Thursday, October 6, 2005.
Up and out to work today on time. Hey! THREE days in a row! I forgot my cell phone at home, though.
Below is an image I took yesterday. This is on Causeway near the lake. You can see that a lot of businesses put out temporary signs to attract business. We're working on getting some ourselves. You can also see the Lakeview building has put plywood in where the windows blew out.
Larry did a data recovery job today that was really cool. Here's a shot of the box. The left side of the image is the bottom, where the flood water came up. This particular box was the main data store for a dentist. He was very keen to recover his patient data. You can see that the water came up about six inches. You can follow the rust line at the 'top' of the case in this image. You can see the drive in this shot. Looks close.
You can see the water line on the drive in this shot at the bottom.
This is the other side of the drive. You can see that the water rose about 3 cm onto the circuit board. It doesn't get any closer than that. The good news is that Larry put it in the rack and it spun up. We were able to salvage ALL of the data! We must be professionals or something.
I was pretty aggravated to read about this. This is going to get into a long rant, but since I think Aaron Broussard and Walter Maestri are incompetent buffoons, I think I need to elaborate on it... Let's start with this article:
Jeff Parish leaders defend emptying pumping stations prior to Katrina
10:01 PM CDT on Wednesday, October 5, 2005
Jonathan Betz / WWL-TV
Jefferson Parish officials again defended their decision to take pump operators out of their stations ahead of Katrina, leaving the 42 pumps unmanned and not working.
Many residents, who are still cleaning up from floodwaters wondered if they would have that job to do if the pump operators had just been able to stay instead of being sent to the Northshore for safety.
“Our responsibility is life first,” said Jefferson Parish Emergency Director Walter Maestri, who believes it would have been unwise to risk the life of the operators stay in an effort to save property.
OK. That's about all I can stand. You mean to tell me that Walter has been telling us for years that the 'big one is coming', and Jefferson Parish didn't develop a plan to deal with the safety of pump operators? How is it that the powers at be in Jefferson Parish don't consider pump operators essential personnel? Sheriffs deputies and firefighters had to stay - and what this means is that Aaron and Walter DELIBERATELY abandoned those cops and firemen! DELIBERATELY! They gave up the ship before the storm even hit!
Are the pump operators not essential during a major storm? The parish should have been prepared for this considering they have been warning us about the "big one" for quite some time. Why weren't safe places for the pump operators to stay during the storm developed a long time ago? Why isn't there an automated system to operate the pumps and keep the debris filters clear? Why is it that there is a safe place for Aaron and Walter to stay during the storm but no place for pump operators? There is no excuse for the pumps not being on during the storm. Jefferson Parish officials failed miserably in their efforts to protect their citizens property. All their preaching about preparing for "the big one" and the parish had no plan. The pumping facilities should have been built in a way so that they could still function when we need them to function most. Instead, the plan all along has been to turn them off and abandon them when we need them most!
If that isn't malfeasance in office, I don't know what is.
Anyway, the article continues:
Ron Vogel, who was cleaning up his yard Wednesday said the idea of automated pumps sounds good.
But parish officials say pumps need to be manned so that when debris gets caught in the giant filters, someone can come and clean them out.
Some parish leaders question whether the workers should have been sent so far away since it took crews more than a day to get back and turn the pumps on.
“If we need people there and we have to evacuate them because they're not safe, can we put them someplace closer and possibly get them back a little bit sooner than they did now?” asked Tom Capella.
The parish was in the process of building so-called “safe-houses."
Those are fortified trailers raised twenty feet in the air where workers can take shelter and continue to work. But there are only five under construction - all on the west bank.
Without those available, the parish says only essential leaders stayed behind.
“Eleven people stayed,” said Maestri. “Is it anyone's job to put their lives at risk for property? I don't know that.”
What do you think the police and firefighters were doing? What about all the people who STAYED? Not just the police and firefighters, but all the people who were still in their homes? It's attempted murder I say!
Still, homeowners wonder how much grief could have been saved if the pumps in Jefferson parish had continued pumping.
Well, the answer to that is a LOT! Katrina didn't drop that much rain, and the levees didn't break, so all the flooding we got was from the little rain we did get because Aaron and Walter, in their infinite wisdom, were incompetent.
If all that's not enough, check this out:
What Aaron Broussard Didn't Tell Us
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005
Twice now, the president of Louisiana's Jefferson Parish, Aaron Broussard (an ambitious Democrat), has thrown teary tantrums on "Meet the Press." Among his choice blubberings: "We've been abandoned by our own government! Bureaucracy has committed murder! Some people need to be strung up. They need to be burned at the stake!"
Hey! Aaron! YOU abandoned all of US!
On national TV Broussard told a tragic story of a parish employee whose elderly mother drowned in a nursing home in a neighboring parish because federal help arrived too late.
"Is someone coming to get me, son?" Broussard quoted the frantic telephone calls. "Yes, somebody's coming to get you, Momma, " he quoted his employee as answering. "Somebody's coming ..."
"She drowned Friday night," Broussard started bawling. "She drowned Friday night!"
"Just take a pause, Mr. President," a chastened Tim Russert was forced to respond, "while you gather yourself in your very emotional times. I understand."
The story was soon exposed as mostly phony by The New York Times, MSNBC and CNN (not exactly outposts of the vast right-wing conspiracy), among many other sources. The blogoshere was humming for days with accounts of the phoniness until the major media finally caught on.
Tragically, the poor man's mother did drown, but it had absolutely nothing to do with the tardiness of any federal rescuers. And it occurred five days earlier than Broussard claimed, which made it a wholly local evacuation matter. In fact, the nursing home owners are under arrest and charged with homicide for the deaths of the 34 patients who drowned.
Tim Russert had Broussard on again on September 24 and actually – but very politely – brought up the touchy nursing home story matter, hinting at obvious embellishments if nothing more serious.
"What kind of sick mind ... what kind of black-hearted people want to nitpick a man's mother's death!" Broussard teared up again. "Get out of my face!" Now he broke down again. "Get out of my face!"
All parents recognize this behavior. Your kid is caught red-handed in mischief. He's a sharp kid but the evidence against him is so gross and overwhelming that he can't possibly conjure up any excuses or alibis on such short notice. So he resorts to tear-squeezing.
Bill Clinton was very good at this. As we all know, this works even better to camouflage an even more serious infraction, one that hasn't been discovered yet – to call off the dogs, so to speak.
You'd never know it from the major media, but there are several hundred thousand people in Broussard's own Jefferson parish right now who, if they could get their hands on some torches and pitchforks, would storm Broussard's office faster than that mob of enraged villagers stormed Baron Von Frankenstein's castle.
These people have been rendered homeless by flooding, and they're not blaming the feds or even the state. They're blaming their Parish president, Aaron Broussard. If Tim Russert really wants some fireworks, he might invite some of these infuriated residents of Jefferson parish (who include my parents and dozens of lifelong friends) on his show.
Eastern Jefferson parish, the most highly populated area, which sits next to New Orleans, consists mostly of reclaimed marsh and swamp. A series of drainage canals criss-cross the parish. These end at huge pumping stations (18 of them, costing tens of millions of dollars) that pump out rainwater from the canals into adjacent Lake Pontchartrain to keep the parish from flooding.
This is necessary even during heavy rains, and sporadic flooding is common in portions of eastern Jefferson parish (I grew up there, I know) during torrential thunderstorms.
Well, all of the people hired to operate Jefferson parish's pumps were evacuated to a hundred miles north of New Orleans – on the orders of Aaron Broussard. Cops and firemen, naturally, stayed. Many sensible people consider these pump operators every bit as essential as cops and firemen during a major hurricane. (And you can hear their furious sputterings on all the local radio talk shows, Mr. Russert.)
The pumping stations themselves are huge, sturdy, blockhouse-type buildings. None sustained any major damage from the winds. In fact, I received some reports that area policemen, during the height of the hurricane, actually sought refuge inside a pumping station, recognizing it as the safest place around. Sure enough, they emerged completely unscathed, as was the expensive – but completely idle – pumping station.
Though no levees broke, damage in eastern Jefferson parish might reach $1 billion, mostly from flooding. If Tim Russert wants some genuine rage on his show, I know tens of thousands of people from Jefferson parish who might volunteer – and with true stories.
So, do I take a number and get in line?
Enough with the ranting.
Pictures of the day. Some from: http://www.katrinadestruction.com
Location, location, location. Here's a house in the middle of nothing but water. Compare that to the picture next to it. Notice the water line of debris around the house in the second picture. Can you say, 'Well, that was close."?
Coffin in a tree. Creepy.
Well, I guess that counts...
Sometimes you save what you can. Grandma's china...
Ruined pictures on the wall.
Well, that's got to be lonely...
Another shot of the boats on the road at Empire. How are they going to move those anyway?
Well, the roof looks pretty good. Why does it seem so much shorter?
This is a pretty cool set of pictures. Before and after.
More cool pictures. IR shots of the lights from cities before and after Katrina.