, 17 of those helicopters, and that his group saved about two dozen people. Those numbers struck me because they sounded so pathetically puny given the scale - do the 17 x 24 math. I can't honestly say who he represented, I thought he was Coast Guard, but I am not positive - he was on both cnn and msnbc.

I'm not sure if the question was asked of him or another worker, because I have had TV on in the background as I worked all day, but this evening one rescuer was asked if there were others still needing to be rescued, and he said "oh yes, hundreds ... hundreds..." and that they would try as best they could to conduct some rescues through the night, but most would have to wait until tomorrow.

No one can give any accurate estimates of how many people are alive and yet to be rescued - many are under roofs and waving out windows, not easily visible. There is no way for anyone to give an accurate estimate at this point.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:50 PM on August 30, 2005


Could anyone explain the mechanism by which the flooding is progressively getting worse?

As long as the city is below the water level of the lake, water will coontinue filling the city. It will stop only when the water level in the city is equal to the water level in the lake, or if they patch the holes in the levee).

And as for pumping, I think they always pumped water into the lake, which, of course, is the source of the flooding, so that would serve no purpose whatsoever.

Where the hell are they going to pump the water?
posted by afx114 at 6:54 PM on August 30, 2005


Where is the water pumped normally?

Much of the water is normally pumped out into Lake Pontchartrain, but the wall between the lake and the city has failed, so, although the pumps still work, they're keeping things at a standstill, in the best case.

Sometime tonight the pumps will fail. Then the lake will redistribute itself through the break and across the city. Thus, rather than having a contained 50-foot-deep (or whatever) lake, you'll have a much larger, 12-foot-deep lake, covering much of what was a city.

Someone on the WDSU live feed said that basically, the Mississippi is reclaming New Orleans.
posted by anastasiav at 6:56 PM on August 30, 2005


"Where the hell are they going to pump the water?"

Yes, but my question really is, why wouldn't the worst flooding taken place during or immediately after the hurricaine? I guess the answer is the up-river runoff...
posted by ParisParamus at 7:07 PM on August 30, 2005


Also, I don't know if this is just accepted as common knowledge or not, but Lake Pontchartrain isn't really a "lake". It's connected to the Gulf. So it will never run out.
posted by blacklite at 7:10 PM on August 30, 2005


anastasiav, thanks. That makes perfect sense. I guess I never imagined the levees would be so fragile; well, not fragile, but not able to handle this find of event; would have imagined that the levee might spill over, but not that the levee would fail structurally.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:11 PM on August 30, 2005


Yes, but my question really is, why wouldn't the worst flooding taken place during or immediately after the hurricaine?

Because durring the hurricane, the levees were still up and working. They were breached afterwords, and that's why we're now seeing flooding.
posted by afx114 at 7:11 PM on August 30, 2005


PP:


Cross-section of New Orleans (in case above image doesn't show inline)

This may help you to visualize anastasiav and afx's explanation.
posted by Bugbread at 7:12 PM on August 30, 2005


they sounded so pathetically puny given the scale

No one can give any accurate estimates of how many people are alive and yet to be rescued

Madamjujujive: Earlier, at around 6:00, there was a coast guard higher up on CNN that said (paraphrasing) that the coast guard had rescued almost 1000 people from their roofs, and that when all agencies are included (perhaps including the one that you heard), it was about 1500. He also said that he estimates less than a thousand were left, but of course it's not certain. I have no idea if this situation has changed. I also heard that there were far more helicopters in the air than 19, and that there were 350 boats looking for survivors.
posted by loquax at 7:16 PM on August 30, 2005


On being asked by Aaron Brown, Jeanne Meserve on CNN just reported "we have not seen any National Guard, but we hear they are here." She admitted her sphere was somewhat narrow.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:16 PM on August 30, 2005


and they also said that people are wandering around with no one to tell them where to go, what to do, how to get food or water, etc.
posted by amberglow at 7:19 PM on August 30, 2005


I believe FEMA Director just stated about 3,000 rescued toay, from roofs, attics and inner-tubes.
posted by johnj at 7:21 PM on August 30, 2005


A dear friend is with FEMA. She reported this evening that there was no way today for them to get to the needy areas, as yet. She agreed that right now FEMA officials are likely focusing on emergency rescue and assessment.

As I write, a statement on WWL is that FEMA workers are (finally) on their way.
posted by johnj at 7:25 PM on August 30, 2005


I wonder if they'll actually use those FEMA camps people have talked about?
posted by amberglow at 7:29 PM on August 30, 2005


FEMA camps?
posted by johnj at 7:32 PM on August 30, 2005


Fema camps

(I link it not to mean "Google it yourself", but because I don't know which of the many, many, many conspiracy theory pages are well-made and which are not, and also to show the sheer quantity of conspiracy theory material on them)
posted by Bugbread at 7:34 PM on August 30, 2005


Crews Pass Dead to Reach Storm Survivors -- ...New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said hundreds, if not thousands, of people may still be stuck on roofs and in attics, and so rescue boats were bypassing the dead.

'We're not even dealing with dead bodies,' Nagin said. 'They're just pushing them on the side.' ...


FEMA camps
posted by amberglow at 7:35 PM on August 30, 2005


Senator Vitter was just on MSNBC saying something about a new plan to float in and sink grain barges in an attempt to block the levee breaches. Which, when you think about the size of a grain barge, and then consider the size of breach that implies -- lord. But it sounds like the sandbag plan has failed, so I guess they have to try something.
posted by Kat Allison at 7:38 PM on August 30, 2005


if they send people to Ft. Polk, we'll see, i guess. who knows?
posted by amberglow at 7:38 PM on August 30, 2005


opps, my bad. THANKS
posted by johnj at 7:38 PM on August 30, 2005


loquax, johnj - your info on the # of rescues may be right and wouldn't that be happy - info just out in WWLTV's blog support the higher numbers:

9:18 P.M. - Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu: 3000 rescued to date. People taken from rooftops, attics and from water, clinging to inner tubes.

But I reject the estimate of 1,000 unrescued survivors as little more than a wild-assed guess, and not borne out by anything I saw or heard today. There isn't even good enough communication network to come to a determination like that. Nobody has a handle on the scope of dead or missing yet.

The idea that anyone has to spend a second night in the dark on or in a roof surrounded by rising water is just too horrific to contemplate.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:46 PM on August 30, 2005




Wow. Yeah, confirmation of the mayor saying "I wish some of these chiefs would stay away ... There are too many cooks in the kitchen." That's the reason New Orleans is flooding right now -- the blackhawks that were supposed to drop sandbags got diverted to a rescue mission. Wow.
posted by SpecialK at 7:48 PM on August 30, 2005


Re: the month-long imposed exile, shouldn't they wait until the entire hurricane season's over?
posted by Gyan at 7:49 PM on August 30, 2005


About half of my friends are from New Orleans, so we've been doing the message relay thing all day (almost exactly like 9/11).

(I know that it's not top priority for most people, but this question did come up)

Did any of animals in the zoos survive?
Here's a summary from the zoo-talk page: very little damage and no loss of life listed.
posted by milovoo at 8:01 PM on August 30, 2005


Here's the thing I don't understand: right now, they're evacuating (or trying to evacuate) the rest of the city, including the people in the Superdome. But where are those people going to go? And how are they going to get them there? No story has been able to explain it to me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:04 PM on August 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


What amazes me is that this could have been even worse. At least, with this long, slow flood, most folks should be able to get out alive. Had Katrina been just a little further west, this would all have happened at the same time... the flooding at the same time as that incredible storm. It's a needle of good in a haystack of bad.... but it could have been worse.

In looking at the slide shows of the vast areas that are flooding, it's just so huge. Each of those tiny roofs sticking up out of the water is an entire life. It's a whole family wiped out, starting over.. and there's roof after roof after roof. I'm not one to cry at disasters, but my eyes aren't staying entirely dry, either.

I grew up near a flood-prone area in California, and I saw just how much damage a flood does and how long it takes to recover. The sheer amount of work involved in recovering New Orleans is beyond my ability to grasp. Is there some point after which they just give up and relocate the shipping routes?

Could that actually happen? Has any major city been wiped off the map since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution? Dresden and Hamburg were mostly destroyed, but were rebuilt...it's not like they were in a 'bomb zone' like N.O. is in a flood zone.

What if they just decide it's too risky to rebuild? Boy, what an interesting and creepy thought that is to play with.
posted by Malor at 8:06 PM on August 30, 2005


ABC confirms the prison riot.

Good news, milovoo - besides people, I also worry about safety for animals and art.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:06 PM on August 30, 2005


very harsh post at Kos about the emergency plans (if they even had any, which they should have since they knew this could happen) and why didn't they involve getting people out of the bowl NO lies in. Busing people to the SuperDome is not a good plan, and it's not a good shelter, if what they feared what going to happen. What were the plans? Just to tell people to leave?
posted by amberglow at 8:07 PM on August 30, 2005


TPSH - There are spaces being set up in Gonzales and Baton Rouge for further evacuees from New Orleans. It's also possible that some would be sent to spaces in Lafayette. I'm currently unaware of any method to get them there, however.
posted by suckerpunch at 8:08 PM on August 30, 2005


oop--if what they feared was going to happen happened.
posted by amberglow at 8:09 PM on August 30, 2005


Newsweek has an impressive photo gallery on their website, including a chilling shot of survivors walking past the dead body of a victim, lying pinned under some wreckage with police tape tied around his ankle.
posted by Kat Allison at 8:09 PM on August 30, 2005


Suckerpunch and SpecialK, are you going to do this project? My girlfriend's family is missing a cousin. We know he stayed but no-one has been able to reach him since Sunday. At the very least, your idea could give me something else to reload obsessively.
posted by lackutrol at 8:14 PM on August 30, 2005


isn't there some kind of pre-fabricated resource, via google groups or yahoo groups that could be implemented? Sorry if that sounds lame, but it is free and turn-key...
posted by ParisParamus at 8:42 PM on August 30, 2005


Destroying FEMA: ...Which makes it all the more difficult to understand why, at this moment, the country's premier agency for dealing with such events -- FEMA -- is being, in effect, systematically downgraded and all but dismantled by the Department of Homeland Security.

Apparently homeland security now consists almost entirely of protection against terrorist acts. How else to explain why the Federal Emergency Management Agency will no longer be responsible for disaster preparedness? Given our country's long record of natural disasters, how much sense does this make?

What follows is an obituary for what was once considered the preeminent example of a federal agency doing good for the American public in times of trouble, such as the present. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:55 PM on August 30, 2005


Reuters: Officials reported a 3-foot (0.9-metre) shark had been spotted cruising the flooded streets.

This is absolutely surreal.
posted by icosahedral at 8:56 PM on August 30, 2005


It's not 'cutting edge,' but why not set up boards on QuickTopic?
posted by moonbird at 8:59 PM on August 30, 2005


Oh, come on. The only way FEMA could be doing a better job than it is would be if it were responsible for maintenance of the levees. That's really absurd.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:02 PM on August 30, 2005


FEMA doesn't really go to work until the floods have receded. That's just another way to take a swipe at the Bush Administration. In other non-news...
posted by ParisParamus at 9:07 PM on August 30, 2005


Can I really, really, really respectfully request that discussion of what the situation should or should not be if different things had been done or had happened be kept out of this thread (that is, both indictments and defenses of past or general political decisions)? For those of us without TV news of the situation, this thread, and the links provided in it, are very valuable as a replacement for live local coverage. The political discussion probably does need to be had, but could I humbly request that it not be had in this thread?
posted by Bugbread at 9:13 PM on August 30, 2005


lakutrol: It's in development right now. I've got the 'I survived/I'm looking for a survivor' page set up, I'm working on search right now, and then I'll allow people to post comments to people's contact info... eta's about another 2 hours, need to go home and get some caffeine first
posted by SpecialK at 9:20 PM on August 30, 2005


New Orleans Metroblogging
posted by madamjujujive at 9:20 PM on August 30, 2005


Uptown's going next, they're saying (it includes the Garden District--it's the richer, whiter part of town)
posted by amberglow at 9:47 PM on August 30, 2005


SpecialK, thanks, please let me know when it's ready if that's ok, my email is in the profile.
posted by lackutrol at 9:59 PM on August 30, 2005


The poorest 20% (you can argue with the number -- 10%? 18%? no one knows) of the city was left behind to drown. This was the plan. Forget the sanctimonious bullshit about the bullheaded people who wouldn't leave. The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation. The planners knew full well that the poor, who in new orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn't be able to get out. The resources -- meaning, the political will -- weren't there to get them out." ...--via boingboing
posted by amberglow at 10:05 PM on August 30, 2005


.
posted by drezdn at 10:10 PM on August 30, 2005


Amberglow, take your hatred elsewhere, please.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:21 PM on August 30, 2005


Amberglow, take your hatred elsewhere, please.

a rescue worker in New Orleans obviously is full of hatred too, huh? try reading links. take your hostility towards me elsewhere, why don't you?
posted by amberglow at 10:33 PM on August 30, 2005


Question about the Irish Trojan blog: it indicates it's in EST, but my experience with the net (for example, MeFi) is that people often call EDT "EST". Is it actually in EDT, or EST?
posted by Bugbread at 10:43 PM on August 30, 2005


For those of us without TV news of the situation, this thread, and the links provided in it, are very valuable as a replacement for live local coverage. The political discussion probably does need to be had, but could I humbly request that it not be had in this thread?

Could we possibly get a show of hands as to whether someone actually needs this thread for vital communication. I feel guilty posting the usual rants and comments if we're acting as some sort of supplimentary FEMA. There must be better options by now, no?
posted by milovoo at 10:58 PM on August 30, 2005


I can't say I "need" it. However, it is managing to do what MeFi does best: filtering the info out there, providing links to various places and items of interest there, and providing personal word from some of the people there or in the know. But, no, it isn't strictly necessary.
posted by Bugbread at 11:03 PM on August 30, 2005


This was the plan. Forget the sanctimonious bullshit about the bullheaded people who wouldn't leave.

That's not entirely correct. While it is true that there was no clear plan of evacuation (at least to the everyday citizens of New Orleans), on-the-fly plans involving buses and the Superdome fell into place quickly. Saturday and Sunday were beautiful, clear days and even though police drove around with bullhorns, begging people to at least head for higher ground, many people never even attempted to evacuate or seek shelter.

As ridiculous as it sounds to...well, let's just say it...more educated people, SOME PEOPLE JUST WON'T FUCKING LEAVE.

They won't. They just won't. The believe that they are better off in their own hands and they know if it gets TOO bad, the rescuers will come to them.

I know people involved in the evacuation effort and NO ONE was denied help if they asked for it.

So, yes, while the plans were lacking and they relied heavily on self-preservation, there were alternatives. Alternatives that were, for whatever reason, ignored.
posted by ColdChef at 11:52 PM on August 30, 2005


Jesus, amberglow, that email at boingboing is horrifying. FWIW, though, Louisiana resident Coldchef just posted in the looting thread an emotional rebuttal of the sentiment that the poor were "left behind to drown":

As a guy told me today, "No one can say they didn't have a chance to go to a shelter. We rode up and down these streets for two days. If they would have listened, they would have lived."

I know the argument is being made that some people couldn't afford to leave or that they didn't have access to a car. That's bullshit. People sat on their porches and waved off the buses that could have taken them to safety. I have all the sadness in the world for the loss of lives down there, but I'm more angry that I have friends who are risking their lives to save these people. I'm sorry if that makes me a monster.

posted by mediareport at 11:54 PM on August 30, 2005


Er, and there he is.
posted by mediareport at 11:55 PM on August 30, 2005


In repsonse to my earlier question - there are a number of sites set up to handle this. If I do anything (and, since I'll be on the road, I don't know if I can) I'll be working with those webmasters. (Witness this messageboard or this Wiki.)

As far as the evacuation plans, well, pay the most attention to the words 'political will'. AFAIK, no one was willing to face up to the political cost of earmarking huge amounts of money and time to ship people out of town. (Even assuming that the money and equipment was there, actually planning a forced evacuation would be very, very hard.)

In a personal note, it appears that my block survived flooding - until 6:00 PM EST on Tuesday. I've already assumed that the possessions I left have been looted. Now I know that there's nothing to go back for.

On an extremely fucking positive note, my roommate and owner of the house I live in, left earlier today. After witnessing looting firsthand, he siphoned off gas from another car and got the hell out. So, now, I believe that everyone that I was close to in New Orleans is alive, well, and far, far away from that pit.
posted by suckerpunch at 11:58 PM on August 30, 2005


AFAIK, no one was willing to face up to the political cost of earmarking huge amounts of money and time to ship people out of town.

This is absolutely correct. New Orleans has known for years that this day was coming. New levees were never built, evacuation plans were never formed.

All part of the ongoing "New Orleans Culture of denial" that ended two days ago.
posted by ColdChef at 12:10 AM on August 31, 2005


Good news, suckerpunch. I needed some.
posted by ColdChef at 12:12 AM on August 31, 2005


Almost done. I'm gonna go to bed shortly afterwards. Features are very basic, but it should be a good start. I'll work on it more after a few hours of sleep.

To leave messages for people, you need to have posted an "I'm looking for someone"...

http://katrina.streetlampsoftware.com

Please feel free to distribute the link; it's only useful if a lot of people see it.
posted by SpecialK at 12:37 AM on August 31, 2005 [1 favorite]


Crabwalk just created Katrina Check-In, as well.
posted by mediareport at 1:14 AM on August 31, 2005


If I may humbly submit a centrist position on the National Guard question, it is that first of all there is no evidence that the deployment of NG to Iraq is going to diminish the actual ability of the NG to respond, since especially post 9/11 they are operating in an interstate cooperation framework and there are definitely plenty of troops and equipment spread across the country.

Second of all, the question of why the NG isn't in place soon enough has been a perennial in my experience, including earthquakes, upper Midwest flooding, and things like the Oakland fire. The NG -- sorry to say it -- takes its bloody time calling up troops, assembling them at their designated armories, and moving into affected areas. They are not first responders, by training, mission, or history. They move slowly and deliberately to take control of assigned areas if the mission is security. (When they have rushed in, we've had things like Kent State.) They aren't there yet because they never would have been there yet. They were assembling in Memphis, for bog's sake, and have to road convoy as far as they can. There's a day right there. (Obviously you put them closer and you simply put your recovery force in harm's way.)

Third, the original call-up -- in retrospect -- may have been pitifully small. The Governor of Louisiana (a Democrat) chose a force level of some 7,500, which may have had nothing to do with the fact that 1/3 of the LANG is in Iraq and more to do with FEMA recommendations and prior hurricane experience of state government. After all, they didn't call up every last undeployed NG. The troops being called in now will be a much larger number than that, and obviously this was a planning error of some proportion. This is turning into an American tsunami and just as the full impact of that took days or weeks to become clear we're just now grasping how fucking big the catastrophe is.

Clearly there are many emergencies that must be dealt with including levee breaks. Again, this is not a failure that really falls on the NG. They're probably using many different resources to try to deal with this and the NG isn't really the type of resource to use, other than to say they're warm bodies we already control. When Chicago was "flooded" in the underground train tunnels, the city went through at least a few days of creative approaches being tried by city workers, then city contractors, before hiring a major urban construction contractor to supervise the plugging of the hole and the recovery effort. These things often take time even when the solution is "obvious" such as "plug the leak".

The idea of using barges as evacuation platforms is novel and creative, although I'm not sure whether it would work well in practice -- you have to get the people to the barges somehow through the flooded city, and only small boats can really do that. More likely they will just be Chinooked out.

Finally, there are many things that could have been done beforehand to minimize loss of life and property, but were not. Higher levees is an obvious solution, but the levees could be higher and still fail in a record-breaking storm like Katrina. The problem is simply that NOLA is in a bowl in the middle of water. Things that might mitigate a hurricane's storm surge come down primarily to more coastal land, but that actually requires eliminating the levees and much of the flood control that the ACE has relied on for a century. It's a mindset that's fixed in concrete with the city and its commercial interests in place providing a sturdy anchor. The crazy-talk but probably-correct idea of ripping out the levees will never happen, just as it won't soon happen in the upper Midwest, where it's clear to scientists that farmland serves as a safety valve and levees bottle up water and worsen flooding. But the larger picture says that just like the Space Shuttle, you have a situation where gaining 1% more protection can increase your costs 10% or 100%. At a certain point the federal and local governments run out of resources.

It's my opinion that the biggest thing the government could have done to make this disaster smaller would have been the drastic, inhuman step of eliminating the role of the government as insurer of last resort for flood victims. If you made people pay the true costs of living below sea level cheek-to-jowl with the sea, nobody could afford it, and NOLA would empty out of its own accord. I say this as someone who has been to the French Quarter and hoped to go again. I don't think it was really possible to spend enough money to guarantee no damage or loss of life from a storm like Katrina. You build for the 100-year spring flood, not the 250-year hurricane, because the latter involves spending money nobody has.

That is all.
posted by dhartung at 1:36 AM on August 31, 2005


Nagin: Entire City Will Soon Be Underwater, from WDSU. The video interview with the mayor is absolutely chilling. "It's gonna be the entire city...The bowl is now filling up...There's not a lot of options, Norman."
posted by mediareport at 1:42 AM on August 31, 2005


Many thanks to SpecialK for doing what he could; if anybody knows about someone who might be missed, please visit the site and post your information.
posted by lackutrol at 1:42 AM on August 31, 2005


Please excuse the following dreadful Internet rumor-mongering, but there is talk of very bad news about to come out of southern Mississippi tomorrow. A poster at the website FreeRepublic just wrote the following comments in a thread, which, if true, is just so damn heartbreaking:
"It is with heavy heart I write this...

I have finally reconnected with my best friend who is a paramedic who was sent from Georgia 2 days ago to Gulf Port, Mississippi before the hurricane hit.

He just reached me within the last 10 mins via emergency cell phone to tell me he was alive.

Thousands of bodies have been discovered throughout Mississippi in Gulf Port, Waveland,Hancock County,Bay of St.Louis.

They are hanging in trees and they are pulling them out 30 at a time. Entire families found drowned in their homes and washing up on shore..."
And then, in a later comment from the same person:
"He got very quiet with me when I told him the numbers that have been public so far. He asked what have they said? I told him 50-80...he said "dude..we are picking up 30 at a time...thousands are dead...why aren't they saying...I guess I better shut up then...don't give my name" word for word in the call..."
(Whatever you may think of their members' political views--and please don't tell us, I'm sure we can guess--FreeRepublic is usually very quick on the draw with breaking news threads. And with a massive userbase, many of whom live in the South [or other red states] and many of whom are ham radio operators, they're a good source of web materials on the hurricane.)
posted by Asparagirl at 2:20 AM on August 31, 2005


The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation.

This was absolutely unfathomable to me. The authorities had two days to prepare so why didn't they organize bussing people out of the area? Why weren't there large government organized shelters set up in neighboring states so poor folks would have a free place to go?
posted by dydecker at 3:48 AM on August 31, 2005


The company I work for is matching all contributions (up to $1000) that employees make to the Red Cross. Check with your employer to see if they have a similar plan, and how it works.
posted by Corky at 6:14 AM on August 31, 2005


dhartung: Thanks very much for the comment.
posted by loquax at 6:25 AM on August 31, 2005


NOLA.com: As the day wore on, the only dry land was a narrow band from the French Quarter and parts of Uptown, the same small strip that was settled by Bienville amid the swamps. On Tuesday night, it appeared the city was returning to swamp when a daylong effort to shore the levee near the Hammond Highway failed.

NOLA.com: Flooding will only get worse

NYT: Officials at the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security confirmed that officials in Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes had tried to call for martial law, which is not authorized by the State Constitution.Officials at the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security confirmed that officials in Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes had tried to call for martial law, which is not authorized by the State Constitution.Officials at the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security confirmed that officials in Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes had tried to call for martial law, which is not authorized by the State Constitution.

Now is the time for your tears...
posted by Zurishaddai at 6:39 AM on August 31, 2005


Whoops, sorry for those unintended repetitions...
posted by Zurishaddai at 6:43 AM on August 31, 2005


ColdChef writes "They won't. They just won't. The believe that they are better off in their own hands and they know if it gets TOO bad, the rescuers will come to them."

Saw the same thing during the big fires in BC a couple years ago. Combination of several factors: 1) Some people value their property over their lives. 2) Some people don't trust the government and/or authority figures. 3) Some people never outgrow their teenage sense of invulnerability. There is also a certain amount of "well the last four times they told me to evac nothing happened but my house getting looted so this time I'm staying."

I also think part of it is that these huge disasters, natural or man made, are incomprehensible. I know when I first saw the damage a major tornado could do in person I was stunned for several minutes. It was much more powerful than I could have imagined. People who have lived thru several hurricanes before may feel they can handle it not realising that a) they had some luck last time and b) Katrina is taking it to a whole nother level.
posted by Mitheral at 6:49 AM on August 31, 2005


I guess those FEMA camps don't really exist, as a bus convoy will be taking all of NO's refugees from the Superdome and other shelters to Houston's Astrodome.
posted by ewagoner at 7:10 AM on August 31, 2005




"For the dead, no dignity."
posted by ericb at 8:13 AM on August 31, 2005


[This is heartwrenching]
posted by ericb at 8:14 AM on August 31, 2005


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Coast Guard had rescued 1,259 hurricane
victims as of midnight Tuesday, and rescue efforts are continuing, a Coast
Guard spokesman told CNN.
An earlier Coast Guard press release mistakenly stated that about 1,200
stranded people were rescued Monday, and thousands on Tuesday. But the actual
number of rescues Monday was 100 to 200, numbers that were somehow
misconstrued, a spokesman said.
The rescues were done by both Coast Guard boats and helicopters.

People inquiring about family and friends who did not evacuate the greater
New Orleans area should contact the American Red Cross at (866) 438-4636.
posted by Vidiot at 8:28 AM on August 31, 2005


FreeRepublic is usually very quick on the draw with breaking news ... they're a good source of web materials on the hurricane.)

If you keep an eye on that thread, even they are a bit skeptical of this one. It sounds like a rumor, and it may well be. You might be convinced of the value of freeper news, but I'm not.
posted by milovoo at 8:34 AM on August 31, 2005


Ya how could you keep something like that many bodies secret. People like ColdChef would start hearing about it and then the world would know.
posted by Mitheral at 9:02 AM on August 31, 2005


If there ever was an occasion that screamed for strong national coordination and leadership, this is it. In many states where refugees are or will be, housing, food, medical care, schools, financial assistance, counseling, jobs?, etc, all will have to be provided to hundreds of thousands (a million? more?) of people for months and months.
posted by amberglow at 9:15 AM on August 31, 2005


nola.com: Mississippi damages detailed

(AP) - Town-by-town report of Mississippi coastal damage from
Hurricane Katrina.

Overall: U.S. 90 buried under several feet of sand ...
communications down, transportation systems demolished ... medical
services crippled ... high-water marks set by Camille shattered.

Bay St. Louis: Whole neighborhoods washed away ... highway and
railroad bridges to Biloxi demolished.

Biloxi: Legacy Towers condos survive ... Ryans, Red Lobster, Olive
Garden washed away along U.S. 90 ... Lighthouse still standing....

Ocean Springs Bridge gone ... bottom floor of the library and the home
of Jefferson Davis home, Beauvoir, destroyed ... . Sharkshead Souvenir
City gone ... Edgewater Village strip shopping center gutted ... Also
gone: the steeple of historic Hansboro Presbyterian Church; Waters Edge
II apartments; Diamondhead Yacht Club, the old neon McDonald's sign
on Pass Road ... Massive damage in east end of city ... almost total
devastation primarily south of the railroad tracks near Lee Street,
Point
Cadet and Casino Row

Beau Rivage still stands ... Hard Rock Casino,
originally scheduled to open this week, suffered 50 percent damages ...
At least five casinos out of commission ... St. Thomas the Apostlic
Catholic Church, which sits on U.S. 90, is gone.

D'Iberville: New addition to Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church of
D'Iberville destroyed; damage to sanctuary ... structural damage to
D'Iberville High School ... hundreds of homes destroyed.

Gulfport: Gulf Coast Medical Center lost power and evacuated patients
to Alabama hospitals ... Mississippi State Port lost its lifting
facilities and cranes ... Historical Grass Lawn building destroyed ... Fun Time USA
left with only bumper boats, pool and go-cart track ... numerous businesses
and homes on Pass Road damaged or destroyed ... dozens of homes
missing on Beach Boulevard ... fire chief estimates 75 percent of
buildings have major roof damage, "if they have a roof left at all" ...
the storm surge crossed the CSX railroad tracks ... heavy damage to
Memorial Hospital ... first floor of the Armed Forces Retirement Home
flooded ... 3 of 4 walls have collapsed at Harrison Central 9th Grade
School in North Gulfport ... at least three firehouses with significant
damage.

Hancock County: Emergency Operations Center swamped ... back of the
county courthouse gave way.

Harrison County: Old courthouse building destroyed ... damage to
virtually all shelters ... Lyman Elementary lost two buildings ...
Woolmarket Elementary lost its roof ... West Wortham Elementary has
significant roof damage.

Hattiesburg: A number of businesses and homes damaged in the area ...
U.S. 49 and Highway 11 shut down ... Wind speeds of 95 mph.

Jackson County: Open Springs Hospital remained open for emergency
treatment ... Roof peeled off Emergency Operations Center.

Long Beach: Most buildings within 200 yards of U.S. 90 disappeared ...
Stately homes and apartment complexes that lined the shore are gone ...
First Baptist Church is leveled.

Moss Point: Floodwater surrounded two hotels full of guests ... Much of
downtown destroyed ... 20 feet of water flooded most of the city.

Pascagoula: Six blocks of Market Street destroyed ... Jackson County
Emergency Management Agency had to relocate to the courthouse after
the roof came off their building downtown ... roof came off the gym at
St. Martin High School ... reports of flooding in the Chipley area.

Pass Christian: Bridge to Bay St. Louis destroyed, along with several
other bridges ... Harbor and beachfront community gone ... in eastern
part of city, water rose to more than 20 feet above ground level ...
flooding on Beatline Road at the 90-degree turn ... . House in the
middle of the road on Second Street.
posted by anastasiav at 9:16 AM on August 31, 2005


The Astrodome? Why do I think you are going to have trouble getting 10 to 20 thousand people who have experienced the Superdome to be tractable to that plan?

Where are the Homeland Security plans? I thought there had been some planning for mass urban evacuations should a terrorist event like a dirty bomb hit one of our major cities, no? Wouldn't an immediate launch of emergency shelter centers be part of that plan? Surely a major shipping/energy port should have had better emergency planning in place for a terrorist event, no? To me, this event exposes Homeland Security for the sham that it is.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:18 AM on August 31, 2005


The Astrodome

[Bad Taste]
Will this mean the Astros will have to play on the road more? Maybe that improve the Mets' chances....
[/Bad Taste]
posted by ParisParamus at 9:26 AM on August 31, 2005


The Astrodome? News articles say the Astrodome hasn't been used for a professional sporting event in years- what is it used for now? Does it have AC?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:27 AM on August 31, 2005 [1 favorite]


mjjj, so far, there has been a successful evacuation, with a margin or fatalities about equal to the number of people ignorant or stupid enough to award evacuations; and from a place that was just waiting for a deluge.

Just how does that impugn Homeland Security (in a semi-objective, non-I Hate George Bush ab initio person's mind?)
posted by ParisParamus at 9:32 AM on August 31, 2005


Actually, if memory serves, the Astros don't play there any more...shucks...
posted by ParisParamus at 9:32 AM on August 31, 2005


The Astrodome? Why do I think you are going to have trouble getting 10 to 20 thousand people who have experienced the Superdome to be tractable to that plan?

I bet the Astrodome has working lights, toilets, and probably showers.
posted by grateful at 9:55 AM on August 31, 2005


You have to admit the superdome plan was pretty lame. I don't think that we can blame everything on ignorant and stupid people either (nice one that...). How many unjustified dire warnings does a city like New Orleans get every year? How many people in the superdome were unable to leave the city because of medical issues, financial inability (lack of car, gas money, etc.)?

Those with the resources and ability to get out did so for the most part. Our system has failed those lacking resources and lacking options. I don't know what this says about our overarching homeland security superstructure, but it doesn't really seem to bode that well to me.
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 9:57 AM on August 31, 2005


So far there has been a successful evacuation of the people who had the means and resources to leave on their own, and a short-term emergency shelter for those who didn't.

If a terrorist event were to occur, there wouldn't be time for even that - where are the emergency shelter plans? The emergency evacuation plans? Any effective "homeland security" should be about prevention and response. And if not for the most basic of humanitarian reasons, then certainly for economic ones.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:00 AM on August 31, 2005


Superdome makes sense for 1-2 days max. It wasn't until after Katrina passed and the levees broke that it was a bad plan.
posted by grateful at 10:01 AM on August 31, 2005


Paula Zahn NOW: Underprepared or overwhelmed? Why elected officials seem to be scrambling to coordinate recovery plans. - Tonight on CNN (8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT).
posted by ericb at 10:03 AM on August 31, 2005


Interactive maps, etc. of the disaster:
New Orleans Aftermath - Interactive Map [MSNBC]

and ...

The Impact of Hurricane Katrina [New York Times]
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on August 31, 2005


This is not good.

From the live video stream @ WWL and from the WWL website:

Roving bands of looters are breaking into stores in Carrollton area to get food and supplies. They've also stolen guns and armed themselves.

Paraphrased comments from Director Walter Maestri, the director of emgergency operations : Water continues to rise on the east bank of Orleans and Jefferson Parish and residents are flocking to the west bank, the one dry spot in the two parishes... food and water supplies are out for those evacuees. "We have no food or water for the evacuees." Says emergency workers have seized the food and water and drinks from Sam's Club, Wal-Mart and other groceries for evacuees, but he said that is all gone. Says water supply is gone. More water expected, but its not there right now. Says evacuees are getting upset and harried.
posted by Corky at 10:21 AM on August 31, 2005


The Superdome was billed as a refuge of last resort. The main concern was that people have a place to ride out the storm itself, and move higher if levees broke. It was never intended as a long-term shelter.

This was absolutely unfathomable to me. The authorities had two days to prepare so why didn't they organize bussing people out of the area? Why weren't there large government organized shelters set up in neighboring states so poor folks would have a free place to go?

The authorities did organize an evacuation. The previous evacuation for Ivan was hampered by massive traffic jams in the "contraflow" (driving the wrong way on the Interstate) mode, so this time they used a much more extensive system of contraflow segments. It seemed to go better (from what I heard) but a lot more people were leaving, too. Every last bus and plane out of town was booked and every last hotel room from Baton Rouge to Texas was, too. In evacuations people choose their own immediate refuge, which is very often relatives and friends. As for government shelters, nearly every school, church, and city hall outside the strike zone was filled to the brim. Again, these are intended as "ride out the storm" shelters, not long-term refugee centers. Now that the storm has passed and there are hundreds of thousands or millions without homes, FEMA is opening up refugee camps it has planned for some time (to the animus of conspiracy theorists), which will have amenities such as latrines and fresh water, but perhaps not much more than tents for people to live in.

Where are the Homeland Security plans? I thought there had been some planning for mass urban evacuations should a terrorist event like a dirty bomb hit one of our major cities, no? Wouldn't an immediate launch of emergency shelter centers be part of that plan? Surely a major shipping/energy port should have had better emergency planning in place for a terrorist event, no? To me, this event exposes Homeland Security for the sham that it is.

There were plans. They were executed. Surely some of them could have been better, they always can, but you're talking about millions of people all making their own decisions to cooperate or not with a government "plan" which you yourself don't trust. There were emergency shelters, they were manned and supplied. Ask the inland towns how often they've done this; it's practically a science now. I'm really not certain what additional "planning" you think should have been in place; perhaps you would like to forward your suggestions to state government and FEMA as they do post-disaster analysis. They're human, too.
posted by dhartung at 10:28 AM on August 31, 2005


According to a new NY Times article (found here)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:33 AM on August 31, 2005 [1 favorite]


from NOLA:
The normally unflappable Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Director Walter Maestri broke into tears as he broadcast a call to help for anyone who could offer food or water to officials at the parish's emergency operations center in Marrero.

Maestri said anyone who can help with the necessities of life for workers at the center can call (504) 349-5360.

Maestri said the water situation is so dire that like many people in the parish and the area, they are trapped in the center.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:33 AM on August 31, 2005


The refugees will make the 350-mile trip from New Orleans to Houston on 475 buses to be provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the governor said. The Astrodome will be available to house them at least until December, and longer, if necessary. He also said he would open the doors to Texas' public schools to children from out of state whose families were left homeless by the storms.

I think it's a very generous offer, but can you imagine living in a stadium for *4 months*? Just awful.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:34 AM on August 31, 2005 [1 favorite]


People like ColdChef would start hearing about it and then the world would know.

Sorry to bear such bad news, but yes, it's as awful as you can possibly imagine. There are bodies EVERYWHERE. When they find a home with bodies in it, they mark the roof and move on to the next house. FEMA is planning for upwards of tens of thousands of death.

And the water's still rising, and the food is running out.
posted by ColdChef at 10:36 AM on August 31, 2005


Oh, and here's a comment from Gov. Rick Perry of Texas: "By the grace of God, we could be the ones who have this extraordinary need...This happened hundreds of miles to our west; these are our neighbors. These are people in need and Texas is going to do everything we can in our power to help....We're going to get through this together as one American family..."

Can we put this guy in charge?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:39 AM on August 31, 2005 [1 favorite]


I am in Baton Rouge. I have only a moment to spare.

This is 3rd hand rumor, but a co-worker's sister works in the OEP here, and she said the word around that place is that the death toll will be 10,000 +.
posted by brheavy at 10:40 AM on August 31, 2005


This made me cry. It really did.
posted by ramix at 10:56 AM on August 31, 2005


Gov. Rick Perry of Texas: ..."This happened hundreds of miles to our west"

He/you mean "east."
posted by ericb at 11:04 AM on August 31, 2005


The Astrodome? News articles say the Astrodome hasn't been used for a professional sporting event in years- what is it used for now? Does it have AC?

It's not used for much, there's been a great deal of local discussion about what to do with it including hare-brained ideas like turning it into a hotel or indoor riverwalk. Most likely it will be demolished in the next few years when folks realize we're paying over 1 million dollars a year in up keep and not using it for anything.

It has lights, AC and running water. While not a place I'd choose to stay, it's better than the Superdome right now.
posted by beowulf573 at 11:06 AM on August 31, 2005


Now that the storm has passed and there are hundreds of thousands or millions without homes, FEMA is opening up refugee camps it has planned for some time

Of course these refugee camps, and transportation to them, should have been made available from the get-go. I'm not talking about private cars and regularly scheduled buses. This is not just hindsight; it was obvious to the authorities that NO was in jeopardy and I cannot understand why the government attempted to evacuate a city without organizing a means for people to get out.
posted by dydecker at 11:22 AM on August 31, 2005


For those who have been skeptical about the number of dead being reported by rumor, MSNBC is reporting that Mayor Nagin has officially declared that "hundreds, maybe thousands" are dead in New Orleans.
posted by headspace at 11:26 AM on August 31, 2005


They just announced that on CNN as well.
posted by strikhedonia at 11:26 AM on August 31, 2005


CNN just reported that the official word on death toll is "hundreds if not thousands," but that they are getting lots of confidential e-mails inferring much, much higher...

sending positive energy to ColdChef & his family - is there any way we can provide some support to you?
posted by madamjujujive at 11:29 AM on August 31, 2005


... numbers may be "... staggering"
posted by madamjujujive at 11:30 AM on August 31, 2005


Satellite images of New Orleans flooding: here and here.
posted by ericb at 11:31 AM on August 31, 2005


Newspaper That Had Warned Of Disaster Lives Own Prophecy
"Three years ago, the New Orleans Times-Picayune won journalism awards for an exhaustive five-part series called 'Washing Away,' which began with the words: 'It's only a matter of time before south Louisiana takes a direct hit from a major hurricane. Billions have been spent to protect us, but we grow more vulnerable every day.' (Read the series.)

This week, the newspaper is living its own prophecy." [Wall Street Journal | August 31, 2005]
posted by ericb at 11:39 AM on August 31, 2005


"If a terrorist event were to occur, there wouldn't be time for even that - where are the emergency shelter plans? The emergency evacuation plans? Any effective "homeland security" should be about prevention and response. And if not for the most basic of humanitarian reasons, then certainly for economic ones."

Actually, the only kind of terrorist "event" that would rival this is a pretty decent sized nuclear bomb (megatonage). Even the most "generous" terrorist scenarios would mostly create psychological damage.

But of course, people of your camp, MJJM, I suspect, don't think the terrorist danger is real, so what are your worrying about....Oh I know, more Bush bashing...
posted by ParisParamus at 12:17 PM on August 31, 2005


(AP) Katrina prompts global support for victims

Amid the sympathy, however, there was criticism.

As U.S. military engineers struggled to shore up breached levees, experts in the Netherlands expressed surprise that New Orleans' flood systems failed to restrain the raging waters.

With half of the country's population of 16 million living below sea level, the Netherlands prepared for a "perfect storm" soon after floods in 1953 killed 2,000 people. The nation installed massive hydraulic sea walls.

"I don't want to sound overly critical, but it's hard to imagine that (the damage caused by Katrina) could happen in a Western country," said Ted Sluijter, spokesman for the park where the sea walls are exhibited. "It seemed like plans for protection and evacuation weren't really in place, and once it happened, the coordination was on loose hinges."

The sympathy was muted in some corners by a sense that the United States reaped what it sowed, since the country is seen as the main contributor to global warming.

posted by anastasiav at 12:17 PM on August 31, 2005


ParisParamus:But of course, people of your camp, MJJM, I suspect, don't think the terrorist danger is real, so what are your worrying about....Oh I know, more Bush bashing...

I, for one, am enjoying the new, kinder, gentler, less annoying ParisParamus.
posted by Sinner at 12:57 PM on August 31, 2005


He was doing pretty good until now. Paris just as it behooves those who don't like the president to not take every opportunity to point it out, you are conversely behooved... That is what makes a good citizen.


in re: anastasiav's post,

It's sort of refreshing to see people in europe pointing out that we had it coming somehow, makes me feel like America is still viable if that level of obnoxiousness (dude for sure that is all true, can you wait till we get the bodies out of the fucking trees?) is still pointed towards us. When everywhere in the world has total sympathy for an American disaster, then it's time to hang up our cleats.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:10 PM on August 31, 2005


Ted Sluijter,
Actually come see me when a cat 5 hurricane fucking impacts the Netherlands and we'll talk about how such a disaster could happen in "the western world", were we supposed to use our super imperialism powers to fucking stop a STORM? Fucking dutch asshole, you can use your powers of self-righteous perfection to stop your hurricane.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:14 PM on August 31, 2005


Yes, because building earth mounds of sufficient height would have been so fucking hard.
posted by cillit bang at 1:26 PM on August 31, 2005


All up and down the coast of the gulf earthmounds and leevees would have done nothing, cliit bang, New Orleans was always fucked in this scenario, but the bowl problem was not the case all along Mississippi, that was that people live too close to the water in these days of heavy weather. I also didn't say he was wrong, just a tacky pom frittes and mayonaisse eating itoldyousoer.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:31 PM on August 31, 2005


For anyone to "mute their sympathy" because they believe that the people of New Orleans and Mississippi and the areas affected by this storm have "reaped what they've sown" is absurd and offensive.
posted by loquax at 1:33 PM on August 31, 2005


Perhaps I've missed it, but has anyone seen a link to sympathy statements from foreign leaders?
posted by loquax at 1:35 PM on August 31, 2005


The sympathy was muted in some corners by a sense that the United States reaped what it sowed, since the country is seen as the main contributor to global warming.

How fantastically insensitive.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 1:36 PM on August 31, 2005


Will this do you?

For anyone to "mute their sympathy" because they believe that the people of New Orleans and Mississippi and the areas affected by this storm have "reaped what they've sown" is absurd and offensive.

As is believing there are whole countries or continents who would do that.
posted by cillit bang at 1:42 PM on August 31, 2005


has anyone seen a link to sympathy statements from foreign leaders?
The first official sympathy statement from our OWN domestic dear leader hasn't even come yet. It's comming in about 20 mins...
posted by afx114 at 1:42 PM on August 31, 2005


(Just realised my link and anastasiav's are to the same story)
posted by cillit bang at 1:43 PM on August 31, 2005


The sympathy for the victims of the invasion of the Netherlands by the German army was somewhat muted as the country is seen as the main contributor to being near Germany.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:44 PM on August 31, 2005


As is believing there are whole countries or continents who would do that.

I didn't say that I did. I said anyone. And apparantly, there are quite a few people who are less than sympathetic, for whatever reason.
posted by loquax at 1:47 PM on August 31, 2005


Look cillit bang, I personally never said whole countries, I said people in them, I am sure sympathy and aid will be offered in the same porportions that it always is by human beings, out of feeling for other human beings. It's a cheap and easy dig and it smacks of the kind of black and white thinking that makes it easy for fools to justify their shitty insensitive outbursts. Where I come from, human beings are human beings and in extremis deserve compassion despite what their "countries" do or contribute to.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:51 PM on August 31, 2005


Concert for Hurricane Relief’ to air Sept. 2
"Artists with ties to America's Gulf Coast will participate in a live benefit special, 'A Concert for Hurricane Relief,' to air on Sept. 2 on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC.

Musicians appearing will include Tim McGraw, Harry Connick Jr., and Wynton Marsalis. Non-musical artists, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio and others, will also participate. The hour-long music-driven special will air at 8 p.m. ET live on the East Coast, tape-delayed on the West.

'Today' show host Matt Lauer will host the telethon portion of the programming from NBC's studios in New York. All viewers will be encouraged to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in support of hurricane relief through its Web site and donation hotline (www.redcross.org or 1-800-HELP NOW)."
Morgan Freeman plans Katrina relief auction
"Oscar-winning actor [and Mississippi delta resident] Morgan Freeman has helped organize an online auction to raise funds for disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The auction, which also includes corporate-donated items, will open Friday on the Charity Folks Web site, an online auction venue, and run until Sept. 16, it was announced Wednesday. Proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund."
posted by ericb at 2:18 PM on August 31, 2005


I hesitated, but I think this comment belongs here rather than in the 'Bash Bush' thread.

I started thinking ahead a few months, and my question is: will New Orleans be restored, rather than rebuilt sited elsewhere?

The Historic Preservation Institute has lots of links to other informative sites, but the problem with so many of these organisations is that, like the presidential order "Preserve America", they seem only to cater to historic sites which actually exist undamaged at present.

FEMA says:
Environmental and Historic Preservation Review may occur for projects that involves repairing a structure to pre-disaster condition. Structures typically include:

Roads and Bridges
Water Control Facilities
Utilities
Parks and Recreational Areas
Buildings and Equipment

Typical Environmental and Historic Preservation Laws and Executive Orders that may apply include the National Historic Preservation Act, Clean Air Act, and Floodplains Executive Order. Typical concerns may include historical impacts, air pollution, and re-development within a floodplain (if applicable).
So I'm still worrying about the status of the city. New Orleans has a lot of 'officially' historic buildings but what do the owners of these buildings do now?

Let's say a guy owns an old bar on Canal Street - if he has to rebuild elsewhere, he'll lose the tax incentives he formerly enjoyed. But if he has to restore his old building, who gives the permission and where does the money come from? And even if he can, won't the insurance be so expensive that it'll force him out and give some soulless businessman free reign over what used to be a great, locally-owned bar?

These people could be a great help in stepping in and showing over-eager planners that New Orleans' historic buildings could still be structurally viable, but somehow I don't think anyone will make the call.

So where does that leave a city which has badly-damaged historic buildings, and which contains 2 national parks?

Sorry for the long post, but I felt the links / thoughts were useful to throw into the discussion, if anyone is interested.
posted by paperpete at 2:19 PM on August 31, 2005


has anyone seen a link to sympathy statements from foreign leaders?
The first official sympathy statement from our OWN domestic dear leader hasn't even come yet. It's comming in about 20 mins...
posted by afx114 at 1:42 PM PST on August 31 [!]

Hey afx114: may you be the casualty of your own evil.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:45 PM on August 31, 2005


I understand that lots of people love New Orleans and want to live/visit there, but geez, restoring a city that's below sea level, with a major river on one side, lakes on the other, and close to the Gulf, so we can go through this all over again next time? I'm sorry if anybody thinks I'm an insensitive cad, but this sounds like a very bad idea.
posted by alumshubby at 2:48 PM on August 31, 2005


Depending on the extent of the damage, there's an excellent argument for not rebuilding; at least not with federal money (as opposed to using federal money for resettlement elsewhere,which I would support).

Something tells me that if New Orleans were a Dutch city, this would never have happened.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:51 PM on August 31, 2005


PP: that's the most Un-American thing I've ever heard.

They deserve our support, financial and otherwise, because they're suffering, and they're a part of this country. We need to give them help now, just like they gave us help in the past, and questioning the need for that help, because of where they live, is a horrible thing to do.

It must be hard being such a miserly individual, where no one is deserving unless they live in Park Slope, where nothing bad ever happens.
posted by bshort at 3:10 PM on August 31, 2005


From bad to worse … CNN is reporting (and showing videophone coverage) a building on fire at the corner of Bourbon and Canal Streets. The water pressure is so low that firefighters are having difficulty putting it out. Since so many of the buildings in the French Quarter are connected, one prays that they can contain the conflagration.
posted by ericb at 3:15 PM on August 31, 2005


bshort, PP said he supported money for resettlment. At this point, it's way too early to even talk about rebuilding. Until the damage can be determined and the prospect of making the city safe are ascertained, to plan on rebuilding the city the was it was now is unreasonable.
posted by loquax at 3:18 PM on August 31, 2005


bshort, nothing miserly about it. Give'm loans and aid! But support /= support to move BACK into a flood plain between a Big river and a lake, BELOW sea level. I'm not suggesting that they not get support, or that it not be legal to move back; just that they assume the risk, not me. It's just an objectively insane place to be living, below sea level, next to the sea!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:23 PM on August 31, 2005


Actually, I have to agree with PP, though we'd probably argue about the line. Would I drop a billion into NO to get it back? Sure. $25 billion? Tougher. $100 billion?

New Orleans is, frankly, in a bad spot, caught 'twixt river and sea, and the very floodwalls that try to protect it are a big reason that it is sinking.

Note that part: Sinking. In a 100 years, it'll be even lower. New Orleans is unsustainable. If the damage is enough, the smart thing to do -- for the country, and for them -- is not to rebuild New Orleans, but create a New New Orleans on higher ground.

On a smaller scale, this has already happened. In 1993, Valmyer, IL was wiped out by the great Mississippi flood that year. Instead of rebuilding there, they decided that Ma Nature had dropped A Hint, and they moved uphill.

Would it cost a fortune? Yes, no doubt. But how much money can we throw into New Orleans, knowing that this will happen again, and as time goes on, and the city continues to subside, it'll happen more often, and with greater devastation.

Note that PP *specifically* states that he'd support spending money on resettlement.

There are times that striking the colors is the correct answer. I don't know if we've reached that point with New Orleans -- but I can't state that we won't reach that point.
posted by eriko at 3:23 PM on August 31, 2005


The blog of CNN's Jeanne Meserve gives an "on-the-ground perspective" to the events unfolding in New Orleans:
"I truly believe that apart from 9/11 this is one of the most significant events that has ever hit this country. Anybody who tells you this disaster is going to be rectified in a matter of months hasn't seen the situation.

People are carrying their children, trying to get them to safety. A woman coming down to the police, close to hysterics, saying, 'My elderly mother is in a building over there, she needs dialysis. She can't get it. She is dying. Can you help me?'

And the police had to say, 'There is absolutely nothing we can do. We don't have a precinct house. We don't have communication. There is absolutely nothing we can do for you.'

That was amazing to me.

The other thing that struck me was the looting. The police were standing in the middle of the street and right in front of them stores were being ransacked. And they didn't even make an effort to stop it. I don't think they could, under the circumstances.

They were totally outnumbered. They couldn't call for any reinforcements. And frankly, the priority now isn't property. The priority has to be people and people's lives. The police are there protectively, I think, in case things escalate even further. But they are powerless. They're powerless in this situation."
more...
posted by ericb at 3:27 PM on August 31, 2005


From bad to worse … CNN is reporting (and showing videophone coverage) a building on fire at the corner of Bourbon and Canal Streets. The water pressure is so low that firefighters are having difficulty putting it out. Since so many of the buildings in the French Quarter are connected, one prays that they can contain the conflagration.

Has anyone heard anything else about Bourbon Street being on fire? I can't see anything anywhere else, but it certainly seems possible.
posted by blacklite at 3:38 PM on August 31, 2005


Here we go:
At about 3:00 pm central time, a policeman in New Orleans noticed a fire at the Foot
Locker store on Bourbon Street. But without working radio communications to contact city
officials, he flagged down a CNN reporter at the scene, begging him to get the word out in
hopes the officials were watching.
http://www.tomshardware.com/hardnews/20050831_154815.html
(I know, weird place to find news.)
posted by blacklite at 3:40 PM on August 31, 2005


What's the status of that area of high-rise office-y-looking buildings I've seen in photos?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:41 PM on August 31, 2005


The "Special Report" photo gallery at t the main CNN website shows a photo (currently third in the series) of a row house burning, but doesn't identify the location.

I can't find it now, but I read somewhere that the amount of gasoline and other flammables floating on top of the floodwater could be easily ignited by a spark, and create a major fire problem. This may seem manifestly illogical, but I remember it happening when Grand Forks flooded in the '90s, and a number of downtown buildings burned at the height of the flood.
posted by Kat Allison at 3:49 PM on August 31, 2005


Paris, you probably mean the CBD, Central Business District. I think it's okay for now. This rather hardcore guy (mildly psychotic, perhaps, too) has stayed to take care of the data center of his company, on the 10th and 11th floors of a building in the CBD. He's running a (the only) webcam at http://old.mises.org:88/NO2 (Windows Media). CNN and Reuters and Slate (to name a few) have mentioned his livejournal already and have been quoting him. Which is a little weird, but welcome to 2005. He's also reporting that the police officers are completely useless.

Brendan Loy's blog confirms that CNN was reporting fire on Bourbon & Canal, and a comment indicates that it's the same Foot Locker that had been repeatedly looted -- because of course when social order is collapsing entirely, you need some stylin' shoes.
posted by blacklite at 3:55 PM on August 31, 2005


CNN has a soundbite of three looters who claim that NOPD officers took their shoes, pointed guns at them, and Maced one of them.

"So we got new shoes", they said, brandishing bags full of several shoeboxes from FootAction.
posted by Vidiot at 4:02 PM on August 31, 2005


thanks blacklite--good link. is that water at the periphery of the building across the street?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:30 PM on August 31, 2005


"Firefighters on Wednesday afternoon battled a blaze in a building near the corner of the Canal and Bourbon streets in the French Quarter. A police officer said that no one was thought to be inside but that authorities worried the fire could spread to other buildings." [source]

Let's pray that there is no reenactment of the French Quarter Fire and Flood of 1788.
posted by ericb at 4:33 PM on August 31, 2005


I heard a story from a friend who I trust that a rescue boat driver was shot in the head and killed because there wasn't any space in the boat for them. If true, this is very chilling. I'm wondering if anyone can confirm this.
posted by calwatch at 4:33 PM on August 31, 2005


...or the Great Fire of 1794.
posted by ericb at 4:35 PM on August 31, 2005


A brief article(Columbia Daily) on current events including allegations of police looting.
posted by elpapacito at 4:50 PM on August 31, 2005


Is there a tv web stream of a local channel, or even a network?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:52 PM on August 31, 2005


(that's working)?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:53 PM on August 31, 2005


I keep watching the TV news with a slack look on my face. It all just keeps getting worse and worse: no longer just looting stores, but now robbing the houses of those who survived and rode out the storm in their houses, the killing of cops and rescue workers. mobs roaming in trucks with AK-47's...

Two minutes ago, live on FOXNews, a guy wandered into the camera frame with a plastic bottle in his hand, meaning to fill it from the gutter at the reporter's feet to drink it. The reporter had to beg him to stop and told him he'd give him water instead if he'd only wait until the segment was over. The man was barely responsive.

It's practically the four horsemen out there.
posted by Asparagirl at 5:02 PM on August 31, 2005


PP, here ya go: WWL TV has a live feed. Check their blog out for up to the minute details.
posted by Corky at 5:24 PM on August 31, 2005


WWL TV live feed
posted by Corky at 5:25 PM on August 31, 2005


From WWL blog: 7:32 P.M. - N.O. Mayor Ray Nagin declares Martial law in the city and directs the city's 1,500-person police force to do "whatever it takes" to gain back control of the city. He will also enlist the aid of troops.
posted by Corky at 5:39 PM on August 31, 2005


WWL is broadcasting from Baton Rouge most of the time, intermittently from some chairs in a room somewhere in New Orleans, on a number of channels in Louisiana. WWL AM is on all transmitters, all frequencies in the New Orleans area. The people actually in New Orleans are doing amazingly -- the few people in Baton Rouge are kind of not so great, but I'll take what I can get.

But Asparagirl is right, it's just deteriorating like nothing I've ever seen before. They claim to have some sort of organization on the ground, they give press conferences, but there are still tens of thousands of people in the city, in their homes confused and helpless, and the armed mobs just get more and more brave. Society seems to have collapsed around everything. I hope they're actually evacuating the Superdome by now.

From the NOLA Blog:
5:13 p.m.

HELPPP from writes:

5851. BAPTIST HOSIPTAL EMERGENCY
by Jillybean82, 8/31/05 16:52 ET
Baptist hospital has been taken over with guns. it is horrible. I talked to my friend who is a nurse. she was screaming that is terrible. there are bodies just everywhere. people are stealing all there supplies.

i don't know how to get this information to the news station. This is first hand information.

there is 25ft of water in the hospital. Please please help.

- Jilljill0782@aol.com
posted by blacklite at 5:40 PM on August 31, 2005


What really makes me astounded and confused and sad is that this is not getting the coverage it should, I don't think, and on top of that, I don't think people are really paying it much mind. "Oh, it sounds sad there, I hope people are alright." It's so much more dire than that.
posted by blacklite at 5:40 PM on August 31, 2005


Chris Lawrence of CNN was just interviewed by Paula Zahn during her programm "Paula Zahn NOW". He is reporting from the scene of the fire at the corner of Canal and Bourbon -- which is still burning. Lawrence said that the hydrants are not working and that firefighters -- many of whom have lost their own homes -- are pumping water from the flooded streets to their firehoses, attempting to put out the fire.

The more I watch on television; the more I read online - the more I become numb. Such tragedy. Such sorrow.
posted by ericb at 5:45 PM on August 31, 2005


This is a huge tragedy, no doubt. But I'm intrigued by Ted Koppels question about not rebuilding. Whats more poignant is what gives a city its worth -- for us to say, that there is no question it must live. Given Bush's pledge that it will be rebuilt, sure it can be done, is it common sense? This is a city with soul, if not just a "lust for life". But in a larger sense isn't this similar to a case of subsidizing (rebuilding) the low-rent houses destroyed by a raging river which are too close to water, except on a larger scale? Recently counties in washington are saying, that they are no longer paying for people who build/ even live too close to water. This town is in a pit lower than one of the world's most powerful rivers and lower than a sea which throws hurricanes at it with remarkable consistency. Not much to argue there -- except it has soul.
posted by uni verse at 5:46 PM on August 31, 2005


My opinion on a few matters/rumors commented on:

1. People deliberately stayed behind to loot: most likely a large number did; they're done it successfully before.

2. Police can't/won't stop crime/looters and are joining in themselves (from an online newspaper report): yep, they've done that successfully before too.

3. City officials didn't encourage Ninth Ward residents to leave forcefully enough because they are poor: close, it's also because that's where a lot of the criminals live (and poverty, too. Ninth Warders certainly are poor and, therefore, a big drain on services.

4. Gunshots heard throughout the night: happens every night and could also be settlin' up scores while no one is watching.

New Orleans is often number one in the country for murders/other violent crimes and is way up there for non-violent too.
posted by Marygwen at 5:47 PM on August 31, 2005


I just read the NOLA Blog: apparently that isn't the only hospital that has been invaded by looters. There are desperate pleas for help. I sure hope someone besides the blog readers and MeFi folks knows about this and are doing something about it.

I wish I could do something besides send a check to the Red Cross. I'm just ill.
posted by Corky at 5:47 PM on August 31, 2005


Crap... I just heard on the live feed that those 1500 police have been ordered by Mayor Nagin to STOP THE SEARCH AND RESCUE MISSIONS AND DEAL WITH THE LOOTERS!

How many people will die tonight because they couldn't hold on to their roof one more night while looters hold people at gunpoint to steal things that aren't needed for their immediate survival?!

Where are the damn troops to help out? Tomorrow will be too late for so many.
posted by Corky at 5:53 PM on August 31, 2005


WTF is there so much anarchy down there? Not talking about looting the supermarket, but the durable goods shit....
posted by ParisParamus at 5:54 PM on August 31, 2005


PP, this will make you sick: Nagin declares Martial Law to crack down on looters It's the expanded story from the blurb I just posted.

I don't understand. I just don't.
posted by Corky at 5:57 PM on August 31, 2005


Has the water stopped rising in the City? That's what it said on LeMonde.fr, but that's the first I've heard of that.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:58 PM on August 31, 2005


From the WWL-TV blog, today's entries:

12:11 P.M. - Army Corps: Water has become level with the Lake in the city so no more water should flow into the city, except at high tide.
posted by chrominance at 6:02 PM on August 31, 2005


Whoops, should have added a five to my post above.

5. Lots of people are drug addicts/dealers, in particular in the Ninth Ward (and Treme). Since the drug stores were cleaned out yesterday, the next place to go is the hospitals.

A nurse who stepped outside a hospital to smoke was mugged a little while ago.
posted by Marygwen at 6:16 PM on August 31, 2005


The weather forecast for the next few days is for "thunderstorms." This may sound stupid, but does that mean more rain, or just noise and light?
posted by ParisParamus at 6:20 PM on August 31, 2005


Does anyone have a direct \ stand alone link to the WDSU live video feed? I can't find it upthread.
posted by johnj at 6:25 PM on August 31, 2005


New Orleans has a long history of crime and corruption. There are few places that are more dangerous even in the best of times.
posted by Carbolic at 6:29 PM on August 31, 2005


The weather forecast for the next few days is for "thunderstorms." This may sound stupid, but does that mean more rain, or just noise and light?

That usually means noise, light *and* rain, unfortunately.
posted by headspace at 6:29 PM on August 31, 2005


I don't think either of those tv webstreams are on line. Perhaps there's a local radio feed of which someone is aware? Radio is usually more interesting for breaking news, anyway...
posted by ParisParamus at 6:33 PM on August 31, 2005


thanky PP
posted by johnj at 6:34 PM on August 31, 2005


I looked at the http://www.radio-locator.com, but no news or talk station that streams; at least no obvious one.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:43 PM on August 31, 2005


PP: Try these.
posted by chrominance at 6:48 PM on August 31, 2005


Junkies / drug dealers storming hospitals to get morphine and ketamine?

Jesus christ on a stick. I wish I loved New Orleans.
posted by anthill at 7:35 PM on August 31, 2005


helecopters have been shot at?! WTF...
posted by ParisParamus at 7:37 PM on August 31, 2005


And people wonder why more relief workers are not already in there?!
posted by johnj at 7:40 PM on August 31, 2005


but you're talking about millions of people all making their own decisions to cooperate or not with a government "plan" which you yourself don't trust.

If the body count is high enough we may see some legislation passed making it a criminal offense not to evacuate when asked to by the federal government. I'm talking evacuation at the point of a gun.

And while everybody is speculating about those who chose not to/could not leave because they were poor, uneducated, stupid, or criminal I can't help but think of that Television series Show Dog Moms and Dads which showed a wealthy lawyer and his wife refusing to evacuate during Hurricaine Andrew because they didn't want to leave their dogs behind.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:42 PM on August 31, 2005


Repeort from a friend on the ground that car gas is becomming unavailable in Pensicola, FL.
posted by johnj at 7:47 PM on August 31, 2005


St. Bernard parish sounds pretty fucked right now. The wife of a government official is on WWL is on air begging right now for help. I haven't heard the words "desperate" repeated this much, ever.
posted by anthill at 7:54 PM on August 31, 2005


from WMLTV blog - talk about the vacation from hell...

E-mail report from viewer Jorge Bravo: My good friend, Mark Ottman, from Berkeley, CA, has been staying at the Fairmont since Friday. I haven't been able to get through to him today, but I did speak to him last night, using the main hotel phone number. He told me that were guests still trapped there, staff, and even families of staff, who have moved into the hotel. He estimated about 1000 people there, with a lot of people camped out in the halls. There's no plumbing, no electricity, no water, and no food. As of last night there was a couple of feet of water on Baronne St.; I suspect it got higher today ...
posted by madamjujujive at 8:01 PM on August 31, 2005


Look at the Mississippi coast! The storm surge completely fucking destroyed it.
posted by dydecker at 8:09 PM on August 31, 2005


Biloxi Newspaper Slams Relief Effort, Begs For Help

"The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., in an editorial today, criticized the relief effort in its ravaged area so far, and told officials and the nation-at-large: ‘South Mississippi needs your help.’

It angrily revealed: ‘While the flow of information is frustratingly difficult, our reporters have yet to find evidence of a coordinated approach to relieve pain and hunger or to secure property and maintain order. People are hurting and people are being vandalized.

‘Yet where is the National Guard, why hasn't every able-bodied member of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?’

Pointedly, it declared that earlier today, ‘reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics.’

It added: ‘We need the president to back up his declaration of a disaster with a declaration of every man and woman under his command will do whatever is necessary to deal with that disaster.’

The newspaper has managed to publish two print editions this week as well as keep its Web site updated.

Here is the text of the editorial.
The coastal communities of South Mississippi are desperately in need of an unprecedented relief effort.
We understand that New Orleans also was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but surely this nation has the resources to rescue both that metropolitan and ours.

Whatever plans that were in place to deal with such a natural disaster have proven inadequate. Perhaps destruction on this scale could not have been adequately prepared for.

But now that it has taken place, no effort should be spared to mitigate the hurricane's impact.

The essentials -- ice, gasoline, medicine -- simply are not getting here fast enough.

We are not calling on the nation and the state to make life more comfortable in South Mississippi, we are calling on the nation and the state to make life here possible.

We would bolster our argument with the number of Katrina casualties confirmed thus far, but if there is such a confirmed number, no one is releasing it to the public. This lack of faith in the publics' ability to handle the truth is not sparing anyone's feelings, it is instead fueling terrifying rumors.

While the flow of information is frustratingly difficult, our reporters have yet to find evidence of a coordinated approach to relieve pain and hunger or to secure property and maintain order.

People are hurting and people are being vandalized.

Yet where is the National Guard, why hasn't every able-bodied member of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?

On Wednesday reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics.

Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!

When asked why these young men were not being used to help in the recovery effort, our reporters were told that it would be pointless to send military personnel down to the beach to pick up debris.

Litter is the least of our problems. We need the president to back up his declaration of a disaster with a declaration of every man and woman under his command will do whatever is necessary to deal with that disaster.

We need the governor to provide whatever assistance is at his command.

We certainly need our own county and city officials to come together and identify the most pressing needs of their constituents and then allocate resources to meet those needs. We appreciate the stress that theses elected and appointed officials have been under since the weekend but they must do a better job restoring public confidence in their ability to meet this challenge."
posted by ericb at 8:27 PM on August 31, 2005


Just curious, why is ice always listed as an essential? Without electricity, I suppose fridges could be used as old-school ice-boxes, but I can't see it lasting very long or being very effective in 90-100 degree weather.
posted by afx114 at 9:01 PM on August 31, 2005


ice as drinking water?
posted by johnj at 9:05 PM on August 31, 2005


Waiting for a Leader
"George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end....

Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.

While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?

It would be some comfort to think that, as Mr. Bush cheerily announced, America ‘will be a stronger place’ for enduring this crisis. Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes. But since this administration won't acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal."
posted by ericb at 9:11 PM on August 31, 2005


ice as drinking water?
Seems like a waste of space compared to just regular old drinking water.
posted by afx114 at 9:33 PM on August 31, 2005


I left New Orleans two months ago, after living there for two wonderful years. I have a lot of friends there, all of whom got out safely, but not after some difficulties...

One friend "evacuated vertically" with her mom and dad into a French Quarter hotel. Dad was confident that their house would be fine (and it probably is, being several feet above sea level), and he's also an ex-marine tough guy. But after riding out the storm, they realized yesterday the dire need to evacuate for real.

While they were getting their things together, my friend's family decided that mom would go down to retrieve their van from the parking garage. She's a tiny woman, probably 4'10", 90lbs, and just over 60 years old. My friend and her dad insisted that mom bring a handgun with her, and after some hesitation she agreed.

Upon entering the garage, she was quickly surrounded by a group of men. They said they were going to take the car. She whipped out that pistol, and thank God, they all took off running.

They got out safely, and are now in New Iberia, staying with relatives. Dad rented a boat today and headed out with a relative to see if they could get to the house in New Orleans. I hope they make it back again safely.
posted by hartsell at 9:38 PM on August 31, 2005


T-Mobile Opens Wi-Fi to Katrina Victims


. . . T-Mobile is attempting to alleviate some of that suffering by opening up its hotspots in those three states to the public through Friday. The company [will] reevaluate the situation at that time. . . "This free offer for the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama is for Wi-Fi service only, not T-Mobile voice services," . . . service [is available] at Borders, FedEx/Kinko's and Starbucks among other[s].
posted by johnj at 9:38 PM on August 31, 2005


Chaos in the dome. God! Just awful. I've heard it said that being in the dome is better than being outside the dome. Very hard to believe. I couldn't take it. And I can't imagine living thru all this only to be told I was being moved to another sports arena. And being told that I will be 'allowed' to stay there until December. Is the Astrodome really the best we can do? I can't help but think we would find a better solution if the refugees were middle class and white.
posted by marsha56 at 10:14 PM on August 31, 2005


Just a note about recovery and the "what next".

If you are a financial professional or work at a financial services company, you may consider being a volunteer disaster recovery associate through Operation Hope's Hope Coalition America program with FEMA and the Red Cross.

For your own benefit, before the next disaster strikes, you may want to look at the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) and Personal Disaster Preparedness Guide (PDPG).

Disclaimer: I used to work there in another program but the need is great and the program is well done.
posted by karmaville at 10:50 PM on August 31, 2005


Good God. It's like Lord of the Flies down there.


and, off topic, but: That's what it said on LeMonde.fr. . .posted by ParisParamus...wow, you really have turned over a new leaf.
posted by Vidiot at 11:23 PM on August 31, 2005


ice... to chill food items, or dead bodies (slows decay)?
posted by geekgal at 1:05 AM on September 1, 2005


why is ice always listed as an essential?

WHEN THE POWER GOES OUT


Without electricity, food in refrigerators and freezers will spoil. If you know in advance that power will be shut off:

- Use perishable foods in refrigerator and freezer first.
- Make extra ice.
- Freeze extra freeze-pack inserts and keep them frozen for emergencies.
- Buy a cooler.
- Freeze water in plastic containers, do not fill to top before freezing - allow for expansion.
- Know where to buy dry ice. 25 lbs. of dry ice should hold a 10-cubic-foot freezer cold for 3-4 days. Note: dry ice may be limited on some islands.

posted by johnj at 4:58 AM on September 1, 2005


Additionally, some medications require refrigeration as well.
posted by Orb at 5:14 AM on September 1, 2005


Watching CNN this morning - my God, why can't we airdrop food and water to these poor, desperate people? This is horrifying.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:16 AM on September 1, 2005


I am beyond numb with disbelief... this, from WWL TV website: Evacuation halted at Superdome . "The evacuation of the Superdome was suspended Thursday after shots were fired at a military helicopter, an ambulance official overseeing the operation said."
posted by Corky at 6:07 AM on September 1, 2005


More on this:
The scene at the Superdome became increasingly chaotic, with thousands of people rushing from nearby hotels and other buildings, hoping to climb onto the buses taking evacuees from the arena, officials said. Paramedics became increasingly alarmed by the sight of people with guns.

The operation to bus more than 20,000 people to the Houston Astrodome was suspended “until they gain control of the Superdome,” said Richard Zeuschlag, head of Acadian Ambulance, which was handling the evacuation of sick and injured people from the Superdome.

He said that military would not fly out of the Superdome either because of the gunfire and that the National Guard told him that it was sending 100 military police officers to gain control.
“That’s not enough,” Zeuschlag. “We need a thousand.”

He said medics were calling him and crying for help because they were so scared of people with guns at the Superdome.

Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard said the military — which was handling the evacuation of the able-bodied from the Superdome — had suspended operations, too, because fires set outside the arena were preventing buses from getting close enough to pick up people.

Zeuschlag said shots were fired at a military helicopter over the Superdome before daybreak, adding that when another evacuation helicopter tried to land at a hospital in the outlying town of Kenner overnight, the pilot reported that 100 people were on the landing pad, and some of them had guns.

“He was frightened and would not land,” Zeuschlag said.
posted by Vidiot at 6:34 AM on September 1, 2005


"In addition to all of the other horrors befalling New Orleanians during the flood was the creepy discovery that red ants form themselves into floating clusters to avoid drowning. As Dante Ramos and I paddled along Carrollton Avenue on Wednesday, I saw two glittering, golf ball-sized masses of ants floating beside our canoe."
posted by grateful at 7:02 AM on September 1, 2005


I wish Fema had a blimp over the city (sure, folks would take potshots at it, but I think that it would be a might difficult to bring down a blimp with a rifle--plus if you shot at it, it could swivel its camera and find you--then a nice helicopter full of friendy m-16 equipped guardsmen could pay you a visit...). Imagine how much easier it would be to issue directives to ground forces if there were a 24/7 real-time ability to monitor the city and what this might mean in terms of deterrence--at least in situations involving crowds ("if you can see the blimp up there, they can see you")--of lawlessness. Use it as a platform for inter-agency rescue communication and 24/7 official radio transmissions (I would wager that those still in the city either have or should be able to "find" a battery-powered radio quite easily) as well. Hell, even if the surveillance capability was less than ideal, it would still serve as a nice psychological tool to dissuade the more egregious (meaning: coordinated, violent, or sustained acts of lawlessness) shit we're hearing about. Just me talking out of my ass here...

Thoughts?
posted by Chrischris at 8:40 AM on September 1, 2005


marsha56's L.A. Times article -- um, I'm numb right now!
posted by ericb at 8:41 AM on September 1, 2005


You know, Houston better get ready. There are a hell of a lot more refugees coming in their direction than the original estimate of 30,000 that were in the Dome as of yesterday. Throngs of people are exiting the high rises and hotels, heading for the Dome because they've heard it is an evacuation point. I think the real number of how many people were left in the city is going to turn out to be much higher than anyone thought. They are starving to death, scared and desperate. Add these folks to the ugly scene at the Dome already, and we'll be lucky if there isn't mass carnage within the masses of survivors.
posted by Corky at 8:45 AM on September 1, 2005


San Antonio's getting ready too, they said on TV. I bet there must be like 200,000 still in New Orleans, all over the place. And there are people who need to be evacuated all around NO too.

A massive failure of leadership, at every level, even now, days afterward. It's compounding this tragedy immensely.
posted by amberglow at 9:35 AM on September 1, 2005


McClellan is on tv now talking about millions of things of water, bla bla bla, but where is it???
posted by amberglow at 9:36 AM on September 1, 2005


The boat rescues have been halted now, too... due to how dangerous it is.
posted by Corky at 9:39 AM on September 1, 2005


Throngs of people are exiting the high rises and hotels, heading for the Dome because they've heard it is an evacuation point.

And local radio here in Houston is reporting that if you're not arriving on a bus, you'll be turned away from shelter at the Astrodome.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:49 AM on September 1, 2005


Of course, the paper says something different. Who knows what's really going on? Sigh.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:50 AM on September 1, 2005


Sometimes people use stories like this and the ones on bad behavior outside on the streets of New Orleans to "prove" that anarchy will never work because people are vicious animals who need government to keep them from raping babies and so on. But this shit did not suddenly start happening after Katrina but was going on all along -- and that people can learn to do better than this. In fact by and large we already have: we've pretty much stopped sacrificing babies to the gods, and rape and murder is the exception rather than the rule. I won't go into this here now, I just want to say that anarchists don't have to lose heart and hitchensize over this.
posted by davy at 9:53 AM on September 1, 2005


"Fats" Domino is missing. So are Antoinette K-Doe (widow of Ernie) and "Queen of Soul" Irma Thomas. Allen Toussaint is in the Superdome, hoping to get to the Astrodome.
posted by Vidiot at 9:53 AM on September 1, 2005


All I could think about last night was what is going to happen to these people? Where are they going to live? Besides the AstroDome and tents, the head of FEMA is speculating on the use of Cruise ships from the Carnival Line. Nobody is going to find work while living in the Astrodome or on a cruise ship.

And who is going to decide that the emergency is over and it is time to start kicking people out now? Here in North Carolina, people lived in FEMA trailers for YEARS after hurricane Floyd in 1999. Is there just going to be an announced deadline and "Here's a bus pass and some food vouchers?"

Plus, where are these tents and trailers going to be erected? Normally FEMA tries to house people near where they used to live so their lives can eventually be reclaimed, near work and schools and family members, but the devastation in NO is so complete they are talking erecting refugee camps about 200 or 300 miles away from the city.

And these refugee camps. Will there be metal detectors at the entrances? Will the relocated be allowed to bring handguns? What about their other freedoms? Will they have the right to privacy or does living in a government camp automatically mean you are treated like a soldier or a prisoner?

This just boggles the mind. I haven't a clue as to how all the details are going to be worked out. Already there are major complaints as to how the government is handling this-- can law suits be far behind?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:54 AM on September 1, 2005


A Prayer for Flood-filled Days
posted by amberglow at 9:54 AM on September 1, 2005


Secret, they will be like prisons, or internment camps, i fear.
posted by amberglow at 9:56 AM on September 1, 2005


Do you have any basis for such an assertion, amberglow?
posted by Vidiot at 10:06 AM on September 1, 2005


"i fear" is an opinion, not an assertion. It needs no more basis than the individual's evaluation of history.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:08 AM on September 1, 2005


Sometimes people use stories like this and the ones on bad behavior outside on the streets of New Orleans to "prove" that anarchy will never work because people are vicious animals who need government to keep them from raping babies and so on.

Uh, right, because when your anarchist state finally comes about there will never be any natural disasters, and people will live in perfect harmony. Face it, if you want anarchy then you'll have to make sure you carry the biggest gun, because otherwise someone will take everything you own and then shoot you.

If anarchy were actually viable, then this disaster in New Orleans would be the perfect place to test it out.
posted by bshort at 10:29 AM on September 1, 2005


When this whole thing was unfolding, waaaay back on Sunday, I saw a young couple standing in line to get into the SuperDome. They were on their honeymoon. The new bride was pregnant, beeming, happy to be going someplace safe to wait out the storm. She looked so young and so small. They both did. I wonder what happened to them?

Confirmed reports of people dying outside of the Dome, waiting for resue. Elderly people who were taken there for safety are left dead in their wheelchairs, covered with sheets.

The forecast is calling for thunderstorms and lightning. Heavy rain. Just what they need. God, I am so disheartened.

I am glued to WWLTV Live Feed. One of the reporters at WWL is married to a policeman who is at the Dome. She's almost in tears, talking about how bad things are.
posted by Corky at 10:31 AM on September 1, 2005


Meet the fuckwits in charge of our country: US won't accept hurricane relief from Canada-- ... B.C. Solicitor General John Les said the province decided to send Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) after officials in Louisiana asked for help.
...
Not so fast, elite Canadian rescuers! You can't just fly down here and start saving lives, not while the Department of Homeland Security's in charge.

On tonight's news, CTV (Canadian TV) said that support was offered from Canada. Planes are ready to load with food and medical supplies and a system called "DART" which can provide fresh water and medical supplies is standing by. Department of Homeland Security as well as other U.S. agencies were contacted by the Canadian government requesting permission to provide help. Despite this contact, Canada has not been allowed to fly supplies and personnel to the areas hit by Katrina. So, everything here is grounded. Prime Minister Paul Martin is reportedly trying to speak to President Bush tonight or tomorrow to ask him why the U.S. federal government will not allow aid from Canada into Louisiana and Mississippi. That said, the Canadian Red Cross is reportedly allowed into the area.

Canadian agencies are saying that foreign aid is probably not being permitted into Louisiana and Mississippi because of "mass confusion" at the U.S. federal level in the wake of the storm. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:37 AM on September 1, 2005




This would be considered a scandal even in Bangladesh -- by an ex-pat from Bangladesh
posted by amberglow at 10:48 AM on September 1, 2005


*axe grinding earmuffs*
posted by cavalier at 10:56 AM on September 1, 2005


Who are you calling an earmuff?!
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:57 AM on September 1, 2005


"when your anarchist state finally comes"

You apparently don't know that "anarchist state" is an oxymoron like "square circle". See the FAQ (also on this site as Infoshop seems to be down now.) If you want to I'll bet you can also find relevant documents using relevant search terms like, oh, say, +"anarchism" and +"natural disaster", such as, oh, this one. (Note that I have written none of these documents and have not even read them all.)

Anyway, if you want an argument over whether anarchism is "viable" you won't get one from me today -- and especially not in this thread. As I indicated, I only posted that so that anarchists might take heart, kinda like amberglow posted that Jewish prayer about floods so that some might be reassured by that. But if you still really want to argue now you can be the zillion-and-oneth person to make your "point" here.

(And sonofsamiam, he's really talking to ME. I'm the biggest damn earmuff on Metafilter!)
posted by davy at 11:13 AM on September 1, 2005


Blast from the past:

I know New Orleans would be almost demolished by the Perfect Storm, but 50,000 dead? Not with evacuations. These days, that's an absurd figure used to sell books and Discovery Channel programming. Take off at least two zeros, and no thank you for the trivialization of terrorism attempt.

posted by ParisParamus at 10:27 AM CST on September 14, 2004
posted by ColdChef at 11:37 AM on September 1, 2005


That was not a slight against PP, but just to point out that what once seemed ridiculous, now seems likely.
posted by ColdChef at 11:42 AM on September 1, 2005


davy: yeah, good luck with that anarchism thing, I'm sure it'll work out just swell for you.
posted by bshort at 11:43 AM on September 1, 2005


New Orleans hospital halts patient evacuations after coming under sniper fire, a doctor who witnessed the incident says. - CNN
posted by grateful at 11:50 AM on September 1, 2005


What is it with these snipers?
posted by caddis at 12:05 PM on September 1, 2005


Yeah, I can't think of any motivation for firing on either helicopters or (particularly) evacuating patients.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:06 PM on September 1, 2005


Maybe thereis just nothing left to loose. Most are completely cut off from the outside world, too. There is going to be massice discussion in the next year about the social justice issues that have contributed to what is happoning from the failure to provide initial evacuation of the poor to the current solutions to re-housing those that have no means to help themselves.

It is just unbeleveable.
posted by johnj at 12:15 PM on September 1, 2005


And these refugee camps. Will there be metal detectors at the entrances? Will the relocated be allowed to bring handguns?

That is indeed an issue. One solution to the lawlessness and violence is to make sure not to disarm the law-abiding people who brought their guns with them--in other words, don't create more easy victims for the predators. People weren't allowed to bring any kind of weapon--including nail clippers! as if this were a plane!--into the Superdome, and look what happened: a few bad apples get in, still armed, and whoops, now all those people who followed the rules are easy targets. The end result is that the buses taking them out to Texas have been called off--because the bad guys are armed and the good guys aren't.

Seeing the terror in the faces of reporters faced with attempted carjackings, the phoned-in voices of nurses stuck in hospitals with looters and addicts roaming the halls stealing drugs and supplies (and in one case trying to break into Children's Hospital and raid the ward with the NICU babies), hearing the reports that an entire flotilla of small watercraft was organized today only to be called off because the boatsmen were being shot at, cutting off one major means of rescue--because the bad guys are armed and the good guys aren't.

In a survival situation, having all the food, water, shelter, and supplies you could wish for means absolutely nothing if you can't protect it, and yourself and your family. If you have a generator and a looter has a .357 Magnum, guess who gets the generator?

On a personal note, watching this massive stinking fouled-up tragedy on TV, I have never been so--relieved? thankful? what's the right word?--that when my husband I knew we were about to become homeowners, we also chose to become gun owners and got appropriate training. I hope people who usually cavalierly suggest that "whaddya need guns for, the police will protect you / are you trying to cause trouble? / you're just going to end up hurting yourself / you must be paranoid" or smiliar attitudes will learn to knock it off.

Think how much better, safer, and calmer a situation it would be if every doctor and nurse in the New Orleans hospitals were packing a sidearm during this tragedy. And this being the South, it's likely that many of them own the guns at home already. But they probably can't bring them into the hospitals to protect themselves and their patients because hospitals (and schools, where many shelters are set up, ditto churches) are usually "gun-free zones". Oddly enough, the looters have been ignoring that legal designation.

Laws restricting gun ownership and places you're allowed to carry them only apply to people who follow the laws in the first place; they don't stop criminals, they don't stop looters. And those laws are leading to deaths all over New Orleans, as much as the waves and the heat. Deaths by violence, deaths by inability to rescue, deaths by inability to protect. Death by gun control.

(Even the New York Times is saying the same thing today.)
posted by Asparagirl at 12:24 PM on September 1, 2005


Yeah, I can't think of any motivation for firing on either helicopters or (particularly) evacuating patients.

I've heard that some of the sniping is from people still waiting to be rescued themselves, angry that no one is coming for them after days of being on their roofs without food and water. I guess that's what you get with too many guns everywhere there.
posted by amberglow at 12:27 PM on September 1, 2005


This is horrible to say, I feel bad for even thinking it, but after I read this I can't help but think that NO is turning into Baghdad on the Mississippi. A convoy of NG humvees is taking fire while evacuating a hospital. It's horrifying.
posted by Pliskie at 12:28 PM on September 1, 2005


So, apparently, we should repeal gun control laws because they only protect the lawless when everything's gone to shit and your city has turned into a warzone. Logical thinking, that.

It's extremely hard for me to even wrap my head around the idea of doctors and nurses carrying pistols IN A HOSPITAL. You can't be serious.
posted by chrominance at 12:30 PM on September 1, 2005


Think how much better, safer, and calmer a situation it would be if every doctor and nurse in the New Orleans hospitals were packing a sidearm during this tragedy.

Yeah, that'd be much better.

Gunfights in the street! Twitchy, disaster-stricken survivors waving guns at each other!

Cops are there to keep the civil order.
posted by bshort at 12:33 PM on September 1, 2005


Bush has his very own Beruit, but unfortunately it's located in the 18th state.
posted by bshort at 12:36 PM on September 1, 2005


Is firepower the issue or is it that it is FOUR DAYS now and they are finnaly getting working radios and walki-talkies into the area? This disaster is a failing of our preparedness. There can be no question.

I don't mean to snipe back, i am very angry right now. Just my opinion.
posted by johnj at 12:43 PM on September 1, 2005


So, apparently, we should repeal gun control laws because they only protect the lawless

In large part, yes; that's exactly the point. Obviously, background checks are an excellent idea; no sense selling a gun to a criminal or a schizophrenic. And personally I think registration is a necessary evil too, though many people think otherwise. But the vast majority of other gun control laws on the books do not save innocent people's lives. Rather, they make it harder for people to be able to defend themselves. To take a similar example to the situation in NOLA: during the 1992 riots here in Los Angeles, many scared people went to gun stores to buy protection for themselves and their families, and shock! realized that waiting periods meant that they'd be left unarmed and vulnerable for up to 15 days while looters roamed the city and cops were in very short supply. Who was protected by that law, the people needing to excercise their right to protect themselves and their families and supplies (food stores were often closed during the riots, many looted and burnt), or did it help the people who already had illegal arms and predatory motives?

It's extremely hard for me to even wrap my head around the idea of doctors and nurses carrying pistols IN A HOSPITAL. You can't be serious.

So in deference to your lack of imagination, we should continue to legally bar healthcare workers (and first responders/EMS, I should have added, because they're directly relevant to what's happening in NOLA) from being able to protect themselves from thugs who are making it impossible to do their jobs in any kind of safe or effective manner. We need to tell a nurse whose hospital is being looted and who is trying to protect herself and her NICU patients that she should suffer severe legal penalties if she touches that icky revolver. We need to tell a dead diabetic's family that they died because no one could stop a looter from carting off the last batch of insulin, because no one was armed. Excuse me, but you must be joking. Certainly, hospital security guards would be a good idea, or maybe even alternative, but not every hospital can afford them and they don't seem to be anywhere in sight right now in NOLA.

Cops are there to keep the civil order.

Actually, cops are the ones telling civilians to be armed. And this statement is so obviously batshit insane when you watch even one minute of news coverage in the past four days that I must presume it's just some reflex action: cops will always be there to protect us and will always arrive within 30 seconds of a 911 call, which will never be a busy signal. Riight.

Based on your statement, I would also hazard a guess that you are not part of a minority group.

And if you'd actually read the New York Times article I just linked to, oh, a second ago, you'd read several examples of how legally-armed citizens are keeping the peace, not turning into the OK Corral. They are contributing to law and order, not decreasing it. But hey, slander away from the safety of not being shot at by looters.

(And let's keep this de-rail to a minimum, before this turns into an "all about guns" discussion, rather than one about recovery efforts and what we can do to help and which public officials we should string up for their brilliant incompetence. My original point is that putting up artifical barriers to law-abiding citizens obtaining the means to protect themselves is not just merely cruel, but is actually causing the death count to rise for everyone else, too.)
posted by Asparagirl at 1:10 PM on September 1, 2005


I think the insanity in your point, Asparagirl, is imagining that nurses and/or doctors would choose to do bodily harm onto people approaching them. Kind of nixes the whole do no harm thing?

I appreciate the notion of survivalism, I think he just reacted -- as I did -- to the whole "Doctors brandishing sidearms" with a sort of shock.

And yes I realize the hospitals are being looted and that there are elements after the drugs, etcetera. I think, still, if you asked the majority of the physicians in that hospital, well, I hope, you would not get a 100% gun use approval.

Please don't take me as a gun control proponent. I'm just striving for rationalism here. If for some amazing reason I was stuck in NOLA without being able to evacuate and the storm came through, the very next minute I could be out I would be seeking weapons and supplies. Especially in a godforsaken place where they have a homicide rate 10 times the national average.

On the absolute flip side of this, when I was in Andrew back in '92, I realize that we did not have floodwaters -- still - everything in SouthWest Dade was annihilated. We had some looters, but you know what, we also had people forming supply lines and coming out and helping their neighbors and generally not shooting at rescue operations. Granted, again, no floods, no imminent threat of death, but we had the no supplies -- and we worked together to solve it. It was amazing to everyone there, too, people who were strangers to each other were welcomed and support was volunteered readily.

I really don't know what to make of the criminal elements in NOLA right now. Though by now that line is so grey with everyone reacting to no supplies, worsening conditions, etcetera. History will tell us, I'm sure..
posted by cavalier at 1:30 PM on September 1, 2005


You're talking about extreme situations that aren't exactly a part of normal life. And I don't think anyone's demanding that the people bearing arms and keeping law and order should be charged with gun control violations. But I don't think anyone would say that New Orleans as a whole is somehow safer because tons of people have guns.

One last thing (because you're right, this isn't about gun control): it's always struck me that the key difference between the various standpoints on gun control is one of outlook. Those against gun control assume that bad people are going to have guns no matter what, and they pose enough of a threat that everyone needs to be armed; those for gun control assume that law enforcement and gun control laws mitigate the effects of bad people with guns.

Where New Orleans is concerned, the former outlook makes more sense that the latter. I just think that in the majority of cases it's the other way around—in that the cops will be responsive and able to protect and serve—and that to assume from the outset that society will always be fighting a pitched battle against armed and violent criminals means that we've decided we have failed in the pursuit of civil order. New Orleans aside, I don't think that's the case.

Back to New Orleans, one thing that does bother me is how little concrete information we're getting on the extent of the violence; just a whole lot of unsubstantiated reports about some seriously surreal things. Snipers firing at rescue helicopters? Where did snipers come from? And then there's the back and forth about rumours that turn out (we think) to be false: the prison riot and takeover, the armed takeover of Children's Hospital, reports of shootings in the Superdome. I don't even know what to believe anymore.

On preview: Yes, it was absolutely a visceral reaction to the idea of doctors carrying guns every day, as if they worked in a warzone. I just can't imagine it. Maybe it's because I live in Canada and crime isn't so bad here, I don't know.
posted by chrominance at 1:35 PM on September 1, 2005


imagining that nurses and/or doctors would choose to do bodily harm onto people approaching them. Kind of nixes the whole do no harm thing?

Yes, but in addition to Hippocrates, medicine also has the concept of triage, or that Spock-like "the good of the many outweighs the good of the one". If it comes down to either a looter getting that last crucial drug or to 25 patients getting that drug and therefore not dying, I think some doctors would make the choice to prioritize their patients' needs--and shoot (at) the looter. I could be wrong.

it's always struck me that the key difference between the various standpoints on gun control is one of outlook. Those against gun control assume that bad people are going to have guns no matter what, and they pose enough of a threat that everyone needs to be armed; those for gun control assume that law enforcement and gun control laws mitigate the effects of bad people with guns.

That's a really excellent way of framing the issue. But you can add into it that anti-gun-control people argue that an armed citizenry prevents a lot of cases where the cops would have had to be used, through deterrence (i.e. if a criminal sees a "you loot, we shoot" sign on a store, they don't bother the store, thus negating one more call the cops would have had to respond to).

Maybe it's because I live in Canada

That explains a lot. :-)
posted by Asparagirl at 1:49 PM on September 1, 2005


Instead of arming doctors and nurses, next time there's a hurricane, have a few armed guards stay with them.

(slightly exaperated)

Having said that, today was the first time in my life I seriously considered learning how to use a gun.
posted by maggiemaggie at 2:04 PM on September 1, 2005


So they are shooting at helicopters which are presumably carrying armed troops? We got your rescue from misery right here and it is 5.56 mm in diameter.
posted by caddis at 2:27 PM on September 1, 2005


From bad to worse to mob rule:
"The New Orleans police chief says 15-thousand people are trapped in the city's convention center. And he says some are being raped and beaten.

Chief Eddie Compass says displaced tourists are 'walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon.'

Compass said he sent eight eleven-man teams into the convention center. But as soon as the first team arrived, he said, 'they were beaten back within 30 feet of the entrance.' "
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on September 1, 2005


now on CNN they're saying that Gulf towns are having aid helicopter-dropped. Why aren't they doing it in New Orleans???
posted by amberglow at 2:57 PM on September 1, 2005


Small details; major heartbreak:
"Many people had dogs and they cannot take them on the bus. A police officer took one from a little boy, who cried until he vomited. 'Snowball, snowball,' he cried. The policeman told a reporter he didn't know what would happen to the dog."
posted by ericb at 2:59 PM on September 1, 2005


asparagirl:
y original point is that putting up artifical barriers to law-abiding citizens obtaining the means to protect themselves is not just merely cruel, but is actually causing the death count to rise for everyone else, too.

Uh yeah that rests on the hope law abiding citizens are constantly so..which is unlikely ; additionally you may have noticed you're claiming lack of diffusion of guns is causing more death, while the cause is still the human pulling the trigger...the problem is some people think shooting other people is useful, regardless of whatever law is in force.

Anyway the NO events certainly will increase the desire of some to own a gun for self defence, sometimes even against cops (!) ..yet I can't help not thinking there's something deeply incredibly wrong in any society/nation in which looting and shooting take place during a major disaster.
posted by elpapacito at 3:04 PM on September 1, 2005


The mayhem is not confined to New Orleans: Mississippi Man Kills Sister Over Bag Of Ice.
posted by ericb at 3:05 PM on September 1, 2005


there's something deeply incredibly wrong in any society/nation in which looting and shooting take place during a major disaster.

it happens in every country where there are poor people and disasters happen. i bet they looted during Pompeii.
posted by amberglow at 3:09 PM on September 1, 2005


Almost anyone can find lessons in this tragedy that will justify their pet causes and beliefs... Christian fundamentalists are saying that God is punishing New Orleans for it's sinfulness, for example. But in the end, the extremity of the situation doesn't really make it a good case example for anyone's agenda, and I can't help but find it exploitative.

Necessary reforms in disaster preparedness and emergency response and communication are the real issues here, and these are the lessons that will be learned - at the highest possible cost.
posted by taz at 3:11 PM on September 1, 2005


I have a friend working in the refugee center in Baton Rouge. Some of the doctors are, in fact, carrying guns which are visible to everyone. Several of the female doctors have been threatened with rape and bodily harm.

I know that doesn't make sense. Sense fucking left town.

Also, outside of the refugee center, the doctors are finding their cars vandalized and broken into by the people who they are trying to help.



And I've heard more than one person talking about racial warfare.
posted by ColdChef at 3:15 PM on September 1, 2005


"The New Orleans police chief . . . Eddie Compass . . . said he sent eight eleven-man teams into the convention center. But as soon as the first team arrived, he said, 'they were beaten back within 30 feet of the entrance.' "

Sickening.
posted by caddis at 3:50 PM on September 1, 2005


So it is physically impossible to get enough troops into New Orleans to post armed guards in hospitals and so on? But they are supposed to be able to get into, say, some "Axis of Evil" country?
posted by pracowity at 3:55 PM on September 1, 2005


"Laws restricting gun ownership and places you're allowed to carry them only apply to people who follow the laws in the first place; they don't stop criminals, they don't stop looters. And those laws are leading to deaths all over New Orleans, as much as the waves and the heat. Deaths by violence, deaths by inability to rescue, deaths by inability to protect. Death by gun control."

I feel slightly shitty saying the following in a thread with such woeful tidings all the way through it, but only slightly shitty:

Laws banning public gun ownership nationwide would be much, much better.
posted by paperpete at 3:58 PM on September 1, 2005


i bet they looted during Pompeii

Actually, highly unlikely.

As Vesuvius began its eruption, it spewed a toxic cloud of superheated gas, ash, and rock onto Pompeii, quickly asphyxiating man and beast. It was layers of ash -- that later hardened into volcanic tufa -- which preserved the city, allowing for its excavation, starting in 1748.
posted by ericb at 4:01 PM on September 1, 2005


oh, pick another disaster then...

CNN just said that New Orleans people are being told that no more buses are coming, and people should just walk out of town--unbelievable.
posted by amberglow at 4:04 PM on September 1, 2005


taz : "Almost anyone can find lessons in this tragedy that will justify their pet causes and beliefs... Christian fundamentalists are saying that God is punishing New Orleans for it's sinfulness, for example. But in the end, the extremity of the situation doesn't really make it a good case example for anyone's agenda, and I can't help but find it exploitative."

Go taz!!!
posted by Bugbread at 4:15 PM on September 1, 2005


amberglow: yeah probably some looted during Pompei too and human instincts maybe haven't changed at all in just 2000 years....but we're not stuck in the roman time (unless you're administered into one.../snark)

If some person instinctevely feels or find reasonable to loot in a evidently uncommon and dangerous situation, eventually risking police shooting or a conflict with other looters..there must be some strong primitive motivator like hunger or thirst.

I could understand the reason behind looting food and drink and other primary survival goods..eventually even fighting for food and drink perceived as insufficient for everybody, but I have problems understanding how greed (if greed and opportunity causes looting) could motivate some people to remain in a seriously dangerous area to loot other unnecessary goods.

It's not a blackout-like scenario, in which the risk is probably perceived as minimal ; if I were to judge from the mere pictures we see on the net, I'd have fleed the NO area and other affected ones at the speed of light, regardless of loot opportunity ; probably the scenario is even worse when one is right in the middle of it.

It's out of the ordinary, it's clear it's an hell-hole..I would probably have looked for cooperation with others to leave the area (expecially when the outlook is that govt isn't coming) rather the competition for useless goods (xcept maybe water).
posted by elpapacito at 4:19 PM on September 1, 2005


There seems to be very little organization in the rescue and recovery operation. People don't have information about where to go, where to find food and water, and there seems to be precious little food and water available. O.K. on day one or two, but by now?
posted by caddis at 4:20 PM on September 1, 2005


I have empathy and pity for people trying to scrounge for food and water to survive. I do. I probably wouldn't be the first one to break into a store, but if my kid was dying - literally dying of thirst, I wouldn't hesitate to do whatever it took to help him.

For those animals who are stealing anything not necessary for immediate survival, looting hospitals and nursing homes, highjacking cars, I have no pity. There is no place to hold looters if they are caught... and not shot on sight. I suggest making them drink the foul and polluted water. Lots of it. Make 'em drink it till they gag. Lock 'em in an attic. Nail them in. Walk away. Dying of dysentery is too good for them.

I own a gun. I hate guns. I wouldn't hesitate to use it if it meant my life or the lives of my family.

But, let's put talk of guns away for a while, at least on this thread.
posted by Corky at 4:21 PM on September 1, 2005


but if my kid was dying - literally dying of thirst, I wouldn't hesitate to do whatever it took to help him.

That is how Brian Williams framed the situation in New Orleans during his reporting tonight on NBC Nightly News. He said that those of us ensconced in the comfort of our homes need to understand that after four days without water, food and sleep anyone would find themselves behaving in a manner for self-preservation and for that of family members.
posted by ericb at 4:40 PM on September 1, 2005


pracowity writes "But they are supposed to be able to get into, say, some 'Axis of Evil' country?"

Well you can soften up other countries with cluster bombs and MOABs, something that your voters would take a dim view to being used on themselves.

paperpete writes "Laws banning public gun ownership nationwide would be much, much better."

Ya, that's why you can't buy pot, meth, heroin, or cocaine in any town in the USA. I'd bet a lot of the gun violence is being performed by those already prohibited from possessing firearms.
posted by Mitheral at 5:14 PM on September 1, 2005


I don't get why army helicopters are afraid of sniper fire when their job involves the possibility of sniper fire all the time. Don't they take off and land in Iraq under fire?
posted by amberglow at 5:24 PM on September 1, 2005


Oh god, ericb, I saw that, too, about the police taking away a child's dog, and couldn't believe it. What heartless FUCK made up that rule? That story totally breaks my heart. I wish the reporter had gotten that child's name; I would buy him a puppy once he gets settled somewhere.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:27 PM on September 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


Oh, as a new poster (but long-time lurker), I hate to have to tell you all how naive you are about New Orleans.

Murder ten times the national average. Almost everyone carries a gun in NOLA. People from the Ninth Ward, in particular, are savage. This kind of behavior goes on every damn day there. It's only because they are all herded into one place and national media is there that it is news.

There is something like 50% unemployment among blacks, who are 70% of the population. NOLA and LA vie for the bottom place nationally for test scores and literacy.

You see that the police are looting. They're also killing and raping. They were doing it last week and all the weeks before Katrina. The only difference now is that the nation is watching.

Remember that show and book The World's Most Dangerous Places? New Orleans came in somewhere after Afganistan but before Iraq (at the time of printing). That's how bad things are there.

It's a shame for a beautiful and otherwise very liveable city.
posted by Marygwen at 5:34 PM on September 1, 2005


CNN just said that New Orleans people are being told that no more buses are coming, and people should just walk out of town--unbelievable.

Everytime you hear more bad new, you just think it can't get any worse. But it does. Over and over and over.

What kind of nation will we be after we have finally witnessed and been forced to confront all the ways that we abandon the poorest and weakest among us?

What will those supply-side Jesus followers have to say when they meet their maker?
posted by marsha56 at 6:24 PM on September 1, 2005


Marygwen, of course I don't know your story, but I spent 2 years in New Orleans and didn't see anything like this.
posted by hartsell at 6:34 PM on September 1, 2005


speaking of it getting worse: there are animals around, but they're not the looters --FEMA director Michael Brown just added this little line to his interview on CNN right now, refering to who FEMA is trying to hel in New Orleans:

"...to help those who are stranded, who chose not to evacuate, who chose not to leave the city..."

How is it relevant to talk about the fact that the people who are stranded "chose" not to evacuate? Not to mention, there are lots of folks who couldn't evacuate because they were too poor, too infirm, or simply had no transportation. But even if they chose to remain with their homes, why is the head of FEMA pointing this out? Sounds to me like we're hearing a new Bush admin talking point. It's subtle, but it's clear - the people dying in New Orleans are to blame for their own predicament.

posted by amberglow at 6:44 PM on September 1, 2005


NO SHOTS FIRED (but the article is called: Evacuation Disrupted by Gunshot Report)--so why did they stop the Evacuation? : "At the Superdome, we have a report that one shot was fired at a Chinook helicopter," Schneider said, adding that the Chinook is "an extremely large aircraft."

Laura Brown, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman in Washington, said she had no such report.

"We're controlling every single aircraft in that airspace and none of them reported being fired on," she said, adding that the FAA was in contact with the military as well as civilian aircraft.

posted by amberglow at 7:21 PM on September 1, 2005


Looters (and I don't mean people who take only what they need to survive, when no other means exist to obtain such essentials) are, IMHO, people who:
  • want more than their current lot in life
  • believe they deserve more and have been wrongfully denied it
  • do not feel that they have much reason to support the current social order.
Any viable anarchic society would have to address widespread sentiments about systemic injustice, i.e. do everything possible to minimize them, and to reinforce a "we're all in this together" mentality whenever possible, especially during a natural disaster. I think the current situation in New Orleans - where belligerent self-interest has infected even the police, who are supposed to be enforcing social order - shows that "there is no such thing as society" individualism and anarchy don't mix well at all.

When a society lacks a decisive majority of people actively supporting the basic social order, and it suddenly faces a lack of food, clean water, fuel, electricity, and telecommunications, it will collapse into civil disorder, whether there's a state security apparatus or not. As stated above, New Orleans had a pre-existing reputation for crime and corruption, which indicate a less than ideal social fabric to begin with. (Big disclaimer: I have never been to New Orleans.) Anarchist theorists have plenty of room to assert that an actual anarchic society would have already developed the sense of social solidarity (through neighborhood committees, citywide emergency drills involving all citizens, and such) to weather such storms without breaking down into chaos.

New York City did not break down into chaos on 9/11. There were no riots or looting in Chinatown or LES that I recall. Why not? I submit that it was because there was a common enemy, an external enemy, against which New Yorkers could define themselves. But there was also a pre-existing pride in living in or being from New York, in which even the lowliest, poorest New Yorker participates. Those two factors coupled together served to reinforce New Yorkers' resolve to do everything they could to mitigate disaster, to donate blood, to pull together as a city, and become proud of themselves and their first responders - their representatives, their champions - as a result. So much so that when the power went out in 2003, people did not break store windows and take everything they could; they went to bars and got drunk by candlelight - a marked contrast from the blackout of 1977. Civic pride works wonders.

Has the social fabric disintegrated to this extent in Gulfport or Biloxi? Can we get any news there?

On preview: looters are not necessarily career criminals. A lot of their guns were probably legally obtained, or possibly stolen from gun shops after the storm. Obviously, a lot of people are not thinking along the same terms they were thinking before it all hit the fan, if they are thinking rationally at all (cf. people shooting at rescue teams for not saving them fast enough). So I'm not convinced that gun control is to blame, nor that New Orleans even had especially strict and well-enforced weapons bans. It is in the Deep South, you know.
posted by skoosh at 7:55 PM on September 1, 2005


Zumbado (television journalist who has actually been at the convention centre) says that people in New Orleans are behaving better than he saw at Hurricane Andrew.

He counted 82 buses - the drivers say it's unsafe. But he says he was just fine. People just wanted to yell for help - he says they are being "very orderly".
posted by jb at 8:09 PM on September 1, 2005


MSNBC (click on link "Video: Cries for help") has footage of the full Zumbado interview - buried a little, under the title "Desparation in New Orleans". There is also a shortened version under the title "Convention Centre Chaos".
posted by jb at 8:12 PM on September 1, 2005


skoosh: Why not? I submit that it was because there was a common enemy, an external enemy, against which New Yorkers could define themselves ...

I submit that on 9/11, most people in NYC still had homes to go home to and starvation, dehydration, lack of medical attention and disease weren't issues. I also submit that the roads weren't underwater, the entire city wasn't destroyed and emergency services as well as your average New Yorker were able to get into the area and help immediately. The way in which NYC reacted to 9/11 can't even be compared to what has happened in the gulf coast area. The destruction and desperation in NOLA and the surrounding areas is orders of magnitude greater.
posted by Orb at 8:21 PM on September 1, 2005


Orb - good and vaild points!
posted by ericb at 8:24 PM on September 1, 2005


*valid*
posted by ericb at 8:24 PM on September 1, 2005


what Orb said. and many of us still have anger and questions about how that was handled--telling people in the second tower to stay there??? telling us the air was safe to breathe? etc...

It's nothing at all compared to this horror down there. Let's see how often Bush uses 9/11 after this, and how many people continue to buy it.
posted by amberglow at 8:28 PM on September 1, 2005


I strongly condemn looting hospitals, shooting at evacuation buses, and impeding actual rescue efforts. Sick, trapped and hungry people are not the enemy; they are your brothers and sisters, your fellow Americans. (Yeah, I know, I doubt too many armed people in New Orleans would bother to read Metafilter if they could, but still.)
posted by davy at 8:28 PM on September 1, 2005


What orb said. (And amberglow and ericb.)
posted by davy at 8:31 PM on September 1, 2005


And now the Astrodome is full. They're telling arriving buses to look elsewhere.

This gets worse and worse.
posted by amberglow at 8:58 PM on September 1, 2005


CNN is reporting that buses of refugees were just turned away from the Astrodome! The reporter said they were told by police officers to go find another city. Un-fucking-believable.
posted by chiababe at 8:59 PM on September 1, 2005


No, 9/11 wasn't on the same scale. But that's the only point of comparison where I have decent information. Also, looting broke out in 1977 during the NYC blackout, and that also wasn't nearly as bad - people still had phones, and water, and mobility, and it only lasted a day or so. And it's not like poverty in New York was eliminated, or even changed all that much, between 1977 and 2003 - there's still plenty of poor people there. So what changed? And why doesn't widespread looting break out in Bangladesh, according to amberglow's dkos link earlier?

Also, I apologize for the decontextualization of my previous post. It was actually meant to be posted around 15:30 EST on 31 August, but the server kept balking, and I had to go. When I came back, I just posted it without previewing again. In case it wasn't clear, I was mainly responding to davy and Asparagirl from that afternoon.
posted by skoosh at 9:14 PM on September 1, 2005


Local Officials Criticize Federal Government Over Response--...Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans, concurred and he was particularly pungent in his criticism. Asserting that the whole recovery operation had been "carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days," he said that "the rest of the goddamn nation can't get us any resources for security."

"We are like little birds with our mouths open and you don't have to be very smart to know where to drop the worm," Colonel Ebbert said. "It's criminal within the confines of the United States that within one hour of the hurricane they weren't force-feeding us. It's like FEMA has never been to a hurricane." ...

posted by amberglow at 9:16 PM on September 1, 2005


Back on topic, WSKR is restreaming WWL-AM radio (WWL and WWL-TV are owned by two different owners, Entercom and Belo respectively).
posted by calwatch at 9:28 PM on September 1, 2005


Fielding's "Most Dangerous Places" writeup on the USA... no mention of New Orleans.
posted by anthill at 10:22 PM on September 1, 2005


It's amazing that journalists can get in there, but aid can't.
posted by drezdn at 10:37 PM on September 1, 2005


amberglow : "I don't get why army helicopters are afraid of sniper fire when their job involves the possibility of sniper fire all the time. Don't they take off and land in Iraq under fire?"

I'm just guessing, but I'd say it's because in combat arenas, shooting back is OK, whereas shooting into crowds of refugees is generally frowned upon. I doubt many army helicopters land in areas while actually being actively shot at in combat arenas as well (unless the landing site is under the tree-line and thus landing is effectively entering cover).

IANAMilitary guy, so I may be wrong.
posted by Bugbread at 11:13 PM on September 1, 2005


"may be" → "am probably"
posted by Bugbread at 11:18 PM on September 1, 2005


Thinking long term about the need to provide the refugees with paying jobs (rather than indefinite handouts) for at least the next year, I had a brain flash. What if there were an existing job track that the federal government could immediately offer to young strong refugees, even unskilled and unschooled ones, that would ensure that they got paid semi-decently and that their families would then have automatic housing somewhere in the country...wouldn't a number of the refugees jump at the chance and take it? Even if the job were really dangerous? I mean, these people are desperate and homeless; if it means their family won't starve, I bet a lot of them would take the job.

In other words, I think the Armed Forces may have just solved their recruiting problems. Ten bucks says recruiters show up at refugee centers within the next three months, and that some asswipe pundit eventually uses the term "unexpected windfall" on TV, and that a pullout from Iraq may not happen so fast after all...
posted by Asparagirl at 12:39 AM on September 2, 2005


In other words, I think the Armed Forces may have just solved their recruiting problems.
You would wish that on these people who have just lost everything? To send them off to die in Iraq after surviving this? To separate them from their families--if they still have them?

...really dangerous jobs? Transporting nuclear waste? what?
Training in construction, plumbing, and engineering is needed, not "really dangerous jobs". They're not fodder for whatever hairbrain scheme is dreamed up. They're humans who need help--not to be put at risk either here or in Iraq.
posted by amberglow at 12:43 AM on September 2, 2005


In other words, I think the Armed Forces may have just solved their recruiting problems.
You would wish that on these people who have just lost everything? To send them off to die in Iraq after surviving this? To separate them from their families--if they still have them?

...really dangerous jobs? Transporting nuclear waste? what?
Training in construction, plumbing, and engineering is needed, not "really dangerous jobs". They're not fodder for whatever hairbrain scheme is dreamed up. They're humans who need help--not to be put at risk either here or in Iraq.
posted by amberglow at 12:45 AM on September 2, 2005


oop...sorry.
posted by amberglow at 12:46 AM on September 2, 2005


amberglow : "You would wish that on these people who have just lost everything? To send them off to die in Iraq after surviving this? To separate them from their families--if they still have them?

"
...really dangerous jobs? Transporting nuclear waste? what?
"Training in construction, plumbing, and engineering is needed, not 'really dangerous jobs'. They're not fodder for whatever hairbrain scheme is dreamed up. They're humans who need help--not to be put at risk either here or in Iraq."


Amberglow, I think you're misreading Asparagirl's post, on two levels (though I may be wrong). First, the initial paragraph, with the "really dangerous job", was an allusion to the second paragraph, "the army". Not a reference to other random domestic dangerous jobs.

Second, the post itself, from what I can tell, was a sarcastic jab at the government taking advantage of the refugee's straits in order to bolster the military. She doesn't wish this on the people, she's opposed to it.

Those are just guesses, but that's how it read to me.
posted by Bugbread at 1:35 AM on September 2, 2005


It just gets worse.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:30 AM on September 2, 2005


I get an error page on that link, WolfDaddy.
posted by chiababe at 4:59 AM on September 2, 2005


Satellite photo of NO, taken 10am on 8/31
posted by grateful at 8:34 AM on September 2, 2005


BBC is now reporting explosions downtown.
posted by jokeefe at 8:34 AM on September 2, 2005


Sorry. Report here.
posted by jokeefe at 8:36 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush is on TV right now in the most frustratingly staged event, various troops are brought to him in then they explain what they're doing... Taking time away from, well, doing things.

Love or hate Guliani, during 9-11 he got to the scene as fast as was feasible, because a good leader knows that half of leadership is showing up and not showing fear.
posted by drezdn at 8:40 AM on September 2, 2005


You would wish that on these people who have just lost everything?

NO! I was, as bugbread pointed out, being sarcastic and meaning the "really dangerous" part to refer to Iraq. These poor people are going to be sitting ducks for military recruiters waving job opportunities.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:34 AM on September 2, 2005


"Just now on CNN, after having watched Bush being briefed by the head of FEMA and talking with the GOP governors of Mississippi and Alabama
Daryn Kagen:

I gotta say that was rather an odd thing to be watching. The president finally making it to the gulf coast after five days, and then spending a big chunk of time, when he could be out seeing the devastation, getting a briefing that frankly he could have gotten back at the White House, if not then, then on board Air Force One. A lot of that seemed like a political opportunity for the cameras and for the Republican governors of Mississippi and Alabama.

Bill Schneider:

I'm not sure that's what most Americans and certainly most people in the area wanted to hear, as if the president were being filled in, told what was going on, there was a lot of thanking a lot of congratulations. Look these are frantic desperate people who have lost everything, who are in a very desperate situation, what they want is someone to come there and say the government is in control, we have control of this situation, there's a leader in charge here and we're gonna make it work....

What people want there is leadership, they don't want someone being briefed, they want leadership."
posted by ericb at 9:41 AM on September 2, 2005


sorry Aspara--i'm livid about all this, and don't want a single one of those people to be put in harm's way again.

I can't believe this is our country and our leadership. I really can't.
posted by amberglow at 9:59 AM on September 2, 2005


now on MSNBC, they're saying every single piece of food and water distributed so far in Biloxi has been provided by private organizations only--not one thing from the govt.
posted by amberglow at 10:10 AM on September 2, 2005


Taz posted in ask about a radio interview with Ray Nagin. Several people have now mirrored an mp3 of it. Try to find the longer one (14 min). The three min one is just the start of the longer.

The government at all levels has failed to deal with this. I just hope that people can get out before too many more die.
posted by 6550 at 10:28 AM on September 2, 2005


Links on metachat - on YouSendIt, also on CNN.
posted by jb at 10:55 AM on September 2, 2005


A Can't-Do Government.
posted by ericb at 10:55 AM on September 2, 2005






ericb writes "The president finally making it to the gulf coast after five days, and then spending a big chunk of time, when he could be out seeing the devastation, getting a briefing that frankly he could have gotten back at the White House, if not then, then on board Air Force One. A lot of that seemed like a political opportunity for the cameras and for the Republican governors of Mississippi and Alabama."

I've wanted to see Bush fall on his ass on any number of occasions, I'm sad to see that his total inadequacy and politicking as a leader is being shown on the backs of the citizens of New Orleans. This briefing thing is especially grating, much more so than those inane free speech zones. Don't they have phones/video conferencing on AF1?

I'm beginning to hope that Stephen Harper never gets this chance up here.
posted by Mitheral at 11:33 AM on September 2, 2005


asparagirl, I've been watching clips of coverage from CNN.com, and each clip is prefaced by an Army recruiting commercial.
posted by davy at 2:40 PM on September 2, 2005


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