Twice now television images from Katrina have stopped me in my tracks, as the death toll rises toward 100, as 80 percent of New Orleans is under water, and as those left are ordered to evacuate amid reports of looting and shooting.
The first, a rooftop rescue, posted by MSNBC. An aerial embrace, as a woman is lifted by helecopter from the last part of a house that is not under water. Flood water has breached two levees in New Orleans.
No human drama is evident in the second video, available on CNN's site. It's a static shot - of a car on Interstate 10. It is a road to nowhere. The next stretch of highway has been ripped away by the water. Behind is no better, the pavement broken up into little rectangles sticking out of the water. The viewer is left to fill in the holes -- how the driver got out. If the driver got out. What happened to everyone else.
An AP reporter found a Philadelphian in the chaotic Big Easy:
"It's downtown Baghdad," Denise Bollinger told the wire service. She watched looters and snapped pictures in amazement. "It's insane. I've wanted to come here for 10 years. I thought this was a sophisticated city. I guess not."
E! Online News finds a local angle: Katrina's Wrath Hits Hollywood tells how crews for two Disney films had to flee by charter jet before the hurricane's landfall. The making of two other films is up in the air.
After Ivan ravaged the area last year, Inquirer reporter Paul Nussbaum traveled to New Orleans to write about how unprotected the city was from a "perfect storm." "We are at the mercy of chance for the foreseeable future," an Army Corps of Engineers official said. Read it here.