Friday, September 23, 2005

 

The latest Chris Rose column

Go read it here

 

3 Galveston buildings are on fire (AP)

10:10 P.M. - GALVESTON, Texas (AP) -- At least three buildings have caught fire in the historic Strand District of Galveston, Texas.
At least one of the buildings was engulfed by flames whipped higher by strong winds from Hurricane Rita. A fallen electric pole was lying on one of the buildings and was burning.
One of the buildings that caught fire was built in 1905, just after the hurricane that destroyed most of Galveston and killed at least 6,000people.

 

Houston is Barren

I came back to Houston at around 5:00 p.m. this afternoon. We took some country roads to get back and I've never seen such an amazing sight. We got on I-10 and counted 4 cars in a 6 mile strech. It was quiet, real quiet. The winds have picked up, but it's not raining right now. In fact, it seems Houston has really dodged a bullet.

On the way back there were many cars just left on the side of the road. I can't imagine how many cars will be littered on I-45 and I-10. If anyone out there is planning to come back on Sunday, I'd be prepared for hell. Houston is almost completely out of gas. If anyone reads this, do what we did, and find some country roads to come back on. If you go to the BP MS 150 website, they have a great map that will get you back. I think the worst part of this, as far as Houston is concerned, is what it will be like coming back on Sunday.

Bumped to the top because it's important at 10:44 PM

 

Good plan, Texas.

8:08 P.M. - HOUSTON (AP) -- The plan envisioned by Texas officials to ensure an orderly evacuation to avoid scenes of Hurricane Katrina from their cities has left thousands stranded on highways.
Drivers seem to be off the roads by tonight, but their abandoned cars marked with police tape litter the roadside.
Motorists clogged roadways on evacuation orders to get away from Houston. They were stranded, running out of gas and in extreme heat.
Gas trucks rumored to be on the way never came. Neither did buses.

 

NHC Director: "People are going to die in Lake Charles"

Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, said Lake Charles and the Texas cities of Port Arthur and Beaumont would bear the brunt of the storm.

"That's where people are going to die," he said. "All these areas are just going to get absolutely clobbered by the storm surge. All those areas are at very great risk right now."

full story here

 

The 2002 Times-Picayune series that predicted the Katrina aftermath

It's only a matter of time before South Louisiana takes a direct hit from a major hurricane. Billions have been spent to protect us, but we grow more vulnerable every day.

Five-Part Series published June 23-27, 2002

Read these compelling stories here

 

I-10 Underpass at Metairie Road is underwater again (via nola.com)

6:36 P.M. - WWL-TV: The underpass at the train trestle near the Orleans/Jefferson line is under water due to rain - not a levee breach.

Friday, 6:33 p.m. Nola.com With Hurricane Rita sideswiping the New Orleans area on Friday, rainwater welled up once again in the low spot where Interstate 10 dips under the railroad bridge near the Orleans/Jefferson parish line. The build-up was expected, according to Marcia St. Martin, executive director of the Sewerage & Water Board, because the newly installed pumps that drain the dip have been turned off to reduce stress on the damaged 17th Street Canal.The pumps drain a 562-acre swath that includes adjacent cemeteries and parts of City Park as well as a stretch of the interstate. Ordinarily they discharge water into the drainage canal. The walled waterway can not be used now that it has been gated shut to bar storm surges from Lake Pontchartrain. Plans for the new pumping station were implemented after cars and drivers drowned in the flooded dip during Tropical Storm Isidore in 2002

 

Hurricane Rita expected to make landfall at Dawn (nola.com)

Hurricane force winds extended 85 miles from the core of the storm and tropical storm force winds extended 205 miles. At 5 p.m., a buoy in Calcasieu Pass, near Cameron Parish, reported sustained winds of 49 mph with gusts to 62 mph. Sustained winds of 37 mph with gusts of 54 mph were reported at Galveston, Texas. Coastal storm surge flooding was 15 feet above normal. Tides are about 2 feet above normal along Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Tides in those areas area expected to increase 4 to 6 feet. Rita is expected to produce rainfall of 8 to 12 inches with isolated rainfall amounts of up to 20 inches over southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. Over the next several days, Rita is expected to stall over Texas and Arkansas and could produce more than 25 inches of rain. Tornadoes are possible Friday night and Saturday morning.

 

East Jefferson Levees holding up

Even as Hurricane Rita pushed water over the Industrial Canal levee into New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward today, East Jefferson Levee District President Patrick Bossetta said the Lake Pontchartrain levee in Metairie and Kenner was holding fast, just as it did during Hurricane Katrina.“East Jefferson is in great shape, although we do have some erosion on the new levee reach that’s just been built because it’s all mud. There’s no grass yet,” he said.

Full story here

 

Houston almost empty?

According to this MSNBC reporter, it is. That's amazing. The link is here.

 

Waters rising in Lafourche & Terrebonne Parishes

Story on waters rising here, and an odd story about a pregnant woman in a trailer (that was starting to flood) who had to be convinced in order to be airlifted to safety, while her husband and his father stayed behind. That story is here.

 

New estimate on destroyed cars in New Orleans: 350,000

CityBusiness staff report September 23, 2005 7:36 AM NEW ORLEANS

With recovery from Hurricane Katrina now in its fourth week, the number of destroyed vehicles has now climbed to nearly 350,000. It will take at least five months to haul all vehicles to staging areas where parts will be removed, said Charles Brown, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality assistant secretary for environmental services.

As of Tuesday, about 20,000 vehicles had been taken to three staging areas inNew Orleans: the Municipal Auditorium, the Fairgrounds and Lakeside Mall. In addition, the state is eyeing three sites, each more than 400 acres, in Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes. At the staging areas, Louisiana State Police and insurance companies will collect the vehicle identification numbers, which will be posted on Web sites to inform consumers. Flooded cars must be stripped of environmentally sensitive parts must be removed. In addition, there are 50,000 boats left in strange places, such as in the middle of the median on Claiborne Avenue near Napoleon, a once busy intersection of four-lane traffic arteries.

 

Hurricane Rita down to a category 3

Rita weakened during the day to a Category 3 hurricane, down from a fearsome Category 5 with 175 mph winds on Wednesday. It was expected to come ashore early Saturday along the upper Texas-Louisiana coast on a course that could spare Houston and nearby Galveston a direct hit. But it could plow instead into the oil and chemical centers of Beaumont and Port Arthur, about 75 miles east of Houston.

full story here

 

Entergy New Orleans, restoration and bankruptcy

Entergy's restoration of power and gas service has online tracking information here

Entergy New Orleans has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, full story on their website here

 

I go downtown for the morning, and all hell breaks loose


Hurricane Rita's steady rains sent water pouring through breaches in a patched levee Friday, cascading into one of the city's lowest-lying neighborhoods in a devastating repeat of New Orleans' flooding nightmare.
"Our worst fears came true," said Maj. Barry Guidry of the Georgia National Guard.
"We have three significant breeches in the levee and the water is rising rapidly," he said. "At daybreak I found substantial breaks and they've grown larger."

I'll be out for most of the afternoon, who knows what will happen then.

 

An update from a guest weather analyst

Sorry for the late update, this is from last night:

Rita is now down to 140 mph as of 10pm central time.The storm is expected to strengthen a bit overnightdue to a warm eddy of water that the storm will begoing through. The good news is that the watertemperature off the Texas coastline is somewhat coolerthan the overall gulf temperature so the storm againwill go through a period of weakening before it hitsland. Also there is abundant wind shear not far offthe Texas coast, and this will also add to somedeterioration of the eye and the general overallstability of the storm. What this means is that thestorm may come ashore as a category 3 storm which inmeteorolgical terms means winds from 111 to 130mph.Also as far as the storm's path, it appears that aftera few more hours of wobbling to the west, the stormwill again take a northwest turn and then more to thenorth. If this path holds sway, the storm will goashore north of Galveston. To be more exact, at leastat this time, it looks like the storm will take aroute between Galveston and the Louisiana coast. Thiswould be wonderful news for Galveston and Houston asfar as a direct hit. The storm though is so hugethat both cities will not escape strong winds andheavy rain. SO TO HOUSTON AND GALEVESTON, DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. And also remember, hurricanes cansuddenly change their minds and alter direction sotake this update with a grain of salt and know thingscan change abruptly. Now as far as the path onshore,Rita should head up through northeastern Texas andthen stall between Dallas and the Lousiana border. Ifthis scenario takes place, there could be torrentialrainfall for days in northeast Texas, extending intonorthern Lousiana and possibly Oklahoma and southernArkansas. Keep your eyes on THE EYE of the storm, andI'll have another update soon.

Sincerely,
Greg Berman
Weather Analyst

Thursday, September 22, 2005

 

Don't Call it Evacuation

The folks are out of Lafayette, not because they're evacuating, but because they've decided to take their vacation a few days early.

 

Now God's After the Cajuns

After demolishing the Creoles, it seems God wants the Cajuns too, as Rita takes a turn toward Acadiana. My folks live in Lafayette Parish, which is now under voluntary evacuation for people in low-lying areas and mobile homes. As of right now, my folks are planning on staying or going to Gulf Shores, AL, for a little "vacation".

Originally posted at 11:50 AM, bumped to the top because Murph is da bomb and his mom is a great cook. JBoo.

 

Story on the future of pro sports in New Orleans

While I personally hate Money Magazine, this article looks ok. My favorite passage is from the very end:

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello denied there have been any discussions other than what to do for the rest of this season.

"We're not in any position to answer that question," he said when asked about the future beyond this year. "It's premature and in a lot of ways inappropriate."

Full story here

 

Another company lends its support in New Orleans' time of need...

I truly don't know what to say to this one.....

CityBusiness staff report September 22, 2005 7:38 AM
SANTA MONICA, Calif. ? The company famous for selling videos of drunken girls flashing their breasts on Bourbon Street has promised to donated 100 percent ofthe profits of New Orleans-themed items to the American Red Cross.

Video and DVD company Girls Gone Wild has become a fixture on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. The company released several Mardi Gras packages, including one with rap artist Snoop Dogg. "New Orleans is synonymous with Mardi Gras, and for the last eight years MardiGras has been synonymous with Girls Gone Wild," said GGW CEO and founder JoeFrancis. "Year after year the city of New Orleans and its residents have welcomed us with open arms and we have looked forward to our yearly trip to the Big Easy. The utter destruction of New Orleans and many part of the Gulf Coast truly saddens us."

 

The latest on Rita

It looks like Galveston folks, but we'll know more after the next update at 4pm CST.

A bunch of online newsfeeds for the Hurricane Rita affected areas are located here

here is a great sattelite image of the US, and as always http://www.crownweather.com/tropical.html has the most comprehensive coverage.

Louisiana Evacuations here

Louisiana School Closings here

 

I'm embarassed, and glad I don't live on the Westbank.

This is pretty embarassing.

Gretna police fired shots over the heads of evacuees streaming across the Crescent City Connection, as bullhorns blared for them to go back to New Orleans.

In Plaquemines Parish, dozens of sheriff's deputies raised shotguns and pistols to turn back a convoy of school buses attempting to take storm victims to safety at the Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse.

And in Westwego, arriving evacuees had two choices: Leave immediately, or go to an overcrowded shelter with few supplies where armed guards accompanied by a police dog prevented anyone from leaving.The confrontations occurred largely along racial lines: African-American residents of poor sections of New Orleans facing off against majority white law enforcement agencies.

Elected law enforcement officials remain unapologetic over their response and say they would take the same steps if the city flooded again."If you are in your house and they're rioting all around to get in, are you going to let them in?" asked Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson. "We saved our city and protected our people. Our plan worked and we're going to stick with our plan. Next hurricane, we're going to secure our city the same way."Lawson added that evacuees "actually would have been better off where they were, because we didn't have anything for them."
----------------------------------
"If he (Lawson) is saying they would do the same thing over again, is he saying the same woman who died on the ramp because she couldn't get over the bridge, is he saying he would let that woman die again?" said City Council President Oliver Thomas. "I don't think he's thinking that. I think he's talking political. He's just trying to make white folks in Gretna think he's protecting them from all those poor black people from New Orleans."
----------------------------------
In Plaquemines Parish, Sheriff Jiff Hingle said he was forced to turn back the school bus convoy headed for the Naval Air Station because the evacuees "would have become our problem.""All they were going to do was end up destroying my community," he said. "I feel very, very sorry for them. But they would put such a burden on us that we would collapse."

Full story here

 

Opinions on the rebuilding of New Orleans

This is a very thought-provoking piece, and I'm still working on putting my thoughts together on this issue. While I do, why don't you go and read this well-written piece with reference to several other articles that have been mentioned here, and put together your own.

 

Businesses supporting New Orleans

Warner Brothers to resume Louisiana production (full story here)

"On behalf of our cast and crew, we are pleased to be able to complete our filming in Louisiana and to be part of the region's recovery effort," said Stephen Hopkins, director of The Reaping. On Sunday night, Hopkins accepted the Emmy award for Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special for The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. He praised the Katrina recovery effort and spirit during his acceptance speech.

Emeril promises to return to New Orleans, (full story here)

“Over the past two weeks, I have focused on making sure my family, my friends, and my staff are safe,” says Lagasse. “The city of New Orleans is my home and it is a place that I love and my heart goes out to the many victims of the hurricane. I am completely dedicated to rebuilding this great city.”

 

Hurricane Katrina puts Millions of $$$ of real estate deals in limbo

Full story in New Orleans Citybusiness, I just hope they can get the courts up and running again to get commerce up and running again.

 

Some more evacuees

Be on the lookout for comments from somebody that I'll call Croke for now, who will hopefully be adding his voice to our forum as a new evacuee from Houston and Hurricane Rita.

I'm also hoping that we'll have another person evacuating from Corpus Christi, but I have yet to hear from him.

Anyhow, I have the exciting business of getting my haircut today, but there will be more later.

JBoo

 

Nagin: New Orleans will be smaller for a while

Full story here

BATON ROUGE – Mayor Ray Nagin said Wednesday he foresees the New Orleans of the near future as a city of about 250,000 people, about half its population before Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in late August.As Nagin addressed questions from elected officials and the public at a meeting in the state Capitol, he defended his policies to allow citizens limited access to re-enter the city in the short term and to rebuild New Orleans in the long term."We are going to lose a significant portion of our population" in the next 12 to 18 months, he said, partly because the city's infrastructure will not be able to handle more. After establishing a population of about a quarter of a million, "then we'll build from there," Nagin said. "Let's start to dream about where we can be post-Katrina," he said.

 

Hurricane Rita updates for Louisiana

Voluntary evacuation now in effect for Lafayette Parish and a mandatory evacuation is in place for Vermillion Parish.
Plaquemines Parish President Benny Rousselle announced this morning that anyone between Homeplace and Venice and the East Bank that may be trying to salvage properties damaged in Katrina should evacuate the area by 6pm tonight.

A more comprehensive story is here, snippets below.

Engineers have warned that the fractured levees can only handle up to 6 inches of rain and a storm surge of 10 to 12 feet.
"We're already getting a few spotty showers in the New Orleans area," meteorologist Robert Ricks said. "There are going to be brief periods of brief heavy downpours as these squall bands move through."

The new forecast added urgency to continuing efforts by the Army Corps of Engineers to shore up levees with sandbags and add portable pumps through the city in anticipation of more flooding.
"Right now, it's a wait and see and hope for the best," said Corps spokesman Mitch Frazier.

 

Saints being moved by another storm

Hurricane Rita it appears will send the Saints to Minnesota a day early for their matchup with the Vikings....

Coach Jim Haslett said Wednesday afternoon that team officials were considering flying to Minneapolis on Friday instead of Saturday to avoid any weather problems in San Antonio. The Saints play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
"We'll make that decision later, when we see where it's at," Haslett said.
Soon after he spoke, Rita was elevated to a Category 5 storm, the highest level.

Full story here

 

A friend's story of their time in San Antonio

Now that I have rested back in (relatively) safe Boston, I'll share a small portion of my trip to San Antonio. I was down there for a national EMS educators symposium, but spent part of my time at the US Kelly Air Force base. There were 12,500 folks from New Orleans. I was working in the medical rooms. The strength that these people possessed was amazing. I saw some pretty sick people (due to stress, lack of medication, etc) but the biggest need that the folks that I dealt with was just wanting to talk and have someone, anyone, hear their stories.
Many of them had been relocated to the Superdome. Those stories were frustrating and violent. They were grateful to now only be sleeping in safe rooms with a couple of hundred others. Food was now plentiful, new clothing, shoes and bedding had been donated so that they had comfort. One man was living with his sister in a very small house. She had taken in 39 of her family members from the New Orleans area.
These people, many of which hadn't known each other prior to this catastrophic event, were going out of their way to make sure their new, temporary neighbors were getting an equal share of everything that was offered including medical care, food, whatever.
The biggest thing I learned from my 2 shifts with these wonderful folks was that people are like tea bags. You don't know their strength until they're dipped in hot water.
Make sure that whatever you give toward the Katrina situation goes to a reputable site. I can tell you that Jet Blue flew thousands of people toward safety for free and that New Balance gave thousands of pairs of sneakers. Walmart also gave and gave. It's nice to know that in a pinch, there are some wonderful, giving people out there.

Many thanks to B.V. for the permission to post this

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

 

Caption Game


This picture is too good. Please give me your best caption in the comments:

 

Flood insurance information

From your friends at FEMA

http://www.fema.gov/press/2005/katrinainsurance.shtm

 

National Hurricane Center: Hurricane Rita is a bad Mamma Jamma

This is from the latest NHC release. I've never understood why they do these in all caps.

...RITA BECOMES THE THIRD MOST INTENSE HURRICANE ON RECORD...DROPSONDE DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT RECONNAISSANCEAIRCRAFT AT 623 PM CDT...2323Z...INDICATED THE CENTRAL PRESSURE HASFALLEN TO BELOW 899 MB...OR 26.55 INCHES. THE DROPSONDE INSTRUMENTMEASURED 32 KT/35 MPH WINDS AT THE SURFACE...WHICH MEANS IT LIKELYDID NOT RECORD THE LOWEST PRESSURE IN THE EYE OF RITA. THE CENTRALPRESSURE IS PROBABLY AT LEAST AS LOW AS 898 MB...AND PERHAPS EVENLOWER. FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES... A PRESSURE OF 898 MB IS ASSUMED...WHICH NOW MAKES RITA THE THIRD MOST INTENSE HURRICANE IN TERMS OFPRESSURE IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN. SOME ADDITIONAL DEEPENING ANDINTENSIFICATION IS POSSIBLE FOR THE NEXT 12 HOURS OR SO.RITA CURRENTLY RANKS BEHIND HURRICANE GILBERT IN 1988 WITH 888 MBAND THE 1935 LABOR DAY HURRICANE WITH 892 MB.

 

New Orleans Saints remaining "Home" schedule

WEEK 4: Sunday, Oct. 2 vs. the Buffalo Bills at the Alamodome, Noon CT
WEEK 6: Sunday, Oct. 16 vs. the Atlanta Falcons at the Alamodome, Noon CT
WEEK 8: Sunday, Oct. 30 vs. the Miami Dolphins at Tiger Stadium, 3:05 pm CT
WEEK 9: Sunday, Nov. 6 vs. the Chicago Bears at Tiger Stadium, 3:05 pm CT
WEEK 13: Sunday, Dec. 4 vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tiger Stadium, Noon CT
WEEK 15: Sunday, Dec. 18 vs. the Carolina Panthers at Tiger Stadium, Noon CT
WEEK 16: Saturday, Dec. 24 vs. the Detroit Lions at the Alamodome, Noon CT

 

Seawalls not overtopped in New Orleans according to researchers

I hate that everybody refers to these as levees and not seawalls, but what are you gonna do. Anyhow, this is quite the thought-provoking piece, I highly recommend it.

"...the researchers have strong evidence that Katrina's subsequent surge from the north was several feet shy of the height that would have been necessary to overtop the 17th Street and London Avenue floodwalls. It was the failures of those floodwalls that emptied the lake into the rest of the city, filling most of New Orleans like a soup bowl.
On a tour Tuesday, researchers showed numerous indications that Katrina's surge was not as tall as the lakefront's protections. They showed a "debris line" that indicates the top height of Katrina's waves was at least four feet below the crest of Lake Pontchartrain's levees. They also pointed out how the breached floodwalls near the lake showed no signs of overtopping — no splattering of mud, no drip lines and no erosion at their bases. They contended that the pattern of destruction behind the breaches was consistent with a localized "pressure burst," rather than widespread overtopping.
The center has also completed a computerized "hindcast" of Katrina, which has confirmed the evidence before their eyes. Their model indicates that most of the surge around the lake and its nearby canals was less than 11 feet above sea level, and that none of it should have been greater than 13 feet. The Army Corps' flood-protection system for New Orleans was designed to handle surges of more than 14 feet above sea level.
"This should not have been a big deal for these floodwalls," said oceanographer G. Paul Kemp, a hurricane expert who runs LSU's Natural Systems Modeling Laboratory. "It should have been a modest challenge. There's no way this should have exceeded the capacity."

Full story here


 

Louisiana site being considered for new Nuclear power plant

Or is it nucular?

http://bizneworleans.com/109+M56c4f40328a.html

 

Messages from New Orleans companies

There are too many to list here, please check the list for further information:

http://www.wdsu.com/news/4929113/detail.html

 

Treasure trove of Louisiana information

http://www.wdsu.com/news/4907744/detail.html

Mail service, passable roads, current conditions, it's got it all.

 

Louisiana Business update

http://www.bayoubuzz.com/articles.aspx?aid=5058

Entergy New Orleans, Trinity Yachts, ERF Wireless & Shaw Group news

 

The Grand Casino is no more.

GULFPORT, MS (AP): The Grand Casino has gone out with a bang.
A demolition crew this morning blew up a section of the barge that has been blocking US Highway 90 in Gulfport, Mississippi, ever since Hurricane Katrina heaved it ashore.
Three explosions in rapid succession brought down the five-story structure in a demolition overseen by the state Transportation Department.
The agency says the blast is part of its plan for reopening the road through Mississippi in 90 days.

 

I don't know who this is, but I like them. (via wwltv.com)

1:26 P.M. - Dr. Brobson Lutz: When President Bush came to Jackson Square, that place looked spotless. So it seems that wherever the President goes, that area gets cleaned up real nice; so he has to come to New Orleans as often as possible.
1:24 P.M. - Lutz: In order for people to come back to stay, we need more of an infrastructure. There’s no way 180,000 people can come back to this city now. Of course, rumors were spread that people shouldn’t come back because of toxic water – that’s misinformation which our elected officials spread to the public through the media. People shouldn’t be coming here, but not because of any risk of disease. There’s just not enough hospitals, no infrastructure and not enough gasoline.
1:22 P.M. - Lutz: The clinics that are working are the ones out on the street; the ones people can see and access easily.

 

Hurricane Rita update

Top wind speeds sustained at 165MPH currently. I am seeing that most forecasters are expecting the storm to weaken before landfall, and let's hope so. Here is a link to the computer model outputs and to the latest National Hurricane Center information.

You could always just go to Crown Weather and get it all in one place too.

 

Coast Guard expects New Orleans body count to rise sharply

(AP) -- Searchers smashed through doors in New Orleans on Wednesday, bringing their hunt for the dead to homes that had been locked and to blocks hardest hit by Katrina's flooding. Behind those doors, officials said they expected a sharply escalating body count -- among them, more children.

"There still could be quite a few, especially in the deepest flooded areas," said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jeffrey Pettitt, who is overseeing the retrieval of bodies. "Some of the houses, they haven't been in yet."

 

If it's this easy, why don't we do it for all major storms?

The Army Corps of Engineers has begun closing two damaged canals at noon today in preparation for storm surges associated with Hurricane Rita.The 17th Street canal and the London Street canals will be closed with steel sheet piling by 8 p.m. tonight and will remain closed until the threat ofsevere weather passes. Steel sheets will be driven deep into the canal beds near Lake Pontchartrain, providing protection from possible storm surges from the lake rushing intothe damaged canals.

full story here.

 

Another New Orleans company forgets its roots when it is needed the most.

via NOLA.com

The newest publicly traded company in the New Orleans area plans to leave the city as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which began trading on Nasdaq last month, has decided to make its temporary relocation to the Orlando area permanent.The company said its Metairie headquarters was damaged, communications were down, and that the New Orleans area “would not be able to support our corporate office and our support center for an extended period of time.’’The move affects 58 executives and corporate staffers who worked out of the Metairie office. Ruth’s two company-owned restaurants in New Orleans suffered flood and wind damage. Craig Miller, Ruth’s president and chief executive, said he is optimistic the company will be able to reopen its Metairie restaurant on Veterans Highway. But company officials are far less optimistic about the Broad Street restaurant because they have been unable to assess the damage at that location.


 

Sorry High School Students, but:

Katrina couldn't stop your SAT's:

Students either displaced by Hurricane Katrina or who were scheduled to take the SAT at a location affected by the storm must make arrangements to take the test elsewhere, according to The College Board, which administers the exam to college-bound high school seniors.Any student scheduled to take the test Oct. 8 should call (866) 392-3017 or (609) 771-7600 to make arrangements to take it in whatever city they have evacuated to, provided spots are still available. Students remaining in the New Orleans area may have to travel outside the region, said Chiara Coletti, a spokeswoman for the College Board.

 

Japanese Mafia Responsible for Hurricane Katrina?

I saw a guy downtown in Chicago holding a sign saying that a Russian-made weather controlling machine was responsible for the storms, and then later in the same day I see this on the internet?

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho weatherman says Japan's Yakuza mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge itself for the Hiroshima atom bomb attack — and that this technology will soon be wielded again to hit another U.S. city.

Please note that the link from USAToday includes "Wacky Weatherman" in the title. The full story is here.

Here's a link to the Idaho weatherman's official site, which is pretty bizzare in and of itself. This is my favorite passage from his Hurricane Katrina post:

"Ivan and Katrina

These are both very Russian sounding names. It has been established that the former Soviet Union (fSU) developed and boasted of weather modification technology during the 1960's and 70's with deployment against the United States coming in 1976 with the audible arrival of the woodpecker grid. These weather operations continue to this day. "

But wait, there's more.

Another story on MSNBC.com includes testimony from Max Mayfield, the director of the National Hurricane Center where he states that there will be increased activity for the next 10-20 years or so. I've heard this for a while, that storms go in cycles, having to do with the warming and cooling of the Pacific vs the Atlantic. What I thought was interesting was this quote from the article:

"Max Mayfield told a congressional panel that he believes the Atlantic Ocean is in a cycle of increased hurricane activity that parallels an increase that started in the 1940s and ended in the 1960s.

The ensuing lull lasted until 1995, then “it’s like somebody threw a switch,” Mayfield said. The number and power of hurricanes increased dramatically."

Coincidence? I don't know. I think I'll have another cookie.

And another thing, why are hurricane experts always housed in the central or western part of the country? I've never understood that. It's not like there are a lot of earthquake experts in New Orleans.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 

Big day tomorrow

We're going to head downtown to check out a possible reception site, and get a marriage license. It will be nice to get back into the energy of the city for a while, so I'm definitely looking forward to that.

More tlater.

 

Hurricane Katrina: The Drink

Some Louisiana Lawyers (Loyola Grads, even) have filed for a patent for the name Katrina, to produce an alcoholic beverage. I'm all for making a profit, but this just doesn't seem right...

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0920051katrina1.html

 

Comprehensive photo tours of New Orleans

Magazine Street from Camp Street to River Road

Tchoupitoulas Street

French Quarter

The Marigny

Area bounded by the River, Magazine, Louisiana, and Napoleon

River Garden ? Does anybody know where this is?

 

New Orleans and Hurricane Rita

This thing isn't going to come close to the city. I think it will even stay far enough to the south to not even impact the tidal shifts around New Orleans, but what do I know. The Corps of Engineers is working around the clock to make sure that the protections are as sound as possible, full story here.

Check out this site for more information on the storms, it's the best site that I know.

http://www.crownweather.com/tropical.html

 

Hornets getting guarantees from Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The New Orleans Hornets, displaced by Hurricane Katrina, could receive as much as $10 million from Oklahoma City, the state of Oklahoma and a group of businessmen as a fail-safe in case the team's temporary move to the state is not successful, according to an agreement pending approval by the Oklahoma City Council.

full story here

 

City of New Orleans: "The Soul of America"

Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and national tourism industry leaders said the New Orleans hospitality industry can rebuild by leveraging Louisiana’s cultural assets, lobbying for federal financial assistance, and learning from New York’s comeback after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.We’re here today to announce our plan to rebuild the cultural economy of the State of Louisiana,” said Landrieu, whose office is in charge of state museums, parks and tourism advertising. “We have to rebuild the metropolitan area of the City of New Orleans because this area is the soul of America.”

full story here

 

Over 200,000 cars likely lost to Katrina

I was probably the only person hoping that my car was destroyed, but sure enough I sat in it and turned the key and it started right up....

If you lost a car in Hurricane Katrina, you’re not alone. Louisiana State Police estimate that more than 200,000 cars were lost in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. So far, State Farm Insurance, the largest insurer in Louisiana, has recorded 48,140 auto insurance claims in Louisiana – 62 percent of State Farm’s auto insurance claims from the four states affected by the storm.

full story here

 

Blanco to FEMA - pay for hotel rooms

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. Kathleen Blanco asked federal officials on Tuesday to begin moving evacuees from shelters to hotel rooms because she believes it's taking too long to provide them permanent housing.

"Shelter life is not a quality life. The president and I both agree that people in shelters need more stable, private housing," Blanco said at a news conference.

Ron Sherman, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's head of housing for Katrina refugees, said the disaster agency has not made a final decision on Blanco's request, but agreed in principle to pay for hotel rooms for evacuees for up to 90 days in the state where they are currently staying in shelters.

Blanco's hotel proposal came three days after Hurricane Katrina evacuees swarmed around her, firing questions, as she visited a Lafayette shelter, asking when they could return home, complaining about the conditions and inquiring about transitional housing.
full story here

 

Kenner Residents Caught in Turf War

Aren't you proud?

The apartment complex, normally home to about 1,800 people, has become the latest battleground in a years-old political war between Mayor Phil Capitano, who wants to move the residents to shelter outside Kenner, and Police Chief Nick Congemi, who, with City Councilman Michael McMyne, accuses the mayor of trying to drive working poor people out of the city. The complex's owner, Dorvin Development, barred news reporters from the site Tuesday, after several days of seeing the squabble play out in the news media.

full story here

 

Saints unimpressive

I was pretty disappointed on how poorly we played last night, with 6 turnovers and tons of penalties and sacks. Fortunately, I had at least one beer for every turnover and that made watching the game tolerable. Full story here

 

2006 Sugar Bowl in Atlanta? Say It Ain't So!

Hurricane Katrina has claimed another victim.
Organizers of the Sugar Bowl say they'll play their postseason game in either Baton Rouge or Atlanta after being forced out of the Superdome in New Orleans by the aftermath of the devastating storm.
Sugar Bowl officials say they'll know in about three weeks whether Louisiana has recovered sufficiently to keep the game in the state where it has been played every year since it was established in 1935.
While Tiger Stadium on the LSU campus would make an adequate game host, the city of Baton Rouge does not have enough hotel rooms and sufficient infrastructure to host a large-scale event.
Sugar Bowl executive director Paul Hoolahan said that if the game is to be played there, New Orleans would have to be prepared to house most of the participants, media and fans traveling to the January second game.
Atlanta has already given Sugar Bowl officials the go-ahead to play the game in the Georgia Dome, which hosts the Southeastern Conference championship game in December. That made Atlanta an obvious and convenient choice as a temporary home for one of college football's longest-running and most recognizable events.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

Govenor limits state spending

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Gov. Kathleen Blanco limited state spending Tuesday, requiring most new hires, travel, supplies and other items to be approved by her top budget official -- unless they are needed to help Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

The attempt to cut back on unnecessary expenses comes as the state struggles not only to rebuild southeastern Louisiana but also to cope with an expected budget hole from the loss of business, sales and personal taxes because of Katrina's devastation to the New Orleans area.

Full story here

 

LA Tech Council survey

Lewis said the survey will help his group focus their efforts on critical needs. So far, almost 70 company owners have taken the survey. One of the questions asked is whether they intend to move back to the New Orleans area rather than relocating permanently. “The majority — almost 95 percent — of the business that we have polled so far are coming back,” Lewis said. “They are going to rebuild. That’s encouraging.”

full story here

 

Hibernia launching ReJazz New Orleans campaign

NEW ORLEANS — Hibernia Bank has launched "ReJazz New Orleans," a charitable campaign to rebuild New Orleans and its infrastructure, including schools, neighborhoods across the city and organizations that enhance the quality of life. Brightly colored beads, typically worn during Mardi Gras and a symbol of the true spirit of New Orleans, are the tangible sign of support for donations made to ReJazz New Orleans. Headquartered in New Orleans for more than 135 years, Hibernia recognized as soon as Hurricane Katrina had struck the need to focus on the city's infrastructure to ensure its rebuilding. "Through Hibernia's support, ReJazz New Orleans will be the repository for the nationwide campaign to generate a broad cross-section of support for this monumental rebuilding effort," said Herb Boydstun, president and CEO of Hibernia. "The nation has seen the devastation caused by Katrina, and all of us at Hibernia, along with many others, want to make a difference in rebuilding New Orleans to its former grandeur and reestablishing its unique character and appeal. "We are proud to call New Orleans home, and we look forward to helping bring our city back to full strength." The iridescent purple, green and gold Mardi Gras-themed beads — including a specially created medallion acknowledging the date of Hurricane Katrina and commemorating New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz — are available for purchase for $2 each at www.rejazzneworleans.org. The exclusive medallion design of an up-stretched arm holding a saxophone and a rising sun in the background captures the true essence of New Orleans -- music, hope and the "Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler" (let the good times roll) attitude the world loves about the city.

More here and here

 

Oprah makes big donation

12:25 P.M. - Oprah Winfrey pledges $10 million of her own money to Katrina relief.

 

Entergy New Orleans to consider bankruptcy filing: AP

It's important to note that Entergy New Orleans is different than Entergy the big corporation. They are related, but not one and the same.

Full story here

 

Harrison County: No More Clothes, Please

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi county hit hard by Hurricane Katrina says thanks very much for the clothing donations.

Now please stop.

In the more than three weeks since the storm devastated much of the state's Gulf Coast, clothing sent to Harrison County by donors nationwide has piled up in parking lots and filled eight semitrailers. Another heap of garments, retrieved from the pavement and then sorted and boxed, fills the bakery and customer-service section of a former Sav-A-Center supermarket nearly to the ceiling.

Full story here

 

Mayor Backtracks on repopulation due to Rita

I don't think this storm will affect New Orleans, but it is good to err on the side of certainty.

Full story here, Rita information here.

Monday, September 19, 2005

 

Update

We're still in Chicago, planning on being here through the October 8th wedding, and then honeymooning. I'll be at McKellin's pub on Touhy & California for the game tonight if any of you are around town and want to yell at the tv with me.

JBoo

 

Class Action proceeds directed to Katrina Relief Efforts

Interesting....

Associated Press
PENSACOLA, Fla. - The American Red Cross relief fund for Hurricane Katrina victims will receive $700,000 that remain from an antitrust lawsuit that was settled more than 10 years ago, a federal judge has ruled.
"I have determined that these funds can best be allocated ... in alleviating the pain and suffering of, and furnishing some of the basic needs of, the victims of Hurricane Katrina," U.S. Senior District Judge Maurice Paul in Tallahassee wrote in an order dated Sept. 8.
In 1991, hundreds of retail drug and grocery chain stores sued three companies they claimed were conspiring to drive up the price of infant formula.
The case was settled in 1993. Two years later, more than $91 million was distributed to the purchasers. An additional $940,000 was set aside for various purposes, including the payment of people who submitted their claims late, plaintiffs' attorneys said.
But by February 2000, no additional claims had been made. Paul then ruled that the money, minus certain expenses, should be distributed for a purpose similar to that represented by those who sued.
"The complaint in this case alleged injury to consumers of infant formula, through alleged unfair pricing," he wrote. "Likewise, one of the challenges faced by rescue workers in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina is providing essential food and drink to the victims of the storm.
Laddie Montague and Richard Arnold, two plaintiffs' attorneys, praised the judge's decision.

Original Article here, requires subscription, use http://www.bugmenot.com if you don't want to register

 

LA Office of Emergency Preparedness under investigation?

BATON ROUGE, LA, United States (UPI) -- The Louisiana agency responsible for doling out post-Katrina aid had problems spending money correctly, including the arrest of three senior officials.

The Los Angeles Times reports that before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the state, the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness was being investigated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for misuse of funds.
FEMA claims the state owes them more than $30 million to recover such money.

More here

 

Loyola Fundraiser in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Alumni Chapter of Loyola University New Orleans' Hurricane Relief Fundraiser
Sunday, September 25
11:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Ragin' Cajun Cafe
422 Pier Ave Hermosa Beach

Sunday football, cash bar, raffle, food. Hey, the drive will be much quicker on a Sunday morning!

$30 donation at the door includes meal and beverage

The funds go to the Loyola University New Orleans Relief Fund to benefit the Loyola University Community and to help the university recover from Hurricane Katrina.

This event is going to be kick-ass and low-key. Hope to see you there.

 

Interesting article re: Saints and Superdome Lease

Benson was asked if a totaling of the Superdome would mean he could move his team without paying the $81 million.

"You're way ahead of me," he said Monday after NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced that the Saints would be playing four games at Tiger Stadium. "I don't know anything about that or what we're going to do about all of that. I don't want to leave Louisiana, OK. Otherwise, we wouldn't be playing four games here."
-------------------------------------
Tagliabue at times sounded as passionate as a New Orleans or southeast Louisiana native when he announced the Saints would be playing in Tiger Stadium.

"That was a decision that I made," he said Monday. "We wanted to make it 1,000 percent clear that the New Orleans Saints are committed to Louisiana, to New Orleans and their fans."

More here

 

I love Charles Grant

Favorite quote from the NYTimes article:

Take, for instance, defensive end Charles Grant, who drives a purple-and-yellow 1975 Chevrolet Impala with a picture of a woman painted on the trunk next to the words, "Mo Money, Mo Problems."

Full story here

 

Gulf being overwhelmed with Contractors and Speculators

This could be a good thing, but it might be just a touch too soon. More here.

 

NFL at least trying to make this a home game for Saints

It's still going to be a semi-hostile crowd, but I don't mind. We play better on the road anyway. More about what they are trying to do to make it a home game here

 

City Officials Finding Loot

This is a pretty interesting story of what they are finding, and where they are finding it....

link here

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