New Orleans mayor says thousands could be dead.... Recovery will take years, President Bush says.... Red Cross preparing its largest effort ever.... Gas prices at all-time high.... U.S. economy to suffer. ...
In Uptown, one the few areas that remained dry, a bearded man patrolled Oak Street near the boarded-up Maple Leaf Bar, a sawed-off shotgun slung over his shoulder. The owners of a hardware store sat in folding chairs, pistols at the ready.
"They broke into the Shell station across the street," he said. "I walked over with my 12-gauge and shot a couple into the air."
In the Bywater, a supply store sported spray-painted signs reading "You Loot, I Shoot" and "You Bein Watched."
That's from Cobalt Green, a New Orleans blogger on a group site named Katrinacane's friends, formed by those who decided to brave the storm. Some have broken into details - recon, security, fuel, food. Others are finding ways to post, like the above picture of the line at the local Wal-Mart -- a lines of people pushing loaded-down shopping carts. Prices couldn't be beat.
Cobalt Green continues:
At the Bywater studio of Dr. Bob, the artist known for handpainted "Be Nice or Leave" signs, a less fanciful sentiment was painted on the wall: "Looters Will Be Shot. Dr. Bob."
Here's Mark posting for ScyllaCat:
She's fine, after a very harrowing experience (the building really did fall down around her!). The French Quarter has not been flooded, though it's now an island in the midst of a vast toxic swamp. They're not letting anyone in or out until they get the pumps and levies repaired, which will probably take several days. Meanwhile, she has a warm, safe place to sleep, food, etc.
On a LiveJournal site, called Insomnia, Interdictor describes the drill and the mood - this, Tuesday, as night fell:
One of the reasons it's so easy to collapse during a crisis situation is that even the most minute tasks can be desperately frustrating. For instance, you need to move fuel from a 55 gallon drum into a generator fuel tank. First you have to have tools to open the drums and the tank. Someone has to go find some if there aren't any available. Then you have to have pumps to draw it out and pump it into the tank. That means you need extension cord. Have to move the drums and that means you need a dolly. Every step requires items and equipment that could be missing. . . . I keep being told that CNN and the Slate reported our "moods" as something other than upbeat. The city is falling apart, no doubt. The looting is rampant. . . . The water is still creeping in. But you know what? My team's mood is not negative. We're focused. We've got things that need doing and we're gonna get them done. That's all there is to it. We need diesel. We'll find some. We have people depending on us and we are not going to let them down. That's all there is to it.
At Metroblogging New Orleans, Craig Giesecke, whose decision to evacuate we noted Monday, last night wrote:
What bothers me this evening, in watching the goings-on on TV and in reading a series of stories, is how quickly the social order has broken down in my beloved city.
I'm a pretty laissez-faire kinda guy. I know the police, fire, National Guard and other official agencies are more than overwhelmed by this once-a-century type of event.
But damn, y'all....
I am well aware the logistics of providing help in this situation in this city are unprecedented. And the levee breach is potentially catastrophic, even more than the hurricane itself. But it also seems to me that we've been overly eager, as a nation, to rapidly deploy needed manpower to just about anyplace in the world to face a perceived threat. From what's I've seen and read so far today, now would be a good time to employ this same kind of quick action to at least provide a little protection to folks who just want to get through the next difficult day.
I know -- it's only been 48 hours or so. And conditions are uniquely staggering. But authorities have to get a handle on, well, their authority.
Another poster at that site, Chris Martel, seemed to be desperate for news from the city where he (or she) found safety.
Literally on television right now in Memphis:
CBS - Big Brother 6
NBC - Tommy Lee Goes To College
FOX - House
ABC - According to Jim
These are the same networks that were airing commercial free tsunami coverage for days during that tragedy. What the ...?!?! People need to be informed about this situation. This is quite possibly the worst disaster to ever occur in the history of this country, maybe not in terms of loss of life, but easily in terms of economic impact.
Just to drill it in, nobody is talking about death tolls right now but they are certain to be in the THOUSANDS. Nobody has even begun to consider it because they are still rescuing people, not recovering. It's bad, people. Get Tommy Lee off the ... television.
At least they're not still talking about those goddamned dolphins.
Eyes on Katrina, the blog put out by reporters at the Sun Herald in battered Biloxi, has received 173,500 page views as of 9:30 this morning. Those are enormous numbers. Land lines, cells and Internet are down in the Mississippi city, and the reporters haven't been able to update.
But another Sun Herald blog, Eye Of The Storm, is up and running. A post from this morning:
Just got back from a morning run with one of the Knight Ridder photogs. We made it down to the beach at Cowan Rd. Apartment complexes were torn to shreds and the Fun Time amusement park doesn't exist anymore. The smell of gas is thick in the neighborhoods.
Saw National Guard trucks rolling into town and Red Cross just mobilized the largest recovery effort they have ever done. Lots of Long Beach has been destroyed. Point Cadet has been largely destroyed. Popps Ferry Bridge is shut down. The hurricane bent the steel part of it bad enough that it can't close all the way. Ocean Springs bridge is gone and I've heard that the Pass got hit very hard. I think their bridge is down, too. Pass Road is the only one that is drivable and it is barely that.
One of the reporters was just told her house is gone.
And in Carrollton, La., where looters have armed themselves with stolen guns.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune devoted a five-day series in 2002 to what would happen if a hurricane hit. It wondered about levees - two of which have broken. "It's only a matter of time before South Louisiana takes a direct hit from a majur hurricane. Billions have been spent to protect us, but we grow more vulnerable every day," the headline went. Read the series here.
Approaching 1,300 citizens photos of the hurricane and its aftermath here at this Flickr site.
Ok, everyone's tired, but please, folks. Video of CNN's weather guy losing it after being interrupted by the anchor.
Katrina Check-In is a place to go online and post messages. Separate pages for "I'm Ok" and "I'm Searching For." As of 1:30 p.m., 134 posts for OK and 519 for SEARCHING.
NOLA.com has a forum for the missing. Last time checked, more than 1,200 were listed. Some examples:
Entry 106. Ricky Lehrmann/2201 Paris Road in Chalmette
by Mazeyfish, 8/31/05 9:29 ET
We are looking for information on Ricky Lehrmann.
Ricky was last spoken with at 4:00 pm Tuesday. He was stranded on the second story of his home at 2201 Paris Road in Chalmette. He said there was water flooding the entire first floor of his home. His battery on his cell phone was about to go dead. Haven't heard from him since. We would like to know his whereabouts or if he has been rescued. If anyone is in contact with an emergency rescue team member, please check his home at 2201 Paris Road in Chalmette.
58. Looking for Aunt Milly Maranto from metarie
by alisonlong, 8/31/05 8:57 ET
Someone please check on Aunt Milly. 734 Athania Parkway. Metarie, Louisiana. She is 85 years old and would not leave. We are desperate to hear any news about her.
41. Roberta Kalmanson
by eddiewid, 8/31/05 8:42 ET
My mother-in-law and her 17 year old daughter may have been stranded at 4131 Hamilton Street. My sister-in-law is in a wheelchair, as she has cerebral palsy. Any information on them would be greatly appreciated. Also, if any of the rescue teams are monitoring this, please send someone her way. Thanks!
Monday, we brought you John Strain, blogging as Katrina approached, and his Covington, LA., house shook. He's updated by audio post:
"The devastation is beyond belief. It's going to take years. It's going to have to be rebuilt. It's going to be a different town." The psychiatric social worker says he dropped patients of in Baton Rouge. There's no food, no water, no electricity in Covington. Thousands of trees are down. "We're fine, good spirits good atitude, got to get back. Rebuild. Life moves on."