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Archive for August, 2005

The Aftermath

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Unless you've been living under a rock or are cut off from all human civilization, you now know that Hurricane Katrina has come and gone from the coastal states - leaving behind massive destruction.

The aftermath has been strange to see. Baton Rouge got a small beating, but made it out well. Nearly 90,000+ people were without power after Katrina knocked us around a bit and some still don't have it today (myself included), but that is such a small inconvenience when compared to what those in the southeastern parishes are going through.

Jefferson Parish, which took the brunt of the storm, is now under Marshal Law. Residents will be allowed back in on September 5 - with ID as proof of residency only - to collect their things. They will then be escorted back out and will not be able to return for at least a month; most likely more. The damage is simply that bad and it will be a long time before it is safe to live there again (damaged buildings, bridges, roadways, and contaminated water being just a few of the factors).

They have finally decided to get everyone out of New Orleans - other than all of the other things they are having to concentrate on (search & rescue, securing the once-leaking levee, etc.) there is a HUGE problem currently with looters. Yes, there are a high number of people scum taking full advantage of the terrible situation and others' misfortune. And these aren't desperate people running out of food or who have lost everything. These are scum of the Earth filling up bags with guns and shoes and running away laughing (seen on CNN footage). I know a wonderful way to deal with that - shoot them. A person who would willfully try to gain from such an event; who would be worried about getting good sneaks and a new, shiny gun at a time like this is not a good person. The world will be just fine without them. If you see people looting, shoot them - and shoot to kill. I lived in New Orleans before and I know the types of people we're talking about. Honestly, I wouldn't even consider a loss of "life" - these same people wouldn't hesitate to shoot a citizen or an officer of the law if they tried to stop them from stealing.

New Orleans, all of Jefferson parish, Gulfpost and Biloxi, Mississippi - the images I'm seeing (for the first time) on TV today are heart-breaking.

As for us, we made out just fine - though we've not had electricity since 11am (as the storm was starting to come in) Monday morning. They say it may be back on tonight, but we'll see. We just couldn't take waiting in the hot house another day, though, so we drove out here to my family's for some a/c and Internet and TV coverage. When we left it was around 90 degrees inside our apartment.

Seeing the aftermath from here is interesting. The city is overflowing with evacuees and will consider to do so as more come in. Since it may be months before they can go home, all surrounding areas - even into Texas - are full up with now homeless people. Schools in even remote towns miles from New Orleans are full of people with nowhere to go. Most of these people have no idea what they've lost and a lot have family members that decided to ride the storm out - and now they don't know if they're alive or dead.

It's all just sinking in still for me. We haven't been back to work yet, though the state may resume operations tomorrow (may not - don't know). Baret is still on call (he goes in for a 12-hour shift tonight), and life is sort of on "hold". Schools can't resume because they are being used as shelters, and LSU has canceled classes until (at least) next Tuesday. The first LSU football game of the season (scheduled this coming Friday, Sept. 3) has also been canceled.

The good news today seems to be that the water has finally stopped rising in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. That's important. Now they are concentrating on getting everyone out, because it's too difficult to do what needs to be done with all the looters making the job worse and more dangerous.

I haven't heard any figures on death tolls yet, but I know it will be high - when they first got into the city after the hurricane passed through the mayor said there were bodies floating in the water filled streets. As this continues, more will die, because the standing water is contaminated and dangerous - and disease is a high risk. There are also snakes to watch out for, and one man reported a shark swimming a street that had become a river the day after the hurricane; with a storm surge such as the one that came in, it's possible.

I'll update as I know more, but at this point, we're all still kind of reeling. Nothing can really prepare you for something like this.

In the meantime, any help you can give, please do. Millions of people are likely homeless now - even $1 will help. Please use the links to contribute something:

Network for Good

American Red Cross

Info & Links from FEMA

And if you'd like to help our furry friends hurt by this disaster:

The Humane Society of the United States

The Waters Are Rising, My Tears Are Flowing

Monday, August 29th, 2005

New Orleans Stay strong, girl. Don't let Katrina get the best of you.

All those trapped in and around the rising waters - I am praying for your safety.

Love you, New Orleans. Please be okay.

Probably The Last Update

Monday, August 29th, 2005

The power is coming and going, though the news (the cable is coming & going too) says most of Baton Rouge is powerless.

They keep talking about New Orleans - terrifying reports coming in. High rise buildings have upper floor windows blowing out with wind and rain rushing in. The newly-planted palm trees down Canal Street are ripped out and being thrown around. Hundreds of people are calling in, stranded and stuck in their homes. Some rescue workers are having to tell them "we just can't get to you". Gods, why didn't everyone evacuate, or go to the Superdome?

Though I've heard the Superdome has substantial roof damage.

I have to leave the room when they're talking about New Orleans - and the surrounding areas. I keep starting to cry.

We're in a lull now - occasional gusts. As the storm continues to head North, it will get worse for us in Baton Rouge - but nothing like they're experiencing in the Southeast.

It’s Like the End of the World

Monday, August 29th, 2005

They're saying on the news that power lines and trees are down all over Baton Rouge, but so far, here, we're doing ok. We still have power, but the wind is ferocious at times.

News is slowly leaking in from New Orleans and the surrounding parishes, and it isn't good. They can't get definitive info b/c phone & cell phone lines are jammed. Apparently an apartment building in Jefferson Parish, with people inside, collapsed - and they know no more. 116 people in New Orleans, most in the lower 9th Ward, have called to report they are trapped on the roofs of their homes, and the water is rising around them.

The Superdome has taken a little damage to the roof, and water is leaking in.

We haven't got the most of what we're going to get yet, but at the moment, Southeastern Louisiana is getting hit very hard. Pray for them, please.

Katrina Update

Monday, August 29th, 2005

The wind is really, really picking up. It's getting rather frightening - slamming into the house and trees looking like they're bending over to kiss the ground.

Just heard two transformers blow - but the lights went out and came back. We probably won't have power much longer. I'll have battery life on this laptop for at least two hours after we lose power.

The Wind is Picking Up

Monday, August 29th, 2005

We still have power, but the wind is getting much stronger - some gusts are quite impressive, you can actually hear them hitting the side of the house.

The news says we'll start to see 60-75 mph winds in the next hour.

Rain is heavy, and continuing to fall and grow heavier. It's light out, but very overcast - though it's 8:30am, the street lights are still on.

More to come...

Katrina Is Upon Us

Monday, August 29th, 2005

Heavy rains at this almost-8am hour and pretty strong winds, with some really powerful gusts - but nothing like we were expecting. I think we're going to be ok.

And as I write this, a particularly strong and scary gust blew by - and blew out our power (I'm all batteries).

Lights are now going on and off...and the wind has picked up considerably.

Stay tuned.