The End of New Orleans

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Refugees are arriving in Lafayette — two hours to the west of New Orleans — and deciding to stay. They are enrolling their children in schools, buying houses and looking for jobs. Think for a second that we’re referring to Americans as “refugees,” and then consider that many are never returning to New Orleans. Think that we may be witnessing the end of a city, the 39th largest in America, but the one that we all love the most.

How could this even possibly be true? How did we get here? We read that it’s stupid to build a city underwater, but is that what happened? New Orleans, for most of its life, was two islands — Uptown and the French Quarter — and a port on a floodplain. We made it more vulnerable when we settled the plain; we made it more vulnerable to the lake when we built levees to keep out the river; we made it more vulnerable when a city began to compact the mud on which it stood.

Too much of what we hold dear comes from New Orleans to lose it, and yet we might and, if we’re more honest with ourselves, we will. It is almost too much to bear.

Bill McKibben

Environmental journalist and author of The End of Nature. He’s been trying to puzzle out how Katrina fits into our history of hurricanes — and he feels the past is, in fact, no longer a guide to our future because global warming has changed the planet so fundamentally.

Leslie Schilling

Director, Humanities Center, University of Louisiana

From Brendan’s pre-interview notes

What’s different about this is that the floodwaters are coming in from the lake. The levy system that we have on the Mississippi river is established to control the river, to keep the water in the river. Money to fix lakeside levee, budgeted 03, 04, would have been budgeted, 217 million was taken for Iraq.

Not real fond of the Army corps of Engineers, but they’re the best we got. The Handicapping of Inequity,the people of this area believe that flood control will save the city, what is protected is navigation economy.

The policies were set in place in 1927, all they talked about was that we needed more levies, taller levies, so what we’ve done over fifty years is raise the level of the river, its bottom five or six feet from where it was in twenty seven, depending on the flow of the current in the river to scour the bottom.

We could have handled a spring flood, we couldn’t have handled a category four. Fifteen miles closer, and there would have been nothing to recover.

Mandatory evacuation should provide for the people who have no means to evacuate. The people who stayed behind had no means. they either didn’t own a car, were tourists. Although there were thirteen other shelters established in Orleans Parish, the Superdome was considered the refuge of last resort.

The Superdome, there’s no way I would have gone there, I wouldn’t have gotten so far out of New Orleans, it would have made your head spin. The storm comes through, as bad as it is, the wind damage, the whipping rain, incidents of very low level street flooding.

When New Orleans was being laid out originally, there were two different towns. uptown was where planters put their summer homes. They had plantations up and down the river, you don’t find beneath blue collars, you find less than blue collar in the ninth ward, and that’s the sump of the bowl.

If you’ve got flood waters to the roof of a house, black mold problem, a toxic mix brewing, insects, in less than two weeks we’re going to have a wonderful crop of mosquitoes. Doesnt’ seem to be a way to stop the water.

After ’27, it was just a rising tide, it was not so instantly, Good Friday was when the flood started, took time for the waters to get so horrible. When it was realized that New Orleans would be so flood, to blow up the poydras street levy, it did release the pressure. There were still a half-million refugees, the red cross tended to 325,000, there were 143 locations for a tent city, lived until may of 1928, the day the flood control act was effected.

I don’t know how they’re going to clean that city. You’d have to be crazy or dumb to go in to a city where there’s that much toxicity and health hazard, to clean up, God, everything that you can imagine. It’s easier to blow it up and start over.

New Orleans in the earliest days of its founding was about a foot below sea level. Do we want to build nine feet of foundation to the city so that in the next twenty-five years a hurricane can come again? It’s now basically five to eight feet below sea level now.

James Hebert

Operations Manager, public radio for Acadiana, broadcast out of Lafayette, LA

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  • It truly is horrifying, and it’s not just New Orleans. I just posted some video from Biloxi to my Katrina Aftermath blog, shot from the mayor’s office window. It’s truly shocking.

  • LeeJudt

    “The End of New Orleans?�

    God, I hope not.

  • GH.

    We’ve spent an enormous amount of money over the years trying to overcome the natural geography of the area in order for the city to even exist at all.

    Given the incredibly high cost of clean up and rebuilding, should New Orleans be rebuilt as it was?

    Should it be rebuilt at all? or relocated, elsewhere? Other options?

  • mulp

    Slightly off the topic, but none the less very related. My key point is that New Orleans is not just a nostagic source of jazz, culture, food and drink, but a critical gateway to and from America and a critical focal point of America’s energy.

    America’s needs for shipping into and out of America, for oil and gas, has created the economy that fed the city and also the conditions for its destruction. At the level of commerce, New Orleans will be restored, perhaps with names that we do not know, but New Orleans is the gateway.

    What does all of America care about? New Orleans the cultural center? Or New Orleans the focal point of economic activity? Think of that as you consider the following copy of my earlier posting. Do we ask industry to run pellmell into restoring America’s oil life blood, or do we find an alternative path where people and ideals have an equal status to money?

    What sacrifices can Americans make to deal with the tragic events in the Gulf coast?

    This is my posting in http://discussions.pbs.org/viewtopic.pbs?t=35994

    A call for immediate cutbacks in oil and gasoline use is desperately needed from President George Bush!

    The tight gasoline and heating oil market has just shrunk by 10% and we should expect that the amount available for the next six months will be at least 2% lower than expected. At best. And it could be worse.

    Americans MUST CONSERVE and MUST CUT BACK ON UNNCESSARY FUEL USE!

    Bush was elected president because he was expected to be a good leader.

    Now is the time for Bush to show leadership!

    We should also look ways to resettle people from the effected areas to other parts of the US. Perhaps Bush should call on cities nationwide to offer aid to just one tenth of a percent of their population: housing, jobs, clothing and home goods.

    Alternatively, Bush could be calling for a massive jobs program that will hire anyone whose employer is unable to use them to do anything they can to clean up the devastation. If nothing elese, they spend time with brooms and shovels cleaning the streets or inside buildings scrubbing walls and floors.

    Now is the time to call on Americans to sacrifice for the good of Americans. That means giving up things we value, driving the SUV to the store for the pint of ice cream, or setting the thermostat at a cozy 72 degrees this winter.

    I don’t see much in the way of forward looking thinking. An entire city of 475,000 is gone and with it, the homes, businesses, jobs, stores, schools, public services. And less noticed but just as real, 10% of the US gasoline and heating product production is shutdown with no idea when even some of it can be returned to production. Without power, pipelines, and shipping, the refineries can’t operate, but those resources can’t be restored until the needs of people can be addressed. Homeless, hungry, transportationless people can’t rebuild the infrastructure needed to run the refineries.

  • mulp

    Adding another comment I had on the topic. (I know I’m risking making the topic too big to think about, much less discuss.) I was in New Orleans once for a conference maybe a decade ago, I can’t recall too much about the city. But the following is my imaginings of the city’s peoples and their economic and cultural diversity.

    Two questions, and please challenge my assumptions and guesses:

    – What of New Orleans do we value?

    – What do we, as a nation, want to preserve, and how do we ensure that it happens?

    While New Orleans doesn’t fit the mold of planned community, it apparently is laid out, perhaps by the constraints of water on all sides, so that a quarter of the population manages without cars.

    Certainly the poor in New Orleans are the least able to afford to rebuild, so if New Orleans is pumped out, the challange will be to prevent the poor without cars being replaced by the rich with CO2 emitting SUV, while the poor are displaced to remote hinterlands requiring long bus or stakebed truck commutes bringing in the labor. All the low wages of yesterday without the community and native pleasures.

    New Orleans represents the first big fork in the road. Do we as a nation follow the beaten path of hubris, or do we take the least used path of coevolution? No matter the path chosen, the real failure will be to not ask the question.

  • Is it me, but has anyone else notice the footage CNN has been playing since last night showing the looting that’s going on? I’m really troubled by it, because all the people shown doing the looting are African Americans. I can’t imagine that there aren’t any whites looting as well.

    Is this simply media insensitivity? Are they not getting compelling footage of whites looting? Or is it that a greater proportion of whites had the financial means to evacuate, leaving a greater proportion of low-income African Americans in the city? Whatever the answer is, I’m troubled by it.

    Meanwhile, an unrelated question – has the Red Cross set up an online database for missing persons yet? They had a system set up for the tsunami, though it took them a while to get it running well. For the time being, people are relying on Craigslist and Nowpublic.com, which is great, but there’s got to be a better coordinate this side of this extraordinary human tragedy…. –andy

  • jc

    As usual, nobody wants to talk about the crux of the matter. As the population of an area grows in a geometric progression, needs grow in a geometric progression, as do their costs, as do the markets needing supplying, as do the complications of systems, as do the expense of maintenance, repair and replacement, as do the use, exploitation, and removal of resources, as does the decrease of effectiveness of natural benefits necessitating their replacement with artifice in a geometric progression, etc., etc.

    Every such event that requires an evermore extra effort because of the population just to maintain the status quo is touted as being ever so much more expensive than the last comparable one. This is also, as well, because the dollar dwindles in value as more is created to spread among the increased numbers of people without enlarging the earth’s resourses (a constant) equivalently. Were nobody living along the Gulf Coast, there would have been no disaster requiring no expenditure to survive. The wind would have thinned the populations of what living organisms their were by extremely quickly changing conditions the organisms could not as quickly adapt to. This includes people, of course. With fewer at risk, the less the disaster. The winds would blow and that which could bend and/or hold on would do so. The floods would come and the wetlands would absorb and store them and lands would get recharged. The problems grow only with population.

  • Just moments ago I found a fascinating opinion piece on salon.com by Sidney Blumenthal, addressing some of the issues that Leslie Schilling and others were just talking about concerning levees and flood control by the Corps of Engineers.

    Go to:

    http://salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2005/08/31/disaster_preparation/index.html

    I sure hope this piece gets addressed briefly on tonight’s program…

  • moseyg

    Not to sound crazy, but I just saw Day After Tomorrow the other night for the first time, and as a resident of a coastal city (only several blocks from the bay) I was struck then by how vulnerable we are on the coasts. Is this a harbinger of worse environmental disasters to come. In the movie, LA is basically destroyed to signal the beginning of the end of the northern hemisphere. Should we think of this disaster as something as gravely forecasting?

  • Potter

    Drainiage systems and pumps “up to a point”.

    This was a disaster waiting to happen. A fellow was on the radio today, from the Netherlands, an expert on this stuff, talking about the system that they have in place there. This Netherlands system was designed to take care of a once in 10,000 year occurrence ( if I heard right). So New Orelans, the bowl, had to keep it fingers crossed, unprepared.

    Maybe this area should be allowed to revert back to nature. Certainly people should not be living there. make it a wildlife refuge and keep the French Quarter only, if we can.

    Another point, where is the Louisiana National Guard? In Iraq?

    Another something I heard on the radio today, Louisiana has 40% of the wetlands in the US.

    Finally….don’t forget Walker Percy when you mention writers of that area.

  • keepmoving

    I feel really bad for those living in New Orleans OR should I say, exsisting in New Orleans. I really see some problems with the governments response. And, do we really understand the cost of sending people back to the bowl? I understand the historical significance of New Orleans and that people call it there home, but it seems irresponsible to me to send people someplace where we have not fully protected them. Should people live in these danger areas?

  • New Orleans has become the American Baghdad, while the contiguous eastern coast is akin to the Iraqi countryside. For more, see “Katrina-Baghdad: Initial Iterations of a Strange Attactor,” at http://www.ctheory.net/text_file?pick=468

  • ldschilling

    Walker Percy and Ernest J. Gaines!

  • Revised URL information on “Katrina Baghdad:” http://www.ctheory,.net/text_file.asp?pick=468

  • Sorry for the misprint (again): “Katrina-Baghdad” URL: http://www.ctheory.net/text_file.asp?pick=468

  • Potter

    Here it is, the Lisa Mullins interview with Bart Schutz , Senior Advisor with the Dutch MInistry of Transporation Public Works and Water Management.

    http://www.theworld.org/latesteditions/08/20050831.shtml

    He says that the system built in New Orleans is for a once-in-a-hundred year event, whereas the one they have in the Netherlands is for once in 10,000 years.

    Interesting interview. We apparently knew all this. Why didn’t we care more?

    No, the title of this show is apt… we should not rebuild. It’s crazy! James Carville it’s crazy! Move all the dancing a little further away.

  • TheKeyGrip

    I have yet to here any offers from any of the countries out there to help the area that has been destroyed by the hurricane. I just cheked the UN website and not one mention of the disaster. Shame on these 2nd rate countries who always have their hands out for our help.

  • Potter

    Beignets, and Cafe Au Lait for breakfast. Muffaletta sandwiches for lunch.

  • Beignets, and Cafe Au Lait for breakfast. Muffaletta sandwiches for lunch.

    Oh, that breaks my heart…. I can almost taste the chicory in my coffee this morning. Almost.

  • I have yet to here any offers from any of the countries out there to help the area that has been destroyed by the hurricane.

    There’s been a similar discussion on Omidyar.net about the deafening silence from the rest of the world. We managed to find a statement from the Canadian prime minister, but that’s about it. Is this payback for US unilateralism? Is there an assumption that the US is a rich country, so they don’t need our help? Or is this not a disaster of the proportions of an Iranian earthquake or Bangladeshi typhoon (ie, tens of thousands aren’t dead – probably), so no international help is necessary? Or is the US govt saying, we can handle this ourselves, like India did initially after the tsunami?

  • Andy– to your earlier point, “I’m really troubled by [the media coverage], because all the people shown doing the looting are African Americans”– Jack Shafer dives into this judiciously in his Slate pressbox column Lost in the Flood – Why no mention of race or class in TV’s Katrina coverage?”

    Also, to your last point, indeed. Obviously, we’re a rich country. And also, hurricanes are a regular occurence for North America, just as floods are for the Indian subcontinent– whereas last December’s multi-national earthquake/tsunami was almost unprecedented.

  • Late last night, tossing and turning in bed, images of Hurricane Katrina coverage echoed in my mind. I started thinking about how the online community has responded to the hurricane. Many people are truly doing yeoman’s work, working around the clock to help cover the hurricane and disseminate resources. The coverage on Wikipedia has been extraordinary, as has been the case on Nola.com. Craigslist and NowPublic have certainly stepped up to the plate; even the amazing team from the TsunamiHelp blog, halfway around the world, have done their part by creating a KatrinaHelp wiki. Their generosity humbles me.

    And yet as I think about all the work that’s been done, I’m somewhat surprised that we haven’t seen the Katrina equivalent of TsunamiHelp rise to the top. For those of you who may not remember, bloggers from around the world formed an alliance to publish an international blog and clearinghouse of tsunami-related information. Far and away, it was the best resource out there as the horror of the tsunami unfolded. (Full disclosure – I was a contributing blogger on the site, but I joined rather late. All the credit goes to them.)

    Why haven’t we see a Katrina-related blog of TsunamiHelp-like proportions? You would think that the US, the birthplace of blogging, would have been able to catalyze a who’s who of bloggers to coordinate information sharing, just as TsunamiHelp did. Instead, we’ve seen a scattering of blogs pop up here and there, doing their best to share information. But it’s distributed and dispersed, with no coordination between them.

    Meanwhile, I’ve also noticed that many blogs have gone on with their daily lives as if Katrina never happened. Sure, they may have mentioned it once or twice, but have they posted any Katrina resources? Have they linked to the Red Cross? Have they encouraged people to donate blood? Some, yes. Most, no. Anti-Bush blogs continue to bash Bush, while pro-Bush blogs continue to praise him. Travel blogs continue to talk about travel. Tech blogs talk tech, pet blogs talk pets. Can’t we all just take a break and focus on helping disaster victims for just a moment?

    We now live in an age of tagging, RSS and distributed computing. Perhaps we don’t need to have all of these great bloggers posting to one site, or have bloggers focused full-time on the disaster. All we really need is to get as many people as possible using the blogging tools available of them, posting whatever Katrina-related information they’re comfortable with, then use tags and RSS feeds to bring it all together.

    Therefore, I’d like to unilaterally declare tomorrow, Friday September 2, as International Blogging for Disaster Relief Day.

    If you have a blog, here’s what you can do. Sometime tomorrow, take a break from whatever it is you usually blog about, and post something constructive related to disaster relief. You can keep it topical to your blog: for example, if you usually blog about pets, blog about Noah’s Wish or another entity working to rescue and reunite hurricane-affected pets with their families. Or, you can just dedicate blog space to listing websites where people can donate money (maybe even challenge people to match your donation), or share a story of a hurricane survivor. This goes for photo bloggers, podcasters and video bloggers as well – there’s no reason why this should be text-only.

    For those of you outside of the US, you could post about a disaster relevant to your community. Post lists of supplies needed for victims of yesterday’s stampede in Baghdad. Post an update on how your family is recovering from the tsunami. Post multi-lingual resources for African families in Paris displaced by the recent apartment fires. Blog about whatever you choose, as long as it supports some kind of disaster assistance in a constructive way.

    One thing I’d discourage you from doing, though, is making this political. There will be plenty of time for recriminations about who’s to blame, if anyone, for Katrina, and the political ramifications. No doubt this will be a major topic of conversation in the blogosphere, but it can wait. People need help now.

    When you’ve posted to your blog, be sure to include a link to this Technorati tag: International Blogging for Disaster Relief Day. That way, when people follow that link, they’ll be able to find a collection of all relevant postings published throughout the blogosphere. There will also be an RSS feed on that page, which can be used to aggregate all of the postings and display them on a single webpage. I plan to aggregate them on my Katrina Aftermath blog; you can do the same. (Later, I’ll post a javascript to make it easy for anyone to do this – more soon.) One collection of disaster relief resources, countless bloggers. That’s the power of the blogosphere.

    So please join me tomorrow and participate in International Blogging for Disaster Relief Day. Take a break from whatever it is you normally blog about – even if it’s just for one post – and give back to the Net. -andy

  • Well this is a great show for an ominous time. I thought that perhaps the Boston Duck Tours would be smart enough to send several of their amphibious vehicles to New Orleans so I called them just now. I was given this response: “Oh we’ve received many calls about this already, but we can’t send any vehicles because of the liability.” Huh? Liability?

    Are these vehicles not SAFE?

    I suggested that the government should take on the liability and the response was again that “the government couldn’t handle this liability either.”

    Amazing.

  • Shaman

    The government’s lack of preparedness is amazing.

    ‘Mandatory Evacuation’ of the city should mean that public transportation should have been made available to residents who were too poor to leave. If the governer expects the superdome to be evacuated in two days that begs the question of why she couldn’t have arranged that two days before the storm hit ???

    Plans should have been in place for this. New Orleans is too important for this to be put together on the fly.

    This is the ‘Titanic’ story of our time.

    The rich got out – The poor got screwed – and will continue to get screwed for months. Apparently no one in our federal government reads anything anymore.

    If the chaos of New Orleans doesn’t end in this unschooled, neo-con era of ignorance I’ll be surprised.

    It is sad.

  • mjking

    The devastation of September eleventh spurred the creation of the USA PATRIOT Act, a major reorganization of the FBI, Department of Immigration, CIA and Department of Justice through the Homeland Security Department, the TSA, Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a general climate of angst and reactionary politics.

    Tragically, I do not foresee federal action as vigorous as that coming because of Katrina. As much as it is desirable, it seems far-fetched that the destruction of New Orleans will be used to rally people in this country or even in the world to address the effects of global warming/climate change and to address our relationship to the land we live upon. On a more local scale, will the personal and financial resources needed for life to be reinvested in the city, the home of so many? New Orleans is our American Holland.

  • Potter

    Shaman- you are so right.

    This piece below I lifted from Daily Kos. I don’t think Osama Bin Laden could have done more than this to us. Our sensibilities and priorities have been hijacked. I mean how loud do the wake up calls have to get?

    Paul Krugman was good today in the NYTimes “A Can’t Do Government” http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/02/opinion/02krugman.html

    Yahoo news story “New Orleans Doctors Plead for Help” http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050902/ap_on_re_us/katrina_hospitals_hk1 puts an exclamation point on how unprepared we are.

    This piece reprinted in today’s Daily Kos from National Geographic is from October 2004:

    It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV “storm teams” warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday.

    But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however–the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.

    The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level–more than eight feet below in places–so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

    Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

    When did this calamity happen? It hasn’t–yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City.

    – National Geographic, October, 2004

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  • Vanessa

    This message from one of our flickr friends Kenya:

    I grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi. Since I was a kid, I was aware of hurricanes. We used to get our hurricane maps at the end of each school year and we would track them only with the weathermen. When I lived there, the memory of Hurricane Camille was quite strong. As I mentioned in the group, Hurricane Camille came ashore late on my mother’s birthday. She rode out the storm in Gulfport and experienced the horrors. She decided that if she had the means she would never stay for another hurricane. Consequently, as kids, we never really stayed through the hurricane, but would travel to Jackson, MS and wait them out there. I moved to Virginia during high school and have spent time in Mississippi and California since. However, many of my friends and family members still live on the coast. My brother lives there with his family. Once I was sure that they left, I just followed the storm. It was much worse than I could have ever imagined especially in New Orleans, which IMHO was not psychologically or politically prepared to deal with it. The coast has a history of dealing with this. Once some order is restored and basic needs are met, I’m sure that they will find ways to rebuild. We always have before.

    Be Well,

    Kenya

  • joel

    Why are the citizens of this country hearing about people who could not leave the area to be affected by hurricane Katrina because they did not have automobiles? What happened to the mass transit systems? Why did the federal government not press into service every railroad, bus service, and airline? Surely the entire population without automobiles could have been removed in bulk, in every train coach as well as freight car, flat car, and gondola, as well as commandeered school busses convened from hundreds of miles around and formed into escorted convoys for prioritized, emergency, unimpeded access to highways to inland areas convenient to food warehouses and distribution centers, hospitals and other facilities and utilities with capacity to handle emergency quantities. The people could have been removed to where comandeered empty truck trailers were being collected and converted into dormitories, field kitchens, first aid stations and sanitation facilities as well as house trailers on sales lots. The armed services certainly have the ability to accomplish all of this in one day since one of their main stocks in trade is to set up support systems and utilities on short notice in difficult circustances in any location as troops move all over a countryside on whatever maneuvers are requited in a war, in which this country seems to love to meddle. Why are not all those practiced skills and abilities put into a useful operation for a change?

    Even more difficult to understand is, since New Orleans has got to be one of the largest termini of barges and towboats in the world, why were they not used, indeed, why are they not being used today, to transport huge numbers of people upriver far beyond the reach of the storm surge? The barges could have been brought alongside the levees from which people could embark easily and simply. A raft of barges a quarter of a mile long and over a hundred feet wide could move the equivalency of the entire population of a small town. The military could have used their helicopters to drop the components of field kitchens for food handling and distribution in one of the barges, sanitary facilities in the way of “portapotty” latrines, washing facilities and holding tanks for gargage and wastes in another, a first aid station and/or field hospital in another, and cots, bedding and other comfort and shelter facilities in the rest of the barges to serve as temporary dormitories. The barges could then be transported out of the untenable circumstances and conditions in New Orleans and taken upriver to other municipalities or smaller towns and moored alongshore where other provisions could be attainable for longer durations till the people could be provided with places around the area on land where they could live more normally.

    Regarding the rescue operations going on presently in New Orleans, where are the hovercraft landing craft which the military have? The US Coast Guard is trying to extricate people from flooded areas, areas littered with demolished buildings and where roads are unusable. This operation is involved with plucking people, several at a time at the most, with helicopters which can hold not many before needing to return to a safe place to unload the rescued people and then search for more people. The hovercraft can go over a skim of water or deep water, even with a sea running, and overland, roads or no roads, and can probably even climb over piles of debris (they can negotiate pressure ridges in the arctic ice, after all) to get to the people. It can then take in many dozen people before, at high speed, finding a safe place to deposit them. And the government, we know, has them, but we don’t see much evidence in the news that they are using them elsewhere presently for any reason more important than rescuing people in the devastation of hurrican Katrina.

  • Potter

    Louisiana 1927 lyrics Randy Newman

    What has happened down here is the wind have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
Rained real hard and rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
The river have busted through cleard down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangelne

    Louisiana, Louisiana

    They’re tyrin’ to wash us away

    They’re tryin’ to wash us away

    Louisiana, Louisiana

    They’re tryin’ to wash us away

    They’re tryin’ to wash us away

    President Coolidge came down in a railroad train

    With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand

    The President say, “Little fat man isn’t it a shame what the river has

    done

    To this poor crackers land.

    Louisiana, Louisiana

    They’re tyrin’ to wash us away

    They’re tryin’ to wash us away

    Louisiana, Louisiana

    They’re tryin’ to wash us away

    They’re tryin’ to wash us away