Monday, September 19, 2005

Katrina Encours et Toujours XX

1) News from Algiers mosque clinic and relief efforts:

2) Another Katrina blog:

3) I wonder if this article was where the Onion got their idea for this week's satire article on Katrina?:

Dear Folks,

Here is a story about Kenyon in Raw Story. It would be interesting to know WHO from FEMA gave the order to start working with Kenyon. The local FEMA in Louisiana were furious about having to report to them. Also, if anyone has any other information about Kenyon, please let us know.

Anna Marie Mattson
FEMA, La. outsource Katrina body count to firm implicated in body-dumping scandals
Miriam Raftery

<> The Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired Kenyon International to set up a mobile morgue for handling bodies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, <> RAW STORY has learned.

Kenyon is a subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI), a scandal-ridden Texas-based company operated by a friend of the Bush family. Recently, SCI subsidiaries have been implicated in illegally discarding and desecrating corpses.

Louisiana governor Katherine Blanco subsequently inked a contract with the firm after talks between FEMA and the firm broke down. Kenyon's original deal was secured by the <> Department of Homeland Security.

In other words, FEMA and then Blanco outsourced the body count from Hurricane Katrina -- which many believe the worst natural disaster in U.S. history -- to a firm whose parent company is known for its "experience" at hiding and dumping bodies.

The Menorah Gardens cemetery chain, owned by SCI, desecrated vaults, removed hundreds of bodies from two cemeteries in Florida and dumped the gruesome remains in woods frequented by wild hogs, investigators discovered in 2001. In <> one case, a backhoe was used to crack open a vault, remove corpses and make room for more dead bodies.

SCI paid <> $100 million to settle a lawsuit filed by outraged family members of the deceased.

A secretary at the lawfirm that sued SCI over the Florida cemetery scandals gasped when informed that FEMA had outsourced handling of Katrina victims' bodies to an SCI subsidiary.
"Oh, good lord!" she said.

Peter Hartmann, general manager of the Menorah Gardens Cemetery chain, was later <> found dead in his car from carbon monoxide poisoning outside his parents' home in an apparent suicide.
<> RAW STORY calls to FEMA were not returned.

Waltrip, chairman of SCI, is a longtime friend of Bush's father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush. The firm's political action committee donated <> $45,000 to George W. Bush's 1994 gubernatorial campaign.

The company also contributed more than<> $100,000 for construction of the George H.W. Bush presidential library.

"It is appalling that the Bush administration -- which has already badly bungled its response to hurricane Katrina -- would hire a company with a record of gross mismanagement of mortuary services," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a Washington D.C.-based watchdog group. "I can only imagine that this decision was made because of President Bush's long-time friendship with the head of SCI, Robert Waltrip."

SCI also owned fifteen funeral homes named as defendants in a <> lawsuit filed on behalf of family members alleging "macabre mishandling, abuse and desecration of bodies" by Tri-State Crematory in Georgia. The lawsuit accused SCI-owned funeral homes of sending bodies to the unlicensed, unregulated crematorium, where never-incinerated corpses were found piled outdoors and stuffed in sheds in 2000.

Some vaults designed to hold one body each had 67 sets of human remains stuffed inside, investigators<> discovered.
SCI was among the companies ordered to pay settlement fees to family members, a legal source has confirmed to <> RAW STORY.

Kenyon bills itself as the world's leading disaster management company. It provided morgue support services following the 9/11 plane crash in Pennsylvania and the Asian tsunami.

As North America's largest funeral and cemetery company, SCI operates 1,500 mortuaries and
cemeteries nationwide.

The company's website claims the firm is dedicated to "compassionately supporting families at difficult times, celebrating the significance of lives that have been lived, and preserving memories that transcend generations, with dignity and honor."

SCI was also involved in an earlier scandal in Texas. Eliza May, former Texas Funeral Service Commission Director, filed a lawsuit accusing George W. Bush, then Governor, of obstructing an investigation into SCI license violations. May was fired following a dispute with Waltrip.

Waltrip and an SCI lobbyist met with Governor Bush's chief of staff, Joe Allbaugh (Allbaugh was later appointed head of FEMA after Bush became President, but left to become a lobbyist representing Halliburton, among other corporate clients).

According to Newsweek, Bush stopped by and said to Waltrip, "Hey, Bobby, are those people still messing with you?"

May, a Democrat, sought to force Bush to testify in the case, but in August 1999, a Texas judge tossed out a subpoena issued by May's lawyers for Bush to give a deposition. Bush, who was not a defendant, called May's claims "frivolous" and denied knowing the circumstances of her ouster.

In 1999, when Bush was gearing up to run for the presidency, Texas Governor Rick Perry approved a <> settlement for May. SCI paid $55,000; the state of Texas shelled out the balance without admitting wrongdoing in May's termination.

Jennifer Crider, spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), expressed concern over FEMA's choice of an SCI subsidiary and questioned whether the selection was made through a no-bid process.

"The tragedy in the Gulf States must not be compounded by disrespecting those who have died," Crider told <> RAW STORY.

"It's critical that government contracts be subjected to scrutiny to ensure that there has been
no fraud or abuse of taxpayer money or interest."

Democrats have called for formation of an anti-fraud commission to investigate no-bid contracts awarded in relation to Hurricane Katrina, she added.

Why FEMA chose to outsource mortuary services to a paid contractor is also mystery to Dan Buckner, co-owner of the Gowen-Smith Chapel in the Gulf area. Buckner had planned to serve with the Disaster Mortuary Operational Responses Team, which reportedly told Buckner's partner, Gary Hicks of Paducah, KY, to expect up to 40,000 deaths from Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Upon learning of Kenyon's contract, Buckner expressed puzzlement. He told the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, "Volunteers would have gone at no charge."

Clarification: After FEMA began working with Kenyon, they were subsequently contracted by Louisiana Governor Blanco. It was Louisiana that signed a formal contract.

4) One wonders how temporary all these housing units will turn out to be:

Temporary housing planned for 1 million
FEMA to create miniature towns
By Allen Powell IIRiver Parishes bureau

Officials have announced an aggressive plan to find federally funded temporary housing for the more than 1 million Louisiana residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina -including more than 100,000 still in shelters - that could create new miniature towns throughout the state.

The plan, which would be financed completely by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, would include about 200,000 manufactured homes and camping trailers, thousands of prefabricated apartment complexes and single-family homes and several cruise ships, said Jerry Jones, the director of facility planning and control for the state Department of

Louisiana officials have estimated that more than 250,000 homes in the New Orleans area are now uninhabitable, said Mark Smith, a spokesman for the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Any individual whose house is no longer inhabitable and
has not found any other suitable housing is eligible for FEMA housing.

Some of the FEMA housing units would go in hurricane-affected parishes, but many will be placed in unaffected parishes. There have not been any estimates on the possible cost of the housing plan, and some people may have to stay in the homes for two or three years, Jones said.

State and federal officials have already begun moving employees of certain essential industries and companies into temporary housing to help jumpstart the economy. In addition, the state has obtained waivers from the federal government to eliminate all income-restrictions on any existing apartment complexes and single-family homes so that anyone can move into them.

Work has already begun on a temporary community of camping trailers in Baker, near Baton Rouge. Smith said that FEMA contractors have already begun installing the infrastructure -- sewerage and roads-- necessary for about 600 trailers.

Jones said the state has given FEMA a list of all state-owned land that could be used for housing and is working with local parishes to create a list of parish-owned land. Several dozen commercial properties are also under consideration. Once each site's location, existing infrastructure and availability are evaluated, Jones said residents would be moved in based on a priority system.

First priority would go to those individuals still in shelters, individuals with special needs or small children, and first responders. There are about 46,000 individuals still in Louisiana shelters alone, and hundreds of others are still in special-needs shelters. In addition, about
2,000 first responders are being housed in cruise ships in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.

However, Lisa Woodruff White, the deputy secretary of Louisiana's Department of Social Services, said that the number of people in shelters across the country has decreased rapidly from its highest point of 230,000 a short time ago.

"We're keenly interested in getting our people back home," Jones said. "We want all the other states to know that those are our people and we want them back."

Kim Hunter Reed, the director of policy and planning for Gov. Kathleen Blanco, said the state is working to not only get all of its residents back to Louisiana, but to also get them in temporary housing near their previous homes. Reed said the goal is to create small semi-self-contained communities where FEMA will provide all of the necessary services, including transportation, job placement and some infrastructure.

Jones noted that the state plans to place people from the same communities and shelters together, so that they can retain their sense of community.

"We realize this must be done as expediently as possible," Reed said. "We want to ensure that these transitional communities are enriched communities."

Jones noted that some local officials have expressed concern about the possible impact on their areas' infrastructure and law enforcement from the large influx of residents. He said that FEMA understands that it may have to provide new roads, sewerage systems and policing forces to these communities. He attributed some of the alleged lag in the agency's response time to the uniqueness of Louisiana's plight, and said the agency is now fully aware of its responsibility.

"Everything a community needs, FEMA will have to provide," Jones said. "You can't just abandon our people."

David Passey, a FEMA spokesman, said the agency understands that Katrina will require several atypical actions by the federal government.

In most disasters, FEMA would have partnered with private insurance companies to provide residents with money to find their own housing. But Louisiana's existing housing shortage was only exacerbated by Katrina's destruction, which means that FEMA is in the position of having to create new communities for people. Passey said the enormity of the task, and people's natural impatience, may be driving the perception of the agency's slow response

5) On archival preservation efforts:

Preservationists rush to save city's history
Centuries-old records imperiled by floodwaters
By John PopeStaff writer

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, a group of highly trained professionals knew exactly what to do: Find and preserve Louis Armstrong's trumpet, John James Audubon's bird prints, a drum from the Battle of New Orleans and city records dating back to 1769.

To a large extent, they succeeded. These and other irreplaceable ingredients of the city's history, along with Napoleon Bonaparte's death mask, early Carnival costumes and the paintings of acclaimed primitive artist Clementine Hunter, have been moved to warehouses in the Baton Rouge area, said Emily Sneed, press secretary to Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, whose office is responsible for the state museum network.

She declined to be more specific about where they are, citing security concerns.

Those artifacts came through the storm undamaged, but others remain in doubt. Professionals are working to salvage about 6,000 bound volumes of more than two centuries of property transactions in Orleans Parish -- about 10 percent of all the books in the Notarial Archives -- that were under 3 feet of water in the basement of the Civil District Court building on Loyola Avenue.

Concern mounted because archivists weren't allowed inside for more than a week after the storm, prompting Shelly Henley, immediate past president of the Society of Southwest Archivists, to sound the alarm in a letter to editors of several newspapers.

Without professional help, the documents "will soon be unrecoverable," she wrote. "New Orleans, a city so rich in history, may soon become a city with no history."

All the documents are backed up on microfilm in Baton Rouge, but saving the actual records is crucial, said Stephen Bruno, custodian of notarial records.

"When you talk about losing land records, you can't establish who the owner of a property is," he said. "These records are critical to any kind of real-estate commerce in the city."

His office has hired Munters, a Swedish firm, to restore the documents. The job could cost as much as $500,000, but, Bruno said, "there's no price tag on this. They're too priceless."

Plan of action sought

The close call made Angele Davis, Louisiana's secretary of culture, recreation and tourism, realize that a plan must be developed to protect the city's past. "We've got a task force going now," she said. "We have to come up with a plan to protect them."

Members will include representatives of the Historic New Orleans Collection and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Buildings containing both institutions' holdings were unscathed, even though the art museum was surrounded by floodwater.

However, the storm reduced a piece in the museum's sculpture garden to a mass of twisted metal.

Davis' purview includes the Louisiana State Museum system. Part of the roof was torn off the Old U.S. Mint on Esplanade Avenue and Decatur Street, but damage was minimal to the Presbytere and Cabildo, two iconic structures that flank St. Louis Cathedral overlooking Jackson Square.

Another historical storehouse that escaped damage was the basement of New Orleans' main library at Tulane and Loyola avenues, which houses the city archives. Papers there date back to 1769, and they include the papers of all New Orleans' mayors, some court records, photographs, slave records, maps and City Council minutes, said Tania Tetlow, chairwoman of the New Orleans Library Board.

"The historical importance of the survival of these archives cannot be overestimated," said Loyola history professor Michael Ross, who described them as "one of the nation's great historical treasures."

The archives were secure, Tetlow said, because the library was built in the late 1950s, when officials were preoccupied with making buildings strong enough to withstand a nuclear attack.
Preserving archives

The major focus of historical restoration has been the Notarial Archives. Munters employees assessed the damage last week, pumped out water and retrieved the books. Damaged books were sent to a company warehouse, where workers hope to minimize damage by freeze-drying pages and vacuuming the ice off.

The other records were put in air-conditioned trucks to be delivered to a temporary storage site, said Bruno, adding that he does not sure where they will go.

Older property records, some dating to 1734, are in the Notarial Archives Research Center in the Amoco Building on Poydras Street. Although floodwater didn't damage them, the lack of air conditioning is affecting older documents, he said, and they may be moved where air conditioning is available.

Among other repositories in the New Orleans area are several at Tulane University's Uptown campus, including the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive; the Special Collections department, the city's oldest historical research library; and the Amistad Research Center, which specializes in African-American history.

Although curators were optimistic because floodwaters did not get into those buildings, they were eager to pump in air conditioning to thwart the dangerous effects of mold and humidity.

And Susan Tucker, a curator at the Newcomb College archives, said she was concerned about the status of her holdings and Amistad's, which share space in an off-campus building that she had not heard about.

Staff writers Chris Kirkham and James Varney and contributed to this article.

6) Rebuilding letter:

ELIE: Rebuilding should lift up the poor

David Kallick worried aloud that his phone call, or at least his subject matter, might be premature.

Kallick is a senior fellow at the Fiscal Policy Institute. The New York think tank coordinated a coalition of progressive groups that helped shape the direction of the rebuilding effort following
the Sept. 11 attacks.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is largely empty of its people. Many of our homes remain under water. Our dead are unburied.

So Kallick, a sensitive man, wanted to proceed with caution. He had some suggestions about what we should do, even at this early stage, to ensure that the interests of our poorest citizens are taken into account as we rebuild.

Other people have not been so delicate.

Last Thursday President Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, the law requiring employers to pay locally prevailing wages to construction workers on federally financed projects. The declaration applies to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Snouts in the trough

Since Katrina, nothing has been laid so bare as the fact that, in many instances, the poorest among us were fatally ill-equipped to save their own lives. Yet if these people managed to survive the hurricane and obtain jobs in the rebuilding effort, they may well find that their president is opposed to using their tax dollars to pay them decent wages.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts have already been let. Companies that have received them seem guaranteed to reap big profits. Many other companies have hired lobbyists
to help them get their snouts in the trough.

In "An Open Letter From Civic Groups in New York on 9/11 and Katrina," the Fiscal Policy Institute, in conjunction with Good Jobs NY and Good Jobs First, urge community groups to move quickly to help shape the debate over the rebuilding of our city.

"In New York, many of us hesitated in criticizing program design because we didn't want to seem ungrateful or (in the post-Sept. 11 world) divisive. As it turned out, however, when we got into debates later on, the early design of the programs wound up limiting the possible range of our response," the letter states.

Pricing out the poor

Ultimately, the financial assistance and focus of the Sept. 11 rebuilding effort focused on ensuring that falling real estate values were propped up. This was a boon to those rich enough to own property in the area, but little was done to ensure affordable housing and living wages for the area's moderate-income residents.

As a result, Kallick said, that area of Manhattan is wealthier than ever. But income levels in the community were raised primarily by pricing out poor residents.
We could soon face the same problem in New Orleans.

I hope that our political leaders have learned more from this disaster than our president has.
But, if their past action is any indication, their contempt for our poorest citizens will remain unabated.

The full text of the open letter can be found at . David Kallick can be reached at

7) How's this for harrowing:

'Help me, please don't let me die'
911 operators confront grim task, ghastly calls
Operators fall apart once off the phone
By Brian Thevenot
Staff writer

As she took that first call from a woman trapped in her 9th Ward attic, 911 operator Lechia
Allen ached with the grim realization that the next call would be the same. And the next. And the next. She couldn't do a thing for any of them.

Working in the downtown 911 center at Broad and Gravier streets, next to the Falstaff antenna,
Allen knew police wouldn't respond to calls while the winds of Hurricane Katrina roared. She knew the rescue operation wouldn't start for hours and, in many cases, days. Laboring under the heavy weight of helplessness, all Allen and her 120 fellow operators could do was listen to the terrifying tales of rising waters, raging fires and parents holding their children toward the
skies, above the floodwaters.

"They heard people taking their last breaths. They heard people holding children up in the peak of the attics, and dropping children in the water and watching them drown," said New Orleans
Police Capt. Steve Gordon, chief of the 911 center.

Some of the nearly all-female staff working with Allen, 44, took calls from the same neighborhoods where they knew their families had stayed to ride out the storm, she said. Some lost loved ones. Others haven't been found.

"Seek higher ground" - that was all that Allen could tell them, in the calmest voice she could muster.

"I'm already on my roof," so many of them would respond.

After that first call, the one that still sticks in Allen's head, they all blended together.

"It was a lot of hollering and screaming and, 'Help me, please don't let me die,' and 'The water's coming up' and 'We're all going to die' ... 'I have a baby' ... 'Where do you go? What do you do?
What time are you coming?'" Allen said after working another 12-hour shift one day last week.

Such moments are captured in wrenching clarity in a sampling of 911 tapes released by the New Orleans Police Department.

In one, an operator identified only as "operator 16" calmly and politely advises just-as-polite resident from "1623 Rampart, between Tupelo and Gordon'' that help would not arrive anytime soon.

"I'm stuck in the attic, me and my sister and them, and my mama, and we got water in the
whole house," the caller says.

"How many people are in this location with you?"

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine people."

"OK, ma'am, we're going to try to get somebody out there to 1623, OK.?''

"OK, thank you."

"You're welcome."

Another woman called from eastern New Orleans, reporting a spreading fire across the street.

"I'm calling to report a fire, at 6131 Bundy Road."

"What type?"

"There's a whole apartment complex on fire ... ''

"Do you know how long ... ,'' the operator interrupts.

"No, ma'am.''

" Do you know if anybody's inside the house?"

"I know there's people over there, that's what I'm trying to say ... "

"... OK, we'll get somebody out there."

"Ok. Thanks."

Another woman called from 1428 Gallier St. in the 9th Ward.

"How many inside the location with you, ma'am?" the operator asks.

"I got a handicapped girl and I got a baby that's on a pump machine ... we're in the bed ... But the water is coming up."

"He's an infant?"

"Yeah, the baby's 8 months ..."

"OK, what you need to do - we're trying our best - but you need to get to higher ground, until we're able to get to you."

As Hurricane Katrina sent water rushing into the 9th Ward and eastern New Orleans the day of the storm, Allen listened for a full hour to the callers before taking a break. Many of the operators around her couldn't take it for more than 15 minutes before breaking into sobs and handing the chair over to a revolving cast of replacements. When they recovered their composure, they stepped back in line to relieve those who just had relieved them.

In between such stunted shifts, the women gathered in the hallways, weeping and hugging, watching for which of their colleagues would be the next to break down.

"It's a given that they handle life-and-death emergency calls," said Joe Narcisse, second in command at the call center. "But they don't handle calls where somebody's going to die call after call after call. It was a kind of doomsday, sum-of-all-fears atmosphere."

Yet the women processed the calls like they always do, knowing that for so many of the people they had tried to soothe, it wouldn't matter. At times they couldn't get clear answers even on the most basic information from distressed callers.

In one call that drove home the deadly power of the storm, Narcisse said, an operator asked for an address the caller couldn't possibly give.

"His house had floated down the street," Narcisse said.

Even as they continued to get frantic calls from east of the Industrial Canal, nearest the storm, the passing of the storm gave way to a brief sense of relief, an end in sight.

Then the floodwall at the 17th Street Canal burst, sending water raging into the city all night and generating a whole new round of frantic calls. The new wave of destruction swamped Allen's house in Gentilly.

As the city continued to flood late Aug. 29 and into Aug. 30, the difference between day and night blurred as the operators continued to struggle through short shifts, replacing one another as each reached the limit of horrors.

Meanwhile, the water crept closer to the call center, already damaged by wind. Gordon roamed the center that night, trying to determine whether to move the operation to a safer room.

By daybreak, the water came in around the operators' ankles, then to their knees. Gordon had little choice: The operators loaded onto boats that would take them to the Broad Street overpass, where they would bake in the heat for several hours before spending several uncomfortable days at downtown hotels.

Even as the water had come into their building, the operators' phones never stopped working.
They were ringing as the boats pulled away.

Now, more than two weeks after the storm, almost all of the operators have left town, in many cases joining their evacuated families out of state. Only about 15 operators, including Allen, remained in the city and working this week. State Police operators have stepped in to fill the gap, 911 officials said.

Allen has yet to take a day off. She hasn't seen her house, her boyfriend or her two sons, who all evacuated. She doesn't know when she'll be able to see them, and her cell phone rarely works.
She's also waiting for calls from FEMA and her insurance company.

But she said she plans to keep her $9-an-hour job, and to stay in New Orleans.

"I'm not leaving New Orleans," she said. "If I have to rebuild, I'll rebuild."

8) The most tragic part of this article comes at thevery end:,1280,-5288490,00.html

Residents Streaming Back to New Orleans
Monday September 19, 2005 6:31 PMBy DAVID CRARY
AP National Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Residents began streaming backMonday as part of a plan by the mayor to reopen NewOrleans one neighborhood at a time, despite repeatedwarnings from the top federal official on the scene -and President Bush himself - that the city is unsafe.

Mayor Ray Nagin, under mounting pressure to rescindhis decision to let people in, defended the move andcomplained that the federal official in charge in NewOrleans, Coast Guard Vice Adm.
Thad Allen, had madehimself ``the new crowned federal mayor of NewOrleans.''

Around midday, however, Nagin spokeswoman SallyForeman said the mayor was reassessing the timetablefor bringing people back into the city because of``external factors,'' such as a tropical storm headedfor the Gulf of Mexico.

The dispute underscored the lack of coordinationbetween federal and local officials that has markedthe disaster practically from the start.

Algiers, a neighborhood of 57,000 people across theMississippi River from the French Quarter, became thefirst section Monday to reopen to residents. Algiers,home to many of the companies that make floats forMardi Gras parades, saw little damage from HurricaneKatrina three weeks ago. Unlike much of the rest ofthe city, it has electricity and drinkable water.

Over the next week, the Uptown neighborhood, theGarden District and the historic French Quarter arealso set to reopen to residents and businesses atNagin's invitation, bringing a total about one-thirdof New Orleans' half-million inhabitants back.

John Schwab, 31, came back to Algiers with his brotherand encountered no checkpoint getting into theneighborhood, despite warnings from the mayor thatpolice would be checking IDs.
Schwab owns a janitorialservice that had contracts with movie studios. Butthey have all pulled out of New Orleans because of thestorm

``I'll probably have to look for a job inconstruction,'' he said. ``That's about the only thingaround.''

A few gas stations and convenience stores were open,but little else. The manager of Winn Dixie supermarketsaid he had hoped to be open by Monday, but it tooklonger than he anticipated to clear out the spoiledfood and other debris.

``We're now shooting for Thursday,'' said GradyShavers. ``Salvage crews already took everything outof the store. That was a nasty job.''

In Washington, President Bush on Monday questioned theplan to let people back in, saying there is ``deepconcern'' about the possibility that Tropical StormRita, which was headed toward the Florida Keys, couldhead into the Gulf of Mexico and drop more rain on NewOrleans. He said he has been warned that the city'slevees would be breached again if that happened.

In addition, Bush said there are significantenvironmental concerns. New Orleans still lacksdrinkable water, and there are fears about thecontamination in the remaining floodwaters and themuck left behind in drained areas of the city.

``The mayor - you know, he's got this dream abouthaving a city up and running, and we share thatdream,'' Bush said. ``But we also want to be realisticabout some of the hurdles and obstacles that we allconfront in repopulating New Orleans.''

Allen, head of the federal government's hurricaneresponse, warned over the weekend - and again onMonday morning - that city services may not be able tohandle the influx of people. He cited a lack ofdrinkable water and 911 service, and he, too,expressed concern that another storm could cause thepatchwork repairs to New Orleans' levees to fail andbring another round of flooding.

He said hoped to meet with the mayor later Monday todiscuss his concerns and work out a timetable forbringing the city back.

Asked on CBS' ``Early Show'' when it would be safe forpeople to return, he said, ``We know potable waterwill probably be restored soon and the levees will befixed, so that may mean days, weeks.''

Nagin defended the decision to bring people back.

``If he's suggesting I'm pushing a little hard, I am.The citizens of New Orleans deserve the opportunity tosee what they have left and what they can salvage,''Nagin told Fox News in response to Allen's warnings.

``I'm a little surprised the admiral came out publiclyon this,'' he added. ``Maybe since I've been away aday or two, maybe he's the new crowned federal mayorof New Orleans.''

About 20 percent of the city is still flooded, downfrom a high of about 80 percent, said Mitch Frazier,spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers. Thestill-flooded areas are near Lake Pontchartrain wherethe levees broke and in eastern New Orleans. Fraziersaid all of the water is expected to be pumped out ofthe city by Sept 30.

With hurricane season still in full swing, he said,engineers are trying to repair the broken levees ``tooffer at least a baseline level of protection.''

``There is not the hurricane protection here thatthere once was. It is significantly compromised. Thehurricane level protection we have had here prior toHurricane Katrina will not be able to return. It willbe years, not months,'' he said.

On Monday morning, traffic was backed up severelyalong Interstate 10 west of New Orleans and wasstop-and-go across the elevated portions of thehighway that crosses Lake
Pontchartrain.Tractor-trailers, emergency vehicles and NationalGuard trucks shared the highway with cars towingtrailers full of hurricane gear and pickup trucks withtheir beds loaded with water, cleaning materials andcoolers.

In the Uptown section, where the floodwaters leftbehind mud and other debris, residents were cleaningup, even though the neighborhood had not officiallybeen reopened.

Refrigerators, strapped shut with rotting food stillin them, lined some streets. Garbage bags, stacks ofmattresses and box springs, furniture, clothing, toysand other goods were piled at the curb to be pickedup.

In Algiers, Barry Kern, president of Mardi Grasfloat-maker Kern Studios, said he supports the mayor'splan to bring businesses and some residents back.

``Obviously we need to get businesses up and runningany way we can,'' Kern said. ``If we don't startsomewhere, where do we start?''

He said that the city might be unfit for children, butthat there are key businesses that need to bereopened, like his, so that people can start makingmoney and the city can get back on its feet.

The vice president of the national hospitalaccreditation organization also cautioned againstreopening parts of the city, saying several hospitalsprobably were damaged beyond repair, while others maytry to rush back into business before conditions aresafe.

``Essentially the health care infrastructure of NewOrleans is gone - it no longer exists,'' said JoeCappiello, who had just completed a three-day missionto the city for the Joint Commission on Accreditationof Healthcare Organizations.

Although the city has more than a dozen hospitals,none has resumed normal operations. Officials atChildren's Hospital, which Nagin had hoped would beready in time for the planned return of residents tothe Uptown neighborhood, said they may need 10 moredays to prepare.

The Garden District's Touro Infirmary, one of thecity's largest hospitals, announced plans to reopen onWednesday, when residents are due to start moving backthere. That would make it the first hospital to reopensince the storm. Cleaning crews were busy Sundaycarting out debris and readying the hospital.

Dr. Brobson Lutz, New Orleans' former health directorand an assistant coroner for Orleans Parish, said thehospitals clearly will not be up to accreditationstandards, but the city still needs them open as soonas possible.

``I don't believe the people in New Orleans or thedoctors give a hoot whether they accredit ourhospitals or not,'' Lutz said. ``We need to have ouremergency rooms open so that if people returning needemergency care for trauma or infections or otherthings, they can get it.''

Crews still searched by boat for the dead. The stateDepartment of Health and Hospitals said the death tollin Louisiana had risen to 646. The toll across theGulf Coast was 883.

In the impoverished and heavily damaged Ninth Ward, asearch team found four corpses Sunday and alsodiscovered a 39-year-old man who had survived in hishome with his dog since the flood.
Louie Fernandez, aspokesman for the Federal Emergency ManagementAgency's search-and-rescue operations, said the man -who gave his name as Reyne Johnson - was disorientedand taken to a medical center for treatment.

Fernandez said the man may have sustained himself byeating some of the food that National
Guardsmen hadbeen leaving at the house for the dog.

Cappiello also said he had heard unconfirmed reportsthat some doctors may have euthanized some criticallyill patients who could not be moved out, rather thanleaving them to die from flooding or neglect.

``There was a whisper about that when we were downthere,'' he said. ``It may prove to have someviability to it. Sometimes horrible decisions likethat have to be made.''

9) Baton Rouge right wing commentary on Katrina folks. At least this person gave us a name and contact info:

Baton Rouge Area Foundation
402 N. Fourth Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
Phone (225) 387-6126
Toll-free 1 (877) 387-6126

Baton Rouge Area Foundation is a nonprofit organization that forms partnerships with philanthropists, nonprofit organizations and other community leaders to ensure that our community can exceed any challenge, and that our residents have every opportunity to succeed.

Individual Members
Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Kean III
Interesting perspective from a Louisiana resident......

Those of us in La. know who screwed up this disaster. Our Governor, the levee board, the Corps of Engineers and the New Orleans Mayor are primarily to blame with the incompetence of FEMA being secondary.

By the way, things have improved significantly. We give credit to our armed forces who have taken the pressure off of local law enforcement allowing them to regain control of our cities. I've often wondered why New Orleans police have a reputation for being tough, no nonsense guys -- I now understand.

The looting here has been bad. You won't see it on TV, since we're not even close to being newsworthy considering all the deprivation, death and suffering being reported. Our parish took in the first 600 evacuees, and put them up in one of our brand new high schools located next to I-10. In l0 hours, they had trashed the school, torn out urinals, ripped the bleachers out of the gym and trashed the classrooms and computers.

We moved them, plus 600 more to a place across the Interstate at an expo center. By Tuesday night, there were 3 car jackings and 3 armed robberies. So we had to call in our deputies, police and Nat'l Guard troops to guard the evacuees. Most of our law enforcement had been down in NO working the rescue mission. The same stories apply to BR, only multiply the numbers 10 fold. My godson/nephew is the chief of the K-9 Department in Shreveport, 250 miles north of BR. He had been in NO working on the rescue till now, except he has been called back to Shreveport tonight to protect against the looting there. Mandy works for a doctor in a clinic next to our small hospital in Gonzales. It's situated across the Interstate from the evacuee center. At 11 AM yesterday Thursday), the police locked down the hospital and the clinic to protect them from looters. The clinic closed down at 2 PM and the medical staff got escorts out of the vicinity.

The national news seems to carry a constant theme of Louisiana politicians crying "shame, shame America". "Where's the government?" It's the mantra de jour. Our governor had the power to declare martial law and commandeer school buses to evacuate the NO folks. She did not. Her news conferences are unscheduled, unformatted ramblings, punctuated with tears and calls for help and prayers......but not much information or direction. She has been noticeably absent from sight today since the President toured. Maybe I can't see the forest for the trees here, but I don't want any of you "Americans out there" to accept any blame for the lack of immediate response when it was clearly the responsibility of local and state government officials.

Frank H. Kean, III
1614 LaSalle Parc
Baton Rouge, La. 70806

10) The author of this article did not offer a byline or address. Oh well, I guess racists are
(anonymous) people too:

This won't make the evening news..........

A group of about 30 British students were among the very small number of whites in the stadium, where they spent four harrowing days. Jamie Trout, 22, an economics major, wrote that the scene "was like something out of Lord of the Flies," with "people shouting racial abuse about us being white." One night, word came that the power was failing, and that there was only ten minutes' worth of gas for the generators. Zoe Smith, 21, from Hull, said they all feared for their lives: "All us girls sat in the middle while the boys sat on the outside, with chairs as protection," she said. "We were absolutely terrified, the situation had descended into chaos, people were very hostile and the living conditions were horrendous." She said that even during the day, "when we offered to help with the cleaning, the locals gave us abuse."

Mr. Trout said the National Guard finally recognized how dangerous the threat was from blacks, and moved the British under guard to the basketball are! a, which was safer. "The army warned us to keep our bags close to us and to grip them tight," he said, as they were escorted out. Twenty-year-old Jane Wheeldon credited one man in particular, Sgt. Garland Ogden, with getting the Britons safely out. "He went against a lot of rules to get us moved," she said.

Australian tourists stuck in the Superdome had the same experience. Bud Hopes, a 32-year-old man from Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, took control and may have saved many lives. As the stadium reverted to anarchy he realized whites were in danger, and gathered tourists together for safety. "There were 65 of us altogether so we were able to look after each other, especially the girls who were being grabbed and threatened," said Mr. Hopes. They organized escorts for women who had to go to the toilet or for food, and set up a roster of men to stand guard while others slept. "We sat through the night just watching each other, not knowing if we would be alive in the morning," Mr. Hopes s! aid. "Ninety-eight percent of the people around the world are good," he said; "in that place 98 per cent of the people were bad."

John McNeil of Coorparoo in Brisbane tells what happened to their group, too, heard the lights were about to go out: "I looked at Bud [Hopes] and said, 'That will be the end of us.' The gangs had already eyed us off. If the lights had gone out we would have been in deep trouble. We were sitting there praying for a miracle and the lights stayed on." Mr. Hopes said the Australians owed their lives to a National Guardsman who broke the rules and got whites out to a medical center past seething crowds of blacks.

Peter McNeil of Brisbane told the Australian AP that his son John was one of the 65 who managed to get out. The blacks were reportedly so hostile "they would stab you as soon as look at you." "He's never been so scared in his life," explained Mr. McNeil. "He just said they had to get out of the dark. Otherwise, another night, he said, they ! would have been gone." No American newspaper wrote about what these white tourists had gone through.

When guardsmen began to show up in force on Sept. 1 and take control, some blacks met them with cheers, but others shouted obscenities at them. Capt. John Pollard of the Texas Air National Guard said 20,000 people were in the dome when the evacuation began, but thousands more appeared from surrounding areas when word got out that there were buses leaving town.

Soldiers held their M-16s and grenade-launchers at the ready, and kept a sharp eye out for snipers.

That same day, when it was time to board buses for Houston, soldiers had trouble controlling the crowd. People at the back of the mob crushed the people in front against barricades the soldiers put up to contain the crowd. Many people continued to yell obscenities whenever they saw a patrol go by. Some were afraid of losing their place in line and defecated where they stood.

The Army Times reported that Sgt. 1st Class Ro! n Dixon of the Oklahoma National Guard, who had recently come home from Afghanistan, said he said he was struck by the fact Afghanis wanted to help themselves, but that the people of New Orleans only wanted others to help them.

By the evening of Sept. 3, the Superdome was finally evacuated, but the state-of-the-art stadium was a reeking cavern of filth, human waste, and an unknown number of corpses. It, too, had been looted of everything not bolted down. Janice Singleton was working at the stadium when the storm hit. She said she was robbed of everything she had, including her shoes. As for the building: "They tore that dome apart," she said sadly. "They tore it down. They taking everything out of there they can take."

If anything, conditions were worse at the Convention Center. Although on high ground not far from the stadium, it had not been designated as a shelter. It was, however, beyond reach of the high water, and soon some 20,000 people were huddled in its cavernous ha! lls. There were no supplies or staff, and for several days neither FEMA nor the National Guard seems to have known anyone was there.

Armed gangs took control, and occasional gunshots caused panic. There was no power, and at night the center was plunged into complete darkness. Degeneracy struck almost immediately, with rapes, robbery, and murder. Terrible shrieking tore through the night, but no one could see or dared to move. When Police Chief Eddie Compass heard what was happening, he sent a squad of 88 officers to investigate. They were overwhelmed by superior forces and retreated, leaving thousands to the mercy of criminals.

It was not until Sept. 2-four days after the hurricane-that a force of 1,000 National Guardsmen finally took over from the armed gangs. "Had we gone in with a lesser force we may have been challenged, innocents may have been caught in a fight between the guard and military police and those who did not want to be processed or apprehended," explaine! d Gen. Blum.

Sitting with her daughter and other relatives, Trolkyn Joseph, 37, told a reporter that men had wandered the center at night raping and murdering children. She said she found a dead 14-year old girl at 5 a.m. on Friday morning, four hours after the girl went missing. "She was raped for four hours until she was dead," Miss Joseph said through tears. "Another child, a seven-year old boy, was found raped and murdered in the kitchen freezer last night."

Africa Brumfield, 32, explained that women were in particular fear: "There is rapes going on here. Women cannot go to the bathroom without men. They are raping them and slitting their throats." Donald Anderson, 43, was at the convention center with his wife who was six months pregnant: "We circled the chairs like wagons because at night there are stampedes," he said.

"We had to survive."

The very few whites in the crowd were terrified. Eighty-year-old Selma Valenti, who was with her husband, said blacks threatened! to kill them on Thursday, Sept. 1. "They hated us. Four young black men told us the buses were going to come last night and pick up the elderly so they were going to kill us," she said, sobbing. Presumably, the blacks wanted to take their places on the buses.

The center was not entirely without a form of rough justice. A National Guardsman reported that a man who had raped and killed a young girl in the bathroom was caught by the crowd-which beat him to death.

At one time there were as many as seven or eight corpses in front of the center, some of them with blood streaming from bullet wounds. Inside, there was an emergency morgue, but a National Guardsman refused to let a Reuters photographer in to take pictures. "We're not letting anyone in there anymore," he said. "If you want to take pictures of dead bodies, go to Iraq." By Saturday, Sept. 3, the center was mostly cleared of the living. Refugees pulled shirts over their noses trying to block out the smell as they walked pa! st rotting bodies.

By the weekend, there were an estimated 50,000 soldiers and federal rescue workers in the city, but even the massive presence did not bring calm. On Sunday, Sept. 4, contractors working for the US Army Corps of Engineers came under fire. Their police escort returned fire, in what became a running gun battle. Deputy Police Chief W.J. Riley said police killed four of the attackers.

By Saturday, police had set up a temporary booking and detention center at the New Orleans train station. State Attorney General Charles Foti said there were plans for a temporary court system, but no one knew how they were going to assemble juries or call witnesses. The grim business began of combing the drowning city for corpses and the remaining survivors.


The world reacted with astonishment to sights it never expected to see in the United States.

"Anarchy in the USA," read the headline in Britain's best-selling newspaper, The Sun.

"Apocalypse Now," said Handelsblatt in Germany. Mario de Carvalho, a veteran Portuguese cameraman, who has covered the world's trouble spots, said he saw the bodies of babies and old people along the highways leading out of New Orleans. "It's a chaotic situation. It's terrible. It's a situation we generally see in other countries, in the Third World," he said.

The comparison would have been insulting to some Third-Worlders. "I am absolutely disgusted," said Sajeewa Chinthaka, 36, of the looters. The Sri Lanka native added: "After the tsunami our people, even the ones who lost everything, wanted to help the others who were suffering. Not a single tourist caught in the tsunami was mugged. Now with all this happening in the U.S. we can easily see where the civilized part of the world's population is."

In the United States, the stark contrast between endless scenes of appalling behavior by blacks and rescue personnel who were almost all white was greeted with the standard foolishness. Some peop! le accused the "biased" media of suppressing footage of rampaging whites and heroic black helicopter pilots. Most blacks made excuses for looters. "Desperate people do desperate things," said U.S. Rep. Diane Watson of California. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Democrat from Illinois, said we must not judge harshly: "Who are we to say what law and order should be in this unspeakable environment?" Rep. Melvin Watt, North Carolina Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was perhaps the greatest ass of all: "Whatever is being taken could not be used by anyone else anyway," he said.

Many blacks took it for granted that federal relief was slow because the victims were black. Rep. Elijah Cummings said "poverty, age and skin color" determined who lived and who died. Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington bureau, blasted "disparate treatment" of Katrina victims. "Many black people feel that their race, their property conditions and their voting patterns ha! ve been a factor in the response," explained Jesse Jackson, Sr. He said the rubbish outside the Convention Center made the place look "like the hull of a slave ship." Black activist and reparations-booster Randall Robinson said the relief effort was the "defining watershed moment in America's racial history." He said he had "finally come to see my country for what it really is. A monstrous fraud."

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick said she was "ashamed of America and . of our government." The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, shouted and wept on local radio, demanding of federal officials: "Get off your asses, and let's do something," (and gave city workers a vacation when the feds arrived). There was an undercurrent of fury at a meeting of black leaders in Detroit. One audience member wanted to know whether the slow federal response was "black genocide." Another shouted, "African Americans built this nation. Descendants of slaves are being allowed to die."

One black man, observing ! the chaos from abroad, took a different view. Leighton Levy wrote in the Sept. 2 Jamaica Star: "I am beginning to believe that black people, no matter where in the world they are, are cursed with a genetic predisposition to steal, murder, and create mayhem." He wanted to know why there was no footage of white looters: "Is it that the media are not showing pictures of them looting and robbing? Or is it that they are too busy trying to stay alive, waiting to be rescued, and hiding from the blacks?"

Most blacks and many whites fell into the usual assumptions about omnipotent white government and helpless Negroes. If black people were suffering it was because whites had not done enough for them. It did not occur to them that it was the responsibility of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana-not the federal government-to prepare for hurricanes. Before the storm hit, Mayor Nagin issued a mandatory evacuation only under pressure from the Bush administration. The mayor then did nothing t! o enforce the order, leaving hundreds of city buses and school buses to drown rather than use them to offer transportation to people without

Something of the mood of black New Orleans was caught by Fox News film crews as late as Sunday, Sept. 4. White volunteers were trying to persuade a black woman and her small children to leave her flooded house. "You've got to get out," they explained. "The water isn't going away." A black man at the top of a multi-story building told a helicopter crew he didn't need to leave. All he needed was some supplies. These people could not understand something that was obvious to the whole world: New Orleans had no electricity, no plumbing, no transport, and no food. Blacks refused to leave their flooded homes, even though to stay meant near-certain death.

Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff noted how crazy it was to stay in the wreckage. "That is not a reasonable alternative," he said. "We are not going to be able to have people si! tting in houses in the city of New Orleans for weeks and months while we de-water and clean this city."

FEMA reported that it had pulled three Carnival Cruise Lines ships from commercial duty to shelter the blacks of New Orleans. Maybe the chance of berth on the Ecstasy, the Sensation or the Holiday would be enough to drag them out of the muck.


Ninety-nine percent of the white people left New Orleans when the evacuation order went out.

Some 80,000 blacks could not or would not leave. Whites did not "leave them behind," as the editorial-writers keep telling us. No one could have gotten some of them to leave, but if it was anyone's job to give them the option, it was that of the black-run city government. Of the blacks who stayed, probably only a minority committed crimes, but they were enough to turn the city into a hell hole. Some did unspeakable things: loot hospitals, fire on rescue teams, destroy ambulances. No amount of excuse-making and finger-pointing can pape! r over degeneracy like that. Black people-and only black people-did these things.

The Superdome and the Convention Center were certainly unpleasant places to spend three or four days, but 50,000 whites would have behaved completely differently. They would have established rules, organized supplies, cared for the sick and dying. They would have organized games for children. The papers would be full of stories of selflessness and community spirit.

Natural disasters usually bring out the best in people. They help neighbors and strangers alike.

For blacks-at least the lower-class blacks of New Orleans-disaster was an excuse to loot, rob, rape and kill. Our rulers and media executives will try to turn the story of Hurricane Katrina into yet another morality tale of downtrodden blacks and heartless whites, but pandering of this kind fools fewer and fewer people. Many whites will realize-some for the first time-that we have Africa in our midst, that utterly alien Africa of roa! d-side corpses, cruelty, and anarchy that they thought could never wash up on our shores.

To be sure, the story of Hurricane Katrina does have a moral for anyone not deliberately blind.

The races are different. Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western Civilization-any kind of civilization-disappears. And in a crisis, civilization disappears overnight.

11) Another right-wing Katrina comment:

In 1927, a major unnamed hurricane struck the city of New Orleans. It was actually more powerful than Katrina. The scope of damage was much more severe because this particular hurricane actually hit the city. Katrina missed it by 25 miles.

The interesting difference is the response the government gave in 1927 to those hurricane refugees, compared to the refugees of Katrina, err- I meant "survivors" ---(sorry Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson).

How much aid did the government dispense at that time? Zero, nada, not one dime. And you know how much aid the army offered? The only aid from the army came in the form of loaning the city of New Orleans tents and camp stoves. Ironically, later, the army sued the city for reimbursement. So what was the big difference here?

It was the attitude the people had towards the government at that time, compared to the attitude that Katrina's victims have. The 1927 "survivors" expected nothing from the government. 80 years ago, people understood that the government was there to "protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Today, Americans expect the government to "provide life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That's a major difference.

And now, a week later, when the government failed on all three levels of local, state, and federal to provide for their needs, Americans were sorely disappointed.

Reverend Jackson and reverend Sharpton spend their opportunities arguing about semantics."They shouldn't be called refugees, they should be called survivors" Unfortunately, they missed the boat. It was a perfect opportunity to deliver a very basic message to their people.

Fact, if you are poor and uneducated in America, this is what happens.

Fact, if you depend on the government, you will be sorely disappointed.

Fact, if you are poor in America, there is no reason for you to be uneducated. Its free! 12 grades.

And if you really apply yourself, there is enough grants and assistance out there for higher education, which will raise you above the poverty level. And no longer will you depend on the government and be disappointed. Its unfortunate that this lesson will be missed by most of the "survivors".

A couple of other points should be brought to light. G. W. has asked the congress for 50 billion dollars worth of aid for the "survivors" and clean up of the city. Interesting isn't it? one million people displaced and out of work in that city, sitting all day in shelters, waiting for the next handout. Of course, the thought never occured to anyone that just maybe, "hey, we should give all these folks jobs filling sand bags to plug the levees and clearing trees." (Wonder how many of them would want government aid if they had to work for it?)

And finally, they haven't hardly begun the task of picking up dead bodies, and already the finger pointing has started. The congressional hearings and probes will go forever. Millions will be spent on a wasted diatribe of a bipartisan "witch hunting expedition"- all of which will be nonsense. If you're a democrat, you are going to blame the president. If you are a republican, you are going to blame the mayor and the governor. This is another case in point of how the government will once again fail its people, they could have spent the millions educating the poor and misplaced citizens of New Orleans so that they could go out and get a new and better life, instead of wasting it on useless blame investigations.

12) New Orleans culinary article:

In New Orleans, a city defined by its culinary culture, restaurateurs vow to rebuild.
By Regina SchramblingSpecial to The Times
September 14 2005

OTHER cities have specialties, a hoagie here or a chimichanga there.

New Orleans has a cuisine, a rich, vibrant, fully evolved style of cooking from centuries in a pivotal location. There the melting pot actually lived up to the great American concept, blending African, West Indian, French, Spanish, Italian, Cajun and recently Vietnamese into one exuberant good-times roll.

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,7083884.story?coll=la-home-headlines

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