Monday, September 12, 2005 blog highlights for Monday

6:22 P.M. - The Mississippi River is open to all ships — and except for the 20 miles nearest its mouth, for 24 hours a day, the Coast Guard said Monday.
Until Monday afternoon, ships could move only during the day from New Orleans to the river's mouth, because so many buoys and other navigation aids had been blown away by Hurricane Katrina.

6:16 P.M. - Entergy says 278,000 customers are without power and that about 167,000 of them are in Orleans and not likely to be returned anytime soon.

6:15 P.M. - Texas schools won't get federal emergency funds to pay for additional teachers and textbooks to accommodate students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, according to a memo released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Texas schools will need an estimated $450 million to educate the anticipated influx of students displaced by the hurricane. Officials had hoped those costs would be covered by grants from FEMA because Texas has been included in the disaster declaration.
But, according to a FEMA memo sent to state officials on Saturday, Texas schools will be eligible for reimbursement for temporary classroom buildings, mental health counselors and school computers. Hiring additional teachers and the purchase of books is not eligible "at this time," according to the memo.

5:20 P.M. WWL-TV Reporter Bob Greene: Northwest Airlines to be first carrier to return to Armstrong International Tuesday.

5:05 P.M. - WWL-TV reporter Ben Lemoine said that St. Bernard Parish officials said that 100 percent of the homes and buildings in the parish were damaged by hurricane Katrina and the parish was declared "unrecoverable."
5:03 P.M. - Lemoine: Parish officials say that no one in St. Bernard can even begin to rebuild until next summer.

4:55 P.M. - Dickie Brennan, of Brennan’s Steakhouse and other noted New Orleans eateries, and Justin Frey of Bourbon Street’s famed Galatiore’s restaurant, will join directors of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board to deliver a status report on Louisiana’s seafood industry, which has an annual economic impact of more than $2.5 billion each year in Louisiana alone.
The group will unveil its plans to revive the seafood and restaurant industries recently ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. They will also ask the state to reopen sustainable fisheries. Redfish and speckled trout, healthy and sustainable fisheries, have been off limits to commercial harvesters for some time.
A number of stalwart shrimpers in Louisiana are already harvesting product from the Gulf despite the hardships brought on by the hurricane. What’s more, oyster beds that lie west of the river are expected to open in the near future. Shrimp and oyster fishermen and leading distributors of Louisiana Seafood will join the restaurateurs and industry experts.

4:00 P.M. - WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown resigned Monday, three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. The White House picked a top FEMA official with three decades of firefighting experience as his replacement

2:42 P.M. - WWL-TV Reporter Thanh Truong: Few business owners have returned to New Orleans to assess situation and get papers, despite invitation to do so.

2:37 P.M. - Children's Hospital spokesman: Despite rumors, there was no looting at the hospital.

2:32 P.M. - (AP) Louisiana religious leaders said Monday they want the federal government to develop a comprehensive family recovery plan for victims of Hurricane Katrina, but not without input from New Orleans' displaced families.
"We don't want to be just the recipients," said Father Michael Jacques, pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in New Orleans. "We want to participate."

2:02 P.M. - (AP) Forty-five bodies have been found at a hospital that was abandoned more than a week ago after it was surrounded by floodwaters unleashed by Hurricane Katrina, a state health official said Monday.
The bodies were located Sunday at Memorial Medical Center, said Bob Johannesen, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Hospitals. Johannesen said the bodies were those of patients, but he had no other information.
The Louisiana death toll rose to 279 on Monday, up from 197 on Sunday, Johannesen said.
On Sunday, reporters were kept at a distance from Memorial Medical by law enforcement officers as workers removed bodies from the hospital, situated in the city's Uptown section.
The 317-bed hospital, owned by TenetHealthcare Corp., remained closed Monday and was still partially surrounded by floodwaters.

1:12 P.M. - Gordon Nelson, Louisiana Dept. of Transportation spokesman: Crews have mobilized and work has begun on the Twin Spans. We hope to have phase one of the plan, one side of the Twin Spans, up and running with two-way traffic in 45 days.

12:23 P.M. - Mike Olivier, State Dept. of Economic Development: We owe it to the people who died to rebuild the city.

12:15 P.M. - President George W. Bush: The people of New Orleans can lay out the vision of what New Orleans will look like in the future and we will help. I don't think the best policy would be for the federal government to come down and say, "this is what your city should look like."
12:12 P.M. - Bush: The storm didn't discriminate and neither will the federal government. When those rescuers were plucking people off of rooftops, they didn't ask or look at their color.

11:10 A.M. - (AP) The waters in New Orleans, which once covered 80 percent of the city, have pulled back far enough to allow for a scenic drive down Esplanade Avenue, past the handsome, columned two-story home where the French artist Edgar Degas once lived to the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park.
The same can be said for Saint Charles Avenue. While many homes are deserted and the old green street cars are gone, the beauty of the Greek Revival and Victorian homes, fronted by a canopy of live oaks, overwhelms the sight of debris piled along the road.

11:05 A.M. - (AP) -- Business owners in the central business district were issued passes into the city Monday to retrieve vital records or equipment needed to run their companies, as New Orleans slowly and painfully stirred back to life two weeks after being slammed by Katrina.
Traffic was heavy on the only major highway into the city that was still open, and vehicles were backed up for about two miles at a National Guard checkpoint in Westwego, a suburb across the Mississippi River from New Orleans.

3:22 A.M. - MEMPHIS, TN (AP): A Memphis woman who tried to collect more than $1,500 in hurricane relief money has been charged with forgery and attempted theft.
Tennessee authorities say they believe Emma Hill is the first person charged in Memphis with posing as a hurricane victim.
Evacuees in Memphis must remain diligent. They are crime targets. It appears criminals are looking for Louisiana license plates. Many people have had their vehicles taken, along with thousands of dollars in cash and valuables. Police say at least 56 evacuees have been crime victims.

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