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When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


If the adage is "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it" by Winston Churchill is true - we can't allow the Bush Junta II Puppet Boy King's spin doctors to write the history of why he failed the American People again. This time - it's not that he's killing the poor brave troops by lying us into a war we can't win (while enriching his father and friends) - it's that he openly is showing his contempt for the domestic responsibilities of his job. Simply calling him a racist misses the fact that most everyone can see he never had compassion for the poor.
Van Jones: “… It is a result of a weak levee -- one that was in mid-repair when the storm hit. And that levee, which has held back floodwaters for time beyond memory, collapsed for one simple reason: Bush refused to fix it last summer, when local officials were begging him to do so. Instead, he diverted those funds to the war effort. … In other words, the dollars that could have saved New Orleans were used to wage war in Iraq, instead. What's worse: funds that might have spared the poor in New Orleans (had the dollars been properly invested in levees and modern pumping stations), were instead passed out to the rich, willy-nilly -- as tax breaks. … The truth is that the poor people of Louisiana were deliberately left behind -- and not just over the weekend. Our political leaders as a class -- and George W. Bush, in particular -- left them behind a long time ago. …”
Amazed at how futile and late the Boy King's efforts were; Critics of the relief effort have said that the government — at all levels — had not done enough to minimize casualties before the storm, as well as provide relief to victims.
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” — Theodore Roosevelt
Katrina over Florida ...

  1. Mandatory evacuation declared in New Orleans, US
  2. Hurricane Katrina causes upwards of $12bn of damage; oil prices surge
  3. At least 55 killed by Hurricane Katrina; serious flooding across affected region
  4. Louisiana locked down; New Orleans could become a "toxic soup"
  5. Total evacuation of New Orleans planned
  6. Hurricane Katrina: Resources regarding missing/located people
  7. Shots reported during Superdome evacuation
  8. Widespread looting blamed for disrupted rescue efforts in New Orleans, Louisiana
  9. "Toxic soup" scenario in New Orleans unlikely
  10. Fats Domino missing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina
  11. Fats Domino rescued in New Orleans
  12. Louisiana officials accused of blocking rescue volunteers
  13. US Senate approves $10.5 billon in aid for Hurricane Katrina victims
  14. Federal response to Katrina a 'National Disgrace'
  15. US Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing for Katrina refugees
  16. Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students
  17. Federal government begins employing strategies to repair New Orleans
  18. US unemployment fell to four-year low before Katrina
  19. Many nations offer material aid to hurricane victims; Bush refuses to accept
  20. Explosions hit waterfront in New Orleans, Louisiana
  21. Van Jones: Bush's Role in the Drowning of New Orleans - Read this one!
  22. 'New Orleans Disaster: The Sequel' Coming Oct. 17
  23. Bush fiddles while Rome burns
  24. Rapper Kayne West denounces Bush response, American media at hurricane relief telethon
Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans

 This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly. Please use section editing and refresh to see latest changes.
Hurricane Katrina

2005 Atlantic hurricane season

Source documents

The effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans was disastrous. By August 30, 2005, one day after the Category 4 storm made landfall, 80 percent of the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, was flooded, with some parts of the city under 20 feet (6 m) of water. The flood was caused by several levee breaches due to a combination of strong winds and excess water in the bodies of water surrounding the city. The event had major implications for a large segment of the United States population and for the economy of the region.

Primary causes

The primary causes of the subsidence of land of New Orleans can be attributed to the leveeing of the Mississippi River, and an underestimation of the environmental impact of development on the Mississippi Delta.

The process of leveeing, which started in 1879, lined the river to prevent damage to local industry caused by flooding. This interfered with normal depositing of sediment to the delta marshlands. However the vast delta was slowly settling into the sea.

Shea Penland, geologist at the University of New Orleans and contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which builds the levees, attributes one third of the land subsistence to the large number of canals through the delta. These canals serve the oil and gas extraction industry off the coast. Barge traffic and tides erode the earth around the edge of the cancels, and salty water seeps along them, slowly salinating the ground and killing the vegetation that helps hold the land together. [1]

The final trigger to the catastrophe was hurricane damage to levees and seawalls that protected the city, much of which sits below sea level. (New Orleans is surrounded by the Mississippi River to the south, Lake Pontchartrain to the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the east.) Three levees were breached: those along the Industrial Canal, the 17th Street Canal, and the London Avenue Canal. An effort to sandbag the 17th Street Canal levee breach failed, and the pump which was partially offsetting the flooding stopped working. Major flooding followed, and by August 31, the water level in the city equalized with that of Lake Pontchartrain, with close to 90% of New Orleans inundated.


Main article: Predictions of hurricane risk for New Orleans
New Orleans sits between (and below) the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain.

New Orleans sits between (and below) the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain.
Elevation map of New Orleans.  Cool shades are below the level of Lake Pontchartrain.

Elevation map of New Orleans. Cool shades are below the level of Lake Pontchartrain.
Vertical cross-section of New Orleans, showing maximum levee height of 23 feet (7 m).

Vertical cross-section of New Orleans, showing maximum levee height of 23 feet (7 m).

Despite dire warnings, no large-scale corrective measures had been implemented by the time Katrina made landfall.

"The design of the original levees, which dates to the 1960s, was based on rudimentary storm modeling that, it is now realized, might underestimate the threat of a potential hurricane. Even if the modeling was adequate, however, the levees were designed to withstand only forces associated with a fast-moving hurricane that, according to the National Weather Service’s Saffir-Simpson scale, would be placed in category 3. If a lingering category 3 storm — or a stronger storm, say, category 4 or 5 — were to hit the city, much of New Orleans could find itself under more than 20 ft (6 m) of water" (The Creeping Storm, June 2003 Issue of Civil Engineering Magazine).

The eye was forecast to pass to the east of the city. In that event, the wind would back into the north as the storm passed, forcing large volumes of water from Lake Pontchartrain against the levees and possibly into the city. It was further expected that the storm surge in Lake Pontchartrain would reach 14 to 18 feet (4 to 5 m), with waves reaching seven feet (2 m) above the storm surge [2].

On August 28, 10 a.m. CDT, the National Weather Service field office in New Orleans (NWS) issued a bulletin predicting catastrophic damage to the city. Anticipated effects included at least partial destruction of half of the well-constructed houses in the city, damage to most industrial buildings rendering them inoperable, the "total destruction" of all wood-framed low-rise apartment buildings, all windows blowing out in high-rise office buildings, and the creation of a huge debris field of trees, telephone poles, cars, and collapsed buildings. Lack of clean water was predicted to "make human suffering incredible by modern standards".

Further predictions were that the standing water caused by huge storm surges would render most of the city uninhabitable for weeks, while the destruction of oil and petrochemical refineries in the surrounding area would spill waste into the flooding, converting the city into a toxic marsh until water could be drained. Some experts said that it could take six months or longer to pump all the water out of the city. Even after the area had been drained, all buildings would need to undergo inspection to determine structural soundness, as all buildings in the city would likely be at least partly submerged [3].


Before landfall

In anticipation of destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin ordered a citywide evacuation on August 28; neighboring areas and parishes followed suit. In a live news conference, Nagin predicted that "the storm surge most likely will topple our levee system," and warned that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico would be shut down. President George W. Bush had called and personally appealed for the mandatory evacuation, the first ever for the city. He urged residents to evacuate, warning, "We cannot stress enough the danger this hurricane poses to Gulf Coast communities." [4] [5]

In the interest of protecting residents who remained in town, several "refuges of last resort" were established, including the massive Superdome, which housed over 9,000 people along with 550 National Guard troops as Katrina came ashore. The elevation of the Superdome is about three feet (1 m) above sea level, and the forecasted storm surge was predicted to cause flooding on that site. The Superdome had been used as a shelter in the past, such as during 1998's Hurricane Georges, and because it was estimated to be able to withstand winds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h) and water levels of 35 feet (10 m), it was considered one of the best options available at the time. The mayor told those coming to the Superdome to bring blankets and enough food for several days, warning that it would be a very uncomfortable place. [6]

The entire region was declared a disaster area before Katrina even hit land and FEMA prepositioned 18 disaster medical teams, medical supplies and equipment, urban search and rescue teams along with millions of meals ready to eat, liters of water, tarpaulins, and truckloads of ice.

Second evacuation

After the hurricane, a second evacuation of affected areas was ordered.

There are many people going to Texas from the most affected areas of New Orleans. Most of these people are being transported, primarily by buses, to Houston (some 13,000 to the Astrodome, others have been diverted to area shelters and nearby Reliant Arena [7]), as well as to San Antonio (KellyUSA) and Dallas. Others, such as the school bus commandeered by Jabbor Gibson, have found their own way to Texas, only to be delayed or refused entry into the designated relief facilities, since they weren't bussed to them by authorities. The Superdome has been filled with refugees, who keep streaming to that facility from many areas of New Orleans faster than the buses can move them out of the city. The New Orleans convention center has also been filled with refugees.

Lt. Kevin Cowan, spokesperson for the Louisiana National Guard points to difficulties in the second evacuation, "There are still a lot of people out there to be rescued. Unfortunately with these common thugs and criminals out in the streets that are taking pot shots at the rescuers and the helicopters, it is only delaying that. Unfortunately people may be dying from this nonsense."


On Monday August 29, area affiliates of local television station WDSU reported New Orleans was experiencing widespread flooding, was without power, and that there were several instances of catastrophic damage in residential as well as business areas. All metropolitan New Orleans television news services had evacuated their studios in the city and were broadcasting from remote locations. As of 2 p.m., the east side of New Orleans was under 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m) of water. Entire neighborhoods on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain were flooded.

At 11 p.m. on August 29, Mayor Ray Nagin conducted an interview with WWL [8] discussing the damage to New Orleans. He described the loss of life as "significant" with reports of bodies floating on the water throughout the city, though primarily in the eastern portions. There was no clean water or electricity in the city, and some hotels and hospitals reported diesel fuel shortages. The estimate of restoration of power was at least four to six weeks for the city. A breach in the levee at the 17th Street Canal was causing further trouble; the pumps designed to pump water out of the city redirected into Lake Pontchartrain, which then circulated back through the breach. The I-10 pumps overheated, causing valve damage, also negating their effectiveness during the flooding. A representative from St. Bernard reported "total devastation" with 40,000 homes flooded. The National Guard began setting up temporary morgues in select locations. He also said houses have been picked up and moved. In summary, he described the devastation as a "nightmare".

The Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin told ABC's "Good Morning America" that residents of New Orleans should not expect to return to their homes for "twelve to sixteen weeks". Nagin also told reporters on August 31 that the hurricane may have killed thousands of people in the city. Allen Breed of the Associated Press reports that New Orleans "descended into anarchy Thursday, as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out and storm survivors battled for seats on the buses that would carry them away from the chaos. The tired and hungry seethed, saying they had been forsaken" [9].

Levee breaches

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
From [1], an aerial view from a United States Navy helicopter showing floodwaters around the entire downtown
New Orleans area. The Louisiana Superdome is in the center

As of mid-day Monday, August 29, indications were that the eye of the storm had swept northeast and spared New Orleans the brunt of the storm. The city seemed to have escaped most of the catastrophic wind damage that was predicted.

However, at 11 a.m. the National Weather Service reported that a levee broke on the Industrial Canal, a 5.5 mile (9 km) waterway that connects the Mississippi River to the Intracoastal Waterway, near the St. Bernard-Orleans Parish line (Tennessee St.) and 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 m) of flooding was possible. This area, also known as the 9th Ward area of the city, reported 3 pump failures.

On August 30 at 1:30 a.m. CDT, CNN (via the vice president of Tulane University Medical Center) reported that a levee on the 17th Street Canal, which connects into Lake Pontchartrain, suffered a two city-block wide breach.

John Hall, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, later said that the floodwall on top of the canal levee had been overtopped by the storm surge. The water cascading over the wall eventually undermined the wall base, causing it to collapse outwards. Repairs were complicated by the presence of the low Hammond Highway bridge and a hurricane barrier on the lake side of the breach, which impeded access by barges and heavy equipment.

The 17th St Canal Levee is on the border of Metairie and New Orleans proper and when it collapsed it flooded most of the city under as much as 25 feet (8 m) of water. This breach allowed the water of Lake Pontchartrain, which at the time was some six feet (2 m) above sea level, to flow downward into northern New Orleans proper, which lies between two and ten feet (1 to 3 m) below sea level. A 200-foot breach was confirmed by New Orleans Fire Department officials to CNN at 3:16 a.m. CDT on August 30 [10].

At 6:30 p.m. WWL-TV announced that the effort to sandbag (ongoing since 2 p.m.) the breach in 17th St. canal levee at the Hammond Highway bridge had failed, and it was expected that the pumping station at that location would fail.

At 10 p.m. CDT on August 30, Mayor Ray Nagin reported on WDSU that the planned sandbagging of the 17th Street levee breach did not happen due to a lack of expected Blackhawk helicopters which the National Guard diverted to save some people in a church, and another 9 feet (3 m) of water was expected to fill the entire city. This means that even the French Quarter would flood within about 12 hours, up to the level of Lake Pontchartrain, three feet (1 m) above sea level. The failure to sandbag would add at least an additional four weeks to drain the city. He estimated that it would take about four months before the city would be habitable.

NASA satellite photo of Lake Pontchartrain, which has flooded New Orleans, post-Hurricane Katrina. As a result
of the flooding, the land which divides the larger lake Pontchartrain from the smaller Maurepas to the west is
almost completely covered with water.

At some time on August 30, the London Avenue Canal floodwall was breached at 6100 Pratt Drive, according to the Army News Service [11].

NASA satellite imagery released on August 30 indicated that Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas had substantially overflowed their shores, nearly blending into a single body of water separated only by a narrow strip of land. Significant flooding along local rivers was also indicated [12].

As of Friday, September 2, it was estimated that ad hoc levee repairs would be complete by Sunday, September 4 [13], and, once the cities' system of pumps can be repaired and supplied with power, that unwatering the city would then take a minimum of 35 days (mid October) and up to 80 days (end of November) for some areas [14].

Damage to buildings and roads

On August 29, 7:40 a.m. CDT, it was reported that most of the windows on the north side of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans had been blown out, and many other high rise buildings had extensive window damage. The Hyatt was the most severely damaged hotel in the city, with beds reported to be flying out of the windows. Insulation tubes were exposed as the hotel's glass exterior was completely sheared off.

A number of brick façades collapsed into the street. At least three fires were reported in the New Orleans area, destroying several buildings. By September 2, fires had become a more widespread problem with some reports of arson.

The St. Bernard Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) said that on August 29 that the parish's two shelters at Chalmette High and St. Bernard High were suffering much damage with flooding. He said Chalmette High shelter was losing its roof, and St. Bernard High had many broken windows/glass. There were estimates of 300-plus evacuees at the two sites. "We cannot see the tops of the levees!" exclaimed OEP Director Larry Ingargiola.

At 11 p.m. of August 29, Mayor Ray Nagin conducted an interview with WWL-TV[15] discussing the damage to New Orleans. He described New Orleans as "totally dark" with no clear way in or out, eighty percent of the city flooded, with some areas having water depths of 20 feet (6 m). Both airports were underwater, "three huge boats" had run aground, along with an oil tanker which was leaking oil. The yacht club was destroyed by a fire, and gas leaks were reported throughout the city. The Pontchartrain Expressway (Interstate 10 in Downtown, not the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway) was "full of water" and the "Twin Spans" (the bridge over the east end of Lake Pontchartrain) were "totally destroyed".

As of 11:30 p.m. CDT, WDSU-TV reported at least part of the I-10 Twin Span had completely collapsed. On WWL-TV, Mayor Nagin stated that, according to a FEMA official, the entire length of the Twin Span had been destroyed [16].

By September 2, NOAA had published satellite photography[17] of many of the affected regions.

Communications failures

Coordination of rescue efforts August 29 and August 30 were frustrated by inability to communicate. Many telephones, including most cell phones, were not working due to line breaks, destruction of base stations, or power failures, even though some base stations had their own back-up generators. In a number of cases, reporters were asked to brief public officials on the conditions in areas where information was not reaching them any other way.

Amateur radio has been providing tactical and emergency communications as well as health-and-welfare enquiries [18].

All local television stations were disrupted, but the news crews moved quickly to sister locations in nearby cities. Local newspapers moved out of the affected area. Broadcasting and publishing on the Internet became an important means of distributing information to evacuees and the rest of the world.


Stranded residents

New Orleans (August 30, 2005) – U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Beaty of
Long Island, N.Y., looks for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as he flies in an
ent from Clearwater, Fla., to assist in search and rescue efforts. Katrina, a Category 4
hurricane, came ashore at approximately 6:10 a.m. CDT near the Louisiana bayou town
of Buras. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nyxo Lyno Cangemi.

Due to the extensive flooding caused by levee breaches, a number of residents were stranded long after Hurricane Katrina had passed, unable to leave their homes. Stranded survivors dotted the tops of houses citywide; according to the Miami Herald, the flooded 9th Ward sent 116 residents onto rooftops seeking aid. Many others were trapped inside attics, unable to escape [19]; some reportedly chopped their way onto their roofs with hatchets and sledge hammers. Due to a mains break, clean water was unavailable, and power outages were expected to last for weeks [20]. Around 10 p.m. CDT, August 29, search and rescue were begun with boats in Plaquemines, St. Bernard and N.O. East.

In some instances, stranded residents were able to communicate their location through cellular phones, requesting help. In one such instance, MSNBC quoted resident Chris Robinson, in a phone call from his home east of downtown, "I'm not doing too good right now. The water's rising pretty fast. I got a hammer and an ax and a crowbar, but I'm holding off on breaking through the roof until the last minute. Tell someone to come get me please. I want to live." [21].

Superdome refuge

As the largest center of refuge, rescued residents were brought to the Superdome to await further evacuation. Many others made their way to the Superdome on their own, hoping to find food, water, shelter, or a ride out of town. Despite increasingly squalid conditions, the population inside continued to grow, according to Ray Bias, a nurse with the American Ambulance Association. The situation inside the building was described as chaotic, with garbage cans and toilets overflowing. Some people inside the dome expressed frustration at what they saw as a lack of organization.

On the morning of August 30, three deaths were reported among those seeking shelter in the Superdome [22], including one unconfirmed suicide caused by a plunge from an upper level of the stadium [23]. Others reported incidents of rape and murder inside the Superdome. On the evening of August 30, Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, adjutant general for the Louisiana National Guard, said that the number of people taking shelter in the Superdome had risen to around 15,000 to 20,000 as search and rescue teams brought more people to the Superdome from areas hard-hit by the flooding [24].

On August 31, Governor Blanco ordered all of New Orleans, including the Superdome, be evacuated as waters continued to rise. By September 2, at least 22,000 had been moved by bus from the Superdome to Houston's Astrodome and other shelters in Houston.

Evacuation of the Superdome

On August 31, Governor Blanco ordered all of New Orleans, including the Superdome, be evacuated as waters continue to rise due to two levee breaches [25]. The area outside the Superdome was flooded to a depth of three feet (1 m), with a possibility of seven feet (2.3 m) if the area equalized with Lake Pontchartrain. It was decided that FEMA — in conjunction with Greyhound, the National Guard, and Houston Metro — would immediately relocate the by-then 22,000–25,000 Superdome evacuees across state lines to the Reliant Astrodome in Houston. Roughly 475 vehicles assembled to ferry evacuees with the entire evacuation expected to take two days [26].

Officially, the Astrodome shelter was to be reserved for these Superdome evacuees only. However, on September 1, 10:00 a.m. CDT, National Public Radio (NPR) reported that the first busload to arrive at the Astrodome was actually a "renegade" bus. This bus was driven by a private citizen, Jabbor Gibson, who commandeered one of many abandoned school buses [27], picked up stranded citizens, and drove them to Houston. The authorities in Houston decided to admit them, and they have been admitting other evacuees as well. At the same time, the evacuation efforts at the Superdome were delayed due to shots fired at the bus convoy.

At 10:30 a.m. CDT, September 1, NPR reported that the state of Texas agreed to shelter an additional 25,000 evacuees, beyond those that will be sheltered at the Astrodome. The report stated that it was not clear precisely where they would be sheltered, but that some would be taken to San Antonio to be housed in vacant office buildings on the grounds of KellyUSA. Reunion Arena in Dallas is also being utilized by the local branch of the American Red Cross to handle evacuees from New Orleans.

In an afternoon news conference, Gov. Blanco said that the number of evacuees in the Superdome was down to 2,500 [28]; however, the AP reported that by Thursday evening, 11 hours after the military began evacuating the Superdome, the arena held 10,000 more people than it did at dawn. Evacuees from across the city swelled the crowd to about 30,000 because they believed the arena was the best place to get a ride out of town.

At 11:00 p.m. CDT, September 1, CNN reported that the Houston Fire Marshall at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, had ruled that the facility is full and could not accept any more New Orleans hurricane refugees. At the time it sheltered just over 11,000 people, less than half the number that New Orleans had been told to send. - At 12:30 p.m. CDT, September 2, News 2 Houston reported that all buses in the vicinity of the Astrodome would be accepted into nearby Reliant Center. It was unclear if this was a long-term solution.

Evacuation of the Superdome continued through Saturday 3 September. Conditions inside the dome were mostly unbearable with no lights, no air conditioning, and stinking backed up toilets with no running water. At one point on Friday the 2nd, the evacuation was interrupted when priority was given to evacuate 700 guests and staff from the Hyatt located near the Superdome. The explanation was that the Hyatt, which also had no power or water, needed to be cleared to provide housing to relief and security personnel and other officials. Some of the crowd was perturbed by the turn of events but the National Guard maintained order. By dawn of September 3, the number of people remaining at the dome was 2000 when the evacuation was temporarily halted while awaiting more buses. [29].

The New Orleans Convention Center

The New Orleans Convention Center was also opened up to evacuees, but by Thursday, September 1, the facility, like the Superdome, was overwhelmed, ran out of resources and was declared unsafe and unsanitary. CNN reports that there has been no attempt to evacuate the people inside of it, who are suffering terrible conditions, including multiple deaths.

Conditions at the Convention Center continue to deteriorate through Thursday. Reports indicate up to 20,000 people had gathered at the convention center, many dropped off there after being rescued from the flooded areas of the city or directed there by police. FEMA claimed to have no "factual" knowledge of this shelter until the afternoon of September 1. The area was packed with people without medicine, food or water and became increasingly hostile. A military helicopter tried to land at the convention center several times to drop off food and water, but the rushing crowd forced the choppers to back off. Troopers then tossed the supplies to the crowd from 10 feet (3 m) off the ground and flew away. "Police Chief Eddie Compass said he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly driven back by an angry mob. Every so often, an armored state police vehicle cruised in front of the convention center with four or five officers in riot gear with automatic weapons. But there was no sign of help from the National Guard." Many reports cite dead bodies both inside and outside the convention center [30].

By Saturday, military support at the convention center had established a steady supply of water and emergency rations. Evacuation of refugees continued with both bus and an air bridge of military helicopters.

Baton Rouge

The City of Baton Rouge, roughly 61 miles (98 km) WNW of greater New Orleans, executed massive rescue efforts for those who evacuated the New Orleans area. Schools and convention centers such as the recently completed River Center opened their doors to evacuees, and churches around the city were serving two hot meals per day for whoever came.

As a result, by Wednesday, August 31, news channel WAFB in Baton Rouge had reported that the city's 250,000 population had more than doubled since the evacuation order had been issued. That day, Mayor-President Kip Holden was expected to host a conference to discuss how to effectively enroll evacuee children in the Baton Rouge public school system.

Health effects

There is growing concern that the prolonged flooding will lead to an outbreak of health problems for those who remain. In addition to dehydration and food poisoning, there is also potential for the spread of hepatitis A, cholera and typhoid fever, all related to the growing contamination of food and drinking water supplies in the city compounded by the city's characteristic heat and stifling humidity. Survivors may also face longer-term health risks due to prolonged exposure to the petrochemical tainted flood waters and mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, malaria and West Nile Virus.

As of September 2, an emergency triage center has been set up at Armstrong airport. A steady stream of helicopters and ambulances are bringing in the weak, elderly, sick and injured. Baggage equipment are being used as guerneys to transport persons from the flight line to the hospital set up in the terminal. The captain in charge described the site as "organized chaos" but the emergency medical staff assembled from around the country is keeping pace. Equipped to handle anything from bruises to critical cases requiring ventilators, the site is triaging survivors and then sending them on to medical centers in the surrounding states.

By Saturday, the situation at Armstrong airport started to stabilize. Up to 5000 people had been triaged in the past two days and fewer than 200 remained at the medical unit.

Hospital evacuations continued into Saturday. Reports from the Methodist Hospital highlighted the suffering in the city with people dying dehydration and exhaustion while the staff worked unendingly in horrendous conditions. The first floor of the hospital flooded and the dead were stacked in a second floor operating room. Patients requiring ventilators were kept alive with hand powered resuscitation bags. [31].

Security situation

New Orleans's 1,500 member police force was ordered on August 31 to abandon search and rescue missions and turn their attention toward controlling the widespread looting which was taking hold of the city and the surrounding parishes. CNN and the Los Angeles Times reported that at least two people had been raped in the Superdome [32], where some National Guard troops were reportedly dispatched to keep order. More than two and a half days after the hurricane struck, police, health care and other emergency workers began to voice concerns in the media about the absence of National Guard troops in the city for search and rescue missions and control of widespread looting (3,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard's 256th Brigade are currently on a tour of duty in Iraq), the failure to immediately evacuate or resupply New Orleans area hospitals, and the lack of a visible FEMA presence in the city and surrounding area. However, the National Guard retained over half of its available force to respond to a possible disaster. The city awaited the arrival of the first battalion of 1,500 armed National Guard troops to restore order as fears grew that a major public health disaster loomed as evacuees trapped by putrid, polluted waters struggled with a lack of clean drinking water, food, medicines and sanitation. Over 21,000 Guardsmen were dispatched to the area. On the afternoon of August 31, President Bush returned to the White House and held a press conference during which he promised that the military would soon arrive with MREs, 40 field hospitals, medicines and other supplies. Michael Brown, the Director of FEMA, was named the head of the rescue efforts for the entire Gulf area. On September 1 officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department, Defense Department, the National Guard Bureau, U.S. Coast Guard and FEMA held a joint news conference outlining their efforts to assist the city [33].

On a news interview on September 2, Governor Blanco said she requested 40,000 National Guard troops and 5,000 buses to help evacuate New Orleans. When asked if there was a shoot to kill order against looters, she responded "not looters", but anyone causing harm to others.

Looting and Civil Disturbance

Image of a downtown fire in New Orleans the morning of September 2,
2005. Photo credit is due to Originally posted on
Interdictor blog with notice "Media has permission to
use the photos with credit to"

Deteriorating conditions and law enforcement focus on rescuing people combined to increase the number of looting incidents. Several areas reported large numbers of people who did not evacuate breaking into homes and stores and carting off clothing, home entertainment systems, jewelry and other merchandise. One motel owner said people are just "filling up garbage bags and walking off like they're Santa Claus" [34]. In response, New Orleans, Biloxi and many other affected areas declared 24-hour curfews [35]. New Orleans deployed armed units to several locations within the city in response to looting.

In some cases, the requisitioning of necessary supplies of food, water, ice and medical supplies from Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid and other stores by authorized relief workers and law enforcement has been a legal process and is confused with looting. In other cases, unauthorized looters found stealing vital supplies (as opposed to luxury goods) were ignored by New Orleans authorities. However, arrests were made in connection to thefts of electronics and other expensive items.

On Tuesday, August 30, looting began throughout the city. Looters reportedly included gangs of armed gunmen, and gunfire was heard in various quarters. "The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked", Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. "We're using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops" [36]. Aside from this violent, armed looting, there were also reports of residents simply gathering food from unstaffed grocery stores for a lack of other sources of food. In some cases, this looting happened right in front of the police's eyes and in broad daylight.

Law enforcement response was hampered due to the focus on rescuing trapped civilians. In most cases, police officers watched helplessly because of the lack of manpower and focus on saving lives. Citizens with guns protected their property and businesses from looters where possible.

The increasing looting and civil disturbance hampered hospital evacuations throughout New Orleans. In an interview on WDSU, Tulane hospital spokeswoman Karen Troyer Caraway said efforts were underway to evacuate the Tulane University Medical Center hospital because of power failures and rising water but that the effort was hampered due to looters. Caraway reported that looters in boats with guns had attempted to loot the hospital and were repelled by hospital staff. "If we don't have the federal presence in New Orleans tonight at dark, it will no longer be safe to be there, hospital or no hospital", Acadian Ambulance Services chief executive officer Richard Zuschlag told CNN.

On Wednesday, August 31, the Times-Picayune reported that police officers participated in the looting of the Tchoupitoulas Wal-Mart. At least one officer was been reported killed in a shooting while confronting looters in the same paper.[37]

Mayor Ray Nagin ordered all 1,500 New Orleans police officers to abandon the search and rescue effort on August 31 to address the increasingly violent looting. The order effectively redirects officers away from the search and rescue efforts. An Associated Press report quotes Ray Nagin as saying, "The looters are starting to get closer to heavily populated areas — hotels, hospitals, and we're going to stop it right now" [38].

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco said she was "furious" about the looting. "What angers me the most is disasters tend to bring out the best in everybody, and that's what we expected to see", Governor Blanco said at a news conference. "Instead, it brought out the worst." [39]. Also, Blanco was quoted to the media saying that troops fresh from Iraq would be used for domestic security: "These troops are battle-tested. They have M-16s and are locked and loaded". She added: "These troops know how to shoot and kill and I expect they will."

By September 1, the Times-Picayune newspaper reported that the gun section at a new Wal-Mart in the New Orleans area had been cleaned out by looters.

On September 1, following an incident when a military helicopter was shot at, it was widely reported that the evacuation of the Superdome had been suspended. However, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said in a press conference that this was not the case, saying that operations to evacuate the Superdome were "continuing in full force". Gunfire did, however, force the halt of evacuations at several hospitals across New Orleans [40].

Fires and Explosions

On September 2, ABC Radio reported a pre-dawn explosion at a chemical storage facility near the Mississippi River east of the French Quarter. Reporters at the Convention Center saw a bright orange glow in the sky, heard a 20–30 second rumble, and smelled an acrid odor in the air. The explosion jolted residents awake early Friday, illuminating the pre-dawn sky with red and orange flames over the city. [41]. Later reports indicated that no hazardous materials were stored on the site.

On September 3, fires continued to erupt around the city with including at a Saks Fifth Avenue and rows of warehouses on the east bank of the Mississippi River.

Arrival of help

The National Guard arrived in force on September 2 with food, water and weapons in a vast truck convoy with orders to retake the streets and bring relief to the suffering. The military's first stated priority was delivering food and water, followed by evacuating people, a task expected to take days. Troops also began arriving and began handing out MRE's and water at the Convention Center which is swamped by refugees.[42]

Loss of life

There are no reliable figures from New Orleans proper as of September 3. It is feared that hundreds or perhaps thousands of residents may not have survived the storm and its immediate aftermath. Some survivors and evacuees reported seeing dead bodies lying in city streets and floating in still-flooded sections, especially in the east of the city.

Dead bodies at refugee centers, such as an old woman in a wheel chair who had been covered with a cloth, or a man dead on the interstate, were being shown on news stations like CNN and Fox News on Thursday September 1 and possibly earlier. These people died waiting for relief, food, water, or medicine, rather than as a direct result of the storm or flood.

Medium-term repercussions


Due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the vast majority of schools in the city of New Orleans as well as southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi were shut down until further notice. Many of these schools suffered extensive structural damage, and schooling on all levels was put on hold. School districts in many areas housing evacuees allowed children taking refuge to attend classes temporarily, as they were classified as "homeless" [43]. This was even true for out-of-state students evacuated in several states as far away as Michigan and California [44]. In addition, many colleges offered reduced or free tuition to displaced students.

For a listing of colleges offering admissions to displaced students, please see Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students (WikiNews).

Professional and college sports

New Orleans' two major professional sports teams, the National Basketball Association's New Orleans Hornets and the National Football League's New Orleans Saints, as well as the Tulane University sports teams, were displaced. The Saints temporarily moved their operations to San Antonio, Texas.

New Orleans tourism

The hurricane struck just days before Southern Decadence, a festival known as the Gay Mardi Gras, which is the second-largest money-maker for New Orleans businesses after Mardi Gras itself. It was predicted that outside of the obvious costs of the direct effect of the storm, the city would lose millions of dollars in tourist monies because of the cancellation of this festival and presumably others in following months, in particular the 2006 Mardi Gras. New Orleans was also a top business convention destination, and due to the long planning cycles for such events, the hospitality industry worried that many conventions would avoid New Orleans for several years.

Relief effort

Many branches of the armed forces were involved with the relief effort, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, and the Marine Corps.

Three U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft offload tons of equipment at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi, on Aug. 31, 2005, for use in support of relief operations. Department of Defense units are mobilizing as part of Joint Task Force Katrina to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster-relief efforts in the Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. Mike Buytas, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

Foreign assistance

Individuals around the world donated to a variety of NGOs helping relieve the affected areas. The Red Cross is the largest such organization, and both Yahoo, Google and later Amazon set up donation pages for the Red Cross; there are many more.

On August 31, 40 members of the Vancouver Urban Search & Rescue Team were flown to Lafayette by a WestJet Airlines aircraft, along with several thousand pounds of rescue gear, to assist with the rescue and recovery effort in the state.

On September 1, three Republic of Singapore Air Force CH-47SD Chinooks with 38 crewmen arrived in Fort Polk, Louisiana to assist the Texas Army National Guard in their relief operations. The Chinooks are from a Singaporean overseas detachment military base in Fort Prairie, Texas, where the RSAF conducts training for its crewmen.

On September 2, the Canadian government announced that it was sending three warships and a Canadian Coast Guard vessel to the Gulf of Mexico to assist in relief efforts. Several H-3 Sea King Helicopters will accompany the Canadian ships. Canadian aircraft will also be deployed as part of a NAFTA military assistance pact.

Criticism of relief effort

Critics of the relief effort have said that the government — at all levels — had not done enough to minimize casualties before the storm, as well as provide relief to victims.

New Orleans' top emergency management official called the effort a "national disgrace" and questioned when reinforcements would actually reach the increasingly desperate city. New Orleans' emergency operations chief Terry Ebbert blamed the inadequate response on the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA). "This is not a FEMA operation. I haven't seen a single FEMA guy", he said. He added: "We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans." [45]

Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans, in an interview broadcast on CNN on 2 September, expressed his frustration at what he judged to be insufficient reinforcements provided by the President and federal authorities. He ended the interview in tears. [46] Listen to a similar interview with WWL (AM) Radio [47]

Many, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Democratic Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, have urged people and media to delay criticism of the government's response until those stranded in New Orleans can be rescued and relocated. Laura Bush gave a press conference in Lafayette, Louisiana, on September 3, 2005, in which she noted that "bad things are not happening here" and urged the news media to convey the message of how communities are working to help people. She refused to criticize the federal response to the crisis when questioned.

See also: Political effects of Hurricane Katrina

See also References External links
Vulnerable Cities: New Orleans
A discussion of impacts of hurricanes and flooding on New Orleans.
Katrina Aftermath
Journalists' resources for covering the hurricane's aftermath.
Hurricane Katrina pictures from NOAA
Very high definition pictures of the area from NOAA.
Everything New Orleans (associated with the Times-Picayune).
New Orleans Radio 850 AM (New Orleans News streaming audio).
Near-live New Orleans local news feed.
“Survival of New Orleans” Blog
Interdictors's blog.
NOLA scanners
Emergency radio broadcasts from citizens in New Orleans (MP3 playlist).
Drowning New Orleans
A 2001 article published in Scientific American discussing the causes and likely consequences of hurricanes on New Orleans.
The Creeping Storm
An article in the June 2003 Issue of Civil Engineering Magazine.
National Geographic: Gone With the Water
A 2004 article published in National Geographic, similar to the Scientific American article.
NOW with Bill Moyers: The City in a Bowl Transcript
The transcript of a 2002 story on PBS's NOW with Bill Moyer about the effects of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans.
NOW with Bill Moyers: Losing Ground
An article on PBS by Bill Moyers, discussing the environmental impact of New Orleans' levee system on the Mississippi Delta.
NOVA scienceNOW: Hurricanes
New Orleans' unique vulnerability to hurricanes.
Nola pictures
Pictures (August 30, 2005?).
Nola pictures2
More pictures (September 1, 2005?).
Nola pictures3
More recent pictures (September 2, 2005?).
Google Maps Katrina imagery
Aerial Photos (August 31, 2005).
Digital Globe Image 1
Satellite photo taken on August 31, 2005, from Digital Globe - large file (3,79 Mb)
Digital Globe Image 2
Satellite photo taken on August 31, 2005, from Digital Globe - large file (3,21 Mb)
Digital Globe Image 3
Digital Globe - gallery of recent satellite photos showing damage caused by the hurricane
Lost and Safe lists —————————————————
The following photos and accompanying captions came from Yahoo! News

President Bush plays a guitar presented to him by Country Singer
Mark Wills, right, backstage following his visit to Naval Base
Coronado, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Bush visited the base to deliver
remarks on V-J Commemoration Day. (AP Photo/ABC News, Martha Raddatz)

Elvin Duckworth, left, Jonathan Harvey, center, and Leonard
Harvey paddle a row boat through a flooded street in their Gulfport,
Miss, neighborhood after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast
Monday, Aug. 29, 2005. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Evelyn Turner cries alongside the body of her common-law husband,
Xavier Bowie, after he died in New Orleans, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005.
Bowie and Turner had decided to ride out Hurricane Katrina when
they could not find a way to leave the city. Bowie, who had lung
cancer, died when he ran out of oxygen Tuesday afternoon. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Life's odd turns -

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
The Gallows Bird written by Peter O'Donnel with artist Enrique Badia Romero (8 Jan 1973 -- 12 May 1973) depict a tale of crazed blackmailers threatening to flood New Orleans on Mardi Gras ... More recently Comics Revue has put out the first three in the series "Comics Revue presents Modesty Blaise". These are standard comic-book style: be ordered directly for $6 each (when last heard): Manuscript Press, P. O. Box 336, Mountain Home, TN 37684. Ask for #2 "The Gallows Bird" as re-published in 1994.


  • At 4:35 PM , Blogger ZenPupDog said...

    Saturday, September 3, 2005

    Army publication calls some NOLA Katrina victims "the insurgency"
    An article on the Army Times web page is referring to American citizens in New Orleans as "the insurgency".
    Does this mean the United States is now in an undeclared state of civil war?

    From the September 2 article titled "Troops begin combat operations in New Orleans":

    NEW ORLEANS - Combat operations are underway on the streets "to take this city back" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
    "This place is going to look like Little Somalia," Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard's Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. "We're going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control."

    Jones said the military first needs to establish security throughout the city. Military and police officials have said there are several large areas of the city are in a full state of anarchy. Dozens of military trucks and up-armored Humvees left the staging area just after 11 a.m. Friday, while hundreds more troops arrived at the same staging area in the city via Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters.

    "We're here to do whatever they need us to do," Sgt. 1st Class Ron Dixon, of the Oklahoma National Guard's 1345th Transportation Company. "We packed to stay as long as it takes."

    While some fight the insurgency in the city, other carry on with rescue and evacuation operations. Helicopters are still pulling hundreds of stranded people from rooftops of flooded homes.


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