Friday, September 23, 2005.
We lost power last night right about midnight, and it was out for about an hour. I could only find one headlamp and one lantern. I couldn't figure out where the bag with all my lights is. I had brought it with me to Houston, and I'm pretty sure I brought it back, but where it is in all the packed stuff, I have no idea...
Rita is still on track to cream Lake Charles, but the weather here isn't so bad yet. Small wind gusts, maybe 10 MPH, and light rain on and off. So far the roof doesn't leak.
-- AP: Dallas TV station WFAA reports 20 people killed when bus loaded with Hurricane Rita evacuees erupted in flames south of Dallas. Early indications were that the bus caught fire because of mechanical problems, possibly overheated brakes, then passengers' oxygen tanks started exploding, he said.
The irony is thick already this morning...
Well, it's raining really hard, so I went in the attic, and sure enough the roof is leaking. There isn't any glue holding it down, so the wind can blow water around under the patch. It's not that much and I'm managing it with buckets and tubs and pots and pans so far.
Andrea and Virginia (my mother-in-law, not my daughter) just left for the store at 10:00. Let's see how long that takes...
10:15 - Virginia just called me and said that there is a long line outside the Winn Dixie here by the house. They're going to try to go to Wal-Mart. Uh-huh.
In the meanwhile, the levee broke again.
Dozens of blocks in a New Orleans neighborhood are now under water.
The water is pouring over a patched levee, in the form of a waterfall at least 30 feet wide. A National Guardsman says, "Our worst fears came true." He says if it keeps up, the levee will breach, and he says it "will fill the area that was flooded earlier."
FLASH FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT FOR ORLEANS AND ST. BERNARD PARISH, MAINLY THE NINTH WARD, N.O. EAST, CHALMETTE AND ARABI.
Well, at least that's not me.
From WWL-TV: Mitch Frazier, Corps of Engineers: We have sheet pilings installed on the 17th Street Canal. The Ninth Ward is taking water though, because we do not have sheet pilings installed there at the Industrial Canal.
So, what that means is that some folks will say that they protected the rich area, but didn't do anything about the poor area and it's a class and race thing. Watch for it. Sheesh.
I got this from Nancy on Freecycle on Monday, the 19th.
Somehow we got past a checkpoint by saying we were checking on animals. Lakeview looks like a bomb went off. Everything is gray. There are water lines that mark each house along out path down Ponchartrain expway. Canal Blvd was impassable. We went to the 6600 block of Memphis which was impassable but my husband got out with his brother and walked to his house which was underwater up to the second floor. Doors would not open. Furniture was rearranged. Sludge everywhere. Very slippery and they did not have on boots. We also visited the 6900 block of Gen Diaz. Also impassable. A tree sealed the deal on my parents house which was floor up to the roof (one story). We saw some people milling about. It was not safe to be there. We then made our way to Gentilly by Brother Martin. Lakeshore drive was completely clear. Elysian Fields-could not get past Mirabeau. We cut down to Paris and went in by Gentilly Blvd. to Elysian Fields. My floors are buckled already from the 18 inches of water and mold is growing on the recliners. Things are out of the lower cabinets in the kitchen and one of my cats was milling about. She was too scared to come to me but we left plenty of food and water for her and all the strays we saw. I don't know how she survived. My front door was open either by the wind or being pryed by the military. There was an iron gate that was still locked so nothing was taken. I could not think of one thing I needed out of that house. We left and it was getting dark. We were stopped and made to show our hands out of the car window. They were nice after they saw the whites of our eyes. Just doing their jobs. I don't suggest anyone go in without proper clothing (boots, gloves, clorox, water). There is no running water and no elec. New Orleans is not inhabitable!! There was still water in some parts off Leon C. Simon toward the south. SUNO area is flooded. Parts of St. Roch still under water.
On the 20th, I posted an incorrect link. Here's the kooky commentary I wanted to link to:
An excerpt: "There is nothing natural about the dispersal of untold numbers of Gulf state residents to points unknown. There is nothing natural about the deliberate federal policy of emptying the region of the Black and poor, without even the right to know their own destinations. It is a peculiar torture for a Black person to be directed to a plane, only to be told, once airborne, that she is headed for Utah."
While the commentary seems reasonable on the surface, what he's really saying is that black folks are being unnaturally dispersed, and that amounts to torture. I guess he'd rather that all us white folks who were saving all those black folks should have just left 'em there. This kind of stuff is really starting to irritate me.
Here's a better one - a column by Chris Rose in the New Orleans Times-Picayune the week after the storm.
I suppose we should introduce ourselves: We're South Louisiana.
We have arrived on your doorstep on short notice and we apologize for that, but we never were much for waiting around for invitations. We're not much on formalities like that.
And we might be staying around your town for a while, enrolling in your schools and looking for jobs, so we wanted to tell you a few things about us. We know you didn't ask for this and neither did we, so we're just going to have to make the best of it.
First of all, we thank you. For your money, your water, your food, your prayers, your boats and buses and the men and women of your National Guards, fire departments, hospitals and everyone else who has come to our rescue.
We're a fiercely proud and independent people, and we don't cotton much to outside interference, but we're not ashamed to accept help when we need it.
And right now, we need it.
Just don't get carried away. For instance, once we get around to fishing again, don't try to tell us what kind of lures work best in your waters.
We're not going to listen. We're stubborn that way.
You probably already know that we talk funny and listen to strange music and eat things you'd probably hire an exterminator to get out of your yard.
We dance even if there's no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we're suspicious of others who don't.
But we'll try not to judge you while we're in your town.
Everybody loves their home, we know that. But we love South Louisiana with a ferocity that borders on the pathological. Sometimes we bury our dead in LSU sweatshirts.
Often we don't make sense. You may wonder why, for instance - if we could only carry one small bag of belongings with us on our journey to your state - why in God's name did we bring a pair of shrimp boots?
We can't really explain that. It is what it is.
You've probably heard that many of us stayed behind. As bad as it is, many of us cannot fathom a life outside of our border, out in that place we call Elsewhere.
The only way you could understand that is if you have been there, and so many of you have. So you realize that when you strip away all the craziness and bars and parades and music and architecture and all that hooey, really, the best thing about where we come from is us.
We are what made this place a national treasure. We're good people. And don't be afraid to ask us how to pronounce our names. It happens all the time.
When you meet us now and you look into our eyes, you will see the saddest story ever told. Our hearts are broken into a thousand pieces.
But don't pity us. We're gonna make it. We're resilient. After all, we've been rooting for the Saints for 35 years. That's got to count for something.
OK, maybe something else you should know is that we make jokes at inappropriate times.
But what the hell.
And one more thing: In our part of the country, we're used to having visitors. It's our way of life.
So when all this is over and we move back home, we will repay to you the hospitality and generosity of spirit you offer to us in this season of our despair.
That is our promise. That is our faith.
11:00 AM - I just went outside to have a look around. It's raining hard, and the wind is up. My roof seems to be holding. My neighbor's tarps are blowing in the wind, and I expect they'll come off tonight. My neighbor's metal roof two doors down has lost another panel. It's dangling dangerously. Wind is blowing some water under my back door, so I put a towel down.
I just had this exchange in private email:
> How do you keep your technology running? That would be great info
> my blog - I should follow up with an ITer at work - thanks for the idea!
The key to keeping your technology running is to diversify. The first thing to do is have a laptop, so that no matter where you go, your technology is portable. Have wireless built into it so that no matter where you go you can have high speed access. If you can't get that, also have a modem and a dialup service. I use NetZero, and that's good all across the country for just 9.95 a month. The other thing I do is pay for a premium web service that is external to the area. My website is hosted by Verio, and Verio can fail over to different areas of the country if they need to. That means that my email address never goes down. On top of that, Verio provides web access to email, so I can access my email from any computer. I also have backup email addresses through various free services like Hotmail and Gmail. No matter where I go, if I can get to a computer and get on the internet, I can stay connected with everyone.
Sitting in line for gas yesterday, it was really apparent that a lot of folks don't know how to move with any urgency. They just take their sweet time with everything. Drives me crazy...
I'm watching video coming over the levees in other areas. There are going to be folks in trouble again...
Some great Katrina quotes:
My friend Tom in Conroe near Houston:
12:47 PM - Raining hard. Lots of wind. Expect to lose power shortly...
1:00 PM - I've got to try to get outside and clear my drain lines. Water is blowing in through the cracks Katrina broke in my back door. I've got to try to do something about that too. It's duct tape time. I'm going to put my bathing suit on and go have some fun...
I have discovered that duct tape does NOT stick to wet wood. Imagine that. I tacked up the gutters in the back to keep water from pouring down the house - especially at the large window in the back. Then I had to clean the gutters, then I had to clean my ground drains, then I had to clear the little trough that carries water all the way out front to the culvert. I managed to do all this in pouring rain and strong winds. It was kind of fun. I really enjoyed myself. Just as I finished, the rain and the wind stopped. Go figure...
Friday, September 23, 2005
(Fairfax, VA) -- The United States District Court
for the Eastern District in Louisiana today sided with the National Rifle
Association (NRA) and issued a restraining order to bar further gun
confiscations from peaceable and law-abiding victims of Hurricane Katrina in
New Orleans. Well, that's something, I guess... It's a little late, if you ask
me... The NRA also pledged that it will continue its work
to ensure that every single firearm arbitrarily and unlawfully seized under
this directive is returned to the rightful law-abiding owner.
(Fairfax, VA) -- The United States District Court for the Eastern District in Louisiana today sided with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and issued a restraining order to bar further gun confiscations from peaceable and law-abiding victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Well, that's something, I guess... It's a little late, if you ask me...
The NRA also pledged that it will continue its work to ensure that every single firearm arbitrarily and unlawfully seized under this directive is returned to the rightful law-abiding owner.
How about some criminal prosecutions of the officers involved?
I heard from Billy. He's by his parent's house. Evidently the roof patch we did on his house didn't work and he had more water. I've got some tarps and we'll try to tarp his roof when Rita passes.
4:12 P.M. - At least two people in a trailer near Fourchon and La. 1 are surrounded by water and cannot make it to the floodgates, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said.
Webre said a few of his deputies are helping the Coast Guard reach the people by helicopter. The road is unable to be traveled by vehicle and they cannot be reached safetly by boat. The report came out shortly after 2 p.m.
OK... How stupid do you have to be to stay in a low lying area, in a TRAILER when a hurricane is coming in?
There was just a tremendous blow. The back door blew open, and the potted tree on the back step blew into the kitchen along with a lot of water. Virginia ran into the living room screaming, "THE HURRICANE IS COMING IN!" and generally freaking out. I got the water cleaned up, blocked the gap under the back door, and then braced a chair under the doorknob to hold it closed. Some security... We won't be using the back door. Water is actually blowing through the cracks that Katrina broke in the door. Water is coming in around the glass panes. I'm going to have to board it up from the other side. Time to put the bathing suit back on...
OK. I tacked a tarp over the back door. At least no more water is coming in.
Just got this from Ken. We stayed with them after we evacuated for Katrina.
Well, we're holed up over here at Ken Jr. house. Nothing much happening yet. Chris and Sarah are in Austin, Ann, Mike and Grannie are in Uvalde. We tried to make it out to also go to Uvalde but 8 hours later wound up back at our house. Matts truck ( only 6 month old.) broke down and we had to leave it off the road. Ken Jr, Dave, Matt and Doug (friend of Ken Jr) went back this morning to tow it back to the house. Someone had taken off his gas cap probably trying to siphon gas. But tank was still full. We'' call the dealer next week and tell em to come pick up their truck. It is under warranty. It was a bazaar day out on the road yesterday!!!!
We were sad to hear news of more levy breaks in NO and hope you and the rest of the family are ok. Read you blog today and saw your concern over roof leakage etc. Hope it hold firm till we get over this. We are not expecting muck more than some rain and 60 mph winds here on the southwest side of the storm. Hopefully that'll be it.
I'll check in later as we get through this.
Take Care! Ken
Friday, September 23, 2005; Posted: 11:29 a.m. EDT (15:29 GMT)
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (AP) -- A man who sought safety from Hurricane Katrina in Tennessee was gunned down in the street and died, possibly during a robbery of his Red Cross relief money.
Makes me glad I went armed to pick up my money...
04:59 PM CDT on Friday, September 23, 2005
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre reported the combined efforts of the Coast guard and two members of the Sheriff’s Crisis Management Unit resulted in getting a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy and her three year old son to safety.
About 1:00 Friday, September 22nd, the brother-in-law of Ashley Cheramie approached deputies at the checkpoint located at the Leon Theriot Floodgates below Golden Meadow and told them Ashley was 8 months pregnant with a 3 year old and in a trailer at Fourchon. Tropical storm winds were blowing and water was over La. Hwy 1 making it impassable.
The LPSO deputies called the Coast Guard and because of the tropical winds from Hurricane Rita and rising water they requested the lady be airlifted to safety. The Coast Guard helicopter dropped a swimmer in the waist deep water near the trailer Ms Cheramie and her husband were living in and when asked to leave she refused.
When Sheriff Webre was informed the lady refused to leave an ever increasing dangerous situation, he sent two CMU members to Air Logistics in Galliano to see if they could help get the woman. Because of the high water, it was determined the helicopter from Air Logistics could not land. The pilots contacted the Coast Guard helicopter that had gone to another mercy mission in Terrebonne Parish and they agreed to a second try at getting the pregnant woman and her child to leave. This time they brought the two CMU team members with them.
Again a swimmer was dropped in the water and after some discussion and telling her that police officers were on board the helicopter, she finally agreed to be airlifted to Galliano. The Coast Guard picked up the woman and her child in a basket and safely pulled them into the copter. They returned to the heliport at Air Logistics in Galliano and was then brought to family members in the area.
The woman’s husband and his father remained behind in the trailer at Fourchon.
OK. This is, by far, the stupidest thing I've heard my whole life.
I would NOT have sent this woman a second helicopter.
10-1 they find her husband and father-in-law dead, they'll do a big story on her, and peple will send her a million dollars in donations. Watch for it.
I liked this. From David Warren in The Ottawa Citizen. (Canada)
Sunday, September 11, 2005
There's plenty wrong with America, since you asked. I'm tempted to say that the only difference from Canada is that they have a few things right. That would be unfair, of course -- I am often pleased to discover things we still get right. But one of them would not be disaster preparation. If something happened up here, on the scale of Katrina, we wouldn't even have the resources to arrive late. We would be waiting for the Americans to come save us, the same way the government in Louisiana just waved and pointed at Washington, D.C. The theory being that, when you're in real trouble, that's where the adults live.
And that isn't an exaggeration. Almost everything that has worked in the recovery operation along the U.S. Gulf Coast has been military and National Guard. Within a few days, under several commands, finally consolidated under the remarkable Lt.-Gen. Russell Honore, it was once again the U.S. military efficiently cobbling together a recovery operation on a scale beyond the capacity of any other earthly institution. We hardly have a military up here. We have elected one feckless government after another that has cut corners until there is nothing substantial left. We don't have the ability even to transport and equip our few soldiers. Should disaster strike at home, on a big scale, we become a Third World country. At which point, our national smugness is of no avail. From Democrats and the American Left -- the U.S. equivalent to the people who run Canada -- we are still hearing that the disaster in New Orleans showed that a heartless, white Republican America had abandoned its underclass.
This is garbage. The great majority of those not evacuated lived in assisted housing and receive food stamps, prescription medicine and government support through many other programs. Many have, all their lives, expected someone to lift them to safety, without input from themselves. And the demagogic mayor they elected left, quite literally, hundreds of transit and school buses that could have driven them out of town parked in rows, to be lost in the flood. Yes, that was insensitive. But it is also the truth; and sooner or later we must acknowledge that welfare dependency creates exactly the sort of haplessness and social degeneration we saw on display, as the floodwaters rose. Many suffered terribly, and many died, and one's heart goes out. But already the survivors are being put up in new accommodations, and their various entitlements have been directed to new locations.
The scale of private charity has also been unprecedented. There are yet no statistics, but I'll wager the most generous state in the union will prove to have been arch-Republican Texas and that, nationally, contributions in cash and kind are coming disproportionately from people who vote Republican. For the world divides into "the mouths" and "the wallets." The Bush-bashing, both down there and up here, has so far lost touch with reality, as to raise questions about the bashers' state of mind. Consult any authoritative source on how government works in the United States and you will learn that the U.S. federal government's legal, constitutional, and institutional responsibility for first response to Katrina, as to any natural disaster, was zero. Notwithstanding, President Bush took the prescient step of declaring a disaster, in order to begin deploying FEMA and other federal assets, two full days in advance of the storm fall. In the little time since, he has managed to co-ordinate an immense recovery operation -- the largest in human history -- without invoking martial powers. He has been sufficiently presidential to respond, not even once, to the extraordinarily mendacious and childish blame-throwing. One thinks of Kipling's poem If, which I learned to recite as a lad, and mention now in the full knowledge that it drives postmodern leftoids and gliberals to apoplexy -- as anything that is good, beautiful, or true:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise .
Unlike his critics, Bush is a man, in the full sense presented by these verses. A fallible man, like all the rest, but a man.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Got this a little while ago:
Hi Shane, thanks for keeping us all informed on your corner of the world. We rolled the dice here in Biloxi, stayed in the house about 10 blocks from the beach, ( *not* a good idea ), and had a wild windy time. The surge was minimal directly S of us, but a few miles to the E, and a few miles to the W, devastation was widespread. My wife slept through the whole thing, amazingly enough. I couldn't resist the once in a lifetime chance to go out in the center of the 5 giant Live Oaks that live in our back yard, and it was a gift to be able to stand there long enough to see those giant arms weaving the wind like young asparagus stalks in a spring breeze....turned out that their dance was a goodbye to the tree closest to the house, which fortunately fell away from the house....seeing the neighbor's 14 foot trampoline turn into a giant frisbee was cool too...the 30 foot steel roof beams that landed in the yard weren't so cool, nor was the little twister that exploded my tool shed, but at least i can see the lawnmower that i lost track of a couple of years ago...we are hoping and praying that Harahan stays dry in this latest flood. Best wishes from battered Biloxi to everyone there...
This is funny:
I'm getting this message a lot from different people:
I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO LOG ONTO FEMAS WEB SITE TO CHECK MY APPLICATION AND IT TELLS ME THAT AN ERROR HAS OCCURRED IT IS NOW 9:52 PM AND THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR ABOUT THREE HOURS.
Folks, if ya'll aren't clever enough to figure out that this isn't FEMA'S website, and that I don't have anything to do with FEMA, and I have no way to know what's wrong with FEMA'S website or what you're doing with it, then you probably need to call the 1-800 number instead. The number is: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
Found this on Steve Gregory's blog:
Very cool. The lights from the cities are visible.
The weather kook is really restless...
11:45 PM - Well, Rita seems pretty mild so far. We're getting lucky. Getting ready for bed...
I'll have some comments about this tomorrow: