Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Katrina Encours et Toujours XXVI

My apologies for inactivity -- I'll try to get back on the horse again.

1) Preliminary body map, showing where bodies got recovered in the New Orleans area after Katrina:
http://www.nola.com/hurricane/katrina/pdf/102305/1023A14.pdf

2) This is an extensive article on the coastal restoration needs in Southeast Louisiana:
http://www.pubs.asce.org/ceonline/ceonline03/0603feat.html

AN EXTRACT:
“We’re trying to enforce human decisions on a natural process,” says Naomi. “What we’re trying to do is take a snapshot of geologic time and say, ‘This is what we want; this is where we want to live.’ The question is, Is it going to be feasible in the long term?”

Naomi says this question will not be answered with levee feasibility studies alone. It will also require a more complete understanding of the natural processes at work in and around New Orleans. For example, the wetlands of coastal Louisiana, which would act as a buffer and slow any storm during its approach to the city, are dying because the freshwater and nutrients that historically flooded into them from the Mississippi can no longer escape the river. At the same time, the sediment deposited here by the river long ago is subsiding, and no new sediment is overflowing to replenish it.

The Corps estimates that in southeastern Louisiana a football field worth of wetlands sinks into the sea every 30 minutes, leaving the residents of the area more vulnerable to hurricanes every inch of the way.



3) This blog compares investments made in flood control in the UK, Netherlands, Italy, and New Orleans. Flip the comparison around and compare our nice new US weaponry with their old Pentagon hand-me-down weaponry. Gee, where would you prefer your tax money get spent?:

http://larrison.blogspot.com/2005/10/hold-back-waters.html


4) On the Saints, and any potential move:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/oconnor/2005-10-24-keeping-score-saints_x.htm



5) WWOZ is back, broadcasting from Baton Rouge. Check them out on live stream:
http://www.wwoz.org/


6) More Halloween activities, in New Orleans:

The 6t'9 Social Aid & Pleasure Club proudly presents itsFirst Annual Halloween Parade
"THE WHORRORS OF A NATURAL DISASTER"
October 29, 20056:00 PM UNTIL 9:00 PM
KING KATRINA: CHIEF AL, NORTH SIDE SKULLS BONE GANGQUEEN KATRINA: OTTER
REQUESTED ATTIRE:KATRINA COUTURE OR HURRICANE HIGH WATER FASHION
PARADE START:THE SCHMACCHUS LOUNGEST. CLAUDE BETWEEN ST. PHILIP & URSULINES
PARADE DISBAND:MIMI'SCORNER OF FRANKLIN AND ROYAL
FEATURING STOPS IN THE SIXTH WARD, NINTH WARD & BEYOND
MUSIC: T.B.A.
AND REMEMBER:
WITHOUT THE HEALING,IT'S JUST SOLIPSISM AND MASTURBATION


7) Gretna march, Monday:

Please join us for the HIP HOP CAUCUS' MARCH ON GRETNA in Louisiana on Monday, November 7, 2005!
Come March with Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. (Hip Hop Caucus), Kim Gandy (NOW), Van Jones (Ella Baker Center for Human Rights), Ron Daniels (Center for Constitutional Rights/Institute for the Black 21st Century), Curtis Muhammad (Community Labor United), Rev. Tony Lee (Ebenezer AME Church), Cousin Jeff Johnson (BET/People for the American Way), College Students, Community Activists, led by People of New Orleans displaced by Hurricane Katrina; join the People’s Committee for Relief & Oversight, NOW, UP for Democracy, & the Hip Hop Caucus, as we March on Gretna!!!!!!

Date: Monday, November 7, 2005Time: Rally starts at 10:00 a.m.Location: Convention Center, 900 Convention Boulevard, New Orleans

March over Crescent City Connection Bridge to Gretna's Oakridge Mall

PRESS CONFERENCE for this event will be held in Washington, D.C. on November 2 with representatives of sponsoring organizations (details forthcoming)

We will march over the Crescent City Connection Bridge to Gretna's Oakridge Mall where buses were to transport evacuees to safety - a destination people from New Orleans never reached.

In the aftermath of Katrina, New Orleans authorities directed people to evacuate the city by crossing the Crescent City Connection Bridge which spans the Mississippi River linking New Orleans to the west bank city of Gretna.

However, if you were black or in the company of blacks, you were blocked from evacuating New Orleans by armed Gretna police with guard dogs. Under orders from Gretna Police Chief Arthur S. Lawson to seal off the bridge and deny safe passage to evacuees, Gretna police officers fired shots in the direction of the crowds and held others at gunpoint. It should be noted that the people of Gretna had been evacuated, the Gretna officials were concerned about the protecting the property of their suburban community.

On Monday, November 7, 2005, the Hip Hop and progressive community will cross that bridge!

We march with our fellow citizens displaced by Katrina to reclaim the right to cross that bridge to Gretna, and in crossing that bridge in the name of the rights to safety and self-determination, to racial and economic justice – we March in support of the People's control of the reconstruction process in the Gulf Coast. And we
will keep marching until we reclaim this democracy nationwide in the elections on November 7, 2006!

NEVER AGAIN WILL PROPERTY RIGHTS TRUMP PEOPLE’S RIGHTS!

WE WILL MARCH FOR FREEDOM IN NEW ORLEANS, USA! WE WILL MARCH FOR CIVIL RIGHTS ON NOVEMBER 7, 2005! AND WE WILL KEEP MARCHING, ADDING TO OUR NUMBERS, UNTIL WE TAKE BACK AMERICA ON NOVEMBER 7, 2006!

The Hip Hop Caucus and UP for Democracy will also be organizing a work brigade on Sunday, November 6, 205 to assist New Orleans families in the "recovering and retrieving" - assisting in the clean-up efforts now underway.

This march is endorsed by Black Leadership Forum, Center for Social Justice, Cities for Progress/Institute for Policy Studies, Clergy & Laity Concerned About Iraq, Code Pink, ColorofChange.org, Common Ground, Community Labor United, Ella Baker Center for Civil Rights, Global Crisis Coalition, Global Exchange, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Healthcare NOW!, Hip Hop Caucus, Independent Progressive Politics Network, League of Pissed Off Voters, National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, New Orleans Network, National Organization for Women, People’s Alliance for Community Empowerment, People’s Hurricane Relief & Reconstruction Oversight Committee People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond, Progressive Democrats of America, Project South, Rainbow Push, National Progressive Youth & Student Organization, Quality Education as a Human Right, Rebuild Green, Rebuilding Louisiana Coalition (NOLA), Rebuild Hope NOW, Saving Our Neighborhoods, Southwest Workers’ Union, TransAfrica Forum, United for Peace & Justice, United Houma Nation of Louisiana, Urban Heart.
For more information: www.upfordemocracy.org or call Charles Young at (202) 545-0113 or Diane Shamis (845) 661-3754.

This is a low-volume email list for Jordan Flaherty's emails from New Orleans. To subscribe, email jordanhurricane-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. To unsubscribe, email jordanhurricane-unsubscribe@lists.riseup.net.


8) New Orleans' priest's account of Katrina:
http://www.catholic.org/clarionherald/news.php?story=2

New Orleans priest recalls harrowing ministry after Katrina
Clarion Herald staff
BETH DONZE

BATON ROUGE, La. - Like many of his fellow New Orleans archdiocesan priests, Father Dennis Hayes decided to take his chances and stay put as Katrina teased the Louisiana coast, praying that the storm's Category 5 fury would spare or just nick the Arabi, La., streets around St. Louise de Marillac Church.
Surely Katrina would veer away at the last minute as so many hurricanes had done before, hoped Father Hayes, and even if the storm did end up causing damage, at least he would be on hand to minister to his parishioners' spiritual and material needs.

And so, ensconced on the second floor of the concrete-and steel St. Louise de Marillac School with his 13-year old dog Badooki, the Blessed Sacrament and his parish's sacramental registers, Father Hayes thought the worst was over by Monday morning Aug. 29 - until Arabi began to fill up like a huge bathtub.

"Within one hour " between about 8 and 9 a.m. " I saw the water cover all of the homes and the entire parish plant. In just that little bit of time the water rose from the ground to the wires of the light poles. That night I could hear cries and wailing of people for help," Father Hayes said.

By Tuesday morning, helicopters were flying up and down each street, pulling people to safety from rooftops and trees. Spotting an upended aluminum canoe stranded on a nearby rooftop, Father Hayes climbed out of a second-floor window to commandeer the vessel. It quickly became evident that the floodwaters wouldn't be receding anytime soon.

"After hearing the helicopters flying overhead, I decided to get rescued," he said. "I climbed out of the window and hailed down a helicopter. They spotted me and sent down a rescuer on a cable to get me."

Father Hayes had no choice but to leave behind the Blessed Sacrament and his beloved pet. The short flight from St. Louise de Marillac to Jackson Barracks revealed the extent of the inundation.

"You could see all of St. Bernard, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico " solid water," he said.

At Jackson Barracks, each evacuee was given bottled water and an MRE " Meal Ready to Eat. Able-bodied refugees were urged to make their way to the Superdome, using the Mississippi River levee as a sort of "elevated roadway" into town. Father Hayes soon realized he was walking into a war zone.

"It was like a riot," he said. "People, firemen, Wildlife and Fisheries boats and trucks, looting, one man who was exposing himself to everyone, wandering dogs " I decided to walk down St. Claude in about 2 to 3 feet of water, down Burgundy and past Sts. Peter and Paul Church, to see if Laura Wallace, a very elderly lady who was my secretary there, was at home. She had evacuated, wisely."

From Bywater, Father Hayes walked down Decatur Street, through the French Quarter, then on to Poydras Street, with plans to continue to the Superdome. Miraculously, just outside of Mother's Restaurant, he spied a working pay phone and was able to reach his cousin, Dennis Hayes, in New York.

The New York Hayes gave the Louisiana Hayes a reality check.

"My cousin told me that Gov. Blanco was saying not to go to the dome because the conditions were very bad. So I decided to try to get to Notre Dame Seminary, where I teach and have a key. I figured the upper floors would be dry and there'd be people I knew and food," Father Hayes said.

Advised by armed soldiers to find a safe harbor before the dusk curfew, Father Hayes waded as quickly as he could down Earhart Boulevard toward Carrollton Avenue. At Broad Street, chanting prisoners were being evacuated from Central Lockup.

"The water was up to my neck at this point and full of diesel oil. I jumped up on the porch of one of the tenants of the B.W. Cooper housing project," Father Hayes said. "The lady there, Kelly, got me a chair, a towel and some dry clothes. Kelly was a saint. She and her husband let me stay on their third-floor bedroom for the night " their three children had already been evacuated. They fed me some good Bunny Bread with some good chopped ham and plenty of water."

The constant chatter of people stranded on second- and third-floor porches meant that there was little sleep that night, and by Wednesday morning the water level had risen even higher, creeping up the complex's indoor stairwells.

"Everyone was saying, "Go to the Superdome,'" Father Hayes said. "Six hundred buses would be there to evacuate people." Walking in neck-high water and using a borrowed ice chest as a flotation device, Father Hayes left his apartment refuge with streams of evacuees, stopping at the Kentwood Water Plant to "loot" bottled water and trade notes with people on the packed Claiborne Avenue overpass, the area's only dry spot.
"Once I got to Claiborne I thought about trying to go the seminary again, but everyone coming from that direction said this was not possible. So I went to the dome. Two Air Force guards were very kind. They let me rest and gave me some cookies and nuts," Father Hayes said.

While he knew the Superdome wouldn't be the most comfortable of shelters, nothing prepared him for the living nightmare that would take place inside the New Orleans landmark.

"I got a real taste of what the poor of New Orleans were going through," Father Hayes said. "Urination and defecation in the bathrooms had poured out into the passage ways of the dome; the vending stands had all been decimated; there was smoke all over; people cursing; stifling heat; babies screaming; a fire during the middle of the night; two babies born; shooting at helicopters."

While eating his pre-packaged meal from Jackson Barracks atop an outdoor planter, Father Hayes managed to find a glimmer of beauty amid the ruins of his saturated, smoldering hometown.

"The stars were beautiful that night," he remembers.

At dawn, Father Hayes left the dome, concluding that "those 600 buses were not coming." Evacuees were now being advised to go to the Convention Center, a questionable option since word on the street was that conditions there were as bad as those at the Superdome.

"So I got back into that miserable water and walked to the cathedral," said Father Hayes, who recalls munching on a bag of hot-and-spicy Zapp's potato chips as he entered the French Quarter. "I knelt down in front of the cathedral and asked for New Orleans to be saved. I thought about breaking into the rectory, but I was worried that I might get arrested.

"I stopped to read a memorial plaque at the Moonwalk about the founding of New Orleans. I was really mad at Iberville and Bienville for not locating the city about 90 miles up the river. I blamed them for all this mess," he said.

Newly bolstered, Father Hayes decided to journey "full circle" " to somehow get back to St. Louise de Marillac to recover the Blessed Sacrament, his dog and help other victims of the disaster. His public ministry began almost immediately.

"A few men were around drinking beer on the St. Claude Bridge over the Industrial Canal. I was praying my rosary. They stopped me, kissed my hand with the rosary and asked for my prayers," Father Hayes said.

On the levee at Jackson Barracks, he came upon St. Bernard Sheriff Jack Stevens, who remembered the priest
from his days at Chalmette's Our Lady of Prompt Succor parish nearly two decades earlier. Sheriff Stevens invited Father Hayes to help him minister to people the authorities were still rescuing from rooftops and trees.

"I rode with (Sheriff Stevens) to the staging area on the river and walked up and down the warehouse with the two things I had with me: my rosary and my St. Benedict crucifix," Father Hayes said. "People were very appreciative. One man " Mr. Schiro, who was about 80 " had just been rescued after spending three days in the water. His wife and two sons lay dead in his house."

For the next 10 days, Father Hayes and an energetic group of volunteers ministered to Katrina's victims, including the rescuers themselves.

"The fireman were going into homes by either boat or vehicle and physically pulling people out of attics. They were also seeing dead people. By the end of the day they were wiped out " exhausted emotionally and physically," Father Hayes said.

He found his niche in the evenings, talking to rescuers after they had had a meal and a quick shower " the quiet time of their day at which they would begin to break down.

"I didn't have a Bible or any of my prayer books, so I just wrote down passages and thoughts and shared that with them," Father Hayes said. "They really appreciated having a priest " someone they could talk to privately. They needed someone to help them make sense of the disaster and to tell them that they were being heroic by bringing hope to people and saving lives," he said.

Father Hayes eventually made it back to St. Louise de Marillac to rescue the Blessed Sacrament, his pet and the parish's sacramental registers. On the two Sundays following Katrina he was able to distribute the Eucharist to firemen and emergency personnel scattered across the St. Bernard Parish area, from the Creole Queen riverboat to the Exxon Oil Refinery.

"I met so many people who showed me what real humanity and holiness are all about," he said.



9) Rally to Rebuild Louisiana!

Featuring Jesse Jackson, Governor Blanco, Congressmen Jefferson and Melancon, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and more.

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 10:00am-1:00pm Louisiana State Capitol - Baton Rouge
See www.noahcoalition.org for more info.



10) The New Orleans Bookfair:

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 10am to 6pmBarrister's Gallery 1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. New Orleans, LA
Participating publishers include Fiction Collective II, Verso, Pelican Publishing, Last Gasp, Soft Skull, AK Press, Garrett County Press, Get Lost and many more, including NOLAPS. Free. Open to the public. For more info see www.nolabookfair.com


11) The Economics of Return:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/18/AR2005101801910_pf.html

The Economics of ReturnClass, Color May Guide Repopulation of New Orleans
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 19, 2005; A01

NEW ORLEANS -- It was a Thursday, the first of September, just four days after Hurricane Katrina, and floodwater stood seven feet deep in the living room of Robert Bouchon's big brick house on Memphis Street in Lakeview, this city's largest middle-class, white neighborhood.

The Bouchon family, though, had already assembled an interim middle-class life on the outskirts of Houston, where Robert and his wife, Cathy, together with their three young children, had fled in their minivan.

They moved into a furnished two-bedroom apartment in a gated enclave in a suburb called Kingwood. They had enrolled the children in a Roman Catholic primary school similar to the one that was still underwater in Lakeview. They had also called State Farm Insurance to collect on their house and their BMW X3, a three-month-old SUV that was submerged in the driveway back home. They registered online for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and decided for the sake of family mental health not to watch news coverage of "the craziness" back in New Orleans.

"Everything was out of control, so we just kind of put on blinkers to our little Kingwood experience," Bouchon, 43, a soft-spoken structural engineer, said in a recent interview as he sat on a sofa in his Houston apartment.

When Katrina blew in and levees gave way, the high water, in many neighborhoods, was colorblind and classless. It clobbered Lakeview, a leafy and serene white area where longtime residents cannot remember serious flooding, as cruelly as the Lower Ninth Ward, a black neighborhood with a long, dismal history of high water.

But in New Orleans, where affluent whites live high and working-class blacks live low, the privileges of neighborhood quickly asserted themselves. For many, race and class predicted patterns of escape, dictating whether flight would be a nervous drive out of town or a caged week of torment and humiliation.

These days, as planners and politicians look ahead, many realize that the future of this city, which before the storm was more than two-thirds black and nearly one-third poor, swings on two simple questions:
Are residents coming home? If so, which ones?

It now appears that long-standing neighborhood differences in income and opportunity -- along with resentment over the ghastly exodus -- are shaping the stalled repopulation of this mostly empty city.

On the same day the Bouchons moved into the apartment in Houston, Ora Goines, 59, a retired hospital secretary, remained mired in chaos here, together with her daughter, her son-in-law and her two grandchildren, who are 13 and 2.

Their one-story, wood-frame house was underwater on Delery Street in the Lower Ninth Ward, and they had evacuated to one of the city's public hospitals, where Goines's daughter, Germaine Mills, 33, worked as a clerk and where employee families had been offered refuge.

But it soon turned into a prison, as storm water rose eight feet deep around University Hospital. Power, plumbing and air conditioning failed, and backup generators flooded. Most of the hospital's food reserves flooded before they could be moved to higher floors.

With toilets out, management ordered everyone -- 500 family members and staff, along with 110 patients -- to use buckets lined with infectious waste bags. They were supposed to pour in bleach to kill the smell. But on the fetid seventh floor, where Mills and her family were assigned, there was no bleach. By midweek, towering stacks of those bags made the entire hospital smell like a sewer. Staff workers smashed windows to let fresh air into the stifling building, which was later declared unsalvageable.

Four days after the storm, with military helicopters lancing across the city, staff members and their families were hungry, sweaty and stuck. Boats finally hauled them away to buses on Friday. "I wouldn't say I was scared; I was angry," Mills said. "Every day we got a different story about why the National Guard couldn't come and get us."

Her anger wilted into exhaustion during a 24-hour bus ride to a church shelter in Tyler, Tex. "Imagine sitting that long on a bus after what we had been through," she said. "Our body odors and the stench from a backed-up toilet on the bus -- it was just awful."

Will It Become Whiter?

Billions upon billions of federal dollars will be spent in coming months and years to rebuild the city's levees, to support new housing and clean up the colossal mess. There seems certain to be a massive increase in job opportunities, skilled and unskilled.

Still, anxiety is building that New Orleans will not bounce back as Chicago did after the fire or San Francisco after the quake. There is concern that it will be much smaller, whiter, richer and more homogeneous: an anodyne, theme-park version of the Big Easy dominated by highbrow restaurants and lowbrow bars of the unflooded French Quarter.

Mayor C. Ray Nagin pleaded last week for everyone to "come on home," saying there is no place else where they can find "red beans and rice and gumbo and all those things that you love."

This series will follow several displaced families -- from Memphis Street in affluent Lakeview that is 94 percent white and from Delery Street in the working-class, 98 percent black Lower Ninth Ward -- as they pick up the pieces of their lives and ponder the sanity of taking the mayor's advice.

Should they bring themselves and their children back to a below-sea-level city that, for all its sweet music and gastronomical allure, is largely a ruin, as well as a sitting duck for the next big storm?

Courtesy of Katrina, these families have much in common. They are shellshocked, scattered across the country and homesick. They are sick of insurance forms and worried about how their kids are getting by without their friends.

But there is already a compelling difference.

Memphis Street families believe that, if they want to, they will probably be able to rebuild in Lakeview and resume their lives.

Lakeview, where 66 percent of children go to private school and 49 percent of residents have a college degree, was pumped dry within three weeks of the storm.

Memphis Street smells now of bleach, which kills mold, and resounds to the thwack of crowbars and the whine of chain saws. Insurance adjusters have begun making rounds.

Robert Bouchon has already received a check for the $40,000 BMW he left parked next to his pool in his back yard when the family fled to Houston. State Farm has since hauled it away. He was the first on his block to hire
workers to gut the first floor of his house down to the studs.

On Memphis Street, many of his neighbors are also busy organizing a comeback. Water has been turned back on and Gary Quaintance, three houses away from the Bouchons, has drained unspeakable greenish-brown liquid from his pool and refilled it twice. Many front lawns on Memphis Street have been piled high with kitchen and living room ruins, awaiting garbage trucks to haul it all away.

There was, however, much that was not ruined on the second floors of the many two-story houses along Memphis Street. Cathy Hughes, a copy editor at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, used her press credentials to get home three weeks after the storm to find that her musician son's precious drum set was safe inside an upstairs bathtub, where it had been stashed before Katrina.

'Go With the Flow'

For families from Delery Street, meanwhile, a realization is growing that the odds of coming back get longer each day.

"My life is moving on," said Mills, who lives now with in-laws an hour outside New Orleans in the town of Paincourtville, in Louisiana's sugar-cane country.

There, her husband, Terrelle, has a $7.50-an-hour job at an Ace Hardware store. Her mother, Ora, has a $7-an-hour job at a Big Lots discount store. Her 13-year-old, Kortney, is in a local public school, and Mills is planning to enroll in a nursing program in nearby Baton Rouge.

"I got to go with the flow," said Mills, whose fury lingers over the hardship her family endured while waiting five days for federal, state and city officials to figure out how to get them out of a major hospital. "I can't say we won't go back, but as of right now we are not going back."

In the Lower Ninth Ward, where more a third of residents lived in poverty and 6 percent had a college degree, a hastily rebuilt levee failed in late September to hold back the storm surge of Hurricane Rita. Most of the place was again submerged.

Parts of the neighborhood, including the Goines and Mills house on Delery Street, are still flooded and residents are still barred -- for their own safety, the city says -- from coming back on their own to see their homes.

Ora Goines's car, a mold-infested 1999 Hyundai Sonata that is not insured against flood damage, has been drifting around for weeks inside the chain-link fence that encircles her side yard. Her house is still standing, but much of her block on Delery appears to have been bombed, with cars flipped atop semi-collapsed roofs, telephone poles snapped in half. Her next-door neighbor's two-story house was ripped from its foundation and floated across the street.

Before Rita engulfed the neighborhood with water for the second time in less than a month, Goines, her daughter Germaine and the rest of her family tried to go back to see their house. Police would not let them get close.

Goines concedes that her house is a goner, and so does her insurance company, which has cut her a check for $66,000. She says, too, that she is a goner, as far as New Orleans is concerned.

"I decided that I don't have any use for New Orleans," she said recently in the dining room of her son-in-law's father's house in Paincourtville. Like her daughter, she sounds angry. "I wouldn't have thought like that, but it flooded, and I don't trust New Orleans anymore."

Planners have raised the possibility of razing much of the Lower Ninth Ward and turning it into a flood-plain park. It is talk that infuriates those who have been forced to flee and are resigned to the necessity of bulldozers.

"I know they are going to have to tear my house down," said Joan Howard, 36, a housekeeper, who lived across Delery Street from Goines. "But I believe it's only right that they build me another house -- if I decide to go back. I know it's like a war zone down there, mister. Everything is destroyed. But I got the flood insurance."
Howard and her husband, Danny, 50, a truck driver, live now in the western suburbs of Houston, where they say they nearly emptied their savings account to come up with three months' rent for a $527-a-month, one-bedroom apartment for themselves and Howard's two teenage children, Ashton and Ashley. They have furnished it with three air mattresses from Wal-Mart and a kitchen table and chairs from Goodwill Industries. Joan Howard's father bought them a big-screen TV.

Three times in the past three weeks, Howard and her family have tried to get back to see their house on Delery Street. The first time, they got past police, wrapped plastic bags around their legs up to their knees and waded. Howard said they had to stop when the stinky water reached their knees. Two more recent trips failed because their three-bedroom, one-story brick house, in perhaps the lowest corner of the one-time swamp that is the Lower Ninth Ward, is still inaccessible without hip boots and permission from police.

"Us being homeowners, this flooding has really thrown us on our side," said Howard, who had been in her house for 11 years. "We wasn't poor really. We was really blessed, but we had to work for it. We had a big, beautiful house."

The house stills stands, unlike many on the street. Inside, the ceiling has collapsed. Furniture, appliances and other contents appear to be have been run through a savage rinse cycle, as in a washing machine with toxic water. Webs of mold are everywhere, and the smell is horrific.

Anger over the possible razing of portions of the Ninth Ward is fueled by the neighborhood's high home ownership rate, which is nearly 60 percent, and by its many years of residential stability. Despite long-standing problems of crime, drug abuse and inferior public schools, families stayed in the community for generations, anchored by churches and block parties and friendship.

Howard and her family, who knew most of their neighbors on the block (although they have lost touch with all of them since the floods), often marched behind a brass band in the anniversary parade of the Big Nine social club as it wound its way through the Lower Ninth Ward. One year, Howard marched as a maid to the queen of the Big Nine.

Until the storm hit, nearly three-quarters of families in the Lower Ninth Ward had been in the same house since 1995. In this respect, the neighborhood was considerably more stable than Lakeview, where over the past decade 57 percent of families had been in the same house.

As when Hurricane Betsy washed out much of the Lower Ninth Ward in 1965, there is again widespread grumbling about a "plan" to create a whiter New Orleans.

Howard does not believe in white conspiracies, saying she has worked for too many "nice white people." Still, she remembers Betsy. "When she came through, they say the white man opened up the walls upon us."

Germaine Mills, too, is skeptical of conspiracy talk, but she says something is going on that is not right.
"I'm thinking they probably think less blacks, less crime," said Mills, who left her mother's house on the
Sunday before the storm with only a change of clothes for herself and her family.

In Lakeview, which was recently described by a Times-Picayune headline as a decimated neighborhood where "Homes Are Sludge Pits With Little to Salvage," the notion of a hurricane conspiracy to remake the city strikes rebuilding residents as absurd.

"Why would you flood a whole city to run one set of residents out of town?" said Quaintance, 53, a retired policeman who plans to renovate the first floor of his Memphis Street house, doing most of the work himself.
"It is just so ridiculous."

Officially Closed but Open

Robert Bouchon was one of the first residents to come back to Memphis Street. He tied a canoe to the front porch of his house on Sept. 13, two weeks after the storm. The city was officially closed to residents, but police and the National Guard were quietly allowing Lakeview residents in.

"It was very hot and very quiet," Bouchon said. "The tops of cypress trees were sticking out of the still water.
There were no birds. It was pretty except for the fact that, you know, it was your neighborhood and it was underwater."

The front door was swollen shut, but he used a log to break down a side door, which opened onto the pantry.
"That's when it hit me," he said. "It was like a bad science experiment. The smell was just awful."

Furniture had floated from room to room. An antique mahogany dining table, which belonged to his wife's grandmother, had fallen to pieces. The water had risen high enough to take the paintings off the walls, which were bare and stained black from the flood. Mold had started to grow.

Boxes of brownie mix and bags of chips floated on the pantry floor. The Bouchons had long planned and
hurriedly canceled a birthday party for Emma, their 12-year-old, for Saturday before the storm. In the refrigerator were 24 rotting hamburger patties that Bouchon and his wife had prepared for the party.

It was to have been the first chance for 15 kids from the neighborhood to swim in the Bouchon's new pool, completed just two weeks before Katrina.

After he drove back to Houston and told his wife, Cathy, about the house, she began waking up at all hours of the night.

"I would picture everything that I owned floating in that nasty water," she said. "Your mind can't stop. I was picturing the mold growing on my wedding dress."

A week later, Sept. 20, Robert returned home again. Memphis Street was impassible because of fallen trees, but it was dry. Lakeview was still officially closed, but authorities were letting many residents in.

In rubber boots and shorts, Bouchon slathered bleach on first-floor walls, found that nearly all the family photo albums had been ruined and rescued the kids' computer, which had been upstairs on the undamaged
second flood and was fine. The children had begged him to fetch their video games.

Two weeks later, he hired a four-man crew that spent two days clearing out soggy sheetrock and dragging ruined kitchen appliances out to the front yard. As they worked, he found his wife's wedding dress, which had blackish-green tendrils of mold climbing up white satin, and hung it outside on the back porch.

As foul as the mess was, all the Bouchons wanted to do was go home.

"We miss our possessions, but mostly it is the neighborhood, our friends, the kids' friends," he said. "It was so close."

Memphis Street is in the heart of a neighborhood of middle-aged professionals and young families. Like the Bouchons, many had bought old houses in the past decade and rebuilt them with gourmet kitchens, wide-open family rooms and swimming pools out back.

Nearly all the children on the street went to St. Dominic Elementary School, just two blocks from the Bouchon's. Life on Memphis Street revolved around the school calendar, parish dinners and rotating Friday
get-togethers at parents' houses.

Since Katrina, the Bouchons have been in constant contact with their scattered neighbors, by cell phone and by reading the St. Dominic Web site and its "Lakeview forum," on which there have been more than 1,330 postings.

As an engineer, Bouchon is certain that his house can safely be rebuilt. His quick decision to gut the first floor seems to have stopped the spread of mold. His flood insurance -- $180,000 for the house, $30,000 for its contents -- will probably not be enough to pay for the massive renovations needed to restore the house, which was worth about $650,000 before the flood, Bouchon said.

"Luckily, we have options," he said. "We had some savings."

He expects, too, that his business -- inspecting and designing foundations for residential and commercial buildings -- will boom in the rebuilding of New Orleans. He has already been asked to evaluate a number of damaged buildings.

But returning is not without its anxieties. What scares Bouchon and his wife is the levee -- just a half mile from their house -- that failed on the 17th Street Canal and deluged his neighborhood with outpouring from Lake Pontchartrain. A team of engineers from outside the city has concluded that floodwater did not overtop the levee; the barrier apparently gave way because of poor construction.

"Look, I am an engineer and I know how these things should be put together," Bouchon said. "Before the flood, I had no reason to believe the levees wouldn't work. Now, I have questions. This was not a natural flood, in my opinion. It shouldn't have happened. If they just rebuild the levee the way it was, that's not good enough.
"We want the neighborhood to come back; we want the school to come back. We just have to answer all these questions, and that will take time."

The Bouchon children -- Emma, Owen, 9, and Patrick, 7 -- have seen pictures of their house, but their parents do not believe it would be good for them to visit.

"We won't take them there for a while," Bouchon said. "It would be so overwhelming."

'Not Much Hope'

Mayor Nagin toured shelters in Louisiana last week, telling people that in New Orleans crime was down, wages were up and jobs were abundant. He promised a FEMA mobile home for those willing to come back.

Joseph Williams, formerly of 2513 Delery Street, is not even tempted.

In a two-car caravan, with his wife Kesa, his two children and his parents, he left the Lower Ninth Ward on the Saturday before Katrina and lives now in a three-bedroom apartment in a suburb of Atlanta.

"The mayor doesn't get paid unless he has citizens in the city," said Williams, 32. "Right now, there is not enough progress to change my mind. There aren't enough people back there and not much hope."

A probation officer in Jefferson Parish, Williams said he will begin work this month in a similar position with the Georgia Department of Corrections, but with a $4,000 jump in salary over the $24,000 a year he was being paid back home.

His wife, 28, an accountant, has done even better. Within a week of arriving in Atlanta, she found an accounting job at a small engineering company starting at $40,000 a year, a $14,000 raise over her job in New Orleans.

"There are good things that came out of this hurricane," Williams said.

Their daughter, Kayla, 7, attends a public school in the suburb of Riverdale, and Williams says it is a major improvement over Martin Luther King Jr. elementary in the Lower Ninth Ward.

"They are putting pressure on her at school here," he said. "In the long run, it will make her better."
Williams is part of a huge, multi-generational New Orleans extended family that he said has about 200 members, most of whom lived in the Lower Ninth Ward but are now scattered across Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Georgia.

His mother and her nine siblings talk endlessly about going back, if the Lower Ninth Ward becomes livable, Williams said. But he and his brother and his many cousins, Williams said, have been keeping in touch on cell phones over recent weeks and are agreed that they are through with life in a city vulnerable to floods.
"We don't want to be in the position again," he said. "We are not as stubborn or headstrong as our parents' generation."

Marcelle's Diary

Marcelle Martinez, age 10, is the self-selected voice of Memphis Street.

When her neighbors down the street, the Bouchons, got their new swimming pool in mid-August, Marcelle popped by, interviewed the family and wrote it up for her newsletter, the Memphis Street Times. Before the flood and with the help of her mother, Marcelle published five issues on the family computer (since ruined by the flood).

When her parents loaded her and her brother Evan, 11, into the family car and fled the storm for the Midwest, Marcelle wrote her reaction in her diary:

"Here we are in Indiana. SIGH In case you don't know Katrina is a stupid hurrican that has completely destroyed my life. Well at least an entire year of it."

Marcelle, like her parents, expects her exile is temporary.

"I'm sure we will go back," she said. "I want all my neighbors to come back, and I want everything to be like it was."

Marcelle's parents cashed out some of their 401(k) retirement plan two weeks ago and bought a $210,000 house in Destrehan, a town on the Mississippi River about 35 miles west of New Orleans. They've enrolled the children in Catholic school there.

It is a holding pattern, something they hope will stabilize family life until they can rebuild in Lakeview.
"Look, the best thing we did in our lives was move into this house," Cathy Martinez, 42, said recently, while standing on the water-buckled, oak floor of her 3,000-square-foot house on Memphis Street, which she and her husband had spent most of the past four years remodeling. "We have lost more than a house. We have lost a way of life -- the way life should be."

Before the flood, she said, her block on Memphis Street was "like the '50s." She and her children walked to school, to church, to the supermarket and to the library. Cathy Martinez said she was one of five professionally trained women on Memphis Street who had chosen to given up their careers to raise children.
Her husband, Ron, 48, a partner in a small architecture firm, had a 15-minute drive to the office.

Soaked with sweat from carrying intact second-floor furniture out to a rental truck, Ron Martinez said his flood insurance, capped at $250,000, would not pay enough to rebuild the house, which he said was worth about $600,000 before the storm. His expects his architecture firm, however, to prosper, with more work than it could handle as New Orleans rebuilds.

"The people on this street were all in position in their professional lives where we could live where we wanted, and it was here," he said. "The thought of not being able to come back here kills us."

Marcelle has been daydreaming about her bed on Memphis Street.

"I used to lie on the bed like the wrong way, with my legs and my head hanging off the sides," she said. "It would be cool if I could do that again."



12) Apparently the White House is upset with the Onion. First the article reporting on it, then the Onion article which led to the conflict:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/24/business/24onion.html?ei=5090&en=b40eb239c3b34014&ex=1287806400&adxnnl=1&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1130216409-MQAj9E3s79DWWzaqK+FPdw

Protecting the Presidential Seal. No Joke.

KATHARINE Q. SEELYEPublished: October 24, 2005You might have thought that the White House had enoughon its plate late last month, what with its search fora new Supreme Court nominee, the continuing war inIraq and the C.I.A. leak investigation. But it foundtime to add another item to its agenda - stopping TheOnion, the satirical newspaper, from using thepresidential seal.

The newspaper regularly produces a parody of PresidentBush's weekly radio address on its Web site(www.theonion.com/content/node/40121), where it has apicture of President Bush and the official insignia.
"It has come to my attention that The Onion is usingthe presidential seal on its Web site," Grant M.Dixton, associate counsel to the president, wrote toThe Onion on Sept. 28. (At the time, Mr. Dixton'soffice was also helping Mr. Bush find a Supreme Courtnominee; days later his boss, Harriet E. Miers, wasnominated.)

Citing the United States Code, Mr. Dixton wrote thatthe seal "is not to be used in connection withcommercial ventures or products in any way thatsuggests presidential support or endorsement."Exceptions may be made, he noted, but The Onion hadnever applied for such an exception.

The Onion was amused. "I'm surprised the presidentdeems it wise to spend taxpayer money for his lawyerto write letters to The Onion," Scott Dikkers, editorin chief, wrote to Mr. Dixton. He suggested the moneybe used instead for tax breaks for satirists.

More formally, The Onion's lawyers responded that thepaper's readers - it prints about 500,000 copiesweekly, and three million people read it online - arewell aware that The Onion is a joke.

"It is inconceivable that anyone would think that, byusing the seal, The Onion intends to
'convey...sponsorship or approval' by the president," wroteRochelle H. Klaskin, the paper's lawyer, who went onto note that a headline in the current issue made thepoint: "Bush to Appoint Someone to Be in Charge ofCountry."

Moreover, she wrote, The Onion and its Web site arefree, so the seal is not being used for commercialpurposes. That said, The Onion asked that its letterbe considered a formal application to use the seal.

No answer yet. But Trent Duffy, a White Housespokesman, said that "you can't pick and choose whereyou want to enforce the rules surrounding the use ofofficial government insignia, whether it's for humoror fraud."
O.K. But just between us, Mr. Duffy, how did they findout about it?

"Despite the seriousness of the Bush White House, morethan one Bush staffer reads The Onion and enjoys itthoroughly," he said. "We do have a sense of humor,believe it or not."

KATHARINE Q. SEELYE


13) And now the troublemaking Onion article:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/41444

Bush To Appoint Someone To Be In Charge Of Country
October 12, 2005 Issue 41•41

WASHINGTON, DC—In response to increasing criticism ofhis handling of the war in Iraq and the disaster inthe Gulf Coast, as well as other issues, such asSocial Security reform, the national deficit, andrising gas prices, President Bush is expected toappoint someone to run the U.S. as soon as Friday.

Bush presents his shortlist for the Secretary of theNation post.

"During these tumultuous times, America is in need ofa bold, resolute person who can get the job done,"said Bush during a press conference Monday. "My fellowAmericans, I assure you that I will appoint just sucha person with all due haste."

The Cabinet-level position, to be known as Secretaryof the Nation, was established by an executive orderSept. 2, but has remained unfilled in the interveningweeks.

"I've been talking to folks from all across thiscountry, from Louisiana to Los Angeles, and peopletell me the same thing: This nation needs a strong,compassionate leader," Bush said. "In response tothese concerns, I'm making this a top priority. I willname a good, qualified person as soon as possible."

Among the new secretary's duties are preserving,protecting, and defending the Constitution of theUnited States, commanding the U.S. armed forces,appointing judges and ambassadors, and vetoingcongressional legislation. The secretary will also betasked with overseeing all foreign and domesticaffairs, including those relating to the economy,natural disasters, national infrastructure, homelandsecurity, poverty, and the wars in Iraq andAfghanistan.

The secretary will report directly to the president.

For weeks, members of both political parties have beenurging Bush to fill the post.

"Every day the president waits is another day he'saccountable for needless deaths at home and abroad,the stagnating economy, and the threat of terrorism,"Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said. "This post is fartoo vital to be left vacant. Mr. President, there isno reason to delay."

"I applaud the president's decision to find a strongleader for our country, but it's imperative that hemake his selection soon," said Senate Minority LeaderHarry Reid (D-NV), adding that he and all Democratshope to work closely with the new national executive.

"In the spirit of bipartisanship, we will welcome thenew secretary," Reid said. "Together, we will strivefor a new dawn of American politics, one unmarred bypartisan bickering between Congress and the WhiteHouse."
According to a nationwide poll conducted by the CookPolitical Report, the majority of U.S. citizens findthe question of national leadership to be highlysignificant, with 61 percent of respondents "strongly"believing that the country is suffering from aleadership vacuum. Fifty-four percent said theytrusted Bush to find an appointee who will be able toeffectively manage the country.

While many Beltway insiders have named senators BarackObama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) as likelycandidates, White House sources revealed that Bush maybe leaning toward a stalwart loyalist. The listreportedly includes fellow Yale graduates, Midland, TXbusiness associates, and various GOP fundraisers withconnections to the Bush family.

"Despite their inexperience in government, they'veclearly passed the Bush character test," said a WhiteHouse staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity."I think the president is looking for someone he'scomfortable with and can trust, above all else. A[former FEMA director] Michael Brown type, or maybeeven Brown himself."

Bush said the creation of the Secretary of the Nationpost directly addresses the increasingly complex andsometimes overwhelming challenges facing the executivebranch in the 21st century. Although he acknowledgedthat the tasks facing the new appointee will beextraordinary, Bush ended his announcement on apositive note.

"As your president, it is my duty to see this nationthrough any crisis, no matter how severe. And as yourpresident, I pledge to you that I will find a mancapable of doing just that," Bush said. "I will not—Irepeat, I will not—let you down."


14) This pretty much sums up the nation's mood about W these days:

http://filmstripinternational.com/index.php



15) Disaster lessons from Katrina for US disasters (I completely concur with each of them):

Excerpt from
http://www.counterpunch.org/gardner10222005.html
October 22 / 23, 2005
Pot Shots Dershowitzed
By FRED GARDNER
Before Disaster Occurs in San Francisco

With two other nurses from San Francisco General Hospital, Gina Shephard, RN, went to San Antonio Texas, to help out with the relief effort following Hurricane Katrina. Her union, SEIU 790, paid her expenses. "Though there was a great need for help, there was no clear way to utilize me," she reports. "I found the whole effort chaotic, disorganized and de-humanizing." Here are the recommendations she is making to San Francisco officials, based on what she observed.

- We don't need volunteers from other regions. We already have an abundance of trained people with the skills to do what is necessary, and we have a tradition of compassion and respect for all people. Also, disasters bring out the best in people, and there will be many willing to help. If people from other areas want to help, they should send the money they would have spent coming here.

- Don't rely on the Red Cross. They are very wasteful and unorganized despite their reputation. There was a scandal about their misuse of funds after Sept. 11 in New York, which forced the director to quit. Besides, what they do is mostly limited to giving out over-the-counter drugs. Red Cross personnel won't, for example, give tetanus shots -an obvious priority- or other vaccines.

- Get the victims involved. For the survivors who have not been injured, it is totally demoralizing and depressing to sit around with nothing to do but think about the horror of what they have experienced. Many of these people can and want to be involved in a recovery effort. Of course, it should not be forced upon them, but they should be asked if they want to participate in things like preparing and serving meals, moving things and clean-up.

- Whenever possible, small shelters are vastly superior. Large shelters should be avoided. They are overwhelming to run, they make people feel desperate and the humanity of the individuals involved tends to get overlooked.

- Keep the military out, unless they are specifically trained in sensitivity to victims of a disaster -and even then I have my doubts about using them. One survivor from the Superdome told me the following anecdote. After five days of unbearable suffering in the Superdome, she was finally taken to a plane to be evacuated. When she asked a military person who was herding people onto the plane where they were going, she was told "What do you care? You are getting a free ride!"

- Have a clear chain of command in place that is capable of acting quickly and without cumbersome bureaucracy. This includes having medical personnel on hand to do triage.

- Every effort should be made as soon as possible to get people out of shelters. Shelters are not only completely demoralizing but are also a breeding ground for disease.

- It should be unnecessary to say this, but people's lives and well-being are more important than property. Several people told me that during their stay in the Superdome and the Convention Center, had it not been for the "looters," they would have had nothing to eat for days.

- Have a clear evacuation plan set up that doesn't involve individual cars. Public transportation must be used, not only to include people without cars but to avoid the kind of massive gridlock that we saw as people tried to leave Houston as Hurricane Rita approached.

- The possibility of having to cope with disaster is one more reason that new mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed. During the crisis, we heard of many, many cases of babies who had no formula -which would have been unnecessary if those mothers were breastfeeding.


16) This is a posting from dailykos:

The price of Bush's cronyism by kos
Fri Oct 21, 2005 at 09:26:28 AM PDT
Remember Katrina?

In the midst of the chaos that followed HurricaneKatrina, a Federal Emergency Management Agencyofficial in New Orleans sent a dire e-mail to DirectorMichael Brown saying victims had no food and weredying.

No response came from Brown.

Instead, less than three hours later, an aide to Brownsent an e-mail saying her boss wanted to go on atelevision program that night -- after needing atleast an hour to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge, La.,restaurant.

The e-mails were made public Thursday at a SenateHomeland Security Committee hearing featuring MartyBahamonde, the first agency official to arrive in NewOrleans in advance of the Aug. 29 storm. The hurricanekilled more than 1,200 people and forced hundreds ofthousands to evacuate.

Bahamonde, who sent the e-mail to Brown two days afterthe storm struck, said the correspondence illustratesthe government's failure to grasp what was happening.

''There was a systematic failure at all levels ofgovernment to understand the magnitude of thesituation,'' Bahamonde testified. ``The leadershipfrom top down in our agency is unprepared and out oftouch.''

The 19 pages of internal FEMA e-mails show Bahamondegave regular updates to people in contact with Brownas early as Aug. 28, the day before Katrina madelandfall. They appear to contradict Brown, who hassaid he was not fully aware of the conditions untildays after the storm hit. Brown quit after beingrecalled from New Orleans amid criticism of his work.


17) Hurricane Analysis:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-5362865,00.html

Gulf Coast Suffers Record Hurricane Season
Saturday October 22, 2005 10:46 PM
By DEBORAH HASTINGS
AP National Writer

Not in the last century, since it was decided that thedead and detritus of every hurricane should berecorded, has there been such a disastrous barrage ofwind and rain and saltwater on the Gulf Coast.

Twenty-two tropical storms and hurricanes in the pastfive months, the most ever in a single season. Atropical storm that formed Saturday in the Caribbeanwas dubbed Alpha because the last letter left in thetempest alphabet went to Hurricane Wilma.

The World Meteorological Organization, a UnitedNations agency responsible for christening theseuncontrollable offspring of nature, had never beforerun out of names. (There is no X, Y or Z, no U or Q -not enough proper nouns begin with those letters, theagency says.) Nom de storms now revert to the Greekalphabet for the rest of the season, which ends Nov.30.

By July, one month into the season, there were alreadyseven named storms - tropical storms Arlene, Brett andCindy, hurricanes Dennis and Emily, and tropicalstorms Franklin and Gert.

The worst of that bunch was Dennis, which fromIndependence Day to July 12 battered coastal Alabama,the Florida Panhandle and many spots in the Caribbeanwith 150 mph wind. At least 32 people died.

InTallahassee, Fla., more than 7 inches of rain poureddown in four days, more than a normal summer month'sworth.

After that beginning, the season got worse. Muchworse.

The end of August brought Hurricane Katrina, whosedamage statistics are still being tallied. TheNational Hurricane Center says Katrina may be theworst natural disaster in the history of the UnitedStates. It will take a very long time to decide that.

Because of huge backlogs of autopsies at FederalEmergency Management Agency morgues, it has beenimpossible to sort the dead from the missing (amongthem the lost souls whose bodies were sucked into thegulf and not returned). As of this past week, thedeath tally stands at more than 1,280 across fivestates.
It started small - a tropical depression southeast ofthe Bahamas. Veering left and picking up speed, itmade landfall as a Category 1, the weakest of allhurricane classifications, on the evening of Aug. 25,atop the Miami-Dade-Broward county line.

It dumped more than a foot of rain across Florida,knocking down trees and snapping power lines until ithit the gulf. And there it sat, feeding on the warmwater, growing fatter and more powerful until itballooned into an awesome and terrifying Category 5headed for New Orleans.

At 6:10 a.m., four days after arriving in southernFlorida, Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish,La., just south of the City of New Orleans, as aCategory 4 storm with 140-mph wind. Four hours later,it made a second landfall near the Mississippi line,dropping to a Category 3 with 125-mph wind. At itswidest, the storm's swath stretched from west ofLafayette, La., to Pensacola, Fla. Storm surges of upto 29 feet drowned southern Mississippi, washing awaya major portion of the interstate and an unknownnumber of people.

Up to 17 inches of rain fell in the hardest-hit areasof Louisiana. And what nature didn't flood in downtownNew Orleans, a broken levee did in the impoverished9th Ward. Thousands evacuated; many aren't expected toreturn. The state's economy was knocked to its knees -nearly a quarter of a million unemployment claims havebeen processed since Aug. 29, more than all of 2004.Louisiana budget officials have predicted governmentlayoffs and cuts to health services and educationbecause of taxes and revenues lost to Katrina.

The estimated insurance pay-outs don't help theeconomic portrait either - with the latest estimatearound $34 billion.

After Katrina, it was hoped that was the end of deathand destruction and rain and wind - for this season,least. But nature abhors a vacuum and doesn't possessa conscience.

There was more. Five more. September broughthurricanes Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe and Rita.

It was Rita that, for one breathtaking day threatenedto wipe out Katrina's record of destruction and thecountry's fourth-largest city - Houston.

On Sept. 20, it swept through Florida Straits,reaching Category 2 intensity as the eye passed southof Key West. Then Rita, too, blew into the gulf. At anastounding rate, it mushroomed from a Category 2 to aCategory 5 in about 24 hours, and it seemed to beheading straight toward Galveston, Texas, a place thathad lost some 8,000 people to a hurricane in 1900,before storms were given names.

About 40 miles north of Galveston lies Houston. OnSept. 24, at 2:30 a.m., a slightly subdued Rita hitjust shy of the Texas-Louisiana border, as Category 3storm with 120-mph wind. Lake Charles, La., wasflooded. Parts of New Orleans were again flooded. TheTexas oil towns of Beaumont and Port Arthur wereflooded. More than 100 deaths have been attributed toRita, nearly one-fourth occurring the day before thestorm hit when a bus full of elderly evacuees explodedoutside Dallas.

In hindsight, and compared to Katrina, Rita deliveredonly a glancing blow. Insured losses are estimated atup to $6 billion. Rainfall around New Orleans rangedfrom 4 to 6 inches, instead of four times that much.

After it was decided, about a century ago, toofficially document the death and destruction wroughtby hurricanes, record-keepers came up with many kindsof ways to do so. There is a list of the 10 costliesthurricanes (ranked by damage figures). There is a listof the 10 deadliest hurricanes (ranked by lives lost).

On the former, Hurricane Andrew of 1992 occupies theNo. 1 spot, with $26.5 billion in monetary losses. Onthe latter list, Galveston's 1900 storm is at the top.

Last year's quartet of hurricanes that terrorizedFlorida - Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne - ranksecond, third, fourth and sixth, respectively, withdamages ranging from $15 billion to $6.9 billion.



18) New Orleans artists' products:

Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2005 21:45:01 -0500
From: "Rachelle Matherne" <anthony@turducken.net>(by way of Anthony DelRosario <anthony@turducken.net>)
Subject: New Orleans artists, crafters, musicians

Dear friends & strangers,

I run an online consignment boutique called The Milk-Bar (www.themilk-bar.com) that specializes in handmade items by New Orleans artists and crafters. I also carry CDs and other merch from local bands. I want to greatly increase the inventory before the holiday season, and am interested in consigning your work. Right now is a great time for a centralized Internet presence for New Orleans artists, even (or especially!) those not currently living in the area. If you're interested, please reply for moreinformation, including a copy of the consignment agreement to look over. Please forward this to any NOLA artist, crafter, ormusician that you know.

Thanks,Rachelle

http://www.themilk-bar.coman online boutique of functional art

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