Saturday, September 10, 2005

 

Crime-Free New Orleans

Isn't this interesting? I wonder when the last time this happened was?

"We are definitely in control of this city," Compass said. "We've been almost crime-free for the last four days."

more here

 

NYTimes article

Thought I was done for the night, but then I ran across this. Good read. My favorites:

"Congress must ensure that a catastrophe of nature does not become a catastrophe of debt for our children and grandchildren," said Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana and a conservative leader in the House. (That's rich. How are our other policies not resulting in the same catastrophe?)
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"I know the American people, some of them are worrying about all this money," Mr. DeLay said. "Ladies and gentlemen, five million people, five million Americans, deserve us finding a way to make them whole." (I'm going to remember this one. I hope he lives up to it.)
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Full article here

 

Evacuees around the country

(AP) — An estimated 374,000 Hurricane Katrina refugees are in shelters, hotels, homes and other housing in 34 states and Washington, D.C., according to the Red Cross and state officials:
Details are here

 

Mayor Ray Nagin: We will be a better city

Full story here

In a brief but wide-ranging interview, the mayor reflected on the tragedies of the past two weeks, acknowledging that he may have made some mistakes but said that he hopes others in positions of authority – including President George W. Bush and Gov. Kathleen Blanco -- are scrutinized as closely as he and his staff have been. “I’m not pointing any fingers at anyone,” Nagin said. “But I was in the fire. I was down there. Where were they? I’m confident the truth is gonna come out. But I want everybody’s record analyzed just as hard as mine.“Listen, this was unprecedented. Nothing has ever happened like this. For people to sit back and say, ‘You should have done this, you should have done that’ … it’s Monday morning quarterbacking. They can shoot if they want, but I was there, and I will have the facts.”
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“This is ridiculous,” he said. “I mean, this is America. How can we have a state with an $18 billion budget and a federal government with an I don’t know how many trillion dollar budget, and they can’t get a few thousand people onto buses? I don’t get that.“All I saw was a huge two-step, if you will, between the federal government and the state as far as who had the final authority. Promises made that weren’t really kept. It was frustrating. We’d analyze things, double-check them, and then, later in the afternoon, we’d find out that someone was changing the plan, moving resources around.”
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As hearings on the Katrina response start to crank up in Washington, Nagin said, those questions, among others, need to be asked.“ I think the government ought to be asking itself, ‘What happened to the resources? Why were people promised resources and they didn’t show up? Where were the military resources? Where was the National Guard? Why were we left with a city on the verge of collapse, fighting for the soul of the city, with 200 National Guardsmen and 1,200 police?
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“Analyze my ass, analyze everyone’s ass, man. Let’s put the facts on the table and talk turkey. Why was there a breakdown at the federal and state level only in Louisiana? This didn’t happen in Mississippi. That’s the question. That’s the question of the day.”
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Nagin saw a few bright spots amid the rubble of the city. He said the New Orleans Police Department – at least, the majority of it, given that there were a number of desertions – should be hailed for fighting an almost impossible fight, handling search-and-rescue missions while trying to keep an increasingly lawless city in check.“They were absolutely heroic,” he said. “The stuff they were dealing with, man … they spent the first two or three days pulling people out of the water. When the looting started to get to the point that it was a real concern, they had to get involved in serious firefights. I mean, we had radio chatter where police were pinned down in firefights and ran out of ammunition. That’s never happened.”
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Nagin also expressed cautious optimism about the city’s future.“I think we’ll be a better city,” he said. “I think we’re going to see an unprecedented construction boom, and some better-paying jobs. Small businesses will start thriving, and I think the tourist industry will bounce back stronger than ever.”
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“I think some people will probably not come back,” he said. “You know, Texas is treating people very well, probably much better than we treated people.’’“But I think once people start to see the rebuilding, and that the culture of the city will not be materially affected, they’ll be back.”

 

New Orleans Hornets update

3:16 P.M. (AP): Hornets owner George Shinn wants his team to stay in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, but understands that cannot be done.
"Our objective is not to abandon ship here or to get out of dodge," Shinn told The Times-Picayune from his summer home in Telford, Tenn. "Our plan is to hope and pray New Orleans rebuilds. And I think it will with everyone's support and the federal money that's coming in there. I think it will be stronger."
The Hornets have received offers to play NBA home games this season in Louisville, Ky.; Oklahoma City; Kansas City, Mo., Nashville, Tenn; and San Diego.

 

You might not like their politics, but their rhyme is creative

It's stuck in my head now just from imagining the chanting....

6:24 P.M. - AUSTIN (AP) -- As Vice President Dick Cheney toured Hurricane Katrina shelter operations in Texas' capital city today, a group of about two dozen protesters gathered outside chanting -- "Cheney, Cheney, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide."
Cheney visited the Austin Convention Center shelter and the Texas State Operations Center, where state officials orchestrated the intake of more than 240-thousand people last week after flood waters rose in New Orleans.

 

Airport re-opening for cargo flights

6:29 P.M. - Airport Director Roy Williams: Cargo flights to begin Sunday, passenger flights, approximately 30 per day, will begin Tuesday. Food services and other amenities won't be available immediately.

 

City drying out quicker than expected

7:05 P.M. - Army Corps of Engineers say draining of the city of New Orleans could be complete in 30 days if things continue to go well.

 

More mind-control mist, coming from the air this time

8:00 P.M. - The U.S. Airforce will spray a special pesticide over Orleans Parish beginning Sunday night near dusk to prevent mosquitoes from spreading the disease.

 

Entergy Update from wwltv.com

Entergy has restored power to nearly 786,000 customers, or more than two-thirds of the 1.1 million Louisiana and Mississippi customers impacted by Hurricane Katrina, company officials reported on Saturday.
Approximately 305,000 customers remain without power in Louisiana. Many of those without power are located in flooded or inaccessible areas.

 

Eye-opening National Geographic article from Oct 2004

I know some of you have heard about this article foretelling of our disaster, take a gander for yourself. It's chilling. Link here.

 

Restoration car magnets, t-shirts, and beer

What else did you expect from New Orleans? Go buy some. Now.

 

More reports of aid being kept away

BERLIN (AP) — A German military plane carrying 15 tons of military rations for survivors of Hurricane Katrina was sent back by U.S. authorities, officials said Saturday. link

 

Habitat for Humanity info

Lots of homes are going to need to be rebuilt and rehabbed, and Habitat is going to play a big role. Read more for what you can do.

more here

 

Stephanie Grace's latest column

Check it out

 

EPA Floodwater data via nola.com

The Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Environmental Quality have posted data from New Orleans flood water samples collected from 12 locations from Sept. 3-5. The data has been reviewed and validated through a quality assurance process to ensure scientific accuracy.Initial biological results indicated the presence of high levels of E. coli in sampled areas. Environmental and health agencies advise people to avoid contact with the flood water.EPA in coordination with federal, state and local agencies will continue to release data as it becomes available. A map displaying samplinglocations is available on the EPA website. To view the data, pleasevisit: http://www.epa.gov/katrina/testresults

 

Somebody help WWOZ get its roofer back in town

The studio equipment and irreplaceable record and CDcollection at noncommercial WWOZ 90.7 FM, the publicradio outlet that beamed New Orleans music and cultureto the region – and, via the Internet, the world –survived Hurricane Katrina but might not survive thecity’s current lockdown. David Freedman, the station’s general manger, surveyedthe station’s Armstrong Park headquarters on Thursdayand discovered significant damage to the roof. Freedman attempted to return later with a roofer, butwas turned away on the city’s outskirts. Friday afternoon, he was looking for someone inauthority to approve access to the city long enough topreserve the volunteer-run station, which was knockedoff the air by the storm and which operates on alistener-supported shoestring in best of times. “I just don’t know who to call,” he said.Freedman can be contacted at wwozdavid@yahoo.com or(504) 782-0933.

 

wwltv.com blog highlights

10:39 A.M. (AP): New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass said Saturday that his hard-pressed force was regaining control despite a shortage of roughly 300 officers.
"We're much more organized at this point," Compass said. "We have our logistics in order and the patrols are going very well."
Compass said more than 200 people had been arrested in recent days and were being held in a makeshift jail.
Of a force of 1,750, Compass said he is short about 300 officers, but he had offered no details about where they were or why they were not available for duty.
"I can't worry about that now," he said. "We're doing the job we have to do."

8:49 P.M. (AP): An impish Chris Rock couldn't resist scaring producers during a benefit concert aired across all major broadcast networks and several cable channels. Looking into the camera, Rock said, "George Bush hates midgets."
Rock was referring to an incident during an NBC fundraising concert last weekend in which rapper Kanye West veered off script to lambast Bush's response to the devestation in New Orleans
"We've all heard the question," Rock said on Friday. "Why didn't these people just leave when they had the chance? But now we realize that not everybody can just jump into their SUVs and drive to a nice hotel. These people depend on public transportation and these people can't afford a nice hotel, because some of them work there. Now it's your chance to help them."
Neil Young, Randy Newman, Mariah Carey and Dr. John were among other performers.

7:17 P.M. - (AP): The number of unemployment applications, already a record in Louisiana, was up to more than 165,000 Friday -- 115,000 within the state, and at least 50,000 more by refugees of Hurricane Katrina who were in other states.The state Department of Labor was working with its counterparts in Texas and other states, Secretary John Warner Smith said Friday.People can apply for unemployment insurance and disaster relief at any one-stop job center, online at http://www.laworks.net or by calling toll-free numbers 1-866-783-5567 or 1-800-818-7811. Injured workers who were getting workers' compensation before the hurricane should call 1-866-783-5567, 1-800-201-2494 or 1-800-201-3457 to update contact information.

6:34 P.M. - (AP): With power substations in St. Bernard Parish still underwater, only 1 percent of the homes and businesses there have electricity, Louisiana Public Service Commission member Jimmy Fields said Friday.More than 389,000 homes and businesses in the state remained without power Friday -- 339,237 Entergy customers, and about 50,000 Cleco customers, according to the companies' Web sites.But about two-thirds of the 1.2 million customers left without power at the height of the storm had it back.

3:00 P.M. - WWL-TV Reporter Josh McElveen: 187 portable pumps capable of pumping 25,000 gallons per minute are working to get water out of the city. Pumps at 17th Street Canal are now pumping out 21,000 gallons per second, but debris could hinder process.

2:55 P.M. - WWL-TV Reporter Dennis Woltering in French Quarter: Flooding in Treme area has gone down about 9 feet.

 

Twin Spans, possibly open in October?

Twin spans could have limited reopening in 45 days
06:45 PM CDT on Friday, September 9, 2005
WWLTV.com and Associated Press reports

 

FEMA - nevermind the debit cards

FEMA says it will end debit card plan
07:03 PM EDT on Friday, September 9, 2005
By HOPE YEN / Associated Press
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government's relief agency said Friday it will discontinue its program to distribute debit cards worth up to $2,000 to hurricane victims, two days after hastily announcing the novel plan to provide quick relief. Link

 

Red Cross to help with hotel costs

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- The American Red Cross says it will foot the hotel bill for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The relief agency announced the plan Friday with little fanfare.

More here

 

A statement from the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans

http://www.youngleadershipcouncil.org

Friday, September 09, 2005

 

Amazing aftermath photos

Check out these photos submitted by wwltv.com readers here

 

School info from wwltv.com

Damage report on metro area schools

 

Musicians respond to Katrina

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina's swift devastation and the government's seemingly sluggish response, many artists have spent the past two weeks writing — and in some cases recording and releasing — music inspired by the events. More at mtv.com

 

FEMA chief relieved of Katrina duties

WASHINGTON - Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown is being removed from his role managing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, government sources said Friday.
Government sources disclosed the move but spoke on condition of anonymity because the change hadn't been officially announced. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff was expected to announce the change at a 1:45 p.m. ET news conference.
Brown will be replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, who earlier this week was named his deputy to oversee relief and rescue efforts.

more here

 

Katrina by the numbers - nola.com

24,464 National Guard soldiers and airmen are conducting operations in 13 Louisiana parishes.- They have helped evacuate 238 critical patients in the last four days, including 34 in the past 24 hours.- More than 130,000 Louisiana residents applied for a total of $55 million in emergency food-stamp benefits in the one-week period from Sept. 2-9.- About 240 shelters in Louisiana operated by the state, the American Red Cross and other non-profit groups are hosting more than 54,000 people displaced by the storm. Another 659 people are being housed in special-needs shelters.- As of Thursday, the state Department of Labor had collected 105,000 unemployment claims from Louisiana residents who lost their jobs because of Katrina.- Preliminary estimates indicate a potential $1.3 billion loss in retail fisheries revenue over the next year due to Katrina.- A total of 229 people have been arrested and detained at the "Camp Greyhound" temporary detention center in New Orleans.

 

Saints fan or not, check this out

It was on his way back to San Antonio that Stallworth received a text message from teammate Joe Horn, who had been visiting evacuees at the Astrodome. Horn had gone to try and lift people's spirits, and instead ended up having his own outlook on the 2005 NFL season completely changed.

"I talked to the people," the message read, "they want us to ride … we gotta ride … let's get a handle on our business … and then let's ride for the people."



See, I do believe that there are times when sports transcend the playing field and perpetuate something more than just a silly game. But I figured Katrina would most likely ruin that theory. After such cataclysmic devastation, such chaos, anguish and human suffering, who could possibly care about something as inconsequential as the NFL?
These people, that's who.

The reaction to Stallworth was immediate, warm and visceral. You could feel spirits lifting when people saw a member of their football team or, more likely, just a small piece of their hometown standing before them. Practically knocked over by well wishers, Stallworth kept telling evacuees to "be strong … stay strong" and oddly enough, they repeated the same prayer right back to him and the team.

As he walked around, from cot to cot and person to person, the pendulum swung from hope to horror and back to hope again. Stallworth was left nearly speechless by the experience. But later, teammate Willie Whitehead put it this way: "A lot of these folks lost everything. They lost their house. All their possessions. And in some cases, their entire family. The Saints are, literally, all they have left to cling to. We're all they've got."



"The Saints are the only piece of home we have left," Richardson said. "A lot of us are watching and thinking, 'OK then, if the Saints are still fighting, then I'm gonna keep fighting too.' I've watched this team since the moment I could turn on a TV. And maybe we did wear bags on our heads at one point, but even during the tough times we never turned our back on this team. Now they're showing us that even during the tough times they won't turn their backs on us, either."



As one fan put it, just as Stallworth was exiting the shelter, "We just need our Saints now more than ever."

"We marching now, March us back!" came another voice.

"New Orleans might be gone, but the Saints are still here!" shouted another woman.

"Bring us back to life," pleaded one man watching Stallworth leave. "Bring us back to life."
Outside, with the orange sun baking a spot on the horizon, Stallworth slowly made his way back to his car. You could tell he didn't want to leave.

"It's unbelievable man," he said. "Unbelievable. We're playing for so much more now. So much more. We have a purpose now. And we have to get it done. For these people. We don't have a choice, we have to."

Go read the whole article. Now.

 

New Chris Rose - actually from Wednesday as far as I can tell

Returning to the remnants of home By Chris Rose Columnist

The first time you see it ... I don’t know. Where are the words?I got to town Monday afternoon. I braced myself, not knowing how it would make me feel, not knowing how much it would make me hurt.

I found out that I am one of the lucky ones. High ground. With that comes gratitude and wonder and guilt. The Higher Powers have handed me my house and all my stuff and now what? What is there?

I live Uptown, where all the fancy-pants houses are and they’re all still here. Amid the devastation, they never looked so beautiful. They never looked more like hope. This swath of land is where this city will begin its recovery.

There are still homes and schools, playgrounds, stores, bars and restaurants. Not so many trees, I’m afraid. We’ll have to do something about that.

The Circle K near my house was looted, but there are still ample supplies of cigarettes and booze. They just took what they needed. The hardware store and Perlis - the preppy clothing store - same thing.

Someone kicked in the window at Shoefty, a high-end shoe boutique and what good a pair of Manolo Blahnik stilettos is going to do you right now, I don’t know.

Idiots.

I myself was escorted out of the local Winn-Dixie by narcotics officers from Rusk County, Texas.

I told them I thought it was OK to take what we need. “And what do you need?” the supervisor asked me. I reached into my bag and held up a bottle of mouthwash.

I told him I will come back to this Winn-Dixie one day and pay for this bottle and I will. I swear it.

Right by the entrance to the store, there is a huge pile of unsold newspapers stacked up from the last day they were delivered, Sunday, Aug. 28.The Times-Picayune headline screams: KATRINA TAKES AIM.

Ain’t that the truth? Funny, though: The people you see here – and there are many who stayed behind – they never speak her name. She is the woman who done us wrong.

I had the strangest dream last night, and this is true: I dreamt I was reading an ad in the paper for a hurricane-relief benefit concert at Zephyr Stadium and the headliner act was Katrina and the Waves.

They had that peppy monster hit back in the ‘80s, “Walking on Sunshine,” the one they play on Claritin ads on TV and that almost seems funny in light of what happened.

Almost.

Riding my bike, I searched out my favorite places, my comfort zones. I found that Tipitina’s is still there and that counts for something. Miss Mae’s and Dick & Jenny’s, ditto.

Domilise’s po-boy shop is intact, although the sign fell and shattered but the truth is, that sign needed to be replaced a long time ago.

I saw a dead guy on the front porch of a shotgun double on a working-class street and the only sound was wind chimes.

Everybody here has a dead guy story now. Everybody here will always be different.

I passed by the Valence Street Baptist Church and the façade was ripped away and I walked in and stared at the altar amid broken stained glass and strewn Bibles and I got down on my knees and said thank you but why? why? why? and I’m not even anything close to Baptist.

It just seemed like a place to take shelter from the storm in my head.

The rockers on my neighbor’s front porch are undisturbed, like nothing ever happened. At my other neighbor’s house – the ones who never take out their trash – a million kitchen bags are still piled in the mound that’s always there and I never thought I’d be happy to see garbage, but I am.

Because it reminds me of my home. I haven’t been down in the kill zone yet. I haven’t seen the waters. I haven’t been where all hope, life and property are lost. I have only seen what I have seen and we took the hit and it is still here. This is where we’ll make our start. This is where we’ll make our stand.

And when everything gets back to normal – whenever that may be – I’m going to do what I’ve been putting off for a very long time and I’m going to walk next store and tell my neighbors that they really do need to start taking out their trash.

Columnist Chris Rose can be reached at noroses@bellsouth.net.

 

Trump still committed to N.O. project

6:45 p.m., Wednesday

By Greg Thomas
Real estate writer

As the city of New Orleans trembles in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Florida developers said Wednesday that one thing is certain: the $200 million Trump International Hotel & Tower will be built on Poydras Street.

"We're in this with you guys,'' Donald Trump Jr. said Wednesday. "But our sentiment right now is that it's inappropriate to talk business (at a time) with such a great loss of life,'' he said.

But Trump said that The Trump Group is committed to the project and that when the time is ripe -- when rescues are complete and when the city is in more of a recovery mode -- they will willingly talk about their developing plans.

"Of course we're still interested. We'll talk when it’s appropriate, when it’s beneficial to work ourselves back into the game,” Trump said.

“Yes, it’s a go,’’ said development partner Frederick Levin. “It’s just a question of when.’’
Levin’s brother Clifford Mowe and partner Robert Rinke, doing business as Poydras LLC, said The Trump Group showed no reservations about moving forward, but stressed that the timetable is now uncertain.

“There’s no doubt about’’ the one million square foot project, which will include retail, hotel and condominium space, Mowe said.

The development, which will be constructed on an empty parking lot between Camp and Magazine streets, would be one of the largest new high-rise construction projects in the city in more than 25 years.

“It’s going to be a delay before the project can be marketed,’’ Mowe said. “But the city is going to come back stronger than ever,’’ and Mowe’s team plans to play a major role in its reconstruction.

click here for more, about 2/5 down the page

 

Halliburton Links for my in-laws

Halliburton Subsidiary Taps Contract For Repairs

and

Halliburton gets Katrina contract, hires former FEMA director

 

Stephanie Grace's latest column via nola.com

STEPHANIE GRACE: A chance to get it rightThursday, 3:44 p.m.

Maybe it's too soon to think about the future, with the shocking images of so many of our fellow citizens' suffering so fresh. Clearly, it's way too soon to put aside the sadness we all feel over our hometown's devastation, the rage over the emergency response bureaucracy that sputtered for days while storm victims went without food, water and shelter.

Yet it's worth trying to focus on what's to come, because out of the ruins, there's reason for hope. The new New Orleans area will be different, sure, and depleted in countless ways -- but restored and perhaps even improved in others.

This much we know: Our problems have now, belatedly, gotten the undivided attention of the federal government. As U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon put it, President Bush's photo-op flyover morphed into a reality check; he and all those other federal officials who've been so cavalier about protecting the coastal buffer zone and investing in flood control finally get it, and are ready to open their wallets. Maybe the feds' promised largesse comes from guilt over their disastrous initial response. Maybe it's simple political cover. Some will surely call it blood money. Doesn't matter. We'll take it.

"A tragic opportunity," is how U.S. Sen. David Vitter described it. "This is our chance to get it in one lump sum."

So what's the "it"? Let's start with the obvious: Money to build new levees, repair the ones that breached and raise those that survived. Then there's the coastal restoration funding that Vitter, his Senate colleague Mary Landrieu andother Louisiana politicians have been seeking for years. There's the cash to replace the decimated I-10 twin spans and reconnect New Orleans to points east. And there's more. The flooded-out areas include wealthy neighborhoods that will be rebuilt with insurance, but they also encompass poorer regions that were full of dilapidated houses and schools. This is the government's chance to make sure families that return live in decent surroundings, that kids learn in clean, modern buildings that actually have air conditioning and functional bathrooms. That ruined neighborhoods are filled in, so people can rebuild on higher, safer ground.

By the time it gets rolling, we could be looking at the something akin to the Works Progress Administration, the massive depression-era public works project, all over again. Katrina's wreckage isn't just a federal problem, of course. The city and state face countless challenges and expenses to get the city up and running again. There will be huge federal contracts, but much of the spending will also flow through local agencies. Some have already been let. And that's a cause not just for hope but for deep concern.

So far, Louisiana's the politicians have mostly behaved well, and many have acted downright admirably. And despite the tragically slow start, the feds are now talking a good game. But we all know what's happened in the past when the money started rolling in: Pockets got lined. Work got shoddy, and the public got fleeced. Such brazen public corruption too is part of our local heritage, the ugly flip side to the music, food, architecture, whistle-in-the-face of danger spirit, and everything else worth salvaging. But it doesn't have to be part of our future. The whole world is watching how we pull this off, and that means an awful lot of people will be following the money. This is a chance for the people in charge of the most concentrated urban renewal effort in U.S. history to get it right, to make sure the dollars actually follow the need. That means it's also a prime chance to recast our area's image for the better.

Wouldn't it be amazing if the 'Louisiana Way' became one of Katrina's casualties?

As Vitter said, we'll never forget the tragedy, but we are faced with an ncredible opportunity. We owe it to the survivors to make the most of it.

 

Editorial Cartoon re Forced Evacuations

Check it out

 

It would be a great scene in Tiger Stadium

From the Opelusas Daily World. Did you know that Opelusas had a daily?

BATON ROUGE - Could you imagine Nick Saban returning to Tiger Stadium?
"That could be a draw," said LSU athletic director Skip Bertman, who has welcomed the Hurricane Katrina-displaced New Orleans Saints to Tiger Stadium for multiple home games this season since the roof-less Louisiana Superdome will not be hosting any football games for at least a year and maybe never.
"Michael Clayton, he would be a draw, too," Bertman said.

Read more here

 

Vice President - Read My Lips:

Vice President Dick Cheney said new taxes are not the answer to finance the Hurricane Katrina disaster effort, as he assessed the now infamous 17th Street Canal levee early Thursday evening.

 

nola.com blog - Harry Lee OK

The rumors of Sheriff Harry Lee's demise are greatly exaggerated.Lee, who said Thursday that he and his staff have been inundated with calls regarding a persistent rumor that the parish's top lawman died of a heart attack during the storm, was alive and well.In fact, he seemed quite miffed."I'm disappointed that none of my friends came to the funeral," he said over a bologna sandwich at the sheriff's office community relations building/hurricane bunker in Harvey.

 

Athletes help out hurricane survivors...

–Boston's David Ortiz and Los Angeles Angels' Vladimir Guerrero will donate $50,000 each to the relief effort. The Dominicans hope other major leaguers will join them.
"The United States has provided my family and me with more than we could have ever dreamed," Ortiz said. "I'll never forget the way Red Sox fans and the team's owners helped my country after the floods last year."
Red Sox fans have given nearly $185,000 to the Red Cross in six days.

 

For State Farm policyholders via wwltv.com

6:23 P.M. - John Wiscaver, State Farm spokesman: Customers could be eligible for a $2,500 check from State Farm to use for personal repairs, clothes, expenses, etc. Call 1-800-SFCLAIM or go online at www.StateFarm.com for more information.

 

Mike Brown = Qualified? wwltv.com

6:43 A.M. - WASHINGTON (AP): FEMA Director Michael Brown's credentials are facing new questions. Time Magazine reports his official bio and online legal profile have discrepancies.
Brown's bio on the FEMA Web site said he oversaw emergency services in Edmond, Oklahoma. But a spokeswoman for the city tells Time that Brown's position was "more like an intern."
A FEMA official says Brown did start as an intern, but became an assistant city manager and had a distinguished record.
The magazine also reports Brown's profile on the Web site www. FindLaw.com lists him as an "outstanding Political Science Professor" at Central State University. The school says he was a student.

 

St. Bernard - having it rough, but getting better

8:36 A.M. - St. Bernard Parish President Henry “Junior” Rodriguez: The water level is going down 12 inches every day. I don’t think there is one home that is inhabitable right now, and no businesses are open. We still haven’t got our streets cleaned yet. We’re trying to get this place cleaned up enough so people can come back and check out their homes and maybe get a little closure.
8:33 A.M. - Rodriguez: We’re getting excellent help from the govt. now. FEMA, National Guard, Coast Guard, they’re all down heRodrre. It’s just a slow progression. Our tax base is gone, and we’re probably in worse shape than New Orleans, because almost all our homes have been destroyed.
8:30 A.M. - Rodriguez: I haven't seen anybody from Entergy yet.

 

Reaching out around the US

Seattle Restaurants hold hurricane benefits


 

Sorry, but this is kinda funny...

I know it's not "funny" funny, but it's just a no kidding statement.

9:46 A.M. - Washington Parish President Toye Taylor: We found out Washington Parish is not the place to be during a catastrophe.

On another note, when is it ever the time to be in Washington Parish?

 

National Guard soldiers returning home to LA

9:51 A.M. - BANGOR, MN (AP): The 256th Brigade Combat Team lost 35 members in Iraq. Now it's time to see what's left back home in Louisiana.
The first planeload of 100 weary Louisiana National Guardsmen has landed in Maine on the way back from Iraq. Now they face the task of finding families scattered by Hurricane Katrina.
At Bangor airport, elderly members of a U.S. veterans group waved flags and offered the soldiers cellphones and chocolate chip cookies.
While some say it's good to be back, the storm meant a total loss for Specialist Nathan Faust of Chalmette, Louisiana. His family home is flooded and so is his fiancee's. Says Faust, "everyone's homeless. I want to move out of the city and start over someplace else."

 

St. Tammany - come on back

St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis said residents can begin returning to their homes Friday at 8 a.m. Link Here
Davis said about 30 percent of the parish had power restored and more are coming on every hour. He said Covington was in the best shape with Mandeville, Madisonville and even some of the major thoroughfares in Slidell having power and gasoline.

 

Position piece from blackathlete.com - Saints aren't moving to San Antonio

Let me reiterate my stance on this issue one more time: the city of San Antonio should not be auditioning for an NFL team at the expense of the New Orleans Saints, the people of New Orleans and the vast fan base that this team has. Such speculation is inappropriate, unprofessional if you are a sports journalist or sports talk show pundit, and just down right insensitive to the situation at hand.

link here

 

Officials arrested for looting both via Nola.com

Thursday, 7:25 p.m.By Michelle HunterEast Jefferson bureau

Two Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office correctional officers were among the 226 people arrested in Jefferson Parish since Hurricane Katrina made landfall.Cynthine Adams, 48, and Menekia Humphry, 29, no addresses available, were booked with one count each of looting for taking electronic equipment from the Wal-Mart in Harvey, Sheriff’s Office spokesman John Fortunato said Thursday.

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

No byline for this story:

Three Texas truck drivers under contract with the federal government to bring in storm relief supplies for Plaquemines Parish have been arrested for allegedly looting toys, dolls, women’s lingerie and other merchandise from a Belle Chasse Family Dollar store, authorities said.Booked late Wednesday night with one count each of looting were Gerald W. Thomas, 47, of Tyler, Texas; Thomas Sherman, 39, also of Tyler; and Lasharon Lemons, 36, of Dallas, said Major John Marie with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office.

 

Justin's Bill O'Reilly link

Justin posted this link in the comments, and I read the artcile. Read it for yourself, it's something to think about.

http://www.billoreilly.com/currentarticle



Here's my problem with the article. I'll quote one passage here:

"Yet the racial hustlers and far-left demagogues continue to sell victimization to Americans living in the poor precincts. The poverty pimps can't blame the establishment fast enough for ghettos and deprivation and even hurricanes. But you rarely hear the words 'personal responsibility' when it comes to attacking the poverty problem."

I always think it is interesting that "Personal responsibility" comes up whenever the issue of class is mentioned. In his article, Bill goes to great lengths to talk about how kids should be shown the footage of the people stranded in the remains of my fair city, and that this should be motivation for them to learn "personal responsibility" and learn a skill, work hard, and take care of themselves.

I would grant that the people who stayed behind in New Orleans stayed by a concious choice, and therefore have some responsibility for their situations, if they had the equal opportunity that the "affluent" children had as far as education. I won't even broach the other issues here, let's just look at education.

If any of you have been into a public school in Orleans Parish (or in any major city for that matter) and then into a suburban public school, tell me if those kids got the same opportunity to be educated, or if the government that mandates their education has failed them. There are the standard arguements about leading a horse to water but not being able to make them drink, but if we're going to try to stand by that statement, we need to make sure that the water is of the same quality everywhere, and it most definitely is not.

Now, let's talk about "personal responsibility" in this current era of tax cuts and the attempt to revoke the "death tax". Don't these affluent of whom Bill speaks, don't they bear some personal responsibility to help those who cannot help themselves? Let's take a family in the US, who earns $100k/yr in combined gross household income. Does 14.23% of their annual income really pay their fair share of the costs of running this country, when their income would suggest that they earn more than 80% of their American brothers and sisters? (Don't be fooled by looking and saying that somebody earning 100k/yr would be in the 25% tax bracket, that's true, but our tax system is progressive, taxing higher rates of income at higher percentages, same for lower. All tax cuts are tax cuts for the poorest of the poor are tax cuts for the wealthy since it reduces their effective tax rate across the board. Visit this link if you don't believe me.)

Let's take this even further to discuss the "death tax". Uncle sam wants to take half of what you have worked so hard to earn, or so you may have heard. In 2005, according to the IRS the exclusion is $1,500,000 of total wealth per person. So, if you're married and you have advisors who are slightly competent you have $3,000,000 of exclusion, which is a lot of money to pass on to your children or grandkids. Nevermind that if your advisors are good, they can shelter even more wealth than that. So why is this such a big issue? If you can leave over $1M to somebody who didn't earn it through their own labor, shouldn't that be pretty good? Even monies over and above the current estate tax limits are taxed at a cap of 47% currently, so your millions over and above that still pass on to your heirs, after being reduced through taxation.

Still, you may be saying, "These people earned that money, they should get to do with it whatever they want." I disagree. Let's just say that John Smith owns a trucking company, and builds some contracts and relationships, buys some trucks, runs a good business, and eventually when he dies that business is worth multi-millions and he is subject to the estate tax. People will run out and say that the government is trying to take something that isn't theirs, that this is a bad thing. Answer a few questions for me though. Didn't those trucks run on roads that the government built? Maybe they developed some special transportation systems, and they hold a patent that is very valuable that gives the business an advantage. Doesn't the government keep track of people's patents, giving them a system by which they can protect their valuable intellectual capital? Didn't the government give the small business man loans at the beginning of their career through SBA loan programs, and assistance later on through tax breaks for those who own and invest into their business?

The bigger question to me is, why wouldn't this person want to give back to that government that did so much for his business, and at least try to make sure that future generations have the same benefits?



JBoo

Thursday, September 08, 2005

 

$51.8B passes 410-11

3:36 P.M. - CAPITOL HILL (AP): The House has overwhelmingly approved a $52 billion emergency aid package for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The vote was 410-to-11, with all 11 'no' votes coming from Republicans.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says the money will give hurricane victims "a little hope" over the next few weeks as they piece their lives together.

In case you're wondering who the 11 "no" votes are, click here

 

I know I feel better

3:50 P.M. - WWL-TV: Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez have arrived in New Orleans and meeting with city officials at the command post set up at the Harrah's Casino.

 

Hurricane Katrina Evacuation

Hey guys,
I am a freelance photojournalist that was working for the Associated Press and most of the magazines in the New Orleans area before Katrina hit.
I really felt a responsibility to stay and document this terrible disaster as it ravaged the city that I have really fallen in love with. But due to lack of a secure place to stay, guarantee of an internet connection to transmit from and basic backing from a paper or agency, I made the decision to get out of town last minute. I wanted to be part of the solution, not part of the problem and at 5 pm on Sunday, I couldn't guarantee that I could contribute as a photojournalist. It was a very difficult decision, but it seemed like the right one. Now, in retrospect, I am sure that my leaving the city was for the greater good.
Now, I feel that it is time to make my contribution to the city of New Orleans as a photojournalist. This is my goal:
For anyone that has read Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, this may sound a little familiar. I am putting together a documentary that consists of series of portraits of New Orleans area residents and the things they grabbed before they fled the city. I left the city carrying only my camera equipment, my dog and a photograph of my father taking someone else's photo on New Years Eve, 1971. Whatever you thought to bring on your journey and whatever you are still carrying with you, I would like to know about. I am planning on taking a few weeks to travel around the country to where all of the Katrina refugees are, hear the stories and take portraits with the things you had to save.
I am looking for anyone and everyone, no matter where you are. I will come to you. If you want to tell me your story, so that I may include it in this project, please E-mail me at MBNadolski@aol.com. Or you may call me at 919-929-9234. Our stories of New Orleans and that last things that we grabbed before we left our homes, are all that we have to remember our city by as we wait for its recovery. Please allow me to document your only links to your New Orleans homes...I am hoping that it will link everyone together that experienced Katrina. Thanks.
-Megan Nadolski

Note from Jude: I'd really encourage you all to get in touch with Megan. She does brilliant work, and is a great friend of ours to boot.

 

Mississippi River open wwltv.com

3:45 P.M. - WASHINGTON (AP): The lower Mississippi River is open again to two-way traffic for grain shipments from the Gulf Coast.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns says most of the elevators along the lower river are back in business and capacity is a little less than two thirds the level before Hurricane Katrina.
The cargo can move only during daylight hours because Katrina knocked out navigational lights. And there are a couple of major blockages that prevent larger ships from using the river's Southwest Pass shipping channel.
More than half of U.S. grain exports go through Mississippi River ports hit by the hurricane.

 

Pumps coming back online

4:30 P.M. - BATON ROUGE (AP): The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today made progress in repairing pumps around New Orleans.
By midday, 23 of the 148 permanent pumps are working in New Orleans and in Saint Bernard Parish, three of the 28 pumps are working.
John Hall, a spokesman for the U-S Army Corps of Engineers, said it's not clear how long it will be before all the pumps are up and running.
Possible damage to the pumps from debris remains a concern. If the water pumps get blocked and begin sucking air, Hall says it can damage them.

 

Work on I-10

6:50 P.M. - WASHINGTON (AP): It will be a long, slow process, but transportation officials are taking the first steps toward rebuilding the roads and bridges destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
The state of Mississippi has signed a contract for $5.1 million to repair the I-10 bridge in Columbia. The work is set to begin this weekend and could be finished in a month.
Louisiana starts bidding on Friday for one of the most visible projects, repairing the Twin Span Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain. The acting chief of the Federal Highway Administration says the work will take 100 days before both spans can be opened.
These are just the first projects in a massive rebuilding effort.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says he expects the repairs in Louisiana alone to about cost $1.3 billion.

 

Wish I knew more about this

from wwltv.com's blog

"7:02 P.M. - FEMA Official: If you were hit with any sort of disaster-related loss, you qualify for federal assistance. If you had to spend a night in a hotel, FEMA will cover it. Save your receipts, keep track of everything you’ve bought."

 

More Federal aid

8:20 A.M. - CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- Congressional Republicans are promising quick action on the president's request for nearly $52 billion more to help hurricane victims. They've also announced plans for a bipartisan House-Senate panel to investigate the government's readiness for Katrina as well as its response.

 

School is in session for those in Houston

9:24 A.M. - HOUSTON (AP) -- Classes begin in Houston today for some of the school kids evacuated from New Orleans last week. One parents says she hopes the new challenges of school will get their minds off the trauma they've been through. One youngster says he's just hoping for a teacher who's nice.
Public school spokesman Terry Abbott says Houston is gearing up to absorb thousands of children.
The president of the Orleans Parish School Board says it's possible some New Orleans schools that sustained relatively minor damage will be able to reopen in January. But he says others will be closed for at least a year.

 

25,000 body bags being readied

NEW ORLEANS — Soldiers toting M-16s strengthened their grip on this swamped city as concerns grew about the risks posed by the toxic floodwaters and officials braced for what could be a staggering death toll by readying 25,000 body bags.

Link here

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

 

Chris Rose's latest column - via nola.com

Dear America, I suppose we should introduce ourselves: We're South Louisiana.

We have arrived on your doorstep on short notice and we apologize for that, but we never were much for waiting around for invitations. We're not much on formalities like that. And we might be staying around your town for a while, enrolling in your schools and looking for jobs, so we wanted to tell you a few things about us. We know you didn't ask for this and neither did we, so we're just going to have to make the best of it.

First of all, we thank you. For your money, your water, your food, your prayers, your boats and buses and the men and women of your National Guards, fire departments, hospitals and everyone else who has come to our rescue. We're a fiercely proud and independent people, and we don't cotton much to outside interference, but we're not ashamed to accept help when we need it. And right now, we need it. Just don't get carried away. For instance, once we get around to fishing again, don't try to tell us what kind of lures work best in your waters. We're not going to listen. We're stubborn that way. You probably already know that we talk funny and listen to strange music and eat things you'd probably hire an exterminator to get out of your yard. We dance even if there's no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we're suspicious of others who don't.

But we'll try not to judge you while we're in your town. Everybody loves their home, we know that. But we love South Louisiana with a ferocity that borders on the pathological. Sometimes we bury our dead in LSU sweatshirts. Often we don't make sense. You may wonder why, for instance - if we could only carry one small bag of belongings with us on our journey to your state - why in God's name did we bring a pair of shrimp boots? We can't really explain that. It is what it is.

You've probably heard that many of us stayed behind. As bad as it is, many of us cannot fathom a life outside of our border, out in that place we call Elsewhere. The only way you could understand that is if you have been there, and so many of you have. So you realize that when you strip away all the craziness and bars and parades and music and architecture and all that hooey, really, the best thing about where we come from is us. We are what made this place a national treasure. We're good people. And don't be afraid to ask us how to pronounce our names. It happens all the time.

When you meet us now and you look into our eyes, you will see the saddest story ever told. Our hearts are broken into a thousand pieces. But don't pity us. We're gonna make it. We're resilient. After all, we've been rooting for the Saints for 35 years. That's got to count for something.

OK, maybe something else you should know is that we make jokes at inappropriate times. But what the hell.

And one more thing: In our part of the country, we're used to having visitors. It's our way of life. So when all this is over and we move back home, we will repay to you the hospitality and generosity of spirit you offer to us in this season of our despair.

That is our promise. That is our faith.

Chris Rose can be reached at noroses@bellsouth.net.

 

Pretty neat flood map

It's data heavy, high-speed users recommended.

http://mapper.cctechnol.com/floodmap.php

 

I've been waiting for God to get into this one...

Shas rabbi: Hurricane is Bush's punishment for pullout support

"It was God's retribution. God does not shortchange anyone," Yosef said during his weekly sermon on Tuesday. His comments were broadcast on Channel 10 TV on Wednesday.

http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/622278.html

 

Another $51.8 B sought for Katrina Recovery

WASHINGTON (AP) -- With much of New Orleans still under water, the White House announced that Bush is asking lawmakers to approve another $51.8 billion to cover the costs of federal recovery efforts. Congressional officials said they expected to approve the next installment as early as Thursday, to keep the money flowing without interruption.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/09/07/katrina.washington.ap/

 

Doug Thornton - area Manger for SMG group on Dome

10:11 A.M. - Doug Thornton: Assessment to be made whether dome can be rebuilt, restored or torn down, but premature to say it has to go. Decision on dome is weeks away.
10:10 A.M. - Thornton: Valid to ask if dome should be reopened since it was site of so much death. Thornton says many good memories also in dome.
10:10 A.M. - Doug Thornton, Superdome: Premature to say the dome can't be saved.
10:09 A.M. - Thornton: Majority of damage to dome is from roof problems, but some damage from evacuees. Water pressure loss caused inability to flush toilets, causing major problems, concourses in bad condition. Water is on the field.
10:08 A.M. - Thornton: The field is absolutely ruined.
10:07 A.M. - Thornton: Hazardous waste crews to come in first to make it safe and sanitary, before anything else can be done.
10:06 A.M. - Thornton: New Orleans Arena could be back in service by five-six months.

 

Ferry for a home

10:40 A.M. - PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- A car ferry that carried travelers between Portland and Nova Scotia for 12 summers is heading to the Gulf Coast to help provide shelter for residents forced from their homes by Hurricane Katrina. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it's hired the 485-foot Scotia Prince for six months for the special duty. The ferry's preparing to leave Charleston, South Carolina, where it had been in dry dock.
Federal officials have not said where the Scotia Prince will be berthed or when it's expected to arrive on the Gulf Coast.

 

Federal debit cards - wwltv.com

10:54 A.M. - WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government plans to distribute debit cards worth $2,000 each to victims of Hurricane Katrina, The Associated Press has learned.

 

Mayor: Get out.

Mayor Ray Nagin today issued an emergency proclamation calling on all law officers and military members to begin using force, if necessary to compel all civilians to leave New Orleans.

http://www.wwltv.com/sharedcontent/nationworld/katrina/stories/090705ccKatrinajcwcMainStory.6b35e52b.html

Official Proclamation: http://www.nola.com/cityofno/

 

Must read for Saints and Deuce fans

McAllister stopped to speak to a young man in a black Yankees cap who was helping soldiers load a motionless man onto a stretcher. "I'm just trying to get my grandpa up out of here," he said to McAllister. Then, he quickly added, "Hey, did y'all win that Raider game?"
Smiling, McAllister told him the Saints had lost. "Hey, that's OK," the man replied. "We're going to the Bowl."

---

"I got a text message earlier," he said softly. "I don't even know who sent it, but I want you to read it." He handed me his cell phone and showed me the message: "Hope your family's safe. You guys have the chance to raise a lot of devastated people's spirits, put 'em on your back. Y'all can carry us home."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/michael_silver/09/06/mike.katrina/5.html

Many thanks to BigShot for the link.

 

Love that dirty water...

The precise extent of the contamination is not yet known. Louisiana's chief environmental officer today said there is no evidence yet that the New Orleans waterways are a toxic wasteland. He acknowledged the presence of fecal matter, fuel, oil and other contaminants, but said testing had not detected traces of truly toxic substances like pesticides and metals. A full analysis is expected in two days.
Nonetheless, officials are advising people in the region to avoid all contact with the trash-laden, brown water flowing through the city.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=1101220

 

Neo-Cons everywhere wetting their pants...

http://www.nationalledger.com/artman/publish/article_2726590.shtml

Talk Radio powerhouse Rush Limbaugh is planning a one-man Broadway show to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. "Rush on Broadway" will open for a one-day-only performance on Tuesday Oct. 18 at the New Amsterdam Theater on 42nd Street in New York.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today (Tuesday) for $77.

The NY Post reports that Sean Hannity will provide what the station calls "a special introduction."

 

6 yr old leads toddlers to rescue

He Held Their Lives in His Tiny Hands
By Ellen Barry, Times Staff Writer

BATON ROUGE, La. — In the chaos that was Causeway Boulevard, this group of refugees stood out: a 6-year-old boy walking down the road, holding a 5-month-old, surrounded by five toddlers who followed him around as if he were their leader.

They were holding hands. Three of the children were about 2 years old, and one was wearing only diapers. A 3-year-old girl, who wore colorful barrettes on the ends of her braids, had her 14-month-old brother in tow. The 6-year-old spoke for all of them, and he told rescuers his name was Deamonte Love.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-children5sep05,0,113027.story?track=hpmostemailedlink

 

Kern: "There'll be a Mardi Gras"

11:39 A.M. - Blaine Kern, Mardi Gras World: Mardi Gras will be hurt this year, but it will come back bigger and better than ever. I'll be helping anybody get their parade on the streets.
11:38 A.M. - Kern: Not sure if people in smaller parade clubs will be able to pay their dues. Haven’t talked to any of the captains of any parade krewes. The major krewes may hopefully roll.
11:37 A.M. - Kern: There’ll be a Mardi Gras, if I have anything to say about it.

 

First federal arrest

1:13 P.M. - BATON ROUGE: U.S. Attorney Jim Letten told reporters Tuesday that Wendell A. Bailey was arrested for atempting to destroy or endanger an aircraft early Tuesday morning. Law enforcement received a report via WWL radio that listeners had heard shots being fired in the Algiers area. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officers in Algiers responded witnessed Bailey firing at a passing military helicopter and took him into custody. Bailey, a convicted felon, was found in possession of a firearm.

 

FEMA just gets more and more amazing...via wwltv.com

7:02 P.M. - ATLANTA (AP): Hundreds of firefighters have been sitting in Atlanta, playing cards and taking FEMA history classes, instead of doing what they came to do: help hurricane victims. The volunteers traveled south and west from around the country, leaving their homes in places like Washington state, Pennsylvania and Michigan. They came after FEMA put out a call for two-thousand firefighters to help with community service.
Firefighters arrived, as told, with lifesaving equipment and sleeping bags.
But one of the waiting volunteers says it might have been better if they'd brought paper and cell phones. That's because some of the emergency responders are being told they will go to South Carolina, to do paperwork.
Others don't know where they'll be put in action.
The FEMA director in charge of firefighters says he's trying to get the volunteers deployed ASAP, but wants to make sure they go to the right place.
One firefighter points to nightly reports of hurricane victims asking how they were forgotten. He says, "we didn't forget, we're stuck in Atlanta drinking beer."

 

Memo to Brown & Chertoff, you guys suck.

9:28 P.M. - WASHINGTON (AP): The government's disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the region – and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents.
Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff roughly five hours after Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29. Brown said that among duties of these employees was to "convey a positive image" about the government's response for victims.
Before then, FEMA had positioned smaller rescue and communications teams across the Gulf Coast. But officials acknowledged Tuesday the first department-wide appeal for help came only as the storm raged.
Brown's memo to Chertoff described Katrina as "this near catastrophic event" but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, "Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities."

http://www.wwltv.com/topstories/stories/090605ccKatrinacaresponse.68f01be8.html

 

New Orleans Lawmakers: Let people see their homes

http://www.wwltv.com/sharedcontent/nationworld/katrina/stories/090605cccawwlseehomes.685097ce.html

Whether to snatch up a few personal photographs or simply to inspect their homes and cry, evacuated New Orleans residents should be allowed back to look at their damaged belongings, said a group of lawmakers who, in some cases, aren't sure about the conditions of their own homes.
"I understand why we can't stay. I understand there are health issues. But, you know, you want to get the photographs of your children and dry them out," said Rep. Peppi Bruneau, R-New Orleans, at a meeting of New Orleans area state and local officials.

 

John DeShazier: Benson has responsibility to city of N.O. - via nola.com

Timing is everything.Apparently Tom Benson is lousy at it. And NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue should tell him so, and strongly suggest to the owner of the Saints that he has a responsibility in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.Tell him his job is to lift the spirits of New Orleanians the best way he can. Tell him he'll get the new stadium he covets and a Super Bowl, but the only words that should originate from his mouth are ones lamenting the loss of life and property. Tell him his franchise will support the only city it ever has called home, that it's the least he can do for a ravaged region which, during times of feast and famine, faithfully has supported his team.Instead, you hear that Benson might be interested in making the Saints a Texas team.If true, under ordinary conditions that would be a slight. If true, under current conditions, it's about as callous an idea that ever has been thought, let alone mouthed.If true, what it means is this: At a time when New Orleans needs each one of its able-bodied and deep-pocketed citizens to stand and show the world they believe in the city, and will do their part in resuscitating the economy that helped make them prosperous, Benson might be more interested in walking away.Benson never has been bashful about using San Antonio as a relocation prospect, which gives the rumor credence. And, most rumors have some foundation in fact. They might morph a little during the retelling, but there is truth lying somewhere amid the shifting.The best thing Benson could have done was to say early on that he had New Orleans' back. Instead, he left the door open to rumors.Yes, Benson is a businessman. He's not running a charity. He is, and should be, concerned about whether the people will return, whether an economy that wasn't rosy to begin with just grew a lot more thorns than petals.But to suggest he owes nothing to a region that has shown its commitment hundreds of times over through its willingness to buy tickets and attend games even during times the only reason to attend was to commiserate with fellow gluttons for bad football, would be ludicrous.New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have been too good to him to have this kind of news rear its head while they tread water for survival, literally and figuratively.Instead, he publicly should be expressing compassion for all that has been destroyed, and looking to a brighter future, one that'll include the new facility he has lobbied so hard for and, from Tagliabue, the promise of a Super Bowl to aid in the recovery.New stadium? Yes, because while there may be restoration in store for the Superdome, there simply is a stench and stigma attached to her now that cannot be washed away.The horror stories emanating from citizens that were housed inside the grand facility during Katrina, when it was used as a shelter, are the kind that will waft around inside the building forever. A patched roof and paint job won't do when, according to reports, rape and murder and mistreatment was a common, toxic mix.But it reeks that in the shadow of catastrophe and atrocity, the possibility that one of the few pleasantries that still can be grasped might pack and go even if it is being discussed.This isn't at all the time for that.But for Benson, timing rarely seems to be a strong point.

 

Maybe Benson gets his new stadium after all?

Superdome Commission Chairman Tim Coulon said the Dome will hire engineers and other consultants to assess the structural stability of the stadium. That will be done in the next few weeks, Coulon said. Besides flooding, the Dome lost part of its roof as more than 20,000 evacuees huddled there in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "We have to do a damage assessment first,'' Coulon said. "It is premature to write the Dome off. But there has been substantial damage.''

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

 

Interesting Blog - MSNBC

http://katrinablog.msnbc.com/

 

Thought for the day

"The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." – Charles Kettering – Inventor

 

FEMA Debit cards, but where does everybody sign up?

8:52 A.M. - WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government says people displaced by Hurricane Katrina will get debit cards to help pay for necessary personal items. The deputy director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says workers are going from shelter to shelter to make sure evacuees get cards quickly. Patrick Rhode tells ABC's "Good Morning America" that the paperwork usually required to get the debit cards will be reduced or eliminated.

 

Times Picayune's open letter to the President

http://tinylink.com/?gSLm7ecbU1

 

Story Regarding Sgt. Paul Accardo, one of the NOPD officers who committed suicide this week.

http://www.wwltv.com/local/stories/WWL090605accardo.2e277c78.html

 

Bobby Jindal - you may not like him, but he's on the mark here.

7:42 P.M. - Congressman Bobby Jindal: People who want to volunteer for search and rescue operations, police from outside the state who want to help, all should be able to come to New Orleans without fear of wading through bureaucratic red tape. My constitutients don't care who brings them food and water, or take them to safety, just help these people.
On rebuilding the city: Shame on us if we strive to rebuild the same city -- education and health care wise, etc. We should use this opportunity to construct a better New Orleans. Let's use these resources which can only help to contribute to this greater goal. We need to maintain our history while building for the future.
7:42 P.M. - Jindal: Don't just tell people what they want to hear, be honest with them and let them know that you have a plan for the future. The people don't expect to have all their problems solved overnight, but they expect a plan.

 

YLC's One Book, One New Orleans selection climbing best seller list

http://www.onebookoneneworleans.org

5:55 A.M. - NEW YORK (AP) -- A book about a deadly 1927 flood along the Mississippi River has become an online best-seller since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. It's called "Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America." It has moved to Number Eleven on Amazon-dot-com's best-seller list.

 

So Barbara, maybe this is a good thing for these people?

You know, the ones who lost everything, and now are living hundreds of miles from their home?

6:07 a.M. - HOUSTON (AP) -- Former first lady Barbara Bush is getting attention for some of the comments she made about New Orleans evacuees who are now in Houston. In an interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace," she said the relocation is "working very well" for some of those forced out of New Orleans. She noted that many of the people at the Astrodome were "underprivileged anyway."

 

Jackie Clarkson on the situation

6:10 A.M. - City Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson: Don't give up on New Orleans. It will be rebuilt. The French Quarter sat there untouched as a symbol. We're a major part of the American economy. We're as important as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
6:09 A.M. - Clarkson: The film industry is still coming, and they're coming in a major way. My daughter Patricia (award-winning actress Patricia Clarkson) asked, "how many from Hollywood can I bring to help?"
6:08 A.M. - Clarkson: To my friends in Algiers, you have no flooding, you have drinking water, and very little damage, but you should not come back because there is no power.

 

Entergy working quickly

7:35 A.M. - Chanel LaGarde, Entergy spokesman: We have 385,000 customers back on and we have some downtown buildings back, along with two pumping stations. We're back in Algiers now, but it will be 2-3 weeks to get everyone back there.
7:33 A.M. - LaGarde: Return of power to everyone in New Orleans and St. Bernard will be "months not weeks."

Monday, 8:09 p.m.By Lynne JensenStaff writerElectrical power has been restored to some areas of Jefferson Parish, but Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes remained in the dark Monday.But portions of Orleans Parish, including the Central Business District and the Crescent City Connection, have “energized’’ substations prepared to distribute power as soon as buildings in the area are ready to accept it, Entergy spokesman Chanel Lagarde said Monday.

That could soon mean the lighting the CCC, a rainbow of hope for New Orleans, which was plunged into darkness more than a week ago when Hurricane Katrina brought the city to its knees.

Parts of East Jefferson and Kenner have already had their power restored and the entire parish should be up and running in 2 to 4 weeks, Lagarde said.

Bucktown and nearby neighborhoods should have power “sometime next week,” Lagarde said. “They can expect to see crews working and power being restored.”

Entergy has restored power to 340,000 of its 800,000 costuers, he said.In the next two weeks, Cleco plans to restore power to 80 percent of about 80,000 customers it serves in sections of St. Tammany and Washington parishes, Cleco spokesman Robbyn Cooper said Monday.Lawrence St. Blanc, a staff member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, said power might restored as soon as today to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans..“If we have any luck we may have that baby up tomorrow,’’ he said.

 

Mayor Nagin - we've "turned the corner"?

"I've gone from anger to despair to seeing us turn the corner," he said on NBC's "Today." Still, he warned that what awaits authorities below the toxic muck would be gruesome. A day earlier, he said the death toll in New Orleans could reach 10,000.

 

Mardi Gras - still on?

"I think now more than ever we need a reason to celebrate. It's really at our core," said Arthur Hardy, publisher of the Mardi Gras Guide. "I can't imagine the city rolling over and playing dead and saying, `I surrender.'"

http://tinylink.com/?tMNXIQ8j9C

Monday, September 05, 2005

 

Any news from Jefferson Parish residents who returned?

If anybody has news from anybody who has headed back into Jefferson Parish, please post it in the comments. I'll keep this on top for a while.

 

David Vitter on Bush's visit - wwltv.com

2:20 P.M. - Senator David Vitter on George Bush's visit: President said, "we're going to get this done."
2:19 P.M. - Vitter: I haven't heard anyone say we shouldn't rebuild N.O. except for that ridiculous statement from the Speaker of the House.
2:18 P.M. - Vitter: There will be plenty of blame to go around, it will be bipartisan, but now is not the time.
2:15 P.M. - Vitter: This is the biggest natural disaster in this country's history - period.

 

CBS News 60 minutes interview with Ray Nagin

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?channel=60Sunday

 

NYTimes Op/Ed - Katrina's Assault on Washington

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/03/opinion/03sat1.html

"There are dozens of questions Americans will demand to have answered once this emergency has passed. If the Homeland Security Department was so ill prepared for a natural disaster that everyone knew was coming, how is it equipped to handle other kinds of crises? Has the war in Iraq drained the nation of resources that it needs for things like flood prevention? Is the National Guard ready to handle a disaster that might be even worse, like a biological or nuclear attack?"

 

Southern Decadence parade goes on - wwltv.com

3:15 A.M. - (AP) -- Not even Hurricane Katrina could prevent the Decadence Parade from being staged in the French Quarter. The annual Labor Day gay celebration drew about two dozen people. Street musician Matt Menold summed it up best: "It's New Orleans, man. We're going to celebrate."

 

Harry Lee: Don't try to be Rambo, I am. via wwltv.com

9:10 A.M. - JP Sheriff Harry Lee: Worried about people coming back armed because they heard of isolated incidents in Orleans. Don't come back and try to be "Rambo" to protect your home, that's my job.
9:05 A.M. - Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee: It looks like the people coming back into Jefferson Parish is going smoothly. However, my personal recommendation was to not let people back until the power was back on, but I understand people's anxiety to see their home.
9:04 A.M. - Lee: If anyone's car stalls in the roadway during this return, we will remove it by any means we can and it may get damaged, but we can't delay those trucks.
9:04 A.M. - Lee: We will enforce the dusk to dawn curfew.

 

Aaron Broussard is pissed - wwltv.com

10:12: A.M. - Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard: I'm not surprised at what the feds say, they're covering their butts. They're keeping the body counts down because they don't want to horrify the nation. It's worse than Iraq, worse than 9-11. They just don't want to know how many were murdered by bureaucracy.

 

Asst. Police Superintendent Warren Riley - wwltv.com

11:17 A.M. - Riley: The city is making progress. Police, while still in rescue mode, are beginning to focus more on law enforcement in town. About 4,000 law enforcement agents are in New Orleans, and are working to stem the tide of chaos in the area. "We're more cohesive," Riley said, referring to the return of communications between law enforcement agencies in town.
Riley said anyone who wants to take their own boats out and conduct their own rescue operation should come down to Harrah's on Canal Street in order to be a part of a coordinated rescue effort.

 

Sad news about the Aquarium of the Americas

“These were our buddies. We did the best job we could to keep them alive,’’ said John Hewitt IV, director of husbandry and a senior vice president at the Audubon Nature Institute. Near tears Hewitt declined to describe the watery tombs inside the aquarium. Most of the fish in the giant shark tank and the Caribbean reef exhibit are feared dead, as well as the tropical sting rays and other Amazonian fish in the aquarium’s rainforest section.

Note - most of the penguins are ok.

 

Make copies of your keys before you return - wwltv.com

Housekeys and keyrings are in short supply in Baton Rouge, where hundreds of Hurricane Katrina evacuees have converged on friends and family.A sign in the automotive section of the Wal-Mart on College Drive in Baton Rouge warned customers that "We are out of housekeys."And at Perkins Road Hardware, small keyrings were out of stock. A clerk at the store said the store has been busy making copies of keys for customers who have friends and family from the New Orleans area staying with them.

 

Thank you Cox, for not charging me for the service that I can't use

Cox Communications has suspended all bill payments for New Orleans area customers displaced by Hurricane Katrina, according to a message on the company’s customer service telephone system. Billing will resume when services have been restored to customers. For the time-being, there is no need for customers to disconnect service. People with Cox high-speed Internet service will continue to be able to access their electronic mail through the Internet, the company said. They will not be charged for the continuing service.

 

Resettlement of New Orleanians and New Orleans

AFX News Limited US gears for biggest ever resettlement operation after hurricane Katrina 09.05.2005, 10:49 AM HOUSTON (AFX) - Authorities are gearing for the largest resettlement operation in US history with hundreds of thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina likely to need food, homes, schools and other essentials for months if not longer.
http://www.forbes.com/work/feeds/afx/2005/09/05/afx2206178.html

 

Brent crude eases back to pre-Katrina $65

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday, extending Friday's sharp drop, after the release by industrialised nations of emergency oil stocks to prevent a U.S. fuel crisis after Hurricane Katrina.
Worries about U.S. consumer confidence and the impact for oil demand of Katrina on economic growth in the United States also undermined the oil market.

http://tinylink.com/?ThW4fFGlLi

 

Interesting article via Washington Post

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002472815_congress05.html

Katrina, oil don't mix with GOP tax-cut plan
By Jonathan Weisman
The Washington Post

"How do you do tax cuts when your budget is straining to save lives?" asked Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla. The House Ways and Means Committee, on which Foley serves, had been set to pass a package of tax and spending cuts by the end of September, followed by broad, controversial Social Security legislation. Katrina "is going to have a tremendous impact," he predicted.

 

Amazing story from Metairie

"Today, I have two friends who are nurses, and they put on scrubs and their LSU healthcare ID’s and were able to get in. They made it to their house and were able to get some things out. They live right behind the Target at Clearview Shopping Center. However, believe it or not, they each carried pistols, and while one got some things out, the other stood on the front porch with a pistol in hand. They saw a couple of people walking down the street with shopping carts – I suppose seeing what they could get. As of today their house had not been looted, but one of the folks walking by with a shopping cart asked them how their house had fared and after my friend gave a cursory answer and showed they had a firearm, the person quickly left. Can you believe we live in times like this???"

Sunday, September 04, 2005

 

Sad New Orleans songs

This post will probably be at the top of the blog for a while, so think about any additions you'd like to make. This is a good start, I think.

The more we're away, the more that song references to our fair city just kill me. Some that come to mind easily:

"Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans, and miss her each night and day" - the Harry Connick, Jr. and Dr. John duet is almost unbearable to me right now.

"I went on down to the Audubon Zoo, and dey all aksed fo you" - Does anybody know who wrote this?

"Down here the river meets the sea
and in the sticky heat I feel you open up to me
Love comes out of nowhere baby, just like a hurricane
and it feels like rain" - great tune written by John Hiatt, recorded by Aaron Neville

"Louisiana, Louisiana They're tyrin' to wash us away" - Randy Newman

"Sleeping is easy, I used to lay in bed for hours
I've waited a lifetime, maybe I'd learn
WWOZ on the stereo" - Better than Ezra

"When the riverbanks are overflowing, and the streetcar has seen its day
when all is gone, the plantations, Treme, Vieux Carre
I'll be swinging to that music on higher ground
When Pops is singing walk on, and the choir making sacred sounds
I'll see you there (at the foot of Canal Street)...." - John Boutte

This one is esp. poignant being in Chicago currently...
"Singing good morning America, how are you?
Saying, don't you know me Im your native son?
Im the train they call the City of New Orleans
I'll be gone 500 miles when the day is done" - Steve Goodman

"I had My hand in the river My feet back up on the banks
Looked up to the lord above and said hey man thanks
Some time I fell so good I gotta scream
She says Gordie baby I know exactly what you mean
She said, she said I swear to god she said
My memory is muddy what's this river I'm in
New Orleans is sinking and I don't want to swim" - The Tragically Hip

The saddest of all, especially in Tom Waits' melancholy drawl
"Well, I wish I was in New OrleansI can see it in my dreams
arm-in-arm down Burgundy a bottle and my friends and me
hoist up a few tall cool ones play some pool
and listen to that tenor saxophone calling me home
and I can hear the band begin "When the Saints Go Marching In"
by the whiskers on my chin New Orleans, I'll be there
I'll drink you under the table be red nose go for walks
the old haunts what I wants is red beans and rice
and wear the dress I like so well
and meet me at the old saloon make sure there's a Dixie moon
New Orleans, I'll be there and deal the cards roll the dice
if it ain't that ole Chuck E. Weiss and Claiborne Avenue me and you
Sam Jones and alland I wish I was in New Orleans
I can see it in my dreams
arm-in-arm down Burgundy
a bottle and my friends and me
New Orleans, I'll be there" - Tom Waits

Update 2351 CDT - recommended by BigShot

It's not about New Orleans, but leave it me to suggest a Bruce Springsteen song. My City of Ruins from The Rising album got some fame when he sang it for a 9/11 fundraiser. But the song is really about Asbury Park, New Jersey and his relationship with that impoverished Jersey shore town.

There's a blood red circle On the cold dark ground
And the rain is falling down The church door's thrown open
I can hear the organ's song But the congregation's gone
My city of ruins My city of ruins
Now the sweet bells of mercy Drift through the evening trees
Young men on the corner Like scattered leaves
The boarded up windows The empty streets
While my brother's down on his knees
My city of ruins My city of ruins

Full lyrics at http://www.brucespringsteen.net/songs/MyCityOfRuins.html

 

Mike Lupica says what needs to be said about the Saints

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/story/343254p-293113c.html

Time to step up to plate by Mike Lupica

Sunday, September 4th, 2005 When it was Sept. 11 four years ago in New York City, when it was airplanes piloted by madmen flying into buildings and killing 3,000 of our people and not just one of the greatest cities but the greatest city of all wounded this way, there were all these discussions on our side of things, the sports side, about where sports fit into the whole grand scheme of things.
We stopped the games and talked about all that until the games started again.
This time it is New Orleans. It is not a man-made calamity, it is one made by God. We see pictures from there, on a constant loop, of the fault line of real American life. We see the true division between rich and poor laid bare. We see how slow George Bush and his government, so many of the high-ranking fools he has working for him, are to respond to one of our cities that looks as if it has been hit by a tidal wave, at a time when a single day might have meant everything to the suffering, or even the dead.
We are told Bush will fix things, as he finally shows up down there to act like the photo-op president of the poor. What has he ever fixed? He could call in the Louisiana National Guard, except that too many of them are helping him liberate Iraq.
Where is the Vice President in the aftermath of an epic natural disaster like this? On vacation. Where is the Secretary of State? At the theater, before being talked out of a day at the United States Tennis Open. There are so many people from this administration who belong in the lower weight classes you don't know where to start.
When a tsunami hit on the other side of the world, this was an administration whose first response was to offer to write a check for $15 million. The lie now, from the yahoos in the Bush media, is that it was $350 million from the start. It wasn't. For the past four years, the first instinct of this President, almost always, is wrong, the way he was wrong about Cindy Sheehan. Now you look back on these four years since Sept. 11 and it is more than fair to ask yourself what these people have ever gotten right?
There was no warning for the tsunami. What excuse is there for our government not to be more prepared for Katrina, for a storm being pitched for days as the Gulf Coast storm of the century?
So where does sports fit in this time, when a different type of attack comes out of the sky and through the levees of New Orleans? There is no baseball season to interrupt in New Orleans. There is Saints football and Hornets basketball. There is college football. But there is no debate, no hand-wringing about whether our games are more or less important at a time like this, even as we saw in October and November of 2001 how important the baseball playoffs and that World Series between the Yankees and Diamondbacks were to New York.
What can sports do? Start here: The NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, should get his owners together and get them in line and say that the 2010 Super Bowl - the one that was given to New York as part of Tagliabue's lobbying to help get the Jets their new football palace on the West Side - is being awarded to New Orleans.
It is the city that has hosted nine Super Bowls, more than any other American city. Give it another. Now. This is a way for Tagliabue and the NFL to send more than money to New Orleans. It is a way to send hope, to make a powerful statement about the league's belief that New Orleans will rebuild itself.
This isn't that huckster claim that New York needed the 2012 Summer Games as a way to show that it had come all the way back from terrorism, as if an event 11 years after the fact could do that. This is something much more immediate for New Orleans. Say that after a week when none of us could believe the horrific pictures from inside the Superdome that you, the NFL commissioner, and you, the NFL owners, believe that the place will once again be worthy of hosting the biggest football game and the biggest American sports event 4 1/2 years from now.
You want to have sports do something? Do that.
You want to use the Super Bowl as more than a lobbying tool for the Jets? Give the 2010 game to New Orleans. Use the economic impact of the game there.
Saints owner Tom Benson, not one of the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, complains before Hurricane Katrina that the Saints can't get on the NFL's radar for the 2010 Super Bowl. Benson knows why: The Saints haven't secured a long-term lease agreement with Louisiana. There is always the idea around, stronger now than ever, that Benson might move the Saints.
So Benson has to announce that the Saints aren't going anywhere. The negotiations about a new lease were supposed to be going on right now between Benson and Gov. Kathleen Blanco. When they resume, whenever they resume, a deal must be struck immediately. If Benson uses this tragedy as some permanent way out of town, to Los Angeles or someplace else, he is a bum.
Both Tagliabue and Benson have to say that the Saints aren't going to Los Angeles this season, or San Antonio, or Houston, that if everything can be worked out quickly at LSU, that the Saints' home games will be played there.
Of course these are only games. Don't take them away from the state at a time like this if there is any way to keep them close to New Orleans.
Sports can't clear the streets or stop the rising death toll or the violence of New Orleans, or the anger there about the bunglers in Washington. Sports can't go back and make the levees hold any more than any politician could have. Sports can't give a brain to a career hack like .Michael Brown, Bush's head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who wants to blame the number of dead in New Orleans, whatever it will eventually be, on people who didn't get out of town fast enough. Forget about the people of New Orleans. Brown is the one in over his head here.
All sports can give is hope, a little at a time. So keep the Saints close to home this season. Give New Orleans its 10th Super Bowl in 2010. It seems, in so many ways, like a drop in the bucket. Sometimes sports can be more than that.
Maybe this time it can be more decisive about New Orleans than the president.

 

Breach closed in 17th Street Canal levee - nola.com

Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005 7:32 p.m.By Joe DarbyStaff WriterThe breach in the 17th Street Canal levee that had put the city of New Orleans underwater was essentially closed early Sunday evening after days of work and the use of “ingenuity to the max,” a top U.S. Corps of Engineers general said.After the Corps dropped about 700 3,000-pound sandbags into the gap on the Orleans Parish side of the canal, the tops of the sandbags became visible and the breach was all but closed, said Maj. Gen. Don Riley, deputy commanding general and director of civil works of the Corps.Corps spokesman Mike Rogers said a 20-foot space remained to be sealed by 6 p.m. and “could be closed as we speak.”

 

Jackson MS temporary home for Entergy

5:43 P.M. CLINTON, Miss. (AP) -- A New Orleans-based company says it's moving its corporate offices to Mississippi during cleanup from Hurricane Katrina. The CEO of Entergy says New Orleans is the company's home and they intend to return.
But for now, Entergy's corporate offices will be located in an office complex in Clinton, Mississippi, located west of Jackson.

 

"We are still the New Orleans Saints and we want to be in the front of helping to rebuild our city."

Finally Mickey Loomis says what needs to be said, via wwltv.com

6:24 P.M. – Saints GM Mickey Loomis – we would like to play our games in Baton Rouge but we have to see what is possible. The NFL will have a lot of say. No decision has been made.
6:23 P.M. – Loomis – Saints form Hurricane Katrina relief fund and owner Tom Benson and his wife will make the first contributions, the specifics to come in the next few days.
6:22 P.M. – Mickey Loomis – although we are practicing in San Antonio and are looking to find a place to play our home games, we are still the New Orleans Saints and we want to be in the front of helping to rebuild our city.
6:21 P.M. - Saints GM Mickey Loomis – our hearts, minds, thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Gulf Coast area.

 

Maybe it's a good idea that we secure this place...

from wwltv.com 2:03 P.M. - Thirty U.S. Treasury Dept. officers from the U.S. Mint police are enroute from Washington, D.C., to provide security at the New Orleans Federal Reserve Bank.

 

Official New Orleans death toll 59, certain to rise

http://www.wwltv.com/sharedcontent/nationworld/katrina/stories/090405ccKatrinajcMainstory.5c031bb6.html

New Orleans tries to deal with its dead

04:01 PM EDT on Sunday, September 4, 2005
By ALLEN G. BREED / Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Rescuers going house to house searched for hurricane survivors Sunday, and New Orleans turned its attention to gathering up what could be thousands of bodies from the floodwaters. "It is going to be about as ugly of a scene as I think you can imagine," the nation's homeland security chief warned.

No one knows how many people were killed by Hurricane Katrina and how many more succumbed waiting to be rescued. But the bodies are everywhere: hidden in attics, floating in the ruined city, crumpled in wheelchairs, abandoned on highways.
"I think it's evident it's in the thousands," Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said Sunday on CNN, echoing predictions by city and state officials last week about the death toll.

 

HHS chief: Katrina death toll in thousands (AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said Sunday the death toll from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath is in the thousands, the first time a federal official has acknowledged what many had feared.

http://www.nola.com/newsflash/national/index.ssf?/base/politics-8/1125837541203112.xml&storylist=hurricane

 

Eastern New Orleans shootout

But why did their colleagues let out a cheer? I don't get it...

"New Orleans Police officers sent up a cheer Sunday with a report that their colleagues had engaged in a shootout with an armed group on Danziger Bridge in eastern New Orleans, with none of the cops hit and five of the suspected marauders wounded. No word was available on the condition of the wounded."

 

San Antonio welcoming evacuees

more at nola.com

By Mike TriplettStaff writer

SAN ANTONIO – The scene is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.Nearly 10,000 refugees have come through here at KellyUSA, a former Air Force base in San Antonio, and the city expected 13,000 visitors at various shelters throughout the area by dawn Sunday.

 

People are reaching out across the country

From one of my former colleages...

went home yesterday and there was a voicemail from my pastor inviting me to a special deacons' meeting at the church scheduled for this am. I went, and we voted on the use of our church's youth camp facility located about 50 miles south of metro-Jax to begin taking in displaced families from New Orleans. We are going to take in about 30 families through this facility that would be vacant until next summer. Our church just had the "barrack-style housing" air-conditioned this summer. We have commitees formed to get new sheets, linens, etc to make things a little like "home." We believe that our church can raise about $100 per week per person to initially get them fed, clothed, and transitioned into meaningful work in the Jacksonville area.

Our pastor has already made contact with the North Florida Builders Association, and they will put 100 to work next week in the building trades of the metro-Jax area and provide the transportation to and from our "housing" of these people. We have put two of our church's staff members in charge of coordination of short-term needs and then transfer to longer-term re-integration back to self-sufficiency.

Our Bible college that our church operates and our Christian school will also help to make sure the educational requirements of the children gets met as well through the use of education majors who will get to intern to meet that need as well.

 

A fellow New Orleanian's blog

http://blogs.chron.com/exile/

This has a much more personal feel than my blog, it's good reading if you have some time.

 

Open Topic - please comment

We're off to visit Karen's Grandmother, and to start making some contingency plans. More on that soon. Meanwhile, please post any breaking news or comments, questions, etc. here.

 

Excellent point Mitch.

8:00 A.M. - Landrieu: - We need to stop calling them refugees, they are American citizens. I've made that mistake myself.

 

Saints need to have faith, too

http://www.bayoubuzz.com/articles.aspx?aid=4910

Author: Steve Sabludowsky 9/3/2005

“You gotta get faith”

You bet.

That’s the slogan of this year’s rendition of the New Orleans Saints. However, based upon recent statements by Senator Michael Michot quoted in a news story by Robert Scott of the Times Picayune, the New Orleans Saints might be considering making a permanent move to San Antonio.

Due to the hurricane, the Saints will not play in New Orleans.

Michot, is the vice-chairman of the Louisiana Senate Commerce Committee, a key committee for legislation related to state agreement with the Saints.

Benson might have lead over Governor Blanco at this point. However, he runs the risk of the New Orleans area who has incurred the embarrassments of terrible teams under Benson and his owner predecessors feeling totally kicked while they are down already licking their wounds from the worse natural catastrophe in American history.

Benson will need to make a decision whether he wants to be a community player. He wanted ticket buyers to have faith in him and his team so we would buy his NFL tickets. Should he decide to leave, especially at this time that the world is coming to the aid of the region in a incredible show of giving, he is proving he has no faith and that slogan sounds like a sham. Under these circumstances, should Benson go west, don’t be surprised if consumers retaliate and ultimately boycott whatever dealerships he might decide to maintain in the area--in total outrage of black, gold and black and blue.

 

22 Reasons America needs New Orleans

Visit a great New Orleans blog and read this. It's your homework for this morning/afternoon.

http://2millionthweblog.blogspot.com/2005/09/22-reasons-america-needs-new-orleans.html

 

Katrina Recovery Response Ramps Up

On Monday, the president will visit the region for a second time. His administration has been taking considerable heat for what's seen as a sluggish response to a disaster that has killed countless thousands and left tens of thousands stranded in abject misery.

http://www.wdsu.com/news/4887230/detail.html

 

Police Superintendent: Officers Did A Historic Job

NEW ORLEANS -- The superintendent of the New Orleans police calls it a job that "no police department in the history of the world was ever asked to do," and he says his officers fought bravely doing it.

http://www.wdsu.com/news/4934449/detail.html

 

Jeff Parish residents still being allowed in on Monday

from wwl.com
Jefferson Parish residents will be allowed back in Monday[WWL] A WWL interview with a Jefferson Parish official, Jefferson Parish residents will be allowed back in Monday morning starting at 6am. Residents MUST have i.d. to be allowed in. And you cannot use the I-10...you must travel via Airline Hwy. (61) or U.S. 90. Residents will be allowed to collect your belongings and will not be allowed to return for a month.

 

Bourbon Street rolls on

4:11 A.M. - (AP) The flashing blues of police vehicles, the headlights of rumbling military trucks and an occasional flashlight or cigarette glow are the only night lights on Bourbon Street. But some locals stay on anyway.
As 29-year-old Ride Hamilton puts it, "This is our neighborhood, this is home." He's turned his French Quarter home into a mini-warehouse of supplies for his neighbors. He said he accumulated the goods at local stores, "trying to get it before somebody else does."
Johnny White's Sports Bar, which has no doors and, according to locals, never closes, has become a gathering place. At times, there has been gunfire.
Bartender Deidre Rick serves drinks and jokes, "I'm finally on the diet I wanted to go on."

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