Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina Encours et Toujours V

Before I spew, I'd like to know how Chris Emmer, Ed Harold and family, Raphaelle O'Brien, Cherie Fontenot, Mary Beth Black, and several others are doing.

Also, here's a really valuable digital satellite image of New Orleans on 31 August (i.e. yesterday). Unfortunately, it's missing several parts of the area:

Katrina, America, Race, Capitalism, and all the rest:

Today I am simply "gobsmacked" at what I'm seeing in what is supposedly the most powerful nation-state in the world. I have seen a few disasters in my day, some conflict-related (Iraq '91 & '03, Kosovo '99, Somalia '92-'93), and one natural disaster (Turkey '99). Let's leave the conflicts out of it. Let's just compare Turkey's '99 earthquake to the Gulf Coast's '05 hurricane. Here are some extensive issues I've noticed:

A) The Turkish government, especially the military, was far faster in its reaction to the earthquake than Uncle Sam has been to this hurricane. I don't think this is just media hype, although I can't be sure as I have not personally witnessed this natural disaster. On the second day after the massive 17 August 1999 earthquake, the Turkish military was deployed throughout the earthquake region, ensuring security. The region was roughly the same size as the hurricane area, and logistics were roughly as difficult (bridges out, blocked roads, etc.). The chaos was comparable, although the Turkish population was not nearly as fast to loot. However, while the Turkish military is a NATO military, it's capabilities can't compare to those available to the US military. Yet, today, the FEMA officials on camera were reassuring us that a couple of thousand National Guardsmen were in New Orleans already (many unarmed) and some 30,000 would be in the area by 4 September. While that sounded good, it doesn't even come close to comparing to the Turkish reaction.
Now, let's ask for a moment why that is. I mentioned it in my first post, and I stand by it -- where is the Louisiana National Guard? In Iraq. While the politicians, local and national, are delicately dancing around this issue, it's there for everyone to see. Our "boys" are killing and getting killed halfway around the world, and we need them home to plug levees, patrol devastated neighborhoods, clear roads, set up shelters, provide relief, and assist large public works projects like bridges and pumping repair works. They're not here, and I for one know who to blame.

B) While most individual Americans are reacting generously to the Gulf's disaster, I'm quite disturbed at the feeding frenzy being shown by certain groups and individuals.

First, the positives: I've always hated Texas with a passion, but as far as I can make out, this state is offering more help than any other institution in terms of relief -- especially Houston. Confident as they are that the Feds (led by one of their own) will reimburse their expenses, I'd have to say that this state is out front in helping out. The Astrodome is a godsend, and that's not all they're offering. Other Texas cities are also stepping up to the plate.

Now, some negatives. Dennis Hastert, the House speaker from Illinois (R), stated today that he wasn't sure that it made sense to rebuild New Orleans (see below). I heard similar sentiments from a number of talk show guests and callers today on WETA in the DC area -- all local DC-type "experts" on urban planning and/or natural disaster planning. This infuriates me. Of course, the logic sounds allright -- "why do those folks live under sea level? Maybe they should live somewhere else." In response, a few points: First of all, New Orleans is where it is for a reason -- it's in an ideal location for a port, its original settlement space the only dry land for miles above sea level. While it's true that the city has grown well beyond the original French Quarter, the city has been where it is since the early 18th century -- because it's where it belongs. Secondly, New Orleans has been there for nearly 300 years without ever being wiped out in this way in this sense -- are we meant to give up just like that? New Orleans was the second largest city in the US before the Civil War, and the largest city in the South until the 1950's or 1960's. This is not an "unnatural" spot to put a city. What if the US had given up on Chicago after the 1871 fire? What about NYC after 9/11? Thirdly, we Gulf citizens pay our taxes and have not complained over quite a few pork projects directing our tax monies away from our home region: Boston's "Big Dig" (10 billion USD+), NYC's 9/11 reconstruction (40 billion USD for a five-square block area), Pentagon's 9/11 reconstruction, and -- lest we forget -- the 400 billion USD+ that Bush has pissed away in Iraq. We send our youth in harm's way, we pays our taxes. Well, now we need some help. If Hastert and those of his ilk don't want to pay up to bail New Orleans out, I say we should just secede. Believe me, Louisiana would be a lot wealthier and healthier as a petty oil city-state than as the 49th strongest state in a rickety imperialist (faded, and eternally carnivorous) "superpower". Fourthly, the rest of America has explored its ethical undersides in our French Quarter for generations. If the rest of you want that action to continue, put up or shut up. If not, we guess that y'all will just have to take your Puritan hypocrisy elsewhere.

Another negative: some ESPN columnist is gently suggesting that the Saints play all their home games in Los Angeles this year (see below). He -- and the NFL -- simply can't wait to relocate the only going concern holding New Orleans together to a market that frankly could care less if they have a pro team. Here, I'm less certain that San Antonio's assistance is truly disinterested, as they've already agreed to host the Saints in the interim. The NFL's commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, is also saying all the wrong things, by reacting lukewarm at best to the possibility of the Saints playing their home games in Baton Rouge at LSU stadium (see below). While many would poo-poo the importance of where and what the Saints do, ask any New Orleanian and they'll tell you how important that team is for local identity. Ultimately, the NFL is about as corporate an entity as you could ask for in America, and they're slowly baring their fangs at what they see as an underproductive market. It's a sign of a capitalist feeding frenzy, and the NFL is lining up at the trough.
C) Race issues vs. homogenous populations: What we're all seeing on TV in the US right now is downright scary, and New Orleans doesn't look too good. We're seeing an overwhelmingly African-American, impoverished, desperate, and in some cases predatory, population in the midst of a breakdown of law and order. I'm as worried about my family's property as the next guy, but I think what's going on now in New Orleans is a symptom of all that's wrong with American racism. They say that 80% of the city evacuated before the storm -- with only 2 days notice (unlike the "full week" some fool on DC talk radio today said they had had to get out). Most of the folks that left were the "comfort class" of middle class professionals. Those left behind were the ones who couldn't leave, or perhaps more accurately, had nowhere to go. Those folks left behind might have had a beat up old Chevy to drive out of town with, but they hadn't been paid in nearly 2 weeks while surviving from paycheck to paycheck; they didn't have that family member, fraternity brother, college roommate, ex-lover, etc in the region to go to; and they didn't have that credit card account to pay for a week long hotel stay while waiting out the storm. They had 50 bucks, a couple of kids, a grandparent in the back, an old Chevy, and their old house. Where were they supposed to go? So, they went to the Superdome -- or waited it out in a physically lower neighborhood in an old wooden one story shotgun (guess who and where those "thousands" of dead bodies are going to be when they're found?). After 3-4 days, they're mostly under water, out of drinking water, hungry, and they see even cops are breaking into Wal-Mart. What should they be expected to do? Today, it turned uglier still -- after looting Wal-Mart's gun stock, the younger males are taking pot shots at military evac helicopters. Hmmm, maybe this is how the revolution begins. The rest of New Orleans is sitting it out in the region with family and friends, and hoping to God that their house is not under water and that they've not been looted. It wasn't this way in Turkey -- the earthquake hit middle class and poor equally (although the rich mostly lived in stronger structures, as expected), and there simply was no race factor involved in Turkey's allocations of wealth, ability to recover, etc.

D) I am thinking that this disaster is the event that finally pushes the Bush Administration over the same cliff that they've already pushed the rest of the country, the Middle East, and perhaps the world. Believe me, I'm there, ready to help push them over that cliff. They underfinanced the LA Corps of Engineers levee projects in the past two years in order to help finance Iraq. They completely ignored the idea of coastal restoration. They sent our local guards overseas. And now, even if you're not a resident of the hurricane zone, you're learning the significance of the region for your pump prices -- and that's the feather that will break the proverbial camel's back. The rest of the country won't stand for 5 USD/gallon gas without a rebellion. The rebellion may have started in New Orleans, but that's not necessarily where it will end.
E) Let's look at some local politicians. Our heroes include Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin. They've been weary, honest, sensitive, sensible, involved, and real. Mary Landrieu remains a deer caught in the headlights, today "thanking the president for his assistance" while politely trying to soothe the difficulties everyone is experiencing. She sent a fawning letter in 2002 reassuring me that the president had all our best interests in mind in invading Iraq, and I'm afraid she's simply an unconscionable wimp so far. I'm a big fan of her family (Moon, Mitch, etc), but not her. David Vitter, our Republican senator from Metairie, has so far only expressed relief that his Old Metairie house is OK, along with his sympathy for everyone else. Gee, thanks, Dave. Bobby Jindal, the honorable Representative (R) from Metairie, has said more or less the right things, but not vocally enough, and not nearly forcefully enough.

Well, I've preached enough. Now I'll turn the floor over to readers, friends, contributors, tips, news items, and all the rest.


1) This from a friend -- the only additional comment I would make is that those who should've been able to do something about it were "at a higher pay scale" than the poor citizens of New Orleans either now refugees, desperate, or dead:

The friend's comment:"Unbelievable. Found at Please, no comments that we should've known. At least not now."

The article:It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV "storm teams" warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday.

But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however--the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.

The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level--more than eight feet below in places--so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

When did this calamity happen? It hasn't--yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City.
- National Geographic, October, 2004

2) Also from Chris:

See below. This may be a legitimate question to ask in a rational planning process. This is a horrible time to say something like this. Does this guy know what this sounds like to people who are in the process of losing everything? Can't he keep his mouth shut until we're finished dying down here?People of Illinois: please consider this comment in your voting future. This comment comes from the state that includes Chicago, which, I believe, burned to the ground and returned as a truly great city.

Chris Wiseman

House Speaker: Rebuilding N.O. doesn't make sense
Thursday, 2:55 p.m.
By Bill Walsh
Washington bureau

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Dennis Hastert dropped a bombshell on flood-ravaged New Orleans on Thursday by suggesting that it isn't sensible to rebuild the city.

"It doesn't make sense to me," Hastert told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago in editions published today. "And it's a question that certainly we should ask."

Hastert's comments came as Congress cut short its summer recess and raced back to Washington to take up an emergency aid package expected to be $10 billion or more. Details of the legislation are still emerging, but it is expected to target critical items such as buses to evacuate the city, reinforcing existing flood protection and providing food and shelter for a growing population of refugees.

The Illinois Republican's comments drew an immediate rebuke from Louisiana officials.

"That's like saying we should shut down Los Angeles because it's built in an earthquake zone," former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., said. "Or like saying that after the Great Chicago fire of 1871, the U.S. government should have just abandoned the city."

Hastert said that he supports an emergency bailout, but raised questions about a long-term rebuilding effort. As the most powerful voice in the Republican-controlled House, Hastert is in a position to block any legislation that he opposes.

"We help replace, we help relieve disaster," Hastert said. "But I think federal insurance and everything that goes along with it... we ought to take a second look at that."

The speaker's comments were in stark contrast to those delivered by President Bush during an appearance this morning on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I want the people of New Orleans to know that after rescuing them and stabilizing the situation, there will be plans in place to help this great city get back on its feet," Bush said. "There is no doubt in my mind that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city."

Insurance industry executives estimated that claims from the storm could range up to $19 billion. Rebuilding the city, which is more than 80 percent submerged, could cost tens of billions of dollars more, experts projected.

Hastert questioned the wisdom of rebuilding a city below sea level that will continue to be in the path of powerful hurricanes.

"You know we build Los Angeles and San Francisco on top of earthquake issures and they rebuild, too. Stubbornness," he said.

Hastert wasn't the only one questioning the rebuilding of New Orleans. The Waterbury, Conn., Republican-American newspaper wrote an editorial Wednesday entitled, "Is New Orleans worth reclaiming?"

"Americans' hearts go out to the people in Katrina's path," it said. "But if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property."

3) Response to Hastert, by another friend:

"I used to live in New Orleans and I still love New Orleans. Your callous disregard for the misery and despair felt not only by NOLA residents, but by any sane person who has ever spent any amount of time in that beautiful, unique, historic city just reinforces my previous impression of you as unfit for office.Hey, Speaker Hastert: I was living in downtown NYC on 9/11. Did you think NYC wasn't worth saving because, hey, gee, terrorists could have just come along and knocked down MORE buildings ? Just an idea : Does any of your disregard for human life stem from the fact that in a red state, New Orleans voted blue ? Or, god forbid, because the majority of its citizens are black and poor ? Just asking...

Oh, and by the way: Washington, D.C. was built on a swamp, too. Given the choice between Washington and New Orleans, I know I'm not the only person who would much prefer a hurricane to take out D.C., but only when congress is in session and the president is paying one of his rare visits to the White House.

Oh yeah: Have a nice day."

4) Blanco to Hastert -- Kathleen for President!:

Blanco demands apology
9:15 p.m.

An angry Gov. Kathleen Blanco demanded that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., apologize for his statement that it might not make sense to rebuild New Orleans. It was “unthinkable,” Blanco said, that Hastert would “kick us when we’re down. I demand an immediate apology.”

At a press conference Thursday night, she said that 300 soldiers from the Arkansas National Guard arrived in New Orleans fresh from Iraq and are under orders to restore order from the “hoodlums.’’

She said of the soldiers: “They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot to kill . . . and I expect they will.’’

U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, said that 1,500 people had gathered on the Chalmette ferry landing awaiting evacuation, possibly by ferry, to Algiers. Making a plea for those refugees to receive food and water now, Melancon estimated that about 100 are dead, possibly from dehydration.

Officials also noted that an additional 80 police officers are now on the streets of New Orleans from elsewhere around the country, bringing some stability to the Superdome.

A doctor in University Hospital telephoned a Baton Rouge TV station, hoping to call attention to the desperate plight at his hospital. The hospital was running low on food and water, and had no power, the doctor said. “We have 160 patients in the hospital and they are actively dying,” he said.

5) Another Hastert response:

If you are unhappy for Dennis Hastert's timing in commenting on New Orleans, you can express your comments at:

Here's mine: Rep. Hastert:

I read your comments on New Orleans. I am in exile in Baton Rouge.

It will be legitimate to ask questions about how or if to rebuild New Orleans after we find all of the bodies.
It is nothing short of disgusting to ask that question today.

I believe your state is home to Chicago, which had a slight tragedy in the 1800s and seems to be doing okay.
I will do everything in my power to ensure that you are unemployed as a representative in the next two years.

If you want to see how a first-class democracy treats its low-lying areas, check out the Netherlands. That's a country in Europe.

Chris Wiseman

Baton Rouge, LA (for now--check my address above. I'll be back there soon enough--it's dry--working for your dismissal from the Congress.)

6) This from a friend:

"you may be interested that FEMA (as well as universities like Penn and other places) are recommending that people donate cash to organizations like the Red Cross, Operation Blessing (Pat Robertson's organization) and B'nai B'rith International... Do Operation Blessing and B'nai B'rith really compare with the Red Cross? What will these people's donations be used for exactly?"

7) This is yet another response to Hastert's comment. I don't agree with the writer, but I understand him:
"He's not the only one, apparently lots of people love to take the opportunity to kick us when we are down.
Just this morning Harry Connick was on MSNBC and said that if he had grown up in "that kind of situation" he would be wanting to steal a plasma TV. If looks could kill through a TV screen...if I ever run into him on the street, I could probably beat him to death with my pinkie toe.

I'm so tired of the media justifying crime - I guess someone will find a way to blame the looting on the honest citizens who have spent a lifetime working hard to carve out a small piece of the pie for themselves & their families, only to have the few possibly salvagable things they may have left taken or destroyed by common thugs who have been taught by our government that they are entitled to everything without working for it like the rest of us.

I have made my peace with Mother Nature, what I cannot forgive is what is being allowed to happen in the aftermath. Send in the troops with a SHOOT-ON-SIGHT order!"

8) Chalmette, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard got it as bad as -- perhaps worse than -- anywhere, and have been absolutely ignored in the national media accounts:

100 said dead in Chalmette
Thursday, 9:46 p.m.

About 100 people have died at the Chalmette Slip afterbeing pulled off their rooftops, waiting to be ferriedup the river to the West Bank and bused out of theflood ravaged area, U.S. Rep. Charles Melancon,D-Napoleonville, said Thursday.

About 1,500 people were at the slip on Thursdayafternoon, where critical supplies like food and waterare scarce, he said. Melancon expressed seriousfrustration with the slow pace of getting these itemsto the people waiting to finish their journey tosafety.

Many of those at the slip were evacuated from a shelter set up at Chalmette High School that suffered massive flooding as the waters rose during Hurricane Katrina.

Melancon said people are being plucked out of their water-surroundedhouses, but the effort to get them out of Chalmetteand provide them with sufficient sustenance is theproblem.

While he did not directly criticize the FederalEmergency Management Agency, Melancon said they areultimately responsible for making sure that people aretaken care of. “That is where the buck stops,” saidMelancon at a briefing at the state Office ofEmergency Preparedness.

People at the slip indicated that 100 people had diedsince they arrived, although Melancon said he did notknow how they perished.

Melancon said he saw 300 people sent on a tug-boatpulled barge to the Algiers landing, but there weren’tany buses once they landed. A spokesman said thegovernor’s office indicated they were eventually takenout.
The congressman said he “hoped” that the plightof people in St. Bernard wasn't being shoved to theside because of the chaos in New Orleans.

“I hope that we will start seeing food supplies,” saidMelancon, who later added that he was told that trucksof ice, water and food were eventually listed to theslip.

9) Chavez for President, anyone?:

"Cowboy" leaves his people adrift by BywaterBlues,
9/1/05 20:40 ET

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a vocal critic of the U.S. government, on Wednesday called U.S. President George W. Bush a "cowboy" who had failed to manage the Hurricane Katrina disaster and evacuate victims. "That government had no evacuation plan, it is incredible, the first power in the world that is so involved in Iraq ... and left its own population adrift," Chavez said in a cabinet meeting broadcast live on television. His remarks came as U.S. authorities evacuated thousands of people from New Orleans and after Bush said it would take years to recover from flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina. The death toll on Wednesday reached at least 200 in what Bush called the nation's worst natural disaster. "That man, the king of vacations ... the king of vacations in his ranch said nothing but, you have to flee, and didn't say how ... that cowboy, the cowboy mentality," said Chavez, chuckling in a reference to Bush without naming him directly.

10) Yeah, this op-ed makes a lot of uneasy sense:

Lost in the Flood
Why no mention of race or class in TV's Katrina coverage?

By Jack ShaferPosted Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005, at 4:22 PM PT

What the newscasters didn't say I can't say I saw everything that the TV newscasters pumped out about Katrina, but I viewed enough repeated segments to say with 90 percent confidence that broadcasters covering the New Orleans end of the disaster demurred from mentioning two topics that must have occurred to every sentient viewer: race and class.

Nearly every rescued person, temporary resident of the Superdome, looter, or loiterer on the high ground of the freeway I saw on TV was African-American. And from the look of it, they weren't wealthy residents of the Garden District. This storm appears to have hurt blacks more directly than whites, but the broadcasters scarcely mentioned that fact....

11) Saints in L.A.? Say it'll NEVER be so:

Mr. Kreidler, I read your article suggesting that the Saints play in Los Angeles this year:

I am a New Orleanian now exiled with my wife and four children in Baton Rouge. I am a Saints season ticket holder. Put yourself in my shoes. My family is safe, and I am grateful. My house might even be dry (I don't know and will have little way of finding out for days.) However, just about every cultural institution, restaurant, bar, whatever, has been stripped from me and thousands like me. I have no "familiar" world any longer. And my situation is one of the better situations among south Louisianans right now.

Now, I read that my favorite sports team ought to consider playing on the opposite end of the country as our city tries to figure out what to do next. Days of worry, planning, hard work, and dead bodies--some of the friends--ahead for us, and you suggest that we should look forward to watching our team be courted by another city without a team and with a record of disdain for NFL teams. (Your idea that the Saints would automatically return to New Orleans is disingenuous at best.) After 9/11 happened, I don't recall reading a column from you suggesting that the Yankees should play in Salt Lake City.

Do you understand how disgusting your suggestion is? You are the sports writing equivalent of the looters in my city (the looters taking stereos and jewelry--not the ones taking food). You have every right to make this hilariously insensitive suggestion. And I have every right to tell you what a coarse shyster you are. It gives me pleasure to know that I will never have reason to purchase a copy of anything that contains your writing. I look forward to watching the Saints in LSU's Tiger Stadium this year. Sincerely,Chris WisemanBaton Rouge, LA for now

12) Every Saints fan wants the team playing in Baton Rouge in the interim. It's a no brainer:

LSU may make Tiger Stadium available to Saints
Thursday, 7:50 p.m.
By Jeff Duncan and Mike Triplett
Staff writers

LSU athletic director Skip Bertman pledged to assist the Saints in their attempts to recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, including making Tiger Stadium available for home games.

Bertman said he had spoken with Saints officials but acknowledged that university officials have been made aware of the team’s interest in playing at least some of its home games at Tiger Stadium this season after Hurricane Katrina damaged parts of the Superdome roof and rendered the city uninhabitable indefinitely.
“We’d certainly look at that,” Bertman said of hosting the Saints’ games. “If that was in the best interest of the state that is what LSU does. If it’s good for the state, it’s good for LSU.”

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Thursday it’s unlikely the Saints will play any games in New Orleans this season and said the team probably will be forced to play home games at multiple sites because of the devastation from Katrina.

“At this point you have to proceed on the assumption ... that they may be unable to play in New Orleans at all for the entire season," Tagliabue said in an interview with CNBC. "If things evolve in a positive way, then that would be something that we could adjust to. But our assumption is that for planning purposes, we should assume it will be difficult, if not impossible, to play in New Orleans at all this year.”

The NFL’s first priority is to determine where the Saints will play their first home game against the New York Giants on Sept. 18.

The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which runs Giants Stadium, has offered to play host to the game. It would likely be played Monday, Sept. 19, because the New York Jets are scheduled to play Miami that Sunday at Giants Stadium.

Tagliabue said moving the game to New Jersey was one possibility. Future games, he said, could be played at another NFL stadium or at a non-NFL stadium.

The Saints reportedly are considering several options, including Baton Rouge, Shreveport, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Tuscaloosa, Ala. Team officials said this week they prefer to play games as close to New Orleans as possible, with Baton Rouge the presumed front-runner.

Tiger Stadium seated 91,600 for games last season. A renovation of the west side of the stadium is expected to add around 1,000 seats when it is completed in the next month or so.

It’s unclear if the natural grass field at Tiger Stadium could endure the extra wear and tear.

The teams’ schedules feature two weekends where both teams are slated to play at home: Sept. 15-16 and Nov. 5-6. The Saints play the Falcons Oct. 16, one day after LSU is scheduled to host Florida. The Saints play the Bears Nov. 6, the day after LSU will host Appalachian State.

No current NFL stadium with a natural grass surface is shared with a college team. The Minnesota Vikings and the University of Minnesota share the Metrodome, which features a FieldTurf playing surface.
“We’ll look into that,” Bertman said. “I don’t think there is anything we can’t do.”

The Saints will move into a hotel in San Antonio this weekend and practice in San Antonio in preparation for their regular-season opener at Carolina on Sept. 11.NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said there are no plans to alter the NFL schedule as the league did in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That year, the NFL canceled all games scheduled for Week 2 and moved them to the end of the season.

The Saints’ entire football operation unit has spent the week in San Jose, Calif., since evacuating New Orleans on Sunday afternoon ahead of the storm which ravaged the city Monday morning.
The Saints played their final exhibition game Thursday night in Oakland.

Tagliabue, who announced that the NFL was donating $1 million to the recovery effort, said the disaster’s impact reaches beyond the Saints, noting that dozens of players on other teams are from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region.

“It’s a tragic situation, obviously,” Tagliabue said. “Like everyone else, we are stunned by the dimensions of this natural disaster.”

Tagliabue said he expects football fans to welcome the Saints in similar fashion to the way the Giants and Jets were supported after 9/11.

“I’m sure the fans around our league are going to recognize them and help the people in the region by being responsive to what they see and hear in the NFL through the Saints,” he said.

Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, issued a statement Thursday saying NFL players plan to pledge “unprecedented support” to the relief efforts. He did not immediately give details about the amount of the donation or where it would be directed.

“We have heard from many players who are personally affected by this disaster,” Upshaw said. “We will continue to monitor and discuss ways in which we can support the relief effort.”

Staff writer William Kalec contributed to this report.

13) Message from Kelley Ponder and friends in Fairhope:

Hi Everyone,

We are all doing well, at least physically. We are here in Fairhope, AL. The number is 251-990-8820 if any of you want to call. We (me, Tom, Vivian, Wendy, Julie, and Bob) are anxiously watching what is happening in NOLA and our prayers are with this city that we love so much. Our houses all seem to be in tact, at least as far as we can tell, but at this point, it seems almost irrelevent. Pray for those still in the city and we all know that we WILL prevail. Our spirits are dampened but we will not be defeated.

We all send our love.

14) Here's one from "the freaks are coming out of the woodworks" notebook:

15) Here's one from the Marie Antoinette tradition:

16) While Hastert wants to sink New Orleans, New Yorkers want to save some:

Good morning,
I'm sending you the following press release in the hopes you will help me get the word to as many New York bar and restaurant owners as soon as possible. We are organizing a relief fund event throughout New York on September 12 to help the food & beverage industry workers in New Orleans with the funds they will need while they rebuild their lives in the coming months.

Please help me get the word out. Your help is greatly appreciated.

New York Shakes New Orleans Cocktails to Help Hurricane Katrina Victims

New York Bars and Restaurants to Undertake Citywide Cocktail Hour to Aid New Orleans Food & Beverage Workers and Their Families

NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 1, 2005-New Yorkers citywide will raise a shaker and a toast on September 12, 2005, to provide much-needed funds for its sister city in distress, New Orleans, during the "Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour."

The Museum of the American Cocktail and Southern Comfort's Tales of the Cocktail are asking New York City bar and restaurant owners to shake New Orleans' classic cocktails on Monday, September 12, 2005, between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, to directly benefit New Orleans food and beverage industry workers who are out of work and out of the funds they will need to live while rebuilding their lives.

"New Orleans is known for its great dining and drinking traditions. They take pride in their professions as we do here in New York. This is the time to help our sister city, during the 'Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour'," says Dale DeGroff, President of the Museum of the American Cocktail.

Those who work in New Orleans' food and beverage industry and their families will suffer long after the flood waters subside. It will take months for businesses to become operational once again. And it will even longer before visitors-who are the backbone of that much needed income-will return to the Crescent City's numerous restaurants and bars. They need our help.

"We're asking the New York food and beverage industry to donate two hours of their time and drink receipts to help their New Orleans colleagues," says Anistatia Miller, Vice President of the Museum of the American Cocktail. "We're asking New Yorkers to come out that day and toast a cocktail to the people of New Orleans. Laissez les bons temps roulez! Let the good times roll toward a brighter future!"

Participating New York restaurants and bars including Pegu Club and Dylan Prime will serve New Orleans classics like the Sazerac, French 75, and Ramos' Gin Fizz for $10 per drink between the hours of 5:00pm and 7:00pm. Each patron ordering a New Orleans cocktail will receive a set of Mardi Gras beads. Receipts from the Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour will be donated to a special tax-deductible relief fund established by the Museum of the American Cocktail. And 100% of all monies received will be distributed directly to the workers and their families who apply for aid through the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Establishments can email to pledge their support and receive further information on the "Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour" program and publicity efforts.

Individuals, establishments, and companies wishing to contribute directly to this relief fund can send their checks to Museum of the American Cocktail, 459 Columbus Avenue, Suite 201, New York NY 10024. Make checks payable to the Museum of the American Cocktail and write the phrase "Katrina Relief Fund" on the bottom left-hand corner of the check. Donations can also be made via Paypal at


17) Any NO area students want to come to Mary Washington for the semester or year? Well, our university president says you're welcome (as does pretty much every other president in the country):

I wish to thank the many members of the University community who have suggested ideas and expressed a willingness to help with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. Our hearts go out to the many individuals and families who have been affected by this catastrophic event.

In an effort to coordinate and communicate how the University of Mary Washington is responding to this need, I want to let you know what efforts are currently underway on our campuses. In addition, please see the notice below from Governor Mark Warner calling upon every public agency and educational institution to render special assistance.

In response to the Governor's request that Virginia colleges and universities develop a plan to accept students enrolled in hurricane-affected institutions, I am pleased to announce that we have developed an expedited registration process for these students and have extended the "course-add" period for them until Monday, September 5. At the present time we have one Fredericksburg-area student from Tulane University who has enrolled with us for the fall semester. We have received inquiries from additional students with ties to the Fredericksburg area and these are being forwarded to the Registrar's Office.

With regard to generating monetary support for the relief effort, I am pleased to announce that a coordinated, University-wide, fund-raising campaign is being launched by student leaders in COAR (Community Outreach and Resources). These funds will be forwarded by COAR through a University account to the American Red Cross. We have asked that all fund raising on campus for the hurricane relief effort be coordinated through COAR. Additional information will be forthcoming from COAR including special fund-raising activities.

In the coming days, the Governor's Office also will be providing additional information on his web site at concerning ways in which to make contributions to the relief effort. Let me add my personal word of thanks to all members of the University of Mary Washington community for what is being done to provide assistance.

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