Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina Encours et Toujours X

Oops, missed a day -- and the stuff keeps pouring in. My brother went into the city yesterday, and reports that it's now under complete lockdown. That's already quite different from Sunday, when things were still quite loose.

Today, on the same day that Gilligan died, Nagin ordered everyone out of NO, forcibly if necessary. Taken together these strike me as signs of the end times, and I only hope I don't get left behind like last time. Interestingly, NOPD leaders basically said they had no intention of forcing people out of homes, at least not while there's still people wanting and needing to be rescued out there.

So much spittle and spew has suddenly come out of the Karl Rove spin machine that I'm not sure what to correct and shoot down first. Go to for a constant discussion about that topic. One thing I will pick on is the statement that "it's such a shame that New Orleans didn't have a Giuliani when disaster struck." Well, although some folks don't like Giuliani on this list, regarding this disaster I think we had at least three Giulianis: Mayor Ray Nagin, Governor Kathleen Blanco, and Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard. They're all heroes, and they all did more to try and protect an entire metropolitan area than Giuliani did to protect three tall buildings.

Today I heard a hilarious NPR interview with a NewOrleanian hanging out at Johnny White's Sports Bar inthe French Quarter. She and her group of friends and neighbors have been getting by with bottled water, MRE's, hot beer (old stock?), no electricity, running water as of today, etc. She was completely relaxed, and wondering what all the fuss was about. After about five minutes talking to several million NPR listeners, she cut the interview off by saying "I gotta kinda cut this short, it's a business phone." To me, that says everything -- the funky NO that we all know and love is starting to come back. Once again, don't let FEMA keep you off your property -- come back if you can.

1) Here are the famous city images taken by a Cessna overflight of the city:

2) The Onion trumps all in Katrina coverage, as usual:

3) This page put together on the Daily Kos website pulls together quite a few resources for Katrinaholics vis-a-vis the federal reaction:

4) FEMA Follies:
FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations
FEMA turns away experienced firefighters
FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks
FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel
FEMA won't let Red Cross deliver food
FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans
FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid
FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board,1,4144825.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck
FEMA turns away generators
FEMA: "First Responders Urged Not To Respond"

5) Apparently US hurricane disaster planning is actually worse than several third world countries:,1284,68756,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_7

6) Tom Dispatch says a lot of the same things we have about governance and disaster, only more prosaically:

7) Shelly Loughnane for NO rebuilding czar!:

(Resonse I posted to hateful diatribe (although not without its cogent moments) on Trying to crystallize some thoughts, okay fantasies, I've been having about what should come next? Maybe there are opportunities for a new communalism in destruction. Maybe haphazard and ramshackle and neglected are sometimes more about a lack of character (as a community, a society) than a surfeit of character. Kisses all.-s)

Perhaps we are being a wee bit simpleminded to assume that the rebuilding of New Orleans is an either/or proposition. Since 60-70% of this countries agricultural exports, and a hefty percentage of our agricultural and industrial imports as well, still pass through the port of New Orleans (because freighters and barges are still the cheapest, albeit archaic, form of transport for bulk goods) it is clear that there is still a pressing national-level economic exigency to not kissing off the whole city and performing an urban burial-at-sea. Then there's the oil and gas/petrochemical industries, the Gulf and marsh based natural resources they draw on, the multi-billion dollar transport, refining, production, and storage industries--and their infrastructure and support industries--that aren't going to be replaced or relocated any time soon. I won't even start about the unique treasures of architecture, cuisine, music, literature, vernacular, and folkways that make New Orleans a treasure that demands preservation and veneration by all humanity. To reduce its contributions to world culture to nothing more than jazz and Mardi Gras is a frat boy cliche.

The patient will be revived and resurrected.The Grande Dame; the Pearl of the South, should not be tossed into the drink like some dime-store bauble that has lost its glitz.

But surely only a madman would suggest that it be rebuilt exactly the way it was. The decrepit infrastructure, the failing schools, the corrupt and incompetent petty rajahs at City Hall, the frightening violence and concentrated pockets of deep, multi-generational poverty and parochialism have been heartbreaking and vexatious problems for all of us who have loved New Orleans and worked to build our lives there. We don't want it back the same. Let the die-hards, the mad geniuses, the colorful cooks, the painters and builders drift back as city services are restored.

The work of cleaning up and rebuilding will be brutal and time consuming--only those with deep cultural and familial roots will probably heed the call. Those who settle into the prosperity, ease, and opportunity of life elsewhere, in "mainstream America", what are we going to do--uproot them again and force them back to their townhomes, projects, subdivisions? Ridiculous--good luck and god bless. Population will certainly be lost--and some will be regained.

Perhaps those who return to New Orleans, a smaller, sparser New Orleans to be sure, can re-envision our city. Re-development should be encouraged in the topographically highest points, rubble from the destruction should be "greened" and then pulverized for landfill to help raise lots.

Neighborhoods should be re-platted to encourage mixed use, mixed SES, pedestrian and streetcar friendly "old-fashioned" neighborhoods anchored by green spaces and shiny new public schools. Builders should be encouraged to incorporate salvaged architecural elements and traditional "Creole" design--like raised cottages with dormer windows and functional window shutters -- that will help the city retain its unique visual charm, and withstand potential future hurricanes better than more modern styles (like slab foundation ranch homes) which are hopelessly ill suited to the climate.

Restoration of the coastal wetlands is an imperative project, the continued neglect of which will have ongoing catastrophic repurcussions for the entire nation. The successful restoration of this frail and gorgeous eco-system could make the city of New Orleans and the entire Gulf region safer in the future, and fuel the renaissance of tourism. Eco-tourism in Louisiana? Who'dve thunk it?

New Orleans will be a smaller city, a newer city, and undoubtedly a scarred city. But perhaps it can be a more manageable and better managed city; greener, more diverse, safer, more just; but still joyous and eccentric and soulful and free. Perhaps.

8) Here's the hateful article that Shelly was answering, by yet another bean counter that would rather live in a bland suburb in a Northern town -- and force the rest of us to do so as well. Find the original article for relevant links:

press box
Don't RefloatThe case against rebuilding the sunken city of New Orleans.
By Jack ShaferPosted Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005, at 12:19 PM PT

Nobody can deny New Orleans' cultural primacy or its historical importance. But before we refloat the sunken city, before we think of spending billions of dollars rebuilding levees that may not hold back the next storm, before we contemplate reconstructing the thousands of homes now disintegrating in the toxic tang of the flood, let's investigate what sort of place Katrina destroyed.

The city's romance is not the reality for most who live there. It's a poor place, with about 27 percent of the population of 484,000 living under the poverty line, and it's a black place, where 67 percent are African-American. In 65 percent of families living in poverty, no husband is present. When you overlap this New York Times map, which illustrates how the hurricane's floodwaters inundated 80 percent of the city, with this demographic map from the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, which shows where the black population lives, and this one that shows where the poverty cases live, it's transparent whom Katrina hit the hardest.
New Orleans' public schools, which are 93 percent black, have failed their citizens. The state of Louisiana rates 47 percent of New Orleans schools as "Academically Unacceptable" and another 26 percent are under "Academic Warning." About 25 percent of adults have no high-school diploma.

The police inspire so little trust that witnesses often refuse to testify in court. University researchers enlisted the police in an experiment last year, having them fire 700 blank gun rounds in a New Orleans neighborhood one afternoon. Nobody picked up the phone to report the shootings. Little wonder the city's homicide rate stands at 10 times the national average.

This city counts 188,000 occupied dwellings, with about half occupied by renters and half by owners. The housing stock is much older than the national average, with 43 percent built in 1949 or earlier (compared with 22 percent for the United States) and only 11 percent of them built since 1980 (compared with 35 for the United States). As we've observed, many of the flooded homes are modest to Spartan to ramshackle and will have to be demolished if toxic mold or fire don't take them first.

New Orleans puts the "D" into dysfunctional. Only a sadist would insist on resurrecting this concentration of poverty, crime, and deplorable schools. Yet that's what New Orleans' cheerleaders—both natives and beignet-eating tourists—are advocating. They predict that once they drain the water and scrub the city clean, they'll restore New Orleans to its former "glory."

Only one politician, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, dared question the wisdom of rebuilding New Orleans as it was, where it was. On Wednesday, Aug. 31, while meeting with the editorial board of the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., he cited the geographical insanity of rebuilding New Orleans. "That doesn't make sense to me. … And it's a question that certainly we should ask."

"It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed," Hastert added.

For his candor and wisdom, Hastert was shouted down. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and others interpreted his remarks as evidence of the Republican appetite for destruction when it comes to disaster victims. But if you read the entire interview—reproduced here courtesy of the Daily Herald—you might conclude that Hastert was speaking heresy, but he wasn't saying anything ugly or even Swiftian. Klaus Jacob seconded Hastert yesterday (Sept. 6) in a Washington Post op-ed. A geophysicist by training, he noted that Katrina wasn't even a worst-case scenario. Had the storm passed a little west of New Orleans rather than a little east, the "city would have flooded faster, and the loss of life would have been greater."

Nobody disputes the geographical and oceanographic odds against New Orleans: that the Gulf of Mexico is a perfect breeding ground for hurricanes; that re-engineering the Mississippi River to control flooding has made New Orleans more vulnerable by denying it the deposits of sediment it needs to keep its head above water; that the aggressive extraction of oil and gas from the area has undermined the stability of its land.
"New Orleans naturally wants to be a lake," St. Louis University professor of earth and atmospheric sciences Timothy Kusky told Time this week. "A city should never have been built there in the first place," he said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Why was it? Settlers built the original city on a curve of high flood land that the Mississippi River had deposited over eons, hence the nickname "Crescent City." But starting in the late 1800s and continuing into the early 20th century, developers began clearing and draining swamps behind the crescent, even dumping landfill into Lake Pontchartrain to extend the city.

To chart the aggressive reclamation, compare this map from 1798 with this one from 1908. Many of New Orleans' lower-lying neighborhoods, such as Navarre, the Lower Ninth Ward, Lake Terrace, and Pontchartrain Park, were rescued from the low-lying muck. The Lower Ninth Ward, clobbered by Katrina, started out as a cypress swamp, and by 1950 it was only half developed, according to the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. Even such "high" land as City Park suffered from flooding before the engineers intervened. By the historical standards of the 400-year-old city, many of the heavily flooded neighborhoods are fresh off the boat.

The call to rebuild New Orleans' levee system may be mooted if its evacuated residents decide not to return. The federal government, which runs the flood-insurance business, sold only 85,000 residential and commercial policies—this in a city of 188,000 occupied dwellings. Coverage is limited to $250,000 for building property and $100,000 for personal property. Because the insured can use the money elsewhere, there is no guarantee they'll choose to rebuild in New Orleans, which will remain extra-vulnerable until the levees are rebuilt.

Few uninsured landlords and poor home owners have the wherewithal to rebuild—or the desire. And how many of the city's well-off and wealthy workers—the folks who provide the city's tax base—will return? Will the doctors, lawyers, accountants, and professors have jobs to return to? According to the Wall Street Journal, many businesses are expected to relocate completely. Unless the federal government adopts New Orleans as its ward and pays all its bills for the next 20 years—an unlikely to absurd proposition—the place won't be rebuilt.

Barbara Bush will be denounced as being insensitive and condescending for saying yesterday that many of the evacuees she met in the Astrodome would prefer to stay in Texas. But she probably got it right. The destruction wrought by Katrina may turn out to be "creative destruction," to crib from Joseph Schumpeter, for many of New Orleans' displaced and dispossessed. Unless the government works mightily to reverse migration, a positive side-effect of the uprooting of thousands of lives will to be to deconcentrate one of the worst pockets of ghetto poverty in the United States.

Page One of today's New York Times illustrates better than I can how the economic calculations of individuals battered by Katrina may contribute to the city's ultimate doom:

In her 19 years, all spent living in downtown New Orleans, Chavon Allen had never ventured farther than her bus fare would allow, and that was one trip last year to Baton Rouge. But now that she has seen Houston, she is planning to stay.

"This is a whole new beginning, a whole new start. I mean, why pass up a good opportunity, to go back to something that you know has problems?" asked Ms. Allen, who had been earning $5.15 an hour serving chicken in a Popeyes restaurant.

New Orleans won't disappear overnight, of course. The French Quarter, the Garden District, West Riverside, Black Pearl, and other elevated parts of the city will survive until the ultimate storm takes them out—and maybe even thrive as tourist destinations and places to live the good life. But it would be a mistake to raise the American Atlantis. It's gone.

Apologies to Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Ernie K-Doe, Allen Toussaint, Tipitina's, Dr. John, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Jelly Roll Morton, Jessie Hill, Lee Dorsey, the Meters, Robert Parker, Alvin Robinson, Joe "King" Oliver, Kid Stormy Weather, Huey "Piano" Smith, Aaron Neville and his brothers (falsetto is the highest _expression of male emotion), Frankie Ford, Chris Kenner, Professor Longhair, Wynton Marsalis and family, Sidney Bechet, and Marshall Faulk. I await your hate mail at (E-mail may be quoted unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

9) Gotta love Barbara Bush's comfortable version of noblesse oblige -- one must insult the poor to their face:

Article A)

Article B)

Barbara Bush: It's Good Enough for the Poor
(97) Finally, we have discovered the roots of George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism."

On the heels of the president's "What, me worry?" response to the death, destruction and dislocation that followed upon Hurricane Katrina comes the news of his mother's Labor Day visit with hurricane evacuees at the Astrodome in Houston.

Commenting on the facilities that have been set up for the evacuees -- cots crammed side-by-side in a huge stadium where the lights never go out and the sound of sobbing children never completely ceases -- former First Lady Barbara Bush concluded that the poor people of New Orleans had lucked out.

"Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them," Mrs. Bush told American Public Media's "Marketplace" program, before returning to her multi-million dollar Houston home.

On the tape of the interview, Mrs. Bush chuckles audibly as she observes just how great things are going for families that are separated from loved ones, people who have been forced to abandon their homes and the only community where they have ever lived, and parents who are explaining to children that their pets, their toys and in some cases their friends may be lost forever. Perhaps the former first lady was amusing herself with the notion that evacuees without bread could eat cake.

At the very least, she was expressing a measure of empathy commensurate with that evidenced by her son during his fly-ins for disaster-zone photo opportunities.

On Friday, when even Republican lawmakers were giving the federal government an "F" for its response to the crisis, President Bush heaped praise on embattled Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown. As thousands of victims of the hurricane continued to plead for food, water, shelter, medical care and a way out of the nightmare to which federal neglect had consigned them, Brown cheerily announced that "people are getting the help they need."

Barbara Bush's son put his arm around the addled FEMA functionary and declared, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

Like mother, like son.

Even when a hurricane hits, the apple does not fall far from the tree.

10) Let's add Santorum's comments (those who stayed behind should be penalized) here to those of Barbara Bush and Dennis Hastert (perhaps we shouldn't rebuild New Orleans) as idiot comments that shouldn't be forgotten. Count it now as 3 folks who will NOT be invited to our fair city ever again:

Santorum Suggests Penalizing Those Who Don't EvacuateComments Lambasted by Democrat Seeking to Unseat Him

PITTSBURGH (Sept. 7) - Sen. Rick Santorum said in a weekend interview that people who don't heed future evacuation warnings may need to be penalized, but said Tuesday he did not mean people who lack cars or other resources.

His remarks were sharply criticized by the campaign of Democrat Bob Casey Jr., who is seeking to unseat Santorum, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate.

"At face value (Santorum's comments) show an incredible amount of insensitivity to the Gulf Coast," said Jay Reiff, Casey's campaign manager. "What exactly does Senator Santorum mean by imposing penalties on people who often times had no transportation and no place to go?"

In a weekend interview with WTAE-TV about the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Santorum said: "You have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."....

11) Community labor activists are meeting in Baton Rouge to plan an agenda for the reconstruction and rebuilding period to follow:
DATE: Saturday, September 10, 2005
TIME: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.PLACE: Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA
ROOM: To Be Announced--STAY TUNED--we will send out another e-mail with the campus building and room number. (Malcolm Suber's friend at Southern is confirming the meeting room.) Proposed Agenda Topics (so far):
(1) the People's Hurricane Fund--creation of board of NOLA community residents to direct;
(2) Freedom Schools at shelters;
(3) demand for community oversight of federal and state redevelopment funds and resource allocation in general;
(4) work in solidarity with other groups in creating list of demands--full funding of disaster relief; massive public works programs and community rebuilding; economic redevelopment programs for New Orleans; ensuring the right to return;
(5) build a legal defense network for three projects: (a) evacuee rights/handbook/legal aid clinics; (b) criminal law and civil rights (prisoners' rights/atrocities committed in NOLA prisons last week); (c) long-term disaster litigation
Members of the national Quality Education as a Civil Right Campaign Coordinating Committee from Chicago, Miami, Cambridge, and Jackson will be joining us. For more information, please contact Becky Belcore at or (312) 804-3417.

12) Here are two thoughtful postings comparing the 1927 and 2005 Louisiana floods:
Interview with Peter Daniel: The Great Flood of 1927

Was the 1927 Flood the "Good Flood"?

13) Eddie Compass defends NOPD:

N.O. police chief defends force
By Gwen Filosa
Staff writer

New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass saidhis officers were heroic during a “hellish week” inNew Orleans, and blasted any reports that local copssat by and watched crime happen without stepping in.
"In the annals of history, no police department in thehistory of the world was asked to do what we wereasked," Compass said Monday, at the EmergencyOperations Center in Baton Rouge. "We won. We did notlose one officer in battle."

Compass blamed the outburst of crime, includingshootings, rapes and robberies, on "a small group ofnefarious individuals preying on the weak."

He did not have a number of police officers whoabandoned the effort, and referred to any desertionsas "a few cowards."

"Not one of my deputy chiefs left," said Compass, whowas accompanied by the Rev. Jesse Jackson in BatonRouge. "We had 150 officers trapped in eight feet ofwater. It wasn't 150 desertions. We were fighting oddsthat you could not imagine. We had no food. We had nowater. We ran out of ammunition. We were fighting inwaist-deep water."

Compass scoffed at reports of New Orleans copsstanding by and doing nothing while women were beingraped.
"Are you crazy?" Compass asked. "We did everything wecould to protect human life. All you could find was afew cowards who walked away," Compass said, addressingthe news media. "Where's the chief? Where's the mayor?On the front lines in the command."

Over the horrifying week in New Orleans, Compassconfirmed that one officer was shot in the head and aNational Guardsman suffered a leg injury - bothsurvived - but no one fell to the criminal element.

"I had two officers commit suicide because they wereworried about their families," Compass added."You have people who have made the ultimate sacrificefor this city," Compass said. "The mayor will go downas the greatest mayor in the history of America.(Without Mayor Ray Nagin) we would have had a lot morepeople dead."

Compass described the reality that his officers facedon the mean streets - such as tracking down gunmen bythe flash of their guns and having to disarm them byhand -- but stopped short of criticizing the federalresponse.

"I'm not a bureaucrat," he said. "I'm a police chief.We needed more resources; the resources didn't come."New Orleans police lost all communications when theCategory 4 storm struck the Gulf Coast, Compass said.After the storm died down, "we had no juice to chargethe batteries. We had to physically stay on the streetto keep in touch."

Compass said, "We had to use so much of our manpowerto fight the criminal element instead of saving humanlives. We had police officers in boats being shot. Wehad police officers using their own boats to savelives. We were sleeping on the streets. I had the sameunderwear on for five days. There were no restroomfacilities. Officer Gary Flot has an infection on hisleg from wading around in the nasty water."

Compass also blasted anyone who thought he was out oftown during the storm or its aftermath.

"I have an 8-month pregnant wife and a 3 year-olddaughter who I evacuated in my police car to DenhamSprings," he said.

The police chief, who came from the ranks of NOPD tolead the department once plagued by corruption andoutrageous law-breakers wearing badges, said NewOrleans was overwhelmed by a tiny contingent of theworst kind of criminals -- not the masses of cityresidents who took shelter from the storm.

"There are a small percentage of people who terrorizeevery major American city," Compass said. "They havelow morals and prey upon the weak. These arecriminals. They were housed with law-abiding citizenswho they could take advantage of."

14) RIP Paul Accardo:,1280,-5259148,00.html

Officer's Suicide Stuns Police Colleagues

Tuesday September 6, 2005 2:46 PM
Associated Press Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Life wasn't supposed to end thisway for Sgt. Paul Accardo: alone in chaos. He wrote anote telling anyone who found him to contact a fellowofficer.

He was precise, and thoughtful, to the end.Then he stuck a gun into his mouth and killed himself.
Accardo, 36, was one of two city cops who committedsuicide last week as New Orleans descended into anabyss of death and destruction caused by HurricaneKatrina. He was found in an unmarked patrol carSaturday in a downtown parking lot.

His funeral was planned for Wednesday.

Back when life was normal and structured, Accardoserved as one of the police department's chiefspokesmen. He reported murders, hostage situations andrapes in measured words, his bespectacled face benignand familiar on the nightly news.

``Paul was a stellar guy. A perfectionist. Everythinghad to be just right,'' recalled Sgt. Joe Narcisse,who went to police academy with Accardo and workedwith him in the public affairs office.

Uniform crisply pressed, office in order, everythingjust right on his desk. That was Accardo.

``I'm the jokester in the office. I'd move stuff onhis desk and he didn't like that,'' said Capt. MarlonDefillo, Accardo's boss. ``He was ready to call thecrime lab to find out who messed with his desk.''

Maybe, Defillo reckoned, he killed himself because helost hope that order would ever be restored in thecity.

A public information officer, the captain said, turnsthe senseless - murder, rape, mayhem - into somethingorderly for the public. ``It's like dominoes scatteredacross a table and putting them in order.''
But in New Orleans for the past week, the chaos seemedendless.

Like the rest of the department, Accardo worked long,difficult days - sometimes 20 hours. He waded throughthe mass of flesh and stench in the LouisianaSuperdome. He saw the dead in the streets.

Defillo remembered how bad Accardo felt when he wasunable to help women stranded on the interstate andpleading for water and food. One woman said her babyhad not had water in three days.

He even wanted to stop and help the animals lost amidthe ruin of New Orleans, Defillo said.

Unable to stop the madness and hurt, Accardo sank intodepression.

Narcisse remembered being on the telephone with him,complaining about the flooding when his old academybuddy cut him off midsentence: ``Joe. Joe. I can'ttalk to you right now.'' He couldn't handle itanymore, Narcisse said.

``It was like you were having an awful conversationwith someone who died in your family,'' he said.
Accardo - who also lost his home in the flood waters -looked like a zombie, like someone who hadn't slept inyear, Defillo said. But so did so many on the1,600-member force.

Officials said Monday that between 400 to 500 officerswere unaccounted for, many tending to their homes orlooking for their families, and some dropping out. Tolessen the stress, officers were being cycled off dutyand given five-day vacations in Las Vegas and Atlanta,where they also would receive counseling.
Said Mayor Ray Nagin: ``I've got some firefighters andpolice officers that have been pretty muchtraumatized.''

Police Superintendent Eddie Compass didn't know howmany had abandoned their jobs outright, but deniedthat it was a large number.

``No police department in the history of the world wasasked to do what we (were) asked,'' he said.
But Defillo said he never thought Accardo would killhimself.

``We kept telling him, 'There's going to be a brighterday; suck it up,''' Defillo said. ``He couldn't shakeit.''

According to the obituary in the Advocate of BatonRouge, Accardo left a wife, Anne; his mother,Catherine; a brother; a sister; and eight nieces andnephews.

15) A recent eyewitness report, just in today. The part I don't like is at the end, where the developer Roger Ogden is already planning the rebuilding. I don't want developer rebuilding the city, at least not outside of downtown and maybe New Orleans East:

Wednesday, Sept. 7: Today was a very sad, solemn day, nothing dramatic, just a boat ride from the 10-610 ramp down into Orleans at the 17th Street canal.

The first neighborhood I checked was the one in between the interstate and Veteran's, bordered by the canal and West End, the home of Mack and Ann Barham. I made the driver turn away when I saw the water was within a foot of the first floor eaves. Many trees down in that neighborhood. I know that house, and I couldn't bear to get close to it.

We motored down West End to Robert E. Lee, across the shopping center's raised parking lot, where we could see the tops and windows of cars, but not the door handles. Waterline at around 4 feet on the shopping center's 6'8 doors. We motored over to Canal Blvd., then down under the 610 bridge, but were stopped by the railroad tracks which are about 6-8 inches out of water. The only way over the tracks is to get out and carry your boat over. So you can't take a boat to St. Bernard and the Gulf without taking it out of water. Ours was too heavy.

The "whop, whop, whop" of helicopters was constant. It sounded like a Vietnam movie. Constantly moving overhead, in grid patterns, carrying water bags to fires. There, suddenly, appeared two mallards. It was then I realized there were no birds singing.

We motored along the railroad tracks to the flood wall, then cut back on Harrison, I think. The library books were floating in a little line out the door.

Never saw a house with less than four feet of water in it.

We went over the chain link fence that separates the mausoleum from the interstate and into the cemetery. The marble front of one of the "little churches" was broken open, the faded wooded coffin's lid showing about the water line. It struck me that even the previously dead are affected, that they couldn't rest in peace.

Though the search and rescue teams were combing the area, they weren't finding anyone. Three refrigerated trucks stand waiting for the water to be pumped out.

Water looked to be down, maybe an inch or two.

The Jeff Parish residents are staying on the Airline Highway and off the interstate. But the Baton Rouge roads are bumper-to-bumper, almost all the way to Gonzales. Cell phone service was almost non-existent.
I realized that almost all that area will likely have to be bulldozed.

Bright spot: I'm told that Clancy and Margot Dubois house in Lake Vista has stayed dry. It is, however, on the highest point of land. It was built by Andrew Jackson Higgins to withstand anything, and I guess it has.
We pulled out, drove down Bonabell to Metairie Road. While there were some streets with pools of water, most of the houses on Metairie Ridge looked dry.

We were stopped at the Orleans line by State Police, who apparently hadn't gotten the message that the media can go into Orleans. So we couldn't drive down Metairie Road, where I wanted to put in to go looking. Ron Blitch has offered his boat, and we'll try going over the Crescent City bridge with it later this week.

Bright spots: spotted a flock of pure white herons in the swamp just before coming down the I-10 bridge down into Jefferson. They looked to be resting and preening, and different ages, a family group moving back in to their beloved area. Somehow that cheered my very low spirits.

Also, Katrina washed the roadbed out from under the Illinois Central railroad tracks in several spots just south of the I-10. On my first trip on Friday, there was one of those tiny RR service vehicles, just at the "hump" of the Interstate a mile or two from LaPlace. On Saturday, there were a couple of dozen workers, a crane or two and a bulldozer or two. On Sunday, there were even more workers, further towards New Orleans. Today, there was a trainload full of rock, bulldozers and many, many workers, cranes, etc. I am amazed at how rapidly they are rebuilding this major transportation link.

Developer Roger Ogden's relocated his offices to Montana and is already beginning planning the rebuilding.

16) Media perception of disaster may have exaggerated some of the events that are now passing into legend:

17) More on the media rumor mill:,3604,1563470,00.html

Murder and rape - fact or fiction?
Gary Younge in Baton Rouge
Tuesday September 6, 2005
The Guardian

There were two babies who had their throats slit. Theseven-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in theSuperdome. And the corpses laid out amid the excrementin the convention centre.
In a week filled with dreadful scenes of desperationand anger from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrinasome stories stood out.

But as time goes on many remain unsubstantiated andmay yet prove to be apocryphal....

18) You can just imagine how popular these pledges are at home in these various countries. Good for 'em. Charity always makes the giver feel better about themisfortunes of others. Hell, it's worked forAmericans for generations.,1280,-5259127,00.html

Asian Countries Offer U.S. Hurricane Aid
Tuesday September 6, 2005 2:31 PM
Associated Press Writer

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Some of the world's poorestnations - Bangladesh, Afghanistan and tsunami-hitThailand - have offered the United States aid andexpertise to deal with the aftermath of HurricaneKatrina.

While some of these aid pledges were small comparedwith the millions of dollars and heavy machinerypromised by Europe, they come from nations with farless to give and are symbolic recognition of the roleU.S. aid has played in their development.

Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest countries,where millions of people live on a monsoon- andflood-prone delta, pledged $1 million to Katrina'svictims and offered to send specialist rescuers toinundated areas, the Foreign Ministry said.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia said the assistance fromBangladesh - a major recipient of U.S.
economicdevelopment aid - was ``a token of goodwill andsympathy,'' spokesman Zahirul Haque said late Monday.

Thailand Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkon saidhis Southeast Asian country would send 60 doctors andnurses and a shipment of rice to the United States.

The assistance is a ``gesture from the heart,''Kantathi said, adding that Thailand remembers the helpit received from the United States after last year'stsunami that left 228,000 dead or missing across 11Indian Ocean countries. Thailand's death toll was morethan 8,000.

Impoverished Afghanistan, which is still struggling torecover from two decades of war that ended whenU.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban regime in 2001, haspledged $100,000 for Katrina victims, the governmentannounced.

Neighboring Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in theinternational fight against terrorism, has offereddoctors and paramedics, and Washington ``expressedtheir appreciation for the offer,'' Foreign Ministryspokesman Mohammed Naeem Khan said.

Some 2,700 Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans were inthe regions hit by Katrina, and the Pakistani Embassyin Washington is working with U.S. authorities toprovide them with help, Khan said.

In Latin America, Honduras has offered to send 135flooding and sanitation experts, and Peru has offeredto send a medical team of up to 100 members.

A Mexican ship loaded with supplies set sail Mondayfrom the Gulf Coast port of Tampico, and the countryhas set up consular offices in trailers around thedisaster zone to help some of the estimated 140,000Mexicans who live in the region - including 10,000 inNew Orleans.

Even leftist governments often at odds with Washingtonhave offered to chip in. Cuba has offered to send1,100 doctors and Venezuela offered 1 million barrelsof gasoline, $5 million in cash and more than 50 tonsof canned food and water.

More traditional, wealthier Asia-Pacific allies alsohave pledged relief help.

On Tuesday, New Zealand promised $1.4 million in aidand offered to send urban search and rescuespecialists and a victim identification team tohurricane-hit states.

Singapore said it sent a fourth military helicopterbased in Texas to hard-hit Louisiana, and 45 airmenwere participating.

Since the first three CH-47 Chinook helicoptersarrived last week, Singaporeans have flown dozens ofmissions, evacuating several hundred people andtransporting thousands of tons of equipment andhumanitarian supplies, the Defense Ministry said.

19) Bush to New Orleans: "Leave blame game for later."New Orleans to Bush: "You ain't gettin off that easy,cher!",1280,-5259124,00.html

White House: Leave Blame Game for Later
Tuesday September 6, 2005 2:31 PM
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Criticized for its sluggish responseto Hurricane Katrina, the White House said Tuesdaythat ``we're not going to engage in the blame game''but instead would keep its focus on rescue andrecovery efforts across the heavily battered GulfCoast.

``There are ongoing problems that need to beaddressed,'' said Scott McClellan, the spokesman forPresident Bush. ``We've got to keep our energiesfocused on the task at hand.'' He said there would betime later for a thorough analysis of the government'sresponse.

Bush was devoting the day to the recovery effort,meeting with his Cabinet, the congressionalleadership, representatives of charitableorganizations and with Education Secretary MargaretSpellings to talk about assistance for displacedstudents and closed schools. McClellan said thepresident also was increasing what he described as asizeable personal contribution to the Red Cross andalso was sending money to the Salvatation Army.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., had toldreporters Monday that the Homeland Security Committeewould convene hearings as Congress returns this weekto examine the ``weaknesses and strengths'' of thefederal response and to ``apply the lessons learned.''

20) Hmm. Looks to me like a bunch of Feds are going to spend a lot of money on themselves (any idea how much it costs to have all that military in New Orleans? About as much as they're going to vote for Gulf assistance, that's how much.) and blame it all on the locals:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) today made the following statement announcing the formation of a Hurricane Katrina Joint Review Committee:
"Congress is actively responding to the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina. We're committed to the residents of the Gulf Coast. And we're doing everything we can to help them get on their feet. Last week, we passed $10.5 billion in aid. We're committed to passing another $52 billion aid package this week.

"In addition, Congress will take up several bills to assist with the relief and rebuilding efforts, including one that removes some of the normal restrictions and red tape so that those in need can get welfare and other aid quickly.

"We also have bills to get our federal court system back up and moving and ensure that students forced to withdraw from college because of the hurricane aren't forced to repay their student aid, grants and scholarships.

"We're also taking up a bill that gives FEMA the authority to borrow more money if necessary for the national flood insurance program. And looking at another measure that allows FEMA to remove debris from private lands.
"All of these bills have one goal: to get help to the people of the Gulf Coast and get it to them now. It's a massive effort - and it's going to take continued effort from not just the federal government, but state and local authorities too.

"Let us be clear: we should not diminish the fact that there were acts of heroism by individuals and victories by our first responders who risked their lives. But we all agree that in many areas, the initial relief response to Hurricane Katrina was unacceptable at the local, state and federal level.

"That's why today, the House and Senate are forming a bipartisan committee made up of senior members. This joint committee will be tasked with reviewing, at all levels of government, the immediate preparation and recovery from Hurricane Katrina. The committee is to report its findings to the Congress no later than February 15th, 2006.

"Americans deserve answers. We must do all we can to learn from this tragedy, improve the system and protect all of our citizens."

The Joint Committee will be charged with investigating the two most basic aspects of readiness and response to Hurricane Katrina:

1. The plans that were in place at the local, state and federal levels of government to respond to the hurricane; and

2. How the local, state and federal governments actually responded to the crisis.

The Joint Committee will be asked to look at all of the planning and preparation for Hurricane Katrina, including the development of contingency plans, the pre-positioning of supplies, and other logistical issues inherent in the response to this catastrophe.

21) Look at what was lost in the flooding, the New Orleans Notarial Archives. People have been saying for years that this collection shouldn't have been kept in the basement, but we all just kept putting off moving it. Interestingly, it's yet another parallel between New Orleans in 2005 and Baghdad in 2003 -- Baghdad lost at least two collections to basement flooding that year:,++new++orleans++notarial++archives,,,,altavista

Here's some advice on preserving waterlogged archival collections in Iraq that New Orleans can use. Perhaps they could start with the point that "you shouldn't put priceless archival collections in swamp basements:

Library Preservation and Conservation Tutorial:
Iraqand the Middle East
Cornell University Library, Department of Preservationand Collection Maintenance developed this tutorialthat has recently served to train Iraqi librarianswith support from the National Endowment for theHumanities.

The tutorial is available online :

22) Today I heard a reporter refer to New Orleanians in the DC Armoury as "survivors." That's a new one, based on previous examples of Holocaust survivors, cancer survivors, abortion survivors, etc. I guess I'm going to have to start getting used to referring to Palestinian "survivors," Somali "survivors," and Iraqi "survivors." They're all equally valid: 'Refugee': A Word of Trouble
By Robert E. Pierre and Paul FarhiWashington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 7, 2005; C01

Tyrone McKnight sleeps in a shelter. His meals come from the kindness of strangers. It's safe to call him homeless, because his house is under water.

What he doesn't want you to call him, or the thousands of other New Orleans residents plucked from floodwater, is this word: refugees.

"The image I have in my mind is people in a Third World country, the babies in Africa that have all the flies and are starving to death," he says, while sitting outside Baton Rouge's convention center, where 5,000 displaced residents are being housed. "That's not me. I'm a law-abiding citizen who's working every day and paying taxes."

Which label to use when describing evacuees might seem trivial when thousands may be dead, thousands are missing, and a major city and its environs have been ravaged.

But at shelters in Louisiana and Texas, workers and volunteers have heard loud and clear from those living there that the government, the media and everyone else should call them something other than refugees.
"We ain't refugees. I'm a citizen," insists Annette Ellis, also sheltered at the convention center with her two children.

Reps. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), both members of the Congressional Black Caucus, raised the issue last week at a news conference called to complain about the slow response to Hurricane Katrina. " 'Refugee' calls up to mind people that come from different lands and have to be taken care of," Watson said. "These are American citizens."

Added Cummings: "They are not refugees. I hate that word."

President Bush got an earful Monday while visiting 800 people staying at the Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, a few miles north of the Baton Rouge airport. He agreed to urge use of other terms, such as displaced citizens.

The president made good on his word yesterday during remarks at the White House: "You know, there's a debate here about refugees. Let me tell you my attitude . . . The people we're talking about are not refugees. They are Americans, and they need the help and love and compassion of our fellow citizens."

So why is the term such a dirty word to some? "It makes us feel like we're less than everyone else," says Paulette Jolla, a New Orleans resident at the Bethany shelter who spoke to Bush.

The debate pains Lavinia Limon, president and chief executive of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. The millions of refugees who have resettled here from countries including Cuba, Cambodia, Somalia, Kosovo and Ethiopia are courageous and daring people who stood for something, she says. They settle in communities, set up businesses and become citizens of the United States.

"Being a refugee should not be a pejorative term," Limon says. Still, she says, the people displaced by Katrina can rightly protest the label. "Legally, refugees are people suffering from persecution based on race, ethnicity and religion under U.S. and international law," she says. "These are displaced Americans. They are not people without a country."

Many major news outlets have stopped sing "refugees," and now use "evacuees" or "victims." News managers say "refugees" is both inaccurate and potentially insensitive. "They're not refugees," says Mark Effron, vice president of news and daytime programming at MSNBC. "Given what we're dealing with, there was a sense in the word 'refugee' that it somehow made these United States citizens, people who live in Louisiana and Mississippi, into aliens or foreigners or something less than they are."

The Washington Post stopped using the term over the weekend, unless it is in a direct quotation, says Phil Bennett, the managing editor. "We're constantly examining all sorts of labels that may or may not be accurate, like 'terrorist' or 'extremist.' This seemed to be an inaccurate label that did not fit the definition. There was also some discussion that this could be used in a pejorative sense, and we're sensitive to those concerns."
The term has been the subject of much discussion on the Internet among members of the American Copy Editors Society, a professional group of media wordsmiths. Brian Throckmorton, copy desk chief at the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, says his paper has stopped using the word in headlines and display type "to avoid provoking those who object to it, but our policy is that it is not a tarnished word and we're allowing it in body copy."

He added, "I do not agree with those who see it as an insult. In fact, I think they are insulting the world's asylum seekers by implying that it's shameful to be lumped under the word 'refugee' with people whose refuge is from other people instead of from nature. Sure, many of the world's refugees are poor and come from Third World conditions, but . . . there's no shame in being poor and Third World anyway."

Talk to people long enough and it's clear that the refugee issue is mixed up with issues of race and class, as well as perceptions about New Orleans as an unruly place to live.

Some public officials and residents believe that somehow -- despite the outpouring of generosity -- there is an undercurrent of negativity.

New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas chatted for hours last week with 10 busloads of residents who he says were turned away from three small Louisiana towns before finally finding a place to shower and sleep in Baton Rouge.

Though he doesn't know for sure, he thinks "they were afraid of the reputations of the black people from New Orleans and the crime they heard about and lawlessness they heard about on television. But they are starting to see that there are a few jerks, but that most people are good, hardworking people."

McKnight says he felt an unwelcome vibe from some people in Baton Rouge. "A lot of people come to New Orleans and we welcome them with open arms," he says. "Now we need them and some of them don't want us here. They are afraid of the negative things they have heard about New Orleans."

McKnight is not angry. He doesn't plan to stay in the shelter long. People, for the most part, are treating him nice and his new neighbors are creating their own normalcy. Children play outside. Mothers sit on steps braiding wet hair just across from showering tents that have been set up outside. Everyone is adjusting.
Residents of Baton Rouge, "they're overwhelmed," McKnight says. Shelves are low on food. Traffic is bad. Schools risk overcrowding. "I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt."

As long as they don't call him a refugee. "We're everyday working people that own our own homes," he says. "We didn't ask for this."

23) This from a friend on the list:

"I'm liking Aaron Broussard more and Jesse Jackson less... Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, a Democrat, said he wants wholesale changes.

"Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot," Broussard said on CBS Tuesday.

On a separate issue, President Bush said he agreed with the Rev. Jesse Jackson that those displaced by the hurricane should not be called refugees. "The people we're talking about are not refugees," Bush said Tuesday to a group of representatives for community and faith-based organizations. "They are Americans, and they need the help and love and compassion of our fellow citizens.""

24) Anne Rice on New Orleans:

September 4, 2005
Do You Know What It Means to Lose New Orleans?
By ANNE RICELa Jolla, Calif.
WHAT do people really know about New Orleans?

Do they take away with them an awareness that it has always been not only a great white metropolis but also a great black city, a city where African-Americans have come together again and again to form the strongest African-American culture in the land?

The first literary magazine ever published in Louisiana was the work of black men, French-speaking poets and writers who brought together their work in three issues of a little book called L'Album Littéraire. That was in the 1840's, and by that time the city had a prosperous class of free black artisans, sculptors, businessmen, property owners, skilled laborers in all fields. Thousands of slaves lived on their own in the city, too, making a living at various jobs, and sending home a few dollars to their owners in the country at the end of the month.
This is not to diminish the horror of the slave market in the middle of the famous St. Louis Hotel, or the injustice of the slave labor on plantations from one end of the state to the other. It is merely to say that it was never all "have or have not" in this strange and beautiful city.

Later in the 19th century, as the Irish immigrants poured in by the thousands, filling the holds of ships that had emptied their cargoes of cotton in Liverpool, and as the German and Italian immigrants soon followed, a vital and complex culture emerged. Huge churches went up to serve the great faith of the city's European-born Catholics; convents and schools and orphanages were built for the newly arrived and the struggling; the city expanded in all directions with new neighborhoods of large, graceful houses, or areas of more humble cottages, even the smallest of which, with their floor-length shutters and deep-pitched roofs, possessed an undeniable Caribbean charm.

Through this all, black culture never declined in Louisiana. In fact, New Orleans became home to blacks in a way, perhaps, that few other American cities have ever been. Dillard University and Xavier University became two of the most outstanding black colleges in America; and once the battles of desegregation had been won, black New Orleanians entered all levels of life, building a visible middle class that is absent in far too many Western and Northern American cities to this day.

The influence of blacks on the music of the city and the nation is too immense and too well known to be described. It was black musicians coming down to New Orleans for work who nicknamed the city "the Big Easy" because it was a place where they could always find a job. But it's not fair to the nature of New Orleans to think of jazz and the blues as the poor man's music, or the music of the oppressed.

Something else was going on in New Orleans. The living was good there. The clock ticked more slowly; people laughed more easily; people kissed; people loved; there was joy.

Which is why so many New Orleanians, black and white, never went north. They didn't want to leave a place where they felt at home in neighborhoods that dated back centuries; they didn't want to leave families whose rounds of weddings, births and funerals had become the fabric of their lives. They didn't want to leave a city where tolerance had always been able to outweigh prejudice, where patience had always been able to outweigh rage. They didn't want to leave a place that was theirs.

And so New Orleans prospered, slowly, unevenly, but surely - home to Protestants and Catholics, including the Irish parading through the old neighborhood on St. Patrick's Day as they hand out cabbages and potatoes and onions to the eager crowds; including the Italians, with their lavish St. Joseph's altars spread out with cakes and cookies in homes and restaurants and churches every March; including the uptown traditionalists who seek to preserve the peace and beauty of the Garden District; including the Germans with their clubs and traditions; including the black population playing an ever increasing role in the city's civic affairs.

Now nature has done what the Civil War couldn't do. Nature has done what the labor riots of the 1920's couldn't do. Nature had done what "modern life" with its relentless pursuit of efficiency couldn't do. It has done what racism couldn't do, and what segregation couldn't do either. Nature has laid the city waste - with a scope that brings to mind the end of Pompeii.
I share this history for a reason - and to answer questions that have arisen these last few days. Almost as soon as the cameras began panning over the rooftops, and the helicopters began chopping free those trapped in their attics, a chorus of voices rose. "Why didn't they leave?" people asked both on and off camera. "Why did they stay there when they knew a storm was coming?" One reporter even asked me, "Why do people live in such a place?"
Then as conditions became unbearable, the looters took to the streets. Windows were smashed, jewelry snatched, stores broken open, water and food and televisions carried out by fierce and uninhibited crowds.
Now the voices grew even louder. How could these thieves loot and pillage in a time of such crisis? How could people shoot one another? Because the faces of those drowning and the faces of those looting were largely black faces, race came into the picture. What kind of people are these, the people of New Orleans, who stay in a city about to be flooded, and then turn on one another?

Well, here's an answer. Thousands didn't leave New Orleans because they couldn't leave. They didn't have the money. They didn't have the vehicles. They didn't have any place to go. They are the poor, black and white, who dwell in any city in great numbers; and they did what they felt they could do - they huddled together in the strongest houses they could find. There was no way to up and leave and check into the nearest Ramada Inn.

What's more, thousands more who could have left stayed behind to help others. They went out in the helicopters and pulled the survivors off rooftops; they went through the flooded streets in their boats trying to gather those they could find. Meanwhile, city officials tried desperately to alleviate the worsening conditions in the Superdome, while makeshift shelters and hotels and hospitals struggled.

And where was everyone else during all this? Oh, help is coming, New Orleans was told. We are a rich country. Congress is acting. Someone will come to stop the looting and care for the refugees.

And it's true: eventually, help did come. But how many times did Gov. Kathleen Blanco have to say that the situation was desperate? How many times did Mayor Ray Nagin have to call for aid? Why did America ask a city cherished by millions and excoriated by some, but ignored by no one, to fight for its own life for so long? That's my question.

I know that New Orleans will win its fight in the end. I was born in the city and lived there for many years. It shaped who and what I am. Never have I experienced a place where people knew more about love, about family, about loyalty and about getting along than the people of New Orleans. It is perhaps their very gentleness that gives them their endurance.

They will rebuild as they have after storms of the past; and they will stay in New Orleans because it is where they have always lived, where their mothers and their fathers lived, where their churches were built by their ancestors, where their family graves carry names that go back 200 years. They will stay in New Orleans where they can enjoy a sweetness of family life that other communities lost long ago.

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.

Well, we are a lot more than all that. And though we may seem the most exotic, the most atmospheric and, at times, the most downtrodden part of this land, we are still part of it. We are Americans. We are you.

Anne Rice is the author of the forthcoming novel "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt."

25) Chris Rose article:

Chris Rose: Louisiana ambassadors say hello

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 So
uth 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

26) Saints announcement to season-ti
cket holders. Let's hope he means it, because I want to see them play in Tiger Stadium ASAP:
September 6, 2005
The entire New Orleans Saints organization would like to extend its prayers and best wishes to all of our fans throughout Louisiana and the Gulf South region. We are currently working with the NFL and expect to be in a position shortly to announce the sites for our remaining 2005 home schedule. I have expressed my desire to the NFL to play games in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the extent circumstances allow.
Saints ticket holders unable to attend home games, wherever played, should also be assured that they will be permitted to request refunds. Specifics of the refund policy will be publicized in the upcoming days.
The New Orleans Saints look forward to the start of the NFL regular season this Sunday and to having the Club be a source of pride and joy in these difficult days. As we move forward together, the Saints look forward to serving as a leader in the rebuilding and revitalization of our great community. Towards this effort, the Saints have established the "New Orleans Saints Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund". Further information for those individuals/companies interested in contributing will be announced shortly.

27) Jesuit NOLA moves to Jesuit Strake in Houston -- that should make for one amazing soccer team:

Many Blue Jays alight in Houston
Tuesday, 3:45 p.m.
By Christine Lacoste BordelonStaff writer
HOUSTON -- “Welcome to Jesuit. Nice to see you,” N.J.Santarcangelo repeated over and over this morning as300 families from Jesuit High School in New Orleansentered the Parsley Center Auditorium on Strake Jesuitcampus in Houston.
The Jesuit tradition of “Men for Others” was alive atStrake Jesuit as the school registered more than 300 Jesuit students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. More are expected as word continues to spread of the generosity of the high school.
“It’s a Jesuit school, we take care of our brother,”said the Rev. Daniel K. Lahart, Strake Jesuit president, who welcomed parents and students alike byassuring them that the school would try its best tomake the experience a powerful one.
Strake Jesuit is waiving tuition through December forJesuit New Orleans students and coordinating uniforms, housing (more than 120 Strake families volunteered as host families for students and their families) and carpooling. Similar arrangements are being made at a number of the 42 Jesuit high schools nationwide.
“All Jesuit schools in the United States are acceptingas many students as they can during the duration,” said the Rev. Anthony McGinn, president of Jesuit New Orleans.
To accommodate the huge number of students who endedup in Houston, the nearest Jesuit school to New Orleans, Lahart and McGinn met a few days ago and worked out a logistical plan to accommodate both the New Orleans and Houston campuses. Strake Jesuit has a current enrollment of 869 students in ninth through 12th grades.
“We are going to have to be creative,” Lahart said.“We are planning on doing a second session.”
To ease the transition for the New Orleans students onthe Houston campus, 40 percent of Strake Jesuit students will buddy with new students in the same grade.
“I think it’s terrific,” said parent Brian LeBon ofMetairie about Strake accepting Jesuit New Orleansstudents. LeBon flew his family from St. Louis, Mo.,where he left one son at St. Louis University toHouston to register his 10th grader, Conner, at StrakeJesuit. “Everybody in Texas has opened their hearts…It(Strake Jesuit) gives us a place of security, afeeling like we are wanted... Louisiana people havegreat resolve, and we will be up and running in notime.”
McGinn said the Jesuit New Orleans’ Bank Street campushad water chest-high as well as wind damage. He’s hoping that school will resume in New Orleans by Jan. 1. Classes will begin for the New Orleans students at Strake Jesuit on Sept. 13.

28) Here's a message sent me from a reader of this list:

"...We get such disjointed snapshots from the media that it's hard to draw real conclusions. Nevertheless, I fully share your outrage and disgust at how the federal government has been handling hurricane relief. The scariest part is the sad realization that, when worse comes to worst, we all have to fend for ourselves. As someone who lives in DC and has family in LA, it makes me wonder who is going to help us in the event of either a manmade or natural disaster.

In reality, most of us are hanging on by a thread that is only slightly thicker for some. How long can middle class Americans hold out after such a disaster when their wealth is tied to mortaged property and their incomes depend on a job that may not have survived? I fear that there is another wave of desperation coming that may not be as intense or dramatic as what happened at the Superdome but equally devastating as the people who were able to evacuate start running out of resources and face the cost of having escaped but not having anything to return to. That would be the plight of my family and friends in DC and LA.
Of course, none of this is to mitigate our government's and our society's massive failure in addressing persistent poverty in the US, which we all thought we knew about but had not ever been confronted with in such a stark way. The Administration and Congress have blithely ignored the systemic problems of our national infrastructure and fraying network of social programs and cynically focused on rank politics and ideology. I hope they are held accountable and can be honest and contrite about their failings.
At the same time, we Americans share some responsibility, too. We're itching to move away from decaying urban centers and into far flung suburban communities of tract houses, cushioning ourselves from the reality of poverty with technology and big kitchens and readily believing that our social ills are the result of gay marriage and the lack of prayer in public schools. I hope we are able to understand that the exhortation to love one's neighbor does not allow us to choose who is more or less deserving and that we are judged as a society by our willingness to embrace the most vulnerable and the least loved.
Clearly, Hurricane Katrina is a tragedy of a previously unimaginable scale, but it will be even worse if we don't learn from it and chart a new course for our country. I thought we had hit rock bottom with the perverse escapade in Iraq, and I'm disheartened to know that we can sink even lower..."

29) Republican Convention 2008 in NO Rumor. As far as I can see it, that might get the elephants 20% of the Louisiana vote -- it might also get them a lot of spittle in their hurricanes, gumbo, and muffalattas:
From today's Wonkette
Also: Do NOT Ask Zell Miller to Speak
Wow. Give the National Review credit: For cultural traditionalists, they aren't about to let taste stand in the way of political expedience. A week after the worst natural disaster in the nation's history, and what do you know? It's convention planning time!
No single step would go further to dramatize the GOP's commitment to rebuilding New Orleans than announcing now that the party's 2008 convention will be held in the recovering city. Such a move would signal the party's confidence in the Big Easy's renewal, and put it at the forefront of what should be similar commitments from private actors to do their part to help New Orleans come back.Actually, we can think of lots of single steps that would go further to dramatize the GOP's commitment to rebuilding New Orleans--like for instance, following through on it.
But we don't mean to cavil. Good luck with that guys. Just a couple of pointers: You probably shouldn't be calling it "the Big Easy"--now, especially. And probably not then, either. And while we know that Mary Landrieu probably punches like a girl, we suspect that she'll have a whole lot of company. Finally, if you use the Convention Center, try to get the advance logistics straight on that, OK? -- HOLLY MARTINS
New Orleans 2008 [National Review]

29) Some angry humor:, September 06, 2005Bush To Lead Investigation of Bush
President Bush this morning promised to lead an investigation of himself, “…because it is important.”
Bush hopes to find out why Bush flew quickly to San Diego in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and why, while there, Bush attempted to play the guitar.
Bush also hopes to find out why Bush cut funds to levee rehabilitation in Louisiana.
Further Bush hopes to discover the reason Bush appointed a horse association boss to run FEMA and why Bush cut funds to the organization as well.
Bush will investigate the reasons for Bush’s high praise of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s and Fema’s response to the catastrophe on the Gulf Coast while thousands were left to fend for themselves for days on end.
Bush wants to know what Bush was doing at a retirment community on August 29 and just why Bush was holding a birthday cake for John McCaine that day, as well.
Bush wants to figure out just why Bush never realized a Category 4 storm could flood New Oreleans when everyone else in the country knew.
Bush will look into the reasons Bush has refused to take seriously the loss of marsh lands along the Louisiana Coast and why Bush thinks global warming is a sham.
Bush also wants to know how all those national guardsmen and women got to Iraq and what they are up to there.
Bush wants to know why Bush supports Judge Michael Chernoff and exactly why Bush appointed him head of Homeland Security to begin with.
Bush also will investiage why Bush never knew there were poor people around anyway.
Bush also intends to find out once and for all just what Bush is always smiling about.
Finally, Bush plans to discover just why the front porch of Sen. Trent Lott’s home was allowed to be destroyed.
In other words the Bush committee will get to the bottom of Bush’s bottom.

30) Maureen Dowd Op-Ed:
United States of ShameBy MAUREEN DOWD
Published: September 3, 2005
Stuff happens.
And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens.
America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America.
W. drove his budget-cutting Chevy to the levee, and it wasn't dry. Bye, bye, American lives. "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees," he told Diane Sawyer.
Shirt-sleeves rolled up, W. finally landed in Hell yesterday and chuckled about his wild boozing days in "the great city" of N'Awlins. He was clearly moved. "You know, I'm going to fly out of here in a minute," he said on the runway at the New Orleans International Airport, "but I want you to know that I'm not going to forget what I've seen." Out of the cameras' range, and avoided by W., was a convoy of thousands of sick and dying people, some sprawled on the floor or dumped on baggage carousels at a makeshift M*A*S*H unit inside the terminal.
Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.
Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs.
Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.
Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.
In June 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, fretted to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."
Not only was the money depleted by the Bush folly in Iraq; 30 percent of the National Guard and about half its equipment are in Iraq.
Ron Fournier of The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. But President Bush and Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill with 6,000 pet projects, including a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.
Just last year, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials practiced how they would respond to a fake hurricane that caused floods and stranded New Orleans residents. Imagine the feeble FEMA's response to Katrina if they had not prepared.
Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.
Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
It would be one thing if President Bush and his inner circle - Dick Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming; Condi Rice was shoe shopping at Ferragamo's on Fifth Avenue and attended "Spamalot" before bloggers chased her back to Washington; and Andy Card was off in Maine - lacked empathy but could get the job done. But it is a chilling lack of empathy combined with a stunning lack of efficiency that could make this administration implode.
When the president and vice president rashly shook off our allies and our respect for international law to pursue a war built on lies, when they sanctioned torture, they shook the faith of the world in American ideals.
When they were deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the victims in New Orleans - most of them poor and black, like those stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first - they shook the faith of all Americans in American ideals. And made us ashamed.
Who are we if we can't take care of our own?

31) Mardi Gras 2006 (Hastert, Bushes, Santorum not invited):,1280,-5258666,00.html
Don't Count Mardi Gras Out in New Orleans
Tuesday September 6, 2005 8:01 AM
AP Photo LAEG101 By TIM DAHLBERG Associated Press Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Probably the last thing a cityinundated with water and filled with human miseryneeds is a parade, much less a Mardi Gras.
But just a week after Hurricane Katrina unleashed itsdevastation, there already are signs that New Orleansis remaining loyal to its partying ways.
Over the weekend, about two dozen people in beads,hula skirts and wigs danced down Bourbon Street in asymbolic show that life must go on. A few months fromnow, there's a good chance there might even be somekind of scaled-back Mardi Gras.
``I think now more than ever we need a reason tocelebrate. It's really at our core,'' said ArthurHardy, publisher of the Mardi Gras Guide. ``I can'timagine the city rolling over and playing dead andsaying, `I surrender.'''
With thousands believed dead and authorities stillunable to collect bodies floating in canals and hiddenin attics, even the talk of a Mardi Gras celebrationmight seem disrespectful.
But New Orleans has always loved a good time, and whenthe two-week, pre-Lent celebration that ends with FatTuesday comes around next February, floats could beparading down streets now covered in water.
``Guess what? It's New Orleans,'' French Quarterresident Maryann Davis said. ``We'll always havesomething to parade for.''
Mardi Gras is enormous even by this city's standards.In 2001, more than 1,000 floats, 500 marching bandsand 135,000 people paraded through the streets. Oneuniversity study estimates the celebration brings in$1 billion a year to New Orleans.
Hardy, who has been publishing his guide for 30 yearsand is one of the foremost experts on Mardi Gras, saidnext year's celebration is also important because it'sthe 150th anniversary of the first formal parades inthe city.
The Civil War interrupted partying for a time, and atotal of 13 Fat Tuesdays have been canceled because ofvarious conflicts. The Sept. 11 attacks delayed theparades in 2001, and the Super Bowl set them back ayear later.
``I've heard some people say we can't do it,'' Hardysaid. ``But it's a very significant anniversary and Ican't imagine it going unmarked without some kind ofparade. It's in our soul to have Mardi Gras.''
The old feelings are already beginning to stir in theFrench Quarter.
On Sunday, a small group of revelers wearingoutlandish costumes gathered for the city's annualSouthern Decadence festival, a gay event whichnormally draws thousands.
Carpenter John Lambert dressed up as a member of theVillage People and carried a sign reading ``Life GoesOn.'' He was joined in the makeshift parade by peoplewho had taken shelter in his house.
Come February, he promised, the party will be muchbigger.
``Mardi Gras is a brew, it's a gumbo. It's defined bywhat people bring to it,'' Lambert said. ``There willdefinitely be a Mardi Gras. No doubt about it.''

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