Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Positive Overviews of Hurricane Recovery

The best so far from onsite folks is the DirectNIC guys
They saw it through, with pictures, from the main business district area in NOLA.

TAG at Gulf Sails has gone through both storms on the ground in a NOLA neighborhood. He went out on foot, bike and boat taking pictures of areas and specific houses. He helped rescue animals by boat. His story is a vital and frustrating one. Kudos to him. He posted through the dark times using car batteries and salvaged gas from neighbors cars. His shows us what it was to survive and thrive in the middle of the chaos of the storms.

He's getting burned out by now and hoping to head West for a while to clear his head. I hope his audience, who owes him so much, will offer hosting for his trip. I think he should be appreciated for his perseverance.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Remnants of Rita back in the Gulf

Rita joined a cold front that moved East. The Southern end, the part that Hurricane Rita joined, are now circulating in the Gulf. These are being watched closely. There is also a weak depression coming into the Gulf in the Yucatan area. Time will tell.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Rita

Yes, it's a major storm, but it's not Katrina. Read really good information at Steve Gregory's Wunderground Blog at

I read that the storm may be Cat 3 but the surge will be Cat 5 due to the way the storm is strengthening so close to the shore, then weakening and turning North.

It will hit New Orleans hard. Pray for the levees to hold. Even so, the pumping system is impaired and the rain water won't be able to be pumped out. Maybe it will wash off some of the muck. At least it will be clean water. The critical factor will be the extent of the surge. It would be awful if the dry areas get flooded due to Rita. Possible, since NPR had the Corps of Eng official saying that they were surveying the levees and found lots of weaknesses in the ones they'd seen, but more worried about the ones they hadn't seen. They have 500 miles of levees. Weakening by scouring action of the water was extensive. Hints that some levees weren't built properly.

Gulf Sails for info on the conditions in NO:

And there are some who will be reporting from inside the area Hurricane Rita hits. If you find them send the link!

Daisy's Kittens

I was warned kittens would suck on each other, now the reality sets in. I've had to separate these two because the stronger is really bothering his brother. Both are doing better. I'm increasing the baby food meat part of their food and hope to have them off the eyedropper by the end of next week. I never could get the bottles to work, but the eyedropper works like a charm. I also think I caught a gut bug; lesson learned. Daisy is excited and wants them as soon as they get big enough. I'll second that!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Hurricane Rita

Whenever there's a Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico all of us who live there, or have lived there, perk up our ears and go to our favorite tracking websites. Here are mine:

Jeff Masters is my #1 professional; Steve is really close behind! They give you all the FACTS and their professional opinion.

I really like the discussions at both NOAA and Wunderground. They tell you the discrepancies in their models and encourage responsible actions.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Tiny Bits of Protoplasm

DC called me this morning, and asked if she could raise two week old kittens in her exercise shed. I explained that they need feeding frequently and probably wouldn't survive in her shed, since she has to work. So, of course, who is now feeding two tiny bits o' protoplasm. AW was here & pulled out her trusty (if dusty) kitten rescue kit. Neither of us could get the bottles pierced enough to allow the kittens to suck and get milk. We are lucky W-M had kitten formula. I am valiantly keeping my eyes open until 10PM to give them their last feeding, then I'll collapse and start again tomorrow. Eyedroppers and milky kittens are in my immediate future. We figure they're about 3-4 weeks old, so it won't be too long. I offered DC Cecil if she just wanted a mouser, but will happily give these back when I get them weaned to kitten food. Shoot me! Two more cats bring the total to 8 again. Macks is facinated. I feel a headache coming on. Yeah, but they're cute: black with white markings.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm....

The melons are ripe, and over ripe. I'm going to try making watermelon jelly and maybe jam. The cantaloupe jam turned out great! Everybody loves it: Smooth and sweet with a completely different taste that makes you wonder about what went into it. Cantaloupe wouldn't occur to you, unless you knew.

GT got wonderful grades on her mid terms!! Woweee! 24/7 studying really paid off. She celebrated with an afternoon at the beach. She's still sickly with the croup, though. I'm a great believer in the healing power of a med rare steak: lots of B vitamins.

I clean picked limas & green beans, so will be able to pick fresher beans in a couple of days. Still have tomatoes, & they are smaller, sweeter and dryer than earlier.

Started feeding the bees, too. Thanks to BC for helping me get them reorganized for the winter. I have 24 hives, now, but too many are down to 3 frames, awfully weak. The drought (4 weeks) has shut down the Russian queen's laying. They keep smaller clusters through the winter, but the feed will revitalize them and get the queens laying the longer lived winter bees. No mites!!!! We didn't see mites or any evidence of them. Good genetics. I'm taking a risk, but I'm not treating them for mites this fall. I may be down to very few hives come spring. I'll use powdered sugar on them on one of the warm days in the winter when they're without brood and that will cause the mites on the bees to drop off. It makes them unable to hold onto the bees & makes the bees groom themselves and dislodge the mites.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Update info on N. O.

I stumbled on this excellent Blog that updates conditions in the city:

There's a good deal of back postings on his trip through the storm. Thanks for all those who documented their experiences we will have a good database to work from for planning for future disasters. Scholars will mine this trove of data for centuries.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Headlines We'll See in the Future

New Orleans Rebuilding: Fight of the Century!

Con Men steal Katrina Widow's Mite

Bulldoze it over my dead body!

Evacuees Find Relocation to their Benefit

Dead Zone in Gulf Larger Due to N.O. Water

Dutch Engineers Assist Louisiana's Recovery

Last Evacuees Evicted from Shelter

Katrina: Nature's Urban Renewal

Whole Gulf Coast Evacuates in Path of Hurricane

President Federalizes Guard over Governor's Objections

N.O. Children Get a Better Education After Katrina

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Incorrect info!

Thanks to a comment the post from the WL Loop about the Merritt Island info has been refuted.

Even more important: We now have a new source to use to check information:

Thanks a million to the commenter (though he could have been a tad nicer about it)

The linK:

Friday, September 09, 2005

Just the facts, Ms Katrina.

Doesn't it just brown you off when folks take the facts and force them into a mold to fit their preconceived notions?
Please, just tell us the plain, unvarnished truth in our public media. I know the selection of what to report is biased, but couldn't we try to weed out the folks who are most biased? Reasonability, common sense, and a little less grinding of one's own ax is required of the editors in the newsrooms of the world. Bias belongs on the Editorial Page.

The best sites I have found are [These guys are SUPERMEN] [a friend's brother] [Law student who took time off to help the world] [an annotated Google map]

These are the least biased and the most non-political. Just the facts, Ma'am.

I apologize for posting such long items. Since there's SOOO much on the web now, I will go back to posting only about my little world!!

Thanks to all of you thousands of peekers at this site. I wish you well and hope you live wonderful, rich lives believing the best, and working to alleviate the worst.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina Timeline Info

Try this link for a timeline:

Thanks to one of our kind readers!

And this site for another view:

YES !! I know they're both biased. That's OK. Later it will all get straightened out. We need multiple viewpoints right now.

And this:

Tulane Hospital : A Katrina Story

From the LSU Alumni - Richmond - Online Newsletter
Date: Tue, 06 Sep 2005 07:36:55 -0400
Subject: Tulane Hospital Story - Compelling

This is my dad's story from his experience last week. Thought you might like to read it. Thanks for your concern & prayers. M.

I thought it might be easier to compose an email to all of you at once that tells some of the story of the past few days. First and foremost
I felt your prayers and heard your concerns that were registered with
Donna and others and they comforted me and kept me calm which was essential in this time.

In this crisis the images were moving so fast that I think it'll take awhile to put it together but here's an attempt to do so.

This storm as of noon Friday the 25th didn't seem like it would be much of an event, but by 5pm things began to look different. We met as a group on Saturday to begin our routine preparations for a hurricane, I went home to put things together there. I started to think what do I absolutely not want to lose in case the house would be swept away and the answer only revealed the photos of the family thru the years so that and few clothes was all I took.

The Storm: God's Natural World has an awesome power. From the small observation windows [in the Hospital] from our tallest floors, we observed awnings
being blown off, a blinding rain and a general sense if God's ever angry we're going to lose big. Our first inspections revealed little damage. A few broken windows and some roof damage but the building held up well. In fact, if you were in the inner core of the facility you only vaguely heard it.
We even walked around late in the afternoon since there was only limited flooding no worse than a heavy thunderstorm. Overconfident, we even stated we had
absorbed the best punch that nature could throw and we seemed intact.

At 1:30 am on Tuesday morning began the biggest crisis and challenge of my life and in the life of Tulane and no doubt New Orleans. I was awakened by my COO who told me the water in the boiler room was rising a foot an hour since midnight and if it continued at that rate at best we had only another two to three hours before we would lose all power since we already were on emergency power since early Monday morning. We had only 7 ventilator patients whose lives would be in jeopardy, and we had to move fast
to get them out. We had no boat and no helicopter pad. Houston we have a problem.
I called Acadian Ambulance (who I know well) but had no business connection to our hospital and asked their immediate help. We have a parking deck connected to the hospital that we had evaluated as sturdy enough to support helicopter flight, but it had four light poles in the
middle. I want to tell you what happened in the next four hours was nothing short of a miracle. Our maintenance group got the light poles down; Acadian agreed to pick our patients up, we made arrangements with our other HCA
hospitals to take them. Our staff and physicians got their
patients ready,and most importantly, the water rise began to slow to an inch/hr and a little after the sun came up copters were on the roof and patients began to be transported.

Early on Tuesday morning we met with our key managers who were at the hospital. We prayed for support and comfort and guidance for what we knew was going to be a difficult period. We talked about what we knew,
and what
we didn't know which was considerable because we had no contact from FEMA or the Mayor's office. We had no idea why the water was rising and from what limited facts we had, no one did. We had to assume that it would keep rising and we would lose power and then we would have no power at all. Thus, no light, no ac, suction, oxygen, elevators, phones ie. everything that is precious to good care. We had to get out so we hatched a plan and I tried to stay out of the way and let our physicians and nurses triage patients; others determined what vital supplies we needed replenishing; HCA was working frantically to coordinate a transportation effort to pick up patients and eventually, our staff. How many people? Good question. At least 1200 which included a total of 160 patients, employees and physicians and their families and 76 dogs and cats that I didn't know about at the time.

Tuesday: The looting began. We witnessed people, dozens of them, wading in front of the hospital with bag after bag of stuff from different stores in the vicinity. Bandits took over two hotels adjacent to us and forced out many of our employees families who had been housed there forcing them back to the hospital creating further complications. That night our people on the roof evacuating patients heard gunshots in the air but they continued their work. The lawlessness and insurrection certainly was a distraction but our Tulane Police were great, and they are very capable.

Late in the day we ran out of fuel so our generators shut down and the building began to get hot. The last of the ventilator patients had to go up six stories by way of pickup trucks since the elevators shut down and our ambulance was too tall to squeeze to the top. During the day, I had a conversation with a patient's father who told me that the parking deck pad would hold big helicopters. How did he know? Because he was a Blackhawk pilot. Ok. Then there appeared out of nowhere this guy, John Holland, who was sent in by HCA to be our Flight Coordinator - whatever that is. "The man" had arrived who would communicate with the birds in the air and boy is that important because our patients had begun to fly away.

Wednesday: If you would like to know if we slept. Here's a little experiment. Try heating the bedroom up to about 90-95 degrees. First, you're hot and then you sweat and get cold and then the cycle repeats. Daybreak and I tell you patients are being moved into a queue to move. I saw our staff, residents, and faculty move sick patients with a grace and dignity that was most impressive. This was our third day and the stress on our people began to show. Everyone was asking when, where, & how were we going to get out. The city sewer system was obviously backing up and spilling out and creating an acrid smell that over the next few days made it almost impossible to breath. With no water pressure you can't bathe. But here's a general observation: if everyone smells the same you really don't notice it, you just feel unclean. On this day, the La. Wildlife and Fisheries Department showed up to help us move some patients that we had inherited from the Superdome on Sunday night. Yes, over 60 extra medically
needy people with chronic conditions. So by boat we sent them and their loved ones away. I met a woman whose most valuable possession was her pillow and her radio that I personally promised her to protect. It's in my office now.

The Big Birds began to fly. Blackhawk's down. Instead of one or two patients they could move up to four with some additional staff. Beautiful sight but there was more to come. By the end of the day we had moved all but about twenty patients including two who weighed more than 400
lbs and one artificial heart assist-device patient, which was the challenge of the week since the device itself weighted more than 500 lbs. So imagine hauling this weight three to four floors down a dark stairwell at 90 plus degrees. It was a young man's job and it was done. Let me tell you that the coordination from the patient's room to the staging area to the helipad into the helicopter was a work of art composed by many painters. It truly was a thing of beauty and it touched everyone who was there.

By the end of day, HCA had constructed an extraction plan for the remaining staff. Helicopter to the airport, buses to pick up and take to Lafayette.
Sounds good but there were lots of needs and who knows what the government may decide to do.

Thursday: Line up and get ready. Have a little breakfast. We basically were living on Strawberry poptarts, honey oat bars and for dinner a little
protein, tuna fish. Fortunately, I like all of them but I'm sure I lost ten lbs. or so. Anyway, the line was formed and I personally counted. 700 hundred people. Our staff, physicians, their children and spouses, and just to top it off 76 dogs and cats. Holy God. How are we going to deal with that? So we relegated them immediately to second-class citizenship to another line and pray we don't have to put the pets to sleep if no one will haul them.

At first there were just a few small copters and we had some patients to move and it was slow. Moving through the line people were calm with a few exceptions but overall they managed their plight well. Then a situation developed. A frantic Medical Director of Critical Care showed up by boat from Charity. Major problem. Charity was in a meltdown. He had 21 critical care patients many being hand ventilated for two days and he couldn't get any help from the state. You may have heard this story reported by CNN. Their version and ours differs but raise your hand if you think the media gets it right all the time. Can you help me he asked? This was a tough question but it had only one answer. We would give them access to the small aircraft, which wasn't going to help us move our staff anyway.
So that process began much to the chagrin of our non-professional staff and family. They just didn't understand it. Our nurses and doctors did but it increased the crowd's intensity. Midday and it was moving slow.
It didn't look good. Then from 3 to 5 things happened.

A Chinook helicopter is big. Two rotors and it carries about 50-60 people. It moves with a slow deliberate confidence that is hard to describe. But one showed up. We had questioned about could it land so we asked "the man, John" and he said yes but nothing else could be on the pad when it did due to the turbulence. I want to tell you as it approached cheers broke out from below and people thought they had a chance. So for a few hours we made progress and then it stopped. No more big birds, big problem.

What happened? Don't know. I called my daughter Megan where Donna was staying and she seemed elated. "You're back". "What?" I asked. She tells me Gov. Blanco had just announced that Tulane had totally been evacuated.
According to my account she was about 400 people short in her analysis. But we now had a new problem. They think we're not here. Better let someone know. I called the La. Nat'l Guard. Guess who answered, Brad Smith, the patient's father I spoke of earlier. He had gotten a ride back with some of the Wildlife boys and was now flying sorties into New Orleans. He quickly got a hold of the Office Of Emergency Preparedness and let them know we still needed help. So maybe Friday we'd get out. People were remarkably calm when we told them they'd be there another day. The just sat down and began to prepare to go to bed.

We left the hospital and remained in the parking deck. One it was cooler, two, there would be less confusion in the morning and three it was safer since there was less territory for our Tulane Police to patrol. I know the media has played up the anarchy, and no doubt there was some concern, but I always thought we were safe.

So imagine trying to fall asleep on your concrete driveway without a pad or pillow. It's kind of tough. Then throw in an unexpected helicopter landing at 1 am. The wind is a little dicey. The bird dropped off 50% of the Marines in New Orleans. One guy who need to go to Charity so we had to take him over. Next event for the evening: at 4 am we were treated to a massive explosion at a warehouse on the river several miles away. I happened to be looking directly at it at the time. It must have reached a 1000 ft in the air. Then by the end of the evening we began actually to get cold. But it finally ended.

Friday: The end is pretty anti-climatic. At 8 o'clock unexpected Chinooks began showing up taking 60 people at a time. I wonder if our pilot friend in the Guard had anything to do we it but I haven't asked him yet.
So in a matter of 2 1/2 hrs. everyone was gone but our Police and the last remnants of management. So after attempts to arrange a coordination with Charity to use the helipad, we left for home sweet home.

Obviously, this is only phase one of a complicated recovery for New Orleans. Each of you no doubt is praying for this recovery. So many people have lost so much and it reaches far beyond New Orleans.

I talked to the Chairman of the Board of HCA yesterday upon returning and told him it was the worse and most difficult challenge I have ever been personally involved with but at the same time I don't think I've ever felt as great a sense of accomplishment from anything I've been
involved with.
Our staff performed like clockwork and it was a beautiful thing to observe.
Our success in this week is simply measured by the fact that we didn't lose a patient during this trying time.


P.S. This event is just below a nuclear catastrophe in its degree of magnitude, and it's clear we're not ready and if we don't do better the next time a really hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Katrina Timeline Info

Grim Mission in New Orleans
Aired September 5, 2005 - 07:00 ET
S. O'BRIEN: There are people who say your evacuation plan, obviously in hindsight, was disastrous.
S. O'BRIEN: Your evacuation plan before -- when you put people into the Superdome. It wasn't thought out. You got 20,000 people in there. And that you bear the brunt of the blame for some of this, a large chunk of it.
NAGIN: Look, I'll take whatever responsibility that I have to take. But let me ask you this question: When you have a city of 500,000 people, and you have a category 5 storm bearing down on you, and you have the best you've ever done is evacuate 60 percent of the people out of the city, and you have never issued a mandatory evacuation in the city's history, a city that is a couple of hundred years old, I did that. I elevated the level of distress to the citizens.
And I don't know what else I could do, other than to tell them that it's a mandatory evacuation. And if they stayed, make sure you have a frigging ax in your home, where you can bust out the roof just in case the water starts flowing.
And as a last resort, once this thing is above a category 3, there are no buildings in this city to withstand a category 3, a category 4 or a category 5 storm, other than the Superdome. That's where we sent people as a shelter of last resort. When that filled up, we sent them to the Convention Center. Now, you tell me what else we could have done.
S. O'BRIEN: What has Secretary Chertoff promised you? What has Donald Rumsfeld given you and promised you?
NAGIN: Look, I've gotten promises to -- I can't stand anymore promises. I don't want to hear anymore promises. I want to see stuff done. And that's why I'm so happy that the president came down here, because I think they were feeding him a line of bull also. And they were telling him things weren't as bad as it was.
He came down and saw it, and he put a general on the field. His name is General Honore. And when he hit the field, we started to see action.
And what the state was doing, I don't frigging know. But I tell you, I am pissed. It wasn't adequate.
And then, the president and the governor sat down. We were in Air Force One. I said, 'Mr. President, Madam Governor, you two have to get in sync. If you don't get in sync, more people are going to die.'
S. O'BRIEN: What date was this? When did you say that? When did you say...
NAGIN: Whenever air Force One was here.
NAGIN: And this was after I called him on the telephone two days earlier. And I said, 'Mr. President, Madam Governor, you two need to get together on the same page, because of the lack of coordination, people are dying in my city.'
S. O'BRIEN: That's two days ago.
NAGIN: They both shook -- I don't know the exact date. They both shook their head and said yes. I said, 'Great.' I said, 'Everybody in this room is getting ready to leave.' There was senators and his cabinet people, you name it, they were there. Generals. I said, 'Everybody right now, we're leaving. These two people need to sit in a room together and make a doggone decision right now.'
S. O'BRIEN: And was that done?
NAGIN: The president looked at me. I think he was a little surprised. He said, "No, you guys stay here. We're going to another section of the plane, and we're going to make a decision."
He called me in that office after that. And he said, "Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor." I said -- and I don't remember exactly what. There were two options. I was ready to move today. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision.
S. O'BRIEN: You're telling me the president told you the governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision?
S. O'BRIEN: Regarding what? Bringing troops in?
NAGIN: Whatever they had discussed. As far as what the -- I was abdicating a clear chain of command, so that we could get resources flowing in the right places.
S. O'BRIEN: And the governor said no.
NAGIN: She said that she needed 24 hours to make a decision. It would have been great if we could of left Air Force One, walked outside, and told the world that we had this all worked out. It didn't happen, and more people died.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Wall Street Journal Katrina Info

Blame Amid the Tragedy

September 6, 2005; Page A28

As the devastation of Hurricane Katrina continues to shock and sadden the nation, the question on many lips is, Who is to blame for the inadequate response?

As a former state legislator who represented the legislative district most impacted by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, I can fully understand and empathize with the people and public officials over the loss of life and property.

Many in the media are turning their eyes toward the federal government, rather than considering the culpability of city and state officials. I am fully aware of the challenges of having a quick and responsive emergency response to a major disaster. And there is definitely a time for accountability; but what isn't fair is to dump on the federal officials and avoid those most responsible -- local and state officials who failed to do their job as the first responders. The plain fact is, lives were needlessly lost in New Orleans due to the failure of Louisiana's governor, Kathleen Blanco, and the city's mayor, Ray Nagin.

The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state governor and his/her emergency operations center.

See the Wall Street Journal Online for the rest of the article


The article below doesn't begin to do justice to LTG Russ Honore, who is commanding JTF-Katrina. I am hoping some other reporters can do better.

The real story might be the fact this guy ever made it to three stars. Some might recall that a few years back, when he was an Assistant Division Commander in the 1st Cavalry Division, he made a speech at some sort of gathering --AUSA ?-- that was outspokenly critical of Army policy with respect to maintenance and supply. Copies of his speech made the rounds back when email was still new, and many thought the Army would show Russ Honore the door.

That it did not is perhaps a story to the Army's credit -- the type of story we all complain seldom gets told.

Gen. Ragin' Cajun
By Andy Geller
New York Post
September 3, 2005
The three-star Army general tapped to lead the National Guard's recovery operations along the battered Gulf Coast is a cigar-chomping "John Wayne-type dude" with a Cajun accent.

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore was commander of the 1st U.S. Army in Fort Gillem, Ga., when he was named to head the newly created Joint Task Force Katrina, based at Camp Shelby in Mississippi.

In flood-ravaged New Orleans yesterday, he hit the ground running. Mayor Ray Nagin, who has been very critical of the actions of President Bush and the feds, singled out Honore for praise.

"Now, I will tell you this and I give the president some credit on this he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is General Honore," Nagin said.

"He came off the doggone chopper and he started cussing and people started moving. And he's getting some stuff done."
One of Honore's hobbies is throwing tomahawks. The other is collecting military medals and decorations. He's earned more than two dozen, including the Bronze Star and a Distinguished Service Medal.

See the New York Post Article for more

Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina Disaster Blame

Once folks see the event's timeline and focus on the communication problem they will, hopefully, stop pointing fingers. Each person in the situation was acting on the information in front of him and assuming that others had full knowledge, which they didn't.

In Sept 04, after Ivan tested the N.O. Evacuation Plan and disaster response the local authorities were supposed to correct the plans. Unfortunately, they forgot. Food, water, security all were supposed to be planned for, but weren't. Wait to place blame until you see the actual timeline of Who Knew What & When. Bet you it'll be that local officials ASS-U-ME-d that someone else was doing "That".

Remember the airliner that crashed into the ground while the whole crew tried to change a lightbulb. They all assumed that the auto-pilot was doing it's job. They all died, along with hundreds of innocents. The black box recorded the crew's argument, all the way to the ground.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Controlling Basic Human Nature

When you are in charge of a crowd you need to organize them into 'natural groups (families, neighbors, etc), give them responsibilities (caring for weaker ones, keeping the area clean, running messages, etc). and show them how to make their lives as much better as circumstances allow. Partitioning into areas, giving names to the areas, asking them to elect or appoint leaders, are all ways to keep large groups busy. If you have a hierarchy/chain of command you will automatically have order and communication. The families/neighborhood groups will know the natural leaders and feel more secure in their dilemma. I hope we will find that this was done. Eventually this organization will occur anyway, but the leadership may fall to the rowdiest, most vocal and not to the most level headed.

The Events in Katrina's Wake

will change drastically the ways we respond to emergencies... I hope.

Yes, we learn with every mistake. I hear from the WL Loop that even now the 'Forward Thinkers' in our government are making notes to rewrite plans. I pray those plans are not put into a cabinet and lost. As we can see today, some plans, thought to be very good, have gone wrong.

Friday, September 02, 2005

3 Sep 05 Katrina Info

This from a WL Looper:

Jefferson Parish Emergency Ops Center Director says that 17th St canal breach is now "under control." In same brief pointed out that local emergency response plans assumed that Federal support would be on scene in 48H.

From aerial images, water levels continue to drop - NO East bus farm two days ago water was up to bus roofs and now up to windows.

Explosion on west bank was not a result of illegal activities. Local authorities reporting occurred at abandoned warehouse, not chemical plant (as AP reported). Initial hazmat team reports are positive.

Separate local report that Chalmette refinery, the largest location to process Venezuelan crude, is largely intact. Another lg fire burning downtown.

US Chamber of Commerce reports over $100M corporate pledges made to date.

Heartfelt mea culpa from New Orleans media in defense of Federal government - we all new it would be bad (poor city, poor public transport infrastructure, laissez les bon temps roulez approach to life, etc.), but no one thought it would be this bad.

Kenner (in Jefferson Parish, western NO suburbs and location of main airport) is safe and being used as staging area for rescue operations. Still planning on letting residents return next week to visit homes, salvage personal belongings, then leave. Anticipate at least a month before able to move back into homes, at best.

Washington Parish (where Bogalusa is located) President Taylor drove to Baton Rouge to emphasize need for help for north shore areas. Reports that 50% of homes uninhabitable, confirms no water, food, power. St. Tammany Parish President yesterday requesting medical supplies to care for the refugees. Tangipahoa President requesting assistance - power, water; power returning, but had to evac Hood Memorial Hospital in Amite due to lack of fuel for generators. If return of power continues, should be able to begin flushing water system Friday. Livingston Parish President requesting food, water, security assistance; pulled back their two SWAT teams which were providing security for LSU SAR Team, so SAR team pulled out (reported people attacking boats).

FEMA director said last night that he did not know about refugees at Convention Center, so had not been coord'ing help to them.
Ascension Parish President request law enforcement assistance; overwhelmed w/refugees.

St Charles Parish requesting generators for hospitals to care for refugees. Have New Orleanians who walked 40 miles and need help.

Shelters in Baton Rouge are full. Refugees are being diverted further north. Astrodome is full (cap 20K+), and overflowing to other facilities in Houston and Dallas. At one point when all facilities were full last night and message went out over radio for assistance, 500 Houstonians showed up to take people to their homes.

Medical reports indicate that dehydration is common among refugees.

7.6K prisoners evacuated from NO prisons to other prisons. Setting up a tent prison in Orleans parish and NOT planning on moving looters, etc. out of the area until all others evac'd

Farm report from Minneapolis:
50% of US grain exports go through NO. Two week window to determine if river and port re-open, then will need to begin diverting to other locations. Prices are already low already due to bumper crop this year; combined with rising transport costs may make it uneconomical to plant next spring. Comprehensive survey of railroads highlights that if they can find rolling stock to move the crops, they have alternate routes they can use, but note that other ports are at capacity.

Unemployment stats for July just released and shows lowest unemployment rate since Aug 2001. 169K jobs added in July.

From Reuters this AM:
Sept 2 (Reuters) - Hurricane Katrina has devastated New Orleans and other parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast, killing hundreds of people and possibly thousands, and drawing pledges of support from all over the world.

The State Department said offers had come from Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, NATO and the Organization of American States.

The United Nations has offered to help coordinate international relief. Following is a detailed list of aid offered by governments.

At Home

Finally got the corn cut off the cob and frozen, and now have figs, BB Jelly and Tomatoes in the jars. Seems like so little when it's in the jar, but it was a couple bushels of corn and at least a bushel of tomatoes. I listened to the TV while I canned.

Have to get into the bees soon. Mowing around them today to make moving around easier. Wonder what shape they're in.

Sam is putting all his lectures into a book format this semester for publication. It's a little more work, but should have been done a while ago. This is his heavy semester: 2+ classes. He loves the boys, but his energy is limited.

GT said the news from her friends in the Gulfport area is distressing and hopeful: Their houses are standing, but gutted or seriously damaged.

Lawlessness in the Big Easy

Susi - I thought you would find this interesting. This is from an email we just got from one of the single mothers who adopted in Kazakhstan and now lives in LA.

"Luckily, the hurricane did not seriously affect Baton Rouge. All of my family is fine. It's a terrible situation, though, because so many people have family and friends in New Orleans. One of my good friends last heard from his father and brother on Monday when they were in their attic as the water was rising in their house. The latest problem here in Baton Rouge is violence from the refugees. We just heard that the city government buildings, which are next door to the Centroplex where refugees are housed, were closed because of violence at the Centroplex. We're not far away and were told that we couldn't leave the building. The SWAT team was sent in and supposedly the situation is under control. The situation in New Orleans is far worse. People are shooting at rescue helicopters, ambulances, and boats. It's like a war zone. Bush needs to send in the military. In my view, the response from the federal government has been woefully inadequate. The FBI actually turned down a request from State Police to help provide security for the rescue operation because the situation is too dangerous!!! This is just unbelievable."
Sounds like they need help down there! Good luck with all of your gardening! Love, AS

and from other reports:

There are reports of a police station outside NO under attack; that the cops defending themselves inside have put out a sign that says "Fort Apache." Gov. Blanco has issued shoot to kill orders. Plaquemines Parish Sheriff has deputized 50 survivors to guard the border w/Jefferson Parish (where part of NO is located) with instructions to shoot to kill anyone armed trying to enter Plaquemines to prevent spread of looting/lawlessness

Thursday, September 01, 2005


There are those who are morally bereft. Upbringing, emotional shortcomings, personalities, etc. are some of the causes. Asking governments or schools to mitigate the causes, or restructure the society that engenders them is like swatting flies with a wreaking ball. Communism, and to an extent Democratic Socialism, has tried: No good results.

Unfortunately, the "Big Easy" has attracted this kind of people, and we are seeing them acting like the uncivilized animals they are. Less visible are the damages they cause daily, by preying on more civil people and the weak.

We are seeing only the surface damage when we see looters: worse damage is deeper in the fabric of society, and it is a worldwide problem - A Human Problem. It is the way people act who have not been socialized by their parents and community to behave in "proper" Human ways

Another day, another chance

To do the right thing!

Sam has class tonight, so I'll go to bed early... I hope.
The figs need picking - asap!
The corn needs picking - asap
Beans, both Limas and Snap, need picking
Tomatoes, ditto!
Eggplant, ditto!
Fall/Winter garden needs preparation and planting - NOW!!!

And I am watching and praying for New Orleans. But I'd better do it in the garden.