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August 29, 2005

Apocalypse deferred; likely damage merely “incredible”
Posted by Patrick at 07:46 AM * 89 comments

From Dr. Jeff Masters:

Katrina is due south of the Mississippi-Louisiana border, and moving northward at 15 mph. On this course, the western edge of the eyewall will pass some 20 miles to the east of New Orleans, sparing that city a catastrophic hit. As the eye passes east of the city later this morning, north winds of about 100 mph will push waters from Lake Pontchartrain up to the top of the levee protecting the city, and possibly breach the levee and flood the city. This flooding is will not cause the kind of catastrophe that a direct hit by the right (east) eyewall would have, with its 140 mph winds and 15-20 foot storm surge. New Orleans will not suffer large loss of life from Katrina.

[…] Katrina is not hitting at maximum intensity and is sparing New Orleans a direct hit, and although the damage will be incredible, it could have been much, much worse.

Maybe there’ll be a New Orleans to go back to after all. We can hope.

Addendum, TNH:

We’re continuing to accumulate useful and interesting links in Katrina, next post down.

John Houghton, who does disaster relief work, comments:

The major Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) are:

American Red Cross - 1-800-HELP-NOW for donations.
Salvation Army
Southern Baptist Convention

The Red Cross federal charter requires us to respond to the human needs in disasters, and is responsible for the majority of Emergency Support Function (ESF) 6 Mass Care in the Federal Response Plan, and usually shoulders most of the cost themselves (we accepted money from the feds last fall (after much soul searching), and will probably accept it for Katrina). While both the Army and the SBC are “Religions with Agendas”, for this they are deserving of support, even though they have their own funding sources.

The Red Cross is going to need money the most—to buy food, rent trucks, pay for diesel fuel. And while this is certainly the biggest disaster at the moment, we also need to keep responding to our everyday disasters—household fires, tornados, etc. and that takes money.

The Salvation Army helps with feeding and sheltering, and the Southern Baptists have several big mobile kitchens that will be feeding the folks hot meals in the Gulf Coast for weeks. Never underestimate the power of a hot meal (especially since we’ll be starting with Heater Meals and MREs).

Call your Red Cross, see if they need help answering phones, or stuffing envelopes, or bookeeping. If your’re able to leave home for three weeks, they might even want to train and recruit you to work in the field for this (not a usual thing, but this isn’t a usual disaster).

Comments on Apocalypse deferred; likely damage merely "incredible":
#1 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:55 AM:

Good news to wake up to. (Now I can go back to sleep.)

#2 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 08:24 AM:

Am I the only person who's had the old jazz standard "Do You Know What It Means (to Miss New Orleans)" running through his head for the last day or so? Glad it may not get as much of a revival as I feared....

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:06 AM:

I'm seeing reports that the Superdome's roof is failing (1/12 gone) and that rain is starting to pour in....

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:07 AM:

Oh hell. The eyewall is hitting my Nielsen relatives.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:12 AM:

Tom, report I heard was that people were being relocated inside the structure. They still have enough electrical capacity for lights, but not cooling. Not pleasant, and the stress will be hard on some of the frailer people there, but so far the building itself is largely holding.

#6 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:14 AM:

That's consistent. Let's all hope it keeps holding at the current level.

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:23 AM:

Whoops, now the Weather Channel is also reporting that the roof damage is a section torn away, not just a leak. Also: at least one NOLA levee has breached. And Highway 90 is under water.

#8 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:42 AM:

When I heard that they were using the dome as a shelter, I kept thinking about how, during construction, Seattle's Kingdome was dubbed "the doomed stadium" because parts of the roof kept caving in during construction. A partial roof on a domed stadium is very bad news.

My great-grandmother, Agnes Gleason Cramer, died & was buried somewhere in New Orleans in about 1908; we don't know where. She died when my grandfather was 10 months old from complications from childbirth. So my grandfather never knew his mother. A few years ago, we established that the famly seemed to have no copies of her picture. Last night, I had a dream that her bones were floating out to sea.

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:52 AM:

Confirmed levee breach, NOLA, industrial canal near Tennessee Street, predicted 3' - 8' of flooding to result.

#10 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 10:11 AM:

This is both good and bad news. Thank you for keeping us updated.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 10:14 AM:

I just want to say that Jim Cantore is the man.

#12 ::: elizabeth bear ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 10:17 AM:

MSNBC is reporting that the Superdome damage is roof liner or ventilation flaps, not structural. Fingers crossed it's so.

collated damage report reprinted from a comment on Jeff Master's Wunderground blog by user Orleans77:

Hotel in Harvey, LA did collapse...10 people trapped...
Evac Center in NO Collapsed..300 people stranded..Nat Guard on site...
Dome is structurally sound...the fabric that covers the dome has ripped in 2 places...this is considered minor....
Fires and building collapses are reported in NO....
Many skyscraper windows have blown out...
The levee near 9th street has been breached and there is now 6-8 feet of water in this section of NO...
The above was compiled from the last hr of watching Fox, CNN and MSNBC

Not sure what's going on with the people reported stranded on highways out last night. The Weather Channel was also reporting flooding in Mobile.

MSNBC seems to have the best coverage. NPR is lagging like a lagging thing.

#13 ::: elizabeth bear ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 10:21 AM:

Hmm. Okay. I managed to break the blog with blockquote.

Sorry! It didn't look like that on preview!

#15 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 10:54 AM:

This Report Runs Downhill to the Sea
Blog Concréte

#16 ::: elizabeth bear ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:03 AM:

It almost has a Gregory Corso kind of thing going on.

#17 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:10 AM:

Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, on east side of city, under 5 to 6 feet of water after pumps fail, mayor says.

#18 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:40 AM:

The Superdome thing sounds bad, but I just saw some photographs from the inside. The portions torn away were very small (probably 4'-5' sections) and 5 or 6 locations over the whole dome. So far, that's not terrible, and the worst of the wind and rain is over. People report some rain inside, but there doesn't seem to be any legitimate worry of collapse.

Luckily, the southern part of the storm died out as it came onshore, which is why things weren't as bad as they could have been in New Orleans.

Gulfport, MS, apparently, has born the brunt of this storm, but as it's a much smaller town than New Orleans.

#19 ::: kate yohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:41 AM:

Hmm. Okay. I managed to break the blog with blockquote.

it's nifty and hurricaney. ^_^

#20 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 12:05 PM:

I thought it was meant to be a poem...

Woke this morning and immediately turned on the News. Saw that the storm had been downgraded from Cat. 5 to 4 (it's now at 3, I think) and was able to breathe--and make the kids' lunches.

#21 ::: sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 12:12 PM:

I know this is terrible, but I can't stop thinking of stupid headlines like: Katrian and the Waves Tour New Orleans.

#22 ::: Jackie ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 12:30 PM:

My great-grandmother, Agnes Gleason Cramer, died & was buried somewhere in New Orleans in about 1908; we don't know where.... Last night, I had a dream that her bones were floating out to sea.

To make it worse, they usually had to bury folks above-ground in New Orleans, in those little mauso-ovens, didn't they? The good new is, I'm pretty sure I just saw a picture of the Garden District cemetary on CNN, rain-lashed but not water-logged. So maybe Agnes made it through the night.

#23 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 12:34 PM:

Don't let up on the prayers and good thoughts yet -- NOLA is not out of danger until Katrina is well away from Lake Ponch.

And don't forget Mississippi which looks like it is going to be kippered by this storm. Mother Nature may well be confirming the decision to close Pascagoula Naval Station right about now, and Jeff Masters put up a special note a bit earlier:

Now that Katrina is moving ashore, the Hurricane Hunters have flown their final flight into the storm. A special thanks need to be given to the Air Force Hurricane Hunters based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, who have flown Katrina around the clock while their families remained on the ground in Biloxi. Biloxi will suffer Katrina's harshest blow, and many of the Hurricane Hunters will see their homes destroyed or heavily damaged.

Whatever it takes to fly into a Cat 5 storm it's more that I have -- just "thanks" doesn't seem quite adequate.

#24 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 12:40 PM:

Truly, Claude.

I spoke earlier today with a co-worker who'd been in the Air Force in 1969, and was flown into Keesler to help with post-Camille clean-up. He remembered his amazement when they realized the east-bound lane of Interstate 10 were missing. He had expected to see damaged buildings, but had never realized it was possible to lose an interstate highway.

#25 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 12:56 PM:

Thanks, Jackie.

#26 ::: sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 01:06 PM:

I was sort of giddy at the idea that the hurricane had shifted and NO was going to escape major damage. I was wrong. I apologize about my silliness above, it's not a good time for wisecracks.

#27 ::: S. Dawson ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 01:30 PM:

Has anybody heard about local organizations helping out in areas with lots of evacuees? I know the people actually hit by the storm need help most urgently, but I'm sure there are also people who maxed out their credit cards on a rental car and a hotel room who are now stranded in places from Memphis to Dallas with very little left. It would be good to know if there's anything concrete we locals can do--I'm in Houston, where motel rooms cannot be had for love or money and a downtown parking garage has reportedly waived fees for any car with LA plates, because some people have no place else to sleep.

#28 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 01:35 PM:

To help people who may be stranded in your local area, try contacting the local Red Cross office first of all. In addition to going into the devasted area, they try and coordinate relief efforts for evacuees. Also, local news media often have links to places where you can offer help. In smaller communities, try city government and churches.

#29 ::: Marith ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 01:51 PM:

I know this is terrible, but I can't stop thinking of stupid headlines like: Katrian and the Waves Tour New Orleans.

Actually, when this is all over, I wonder if that'd make a good commemorative Tshirt for the relief workers. (Assuming they have a particular sense of humor.) If the "Black Death European Tour" shirts were a hit, why not?

#30 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:10 PM:

Wikipedia is doing it's usual fine job of accumulating info on the hurricane.

#31 ::: Rose White ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:34 PM:

They're keeping their chins up in the hurricane bunker over at the Times-Picayune, alright enough. Here's a bit from the ongoing weblog, headlined "Red Beans & Rice . . . it must be Monday."

#32 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:46 PM:

Saw some Superdome area video on MSNBC just now. New Orleans is still standing, there. People are walking around in raincoats. No one is talking loss of life anymore, it seems. I'm relieved. Now I have the luxury of worrying about Other Cities.

Hang in there, Gulf Port, Biloxi, Mobile.

#33 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:53 PM:

After hours of frustration to the tune of "all circuits busy", I got through to most of my family and friends in New Orleans, nearly all of whom had evacuated yesterday.

The short version is, all my people seem to be accounted for, but no one knows yet whether anyone has anyplace to come back to. I don't know whether the house I grew up in is still there. I don't know whether my mother's shop on Magazine survived. We probably won't know for days.

My poor city.

#34 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 03:02 PM:

NO isn't out of danger, and other areas need help, but I'm slightly dizzy with relief that we're not looking at thousands or tens of thousands of casualties. It would only have taken a slight variation in the hurricane's travel path for that to have happened.

#35 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 03:16 PM:

Anyone know what to make of this infrared map? It appears to show that Katrina has merged with the band of thunderstorms in the Northeast.

#36 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 03:23 PM:

Leigh--I'm so glad you were able to hear from your family and friends. What a relief. It's weird, being able to go from "are they alive" to "are structures standing."

MSNBC keeps showing the business district with mainly wind damage, and then a neighborhood with flood waters up to the roofs--Ninth Ward?--but never the lake front. My folks' house is in Metairie, on a dead-end block where the street meets the levee at Lake Pontchartrain. I expect it's flooding there, but I don't know how high. The house has gabled windows, which the advisory said would totally fail. Mom keeps a bunch of children's books in big Rubbermaid tubs in the walk-in attick by those windows. I wonder where they'll float to.

They finally just showed Covington (no electricity, windows blown out) and Slidell (people on rooftops watching the rising water).

#37 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 03:27 PM:

In case you haven't seen it, from scyllacat:

August 29th, 2005
(no subject) @ 06:43 am

building next door collapsed. this may go soon wall missing big cracks. fun trip love you

#38 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 03:44 PM:

Nicole says:

It's weird, being able to go from "are they alive" to "are structures standing."

It is. But much, much better than the alternative.

My folks' house is in Metairie, on a dead-end block where the street meets the levee at Lake Pontchartrain. I expect it's flooding there, but I don't know how high.

Yeah, I heard that Pontchartrain is threatening to overflow the levees, or maybe it has by now. My friend's parents' house is in the same area (right near where Clearview ends at the lake); they don't hold out much hope for it at this point.

My parents' house is in River Ridge, which usually floods at the drop of a hat, but from what I've been hearing, it may actually be in better shape than the lake side of town.

My mother says she won't even mind (much) if the first floor is flooded, as long as the attic room (where they moved practically everything in the house) is spared and the roof didn't blow off.

We'll find out eventually, I guess.

#39 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 04:07 PM:

Following up on my previous post...

Having noticed that New Orleans escaped yet again, with what is relatively small damage compared to the worst case scenario, I say credit where it's due:

Thank you, Marie Laveu!

#40 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 04:08 PM:

Teresa says:

I'm slightly dizzy with relief that we're not looking at thousands or tens of thousands of casualties. It would only have taken a slight variation in the hurricane's travel path for that to have happened.

I heard that. This was way, way closer to the worst case scenario than I ever need to get within my lifetime.

The idea that New Orleans could be simply swept off the map, left as a footnote of American history, hurts my heart.

#41 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 04:30 PM:

Thank you, Marie Lave[a]u!

Couldn't think of exactly who to thank. I knew it was somebody like that.

#42 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 04:44 PM:

I did think it was suspicious when a hurricane that had been heading straight for NOLA instead wavered and teetered and gave it a (very) near miss.

#43 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 04:45 PM:

Anne--Ditto that! Marie LeVeau, vous etes la Reine Supreme du Voodoo! (apologies/props to Cathy Winter)

Tell you the truth, I'm not sure I can do this again--watch and wait and worry from afar. I can't swear that someday, after I've moved back, I'll never be one of those "assholes" flouting the evacuation order and standing alongside my home as it sinks or swims. Totally irrational of me, I know. The heart is not always the wisest navigator.

The folks on Kos are saying that the Lake levees in Jeff Parish held, but I don't know about the pumping station plugging the outtake hole in the levee at Bonnabel Canal.

#44 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 04:55 PM:

[Rather sour note section....]

1. Biloxi is one of the stupidest places around for the Hurriciane Hunters to be. In 1975, one of them said to me (I got to spend much of that summer at Keesler at Orbital Analyst school...), "What are we doing here at Keesler? The answer is Senator Stennis. We should be stationed in Florida, closer to where the storms form out in the ocean, not here in Biloxi where the storms -hit-. And the place had a runway just above water level (undoubtedly swamped as present with all the planes flown out of the area for safety) which was so short, that every time a plane was due to takeoff or land, the road around the base that went past the end of the runway was shut down. I remember there being a gates of the road, like the gates at railroad crossing on roads elsewhere.

I was distinctly unimpressed with the place--Biloxi was touted as a tourist beach destination, but the water at the beaches was officially offlimits to personnel stationed or in training at Keesler, by order of the Base Commander, because the water was polluted.


" 10:10 a.m.: Bush Considers Releasing Oil From Nation's Reserve

"President George W. Bush is considering whether to release some oil from the nation's petroleum reserves, to help refiners hurt by Hurricane Katrina. Administration officials say a decision is expected later today. The storm has already brought a shutdown of an estimated one million barrels of refining capacity along the Gulf Coast. Officials say Bush seems likely to authorize a loan of some oil from the reserve. -- Associated Press"

Helping the refineries... they haven't been windfall profiteering enough lately?! What about the US citizen getting gouged by those stinking robber barons, the supply of heating oil is ample at the moment the but prices are outrageous and getting more extortionate, but the Schmuck isn;'t interested in the people who face freezing to death, he's only interested in the robber baron profits it seems like.... and just why has he been protecting Karl Rove who looks like someone who has among his other offenses committed high treason in the Plame affair? And why isn't that in the news?!

3. Southern Baptist Convention aid, ha, ha, ha. The meals are bait for hardsell missionary activity. They took down the webpage about their mission in New York City after 9/11, the minor part of the funding was disaster relief, the majority of the funding was for proselytizing and conversion activitie and supporting them--and all the all came with those strings attached, the announcement of aid was to get people to come in the door where the main servings of "support" would be conversion activities. That was very clear from the webpages.

is part of the Southern Baptist Convention presence on the web, = North American Missionary Board, an explicitly proselyzing arm o the Southern Baptist Convention. The aid activities are all part of the missionary activities area....


"Home > About NAMB > Departments/Staff > Evangelization Group

"We see a day when every person in every community in the United States and Canada will have the opportunity to hear the gospel, respond with faith in Christ, and participate in a New Testament fellowship of believers."

[Translation, nobody is to allowed to be free from missionaries proselyzing at them ]

"Chaplaincy Evangelism Team
"The Chaplaincy Evangelism Team provides support and encouragement for chaplains and counselors in ministry endorsed by the Chaplains Committee of the North American Mission Board, the official endorsing agency for the Southern Baptist Convention. Chaplaincy is an expression of ministry that places chaplains inside various settings, which include hospitals, corporations, prisons, public safety agencies, and the military services."

[Translation, wherever someone goes, there are missionaries preaching conversion to Southern Baptism at them.]

"Interfaith Evangelism Team
"Interfaith Evangelism addresses the challenges that Southern Baptists face in light of the religious pluralism prevalent in the United States. The IE team seeks to convey factual and reliable information about American religions, and to equip Southern Baptists to be effective witnesses of the Gospel to all people."

Translation, their intent is to eradicate
"religious pluralism."

"Student Evangelism Team
"The Student Evangelism Team leads in the development and implementation of proactive evangelism strategies that enable state conventions, local associations, local churches, and those who influence students to equip Christian students to reach non-Christians with the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

[The Campus Crusade for Cthulu is less offensive and intrusive....]

Anyway, the track record involved makes me highly suspicuous of anything done by the Southern Baptist convention. The motives and agenda and hooks involved in an organization that has an official policy subservience of women to men and relegation of women to home domesticity regardless of the interests of the individual women, which has an official policy of proselytizing and intolerance of non-Christians to not be harassed and witnessed at by missionaries who consider it "anti-Semitic" to not proselytize Jews (the Southern Baptist Conference accused the previous Pope of anti-Semitism on that basis!),etc., are thinks I regard with great trepidation, and much hostility and distaste.

Anyway, I have a highly non-positive attitude regarding Southern Baptists, their values, and their works, and their goals, and their methods and activities.

I prefer non-sectarian relief efforts and sectarian-backed but not sectarian in running the operations efforts as "relief."

4. This isn't the first hurricane to clobber the Gulf Coast, and it won't be the last. The story of the aftermath of this hurricane, of what survived in the least damaged, quickest to get back into "normal" operations state, to me is important far beyond the story of "how much damage?"

The story of what how many people have lives to go on with as opposed to hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands dead/mission, is important--what would the death toll be without the weather satellites which that piece of excrement masquerading as a US Senator, Rick Santorum, may he speedily depart the US Government and permanently be off the list of people provided funds by US taxpayers, wants privatized as regards making information from them available ONLY from commercial charge-the-public-fee agencies....?

What would the death toll be without the alerting systems and effective government at all levels actions urging/mandating evacuation? And if such effectiveness in alerting and evacuation had been in effect in Indian Ocean, how many lives would have been saved which were lost there?

#45 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 05:05 PM:

According to one of the Washington Post blogs, Katrina apparently severed a major internet link, the Internet2 link:

The private, high-speed Internet2 network serving education and research institutions around the nation took a physical hit today as Hurricane Katrina began battering the Gulf Coast, but traffic speeds on the network remain largely unaffected for the time being (the black line in the link above indicates total loss of connectivity between the two cities).

Internet2 is run entirely over infrastructure supplied by Qwest Communications (with Cisco Systems providing the routers), which may have extensive problems as a result of this hurricane. I don't know yet because I'm still waiting to hear back from them.

#46 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 05:30 PM:

I was relieved to learn that my Metairie relatives moved to Kingsville, TX while I wasn't looking.

#47 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 05:36 PM:

With all due respect to Marie Laveau, one of the great figures in New Orleans culture, some of us would also suggest considering the patroness of New Orleans, Our Lady of Prompt Help, who has a history of handling things like this. The tradition in NOLA is for prayers at the Shrine over at the Ursuline College before hurricanes arrive. So far, so good.

There is a lovely and terrible irony in that the patroness of Mississippi is Our Lady of Sorrows.

#48 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 05:55 PM:

Here's a user-contributed photo I really like from Weatherunderground I really like, revealing the social embedding of the hurricane.

#49 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:11 PM:

The religious people you want around in a disaster are the Salvation Army and the Catholic Charities. They were both really good after the Loma PRieta earthquake.

#50 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:16 PM:

Another good photo for us convention-going folk, that I can't seem to get a direct link to (you may need to click through a bit): the windows blown out in the NO Hyatt Regency. I checked and it doesn't seem to have been one of the main convention hotels for either the worlcon or world fantasy con held in NO. But I could be wrong.

#51 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:23 PM:

Are you sayingm Kathryn, that the picure somehow reminds you of a Con? ;)

#52 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:25 PM:

My husband just sent me the link for live video at 4WWL CBS. There's a lot of conversational drama, but every once in a while they read local info about particular neighborhoods: West Metairie near Rummell High is fairly dry, for instance.

#53 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:28 PM:

You get attached to the places you convene.

David's reaction upon learning of an IRA assasination attempt on Maggie Thatcher years ago was, "Oh my God, they blew up my suite!"

In this case, my first though was to wonder whether that was the hotel where Iain Banks wore my shoe like a hat and drank from the fish bowl.

#54 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:28 PM:

In the presentation Kathryn linked to, check out photo #17: a woman in the crowd in the Hyatt lobby, reading a book.

#55 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:33 PM:

Daily Life in Chaucer's England

#56 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:43 PM:

Whan that Auguste, with hys shoures . . .

Uh, never mind.

#57 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 06:46 PM:

Oops. The live video switched back from Baton Rouge to New Orleans; the link appears now to be

#58 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:19 PM:

Another resource for locating people


#59 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:34 PM:

Kathryn: definitely not the World Fantasy hotel -- don't remember what it was called then, but it was a down-at-heels place which a NoLa-based classmate later told me had become a Days Inn.

Your IR photo may explain the weather that stepped up (just outside Boston) as I typed the above. The noise on the steel roof is impressive even through a layer of acoustic tile. If this is a harbinger, the Northeast could get its worst floods since Agnes. (I visited the Corning museum on my way to Torcon; they had marks showing how most of the first floor had been under water.)

#60 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:43 PM:

More live coverage via Daily Kos:

Live Coverage at

Right now talking about the on-site shelters. All the links to WWL seemed to have stopped working.

#61 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:56 PM:

As I recall, the last NOLA WFC was in the Clarion, or now, I guess, the Echo of the Clarion Down the Halls of the Days. The phrase "hunchbacked mice" could have been invented for it.

#62 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 08:06 PM:

David says he stayed at the Hyatt for an American Library Association meeting in NO.

#63 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 08:31 PM:

Jim stayed at that Hyatt for an IBM conference.

I haven't heard about damage reports from the Marriott and Sheraton yet (home to Nolacon). Maybe that means the Hyatt was just badly built - I haven't seen any other newer building with the kind of window damage the Hyatt had.

#64 ::: Rose White ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 08:40 PM:

I just posted to some friends:
Hey, y'all. I am bourbon-addled, but able to post. I have spoken to me mom, she has a phone line, but no power, so she actually has less info (in Gonzales) about what's going on in NO that we do here in NY and BO. It's sort of weird. I filled her in and she was grateful. I am thinking about going to bed, as I have been up intermittently for WAY too many hours now, and should have a rest, it seems, I think. It's weird, being in NYC. Wishing we were there, glad we aren't there, all the same. Love, kisses, hugs, all, ALL -- Rose

#65 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:15 PM:

The word coming out so far is that the French Quarter/Vieux Carre may have fared better than any other neighborhood. Bourbon Street included, of course. Bars in the hotels apparently stayed open quite a while:

Doug Whitlow, who lives in New Orleans and works as a chef, also planned to stay in his apartment for the storm. But he won't be alone. His soon-to-be stepfather, Bob Pessagno, came in from the San Francisco area with two of his friends for a bachelor's party. Now all four men will be sharing Whitlow's studio apartment until the storm blows over.
With Hurricane Katrina putting a damper on their party, Whitlow and his houseguests managed to find the only bar open on Bourbon Street yesterday afternoon. The Daiquiri Delight bar was serving up pizzas and frozen cocktails to the few remaining partyers.
"Every hurricane, we are always the only hurricane party on Bourbon Street," owner Charles Wandflun said.
Alexandra Nicol of Montreal and her friend, Natalie Wetenhall of New York, were having a few drinks at Daiquiri Delight before heading to their hotel to hunker down for the storm. The two had been talking about a vacation in New Orleans for years. Finally, they made the trip down Saturday, with hopes of taking in the city, visiting plantations and having their palms read.
"I guess we should have taken our readings before we came down here," Nicol said.

The Daiquiri Delight Shop is located in the Royal Sonesta Hotel, which apparently was allowed to stay open, along with other downtown hotels. I expect to hear that the bar never closed.

It didn't take long for people to make it back into the bars today, either:

Gail Henke could think of no better way to celebrate the French Quarter's survival of Hurricane Katrina than to belly up to a bar on Bourbon Street with a vodka and cranberry juice. Call it a libation to the storm gods.
``You know what? There's a reason why we're called the Saints,'' the 53-year-old tour booker said Monday as she communed with 20 or so other survivors. ``Because no matter what religion you are, whether you're a Catholic, whether you're voodoo, whether you're Baptist or so on, so on, and so on - we all pray. We all pray.
``I'm not a religious fanatic. But God has saved us.''

Praise God and pass the vodka. Definitely my people.

#66 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:58 PM:

Mom finally called. She said she'd heard from Dad. He's OK! Thank the Gods. But he had some somber news--the pumping station practically in their backyard had its top blown right off. If the wind did that, it didn't exactly use kid gloves on their home. Mom is beginning to contemplate the phrase "all worldly possessions." But she's trying to put a good face on it. Yesterday on the phone, she said, "That'll teach me to collect stuff."

I'm glad to have the opportunity to mourn stuff, since it's looking like I have no people to mourn. (I hope.)

Watching the video at WDSU is heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who is now homeless, and to the whole city.

And, of course, the other cities in Katrina's path.

#67 ::: Chris Borthwick ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:21 PM:

As a total outsider with no ties to NO other than broad cultural, can I ask whether anybody over there is (a) placing the blame for the risks or (b) trying to mitigate them for next time?
I don't even mean Bush and global warming - though you might give a thought to how it would have gone if the ocean was even a foot higher - but we were told that the area was full of unsteady chemical dumps, the pumps would stop working if damp, the refineries would leak, and so on. Aren't those fixable problems? Shouldn't they have been fixed? This is a known hazard, dammit, but the attitude seems to be "Trillions of dollars in insurance, but not a cent for prevention." Is everybody going to sit back again and say "Well, _that'll_ never happen again" or are heads going to roll? Does God really have to nail a sign to the head of every individual American before they notice that they've been warned?

#68 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 01:11 AM:

Don't be so surprised or condescending, Chris. Short term profits and convenience and immediate security have always trumped long-term considerations.

In the case of New Orleans, the dangers have been known for some time, but getting everyone to agree on a fix is difficult because money is involved, or peoples' habits threatened.

For example:

It is fairly well accepted that building levies to protect riverfront towns from flooding has very bad effects on wetlands downriver . . . which in turn makes storms roaring in from the Gulf more destructive because there is nothing to buffer them. (The last time I was in New Orleans -- late eighties -- I heard David Brin read a chapter of his in-progress novel Earth which was set in a flooded N.O. which had been made vulnerable by the short-sided "channeling" of the big muddy.)

But the short-term security of a levy is easy to understand. It is much more difficult to sell farmers and homeowners on a long-term wholistic approach:

"Dang tree-huggers want to take away my land and let the river run over it! Why don't they let the Army Corp of Engineers do its job?"

"Does God really have to nail a sign to the head of every individual American before they notice that they've been warned?"

Wow, you really don't know Americans do you? God could make a personal appearance at the Superbowl to personally hand out little tablets with the Eleventh Commandment inscribed on them ("THOU SHALT NOT FUCK UP THE PLANET EVEN IF IT MEANS YOU LOSE SOME MONEY OR HAVE TO SORT YOUR GARBAGE YOU LAZY UNGREATFUL APES") and a good chunk of the audiance would think it doesn't apply to them.

#69 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 01:18 AM:

AP is apparently claiming the US death toll from Katrina at 55. That's likely to go up some, but it's an amazingly good number from what we were all fearing! (Per the headline on AT&T's homepage when I just logged in)

#70 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 03:27 AM:

Uh-oh. Part of the worst-case scenario just happened. Just read on Boing-Boing, confirmed on Wikipedia and CNN, that a two-block wide stretch of levee broke and Lake Pontchartrain is flooding into the city.

An administrator at the Tulane University medical center reports the water is rising an inch every five minutes. The hospitals are preparing to evacuate critically ill patients by air.

CNN story here
Wikipedia update here.

#71 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 04:20 AM:

I think it's way too early to say on the death toll.

There's something faintly disturbing about the way the evacuations were handled. It seems to be that people who didn't have their own transport were pretty much abandoned. Yes, shelters scattered across the affected region, but that would still have put tens of thousands of people in the middle of a flood, in buildings which were being damaged by the winds which hit, less severe than the winds forecast.

But the logistics aren't good. Load them on buses? How many round trips could the buses have made, a hundred miles each way in very heavy traffic? The trains had stopped running, not that there's all that much passenger capacity in the system.

And now I see reports that two hospitals are affected by flooding, and may have to be evacuated by air.

A big part of the problem is distance, but wasn't there any way that Amtrak could have been told to bring their trains in empty, and take them out loaded? Wasn't there any way to load people onto empty cargo trucks to get them out? Isn't the approach of a category 5 hurricane reason enough to start getting just a little bit totalitarean?

#72 ::: David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 06:38 AM:

Yes, while the city of New Orleans wasn't instantly obliterated like some feared, I think some people are overreacting in the other direction. Biloxi is under water. A large section of levee has collapsed in New Orleans and, according to the mayor, as much as 80% of the city is under as much as 20 feet of water.

I'll say it again; while the news reports are sketchy right now, as far as I can tell much of New Orleans is, in fact, now under Lake Pontchartrain. We'll probably have to wait until morning to get the full details and confirmation.

Could it have been worse? Absolutely. But things are very, very bad. Worse, I think, than the initial impression given by TV coverage immediately after the storm.

#73 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 08:07 AM:

Glad to see ML back up. I was going to post a similar comment about 6:45 AM, but this site was inaccessible until now. (Patrick says via email that there was network problem.)

#74 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 08:22 AM:

There's still a lot of rain going to fall in the Mississippi basin, too; it will all flow downstream over the next several days.

If the levee breaks are such, or become such, that this pushes floodwaters through the flooded city, the material damage is likely to become erosional. Much of that and recovery becomes much, much more complicated, and it was already really difficult.

The figure I've seen posted for the pumps is an inch per hour, if they're all running.

So, get the pumps all running by whatever means; fix the levee breaks by whatever means. Then pump out the city, which, for ten feet of water takes about five days. For twenty feet, ten days. Fixing the breaks -- with high water on both sides! -- and cofferdamming the pump houses will take serious time, weeks, even with everything available thrown at the problem. (Deploying Army engineering units, etc.) It's not clear that a two block long failure would be fixable in place; it's awfully hard to replace foundations on saturated ground in flowing water.

So, yeah, better than having the eye of the storm pass just west of the city, but what they've got is not very far off destroyed.

#75 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:24 AM:

Chris Borthwick ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:21 PM:

As a total outsider with no ties to NO other than broad cultural, can I ask whether anybody over there is (a) placing the blame for the risks or (b) trying to mitigate them for next time?
I don't even mean Bush and global warming - though you might give a thought to how it would have gone if the ocean was even a foot higher - but we were told that the area was full of unsteady chemical dumps, the pumps would stop working if damp, the refineries would leak, and so on. Aren't those fixable problems?...

Yes, they are fixable problems. But the ass in the Oval Orifice is against the concept of government

- with any authority or responsibility to impose environmental restrictions and limitations on land use,

- with responsibility for disaster planning that isn't Joe McCarthy DirtyCommieWitch(non-Christian)Terrorist hunting however bogus such ThreatsToTheAmericanWay be or not,

- designating off-limits areas for development that might provide natural shielding against flooding and high winds etc.,

- proviiding support for people who don't have the resources or wherewithal to evactuate without third party assistance in an emergency or survive without third party assistance--but passes laws requiring heroic measures to preserve "life" in non-sapient husks and blobs of protoplasm that the sapience of is highly questionable, against the will of those the law demands be held responsible for the husks and blobs regardless of their emotional states and emotional resources and thei responsibilities to themselves and otehr sapient living and their physical and emotional health.

Other crises the National Guard and military get called up en masse to provide assistance and bulwark dams, levees, pile sandbags, put in temporary coffer dams, patrol... but wait, the National Guard is over in that sandpit hellhole Schmuck stirred up from a relatively stable if rather vicious dictatorship into Apocalypse Imminent (but then maybe being an Apocalyptic Christian he wants Apocalypse Now....) situation full of jihadis, opportunitists who'll sell or do anything for profit, three or four major different types of hotheaded homicidal religious extremist maniacs, rampant unleashed misogynist control freaks, general homicidal maniacs/sociopaths/psychopaths with all the controls except "go thou and kill the infidel and the heretic and the blasphemer in support of Our Cause," US high school dropouts and flunkouts and lied-on-their-record-to-get-enlistment-bonus-and-get-recruiter-to-recruitment-goal ignoramuses sent over to Iraq without sufficient training and preparation and equipment and complete lack of cognizance of the cultures in Iraq, US "contractors" with very high pay and no oversight and given free rein to commit atrocities without oversight other than whatever secret orders came down from the US Star Chamber "government" involving lying filth such as Rove, Cheney, and the re-emergence of the likes of Poindexter... and presiding over the debacle that ass.

So, where was the National Guard? Where there were the FEMA Disaster Preparedness people? Where was the -military--- don't tell me there aren't lots of active duty troops and federally owned equipment around the Gulf of Mexico, I'll laugh in your face. There are ship building facilities (wonder what shape they're in now...) with Government Owned Equipment, Keesler Air Force Base, Navy facilities, Army facilities, other Air Force Bases... there are lots of OTHER US Government facilities around, there's the Army facilities at Huntsville Alabama, surely a facility that deals with big rocket engines and ballistic missile defense and heavy munitions development is going to have some heavy equipment or contractors with heavy equipment, that can be made available for national emergencies and moved on an expedited scheduled; picked up by big heavy military helicopters or by transport ships to get near to the coast?

Anyway, the area has GOT heavy equipment. it's -got- barges--the Mississippi has -barges- and tugboats, to move stuff up and down the Mississippi. The Gulf Coast has -ships-, seaports -do- have ships, and again, there are all those military facilities and government-owned equipment that the Deep South is overflowing with that the rest of the country saw move there over the past 40 years... but was there effective disaster planning to mobilize it? Ha, ha, ha....

Had disaster struck -this- area, Rev. Fred Phelps that vicious hatemongering vermin who travels the USA with signs expressing sentiments that include his claim that gay marriage in Massachusetts caused 9/11 and thanking God for 9/11 and other utterly hateful vileness would be out saying that it was divine retribution, and probably Pat Robertson too, along with sundry others who view Schmuck as someone who they support though they're disappointed because he's too moderate for their full approbation....

Where are the portable pumping systems? They're individually not of enormous use in trying to hold back the waters that are flooding New Orleans, but enough pumps on barges, etc., and enough heavy equipment and hauled-in materials and a lot of headway could be made--but the disaster preparations have to be in place and the people concerned with disaster response, as opposed to whatever bogusosity the N/i/g/h/t/w/a/t/c/h so-called Homeland Security boondoggle engages in.

(Two days ago I saw three FEMA white vans on I-290 in Worcester, I wondered what those utterly stupid-looking three white trucks were doing stopped in tandem by the center divider of the road slowing down the traffic. I didn't notice any other vehicles or anything spilled, just those three stupid trucks sitting there in tandem like white elephant carcasses....)

The response to Big Hurricane drenching Gulf Coast devastating waterfront and several miles inland lowlying areas by the US Government Authorities is utterly pathetic. The reports of how the evacuation went--little assistance for those needing it the most, apparently--get ugliers and uglier as the information gets out. The coverage that fails to provide any critical commentary about government responsibilities and activities and what was/wasn't done to mitigate the magnitude of disaster, seems -totally- lacking in the news media. What ever happened to -journalism- as opposed to entertainment with a varnish of information--a varnish of partisan eye-to-the-they-who-have-the-financial-precensor-and-slant-the-reporting-and-commentary? What happened to hard questions and the search for truth, honor, justice, and equal treatment under the law--oh, that, ass in Oval Office changed the rules and suspended enforcement of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, and his pet rightwing judges and the lickspittle Congress aren't providing anything but support to the Schmuck.

And where IS the Schmuck? On vacation a state or two away enjoying his leisure and poking his snout out for the occasional photo op, and to wine and dine more of the robber barons who arranged his elevation. My sense is that BOTH elections were rigged, Florida in 2000, and Ohio in 2004 with all the irregularities about voting machines, their availability, missing ballots in various places, long lines in places where the voter registration wasn't majority Republican but ample facilities in Republican majority areas, no paper trail for the Diebold devices, and no security and no non-Republican-partisan people allowed to view ballot handling and processing--there are allegations of ballot tampering, but no one's being allowed to actually examine the ballots. The ballots were under surveillance and control to ensure the integrity of the ballots0--that is, they weren't handled as items to keep secure and prevent adding stuffed ballots, removing or rendering invalid (spoiling) ballots without the "correct" voting on them, etc. There weren't observers to watch and there weren't records and recording of who had access to the ballots, etc.

Anyway, the US Government so far to me looks like a villain regarding crisis management and disaster response--and the fault starts at the top, and the top is RESPONSIBLE for the failure below. OUST BUSH

#76 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:37 PM:

Graydon: Those pumps go into Lake Pontchartrain, so until the dikes are repaired, they can't get rid of the water.

#77 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:42 PM:

Terry -

Though not clear from my post, I was thinking, ok, after the breaches are patched and the flooding from the upstream rain subsides, then it will take a couple weeks.

Nothing wood framed is going to take two weeks immersion in a current very well.

#78 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:07 PM:

Graydon: It's been one of those days. Almost none of the news outlets have managed to get that little fact about the pumps out.

Some of those have been talking to engineers, at least one of those from/in New Orleans.

#79 ::: . ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 08:15 AM:


[posted from]

#80 ::: abi spies comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 08:19 AM:

Using the "copy text from higher in the thread" technique.

#81 ::: . ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2007, 03:40 PM:


[posted from]

#83 ::: . ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:39 AM:


[posted from]

#84 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 08:51 AM:

I wonder as I wander all over the thread
Why spammers don't leave these old comment lines dead
Why they think that we will click through what they've said
I wonder as I wander all over the thread

(OK, it's a bit rough)

#85 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 09:36 AM:

Looks like it could be a triolet.

#86 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 09:58 AM:

The triolet has simple standard rules,
we follow them and find the poem's short;
they are just crafty, but still normal, tools.
The triolet has simple standard rules.

It's not the kind of thing you learn in schools
nor yet a method of final resort:
the triolet has simple standard rules,
we follow them and find them the poem's short.

#87 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 10:04 AM:

There's a sonnet on the sonnet and a villanelle on the villanelle, and several limericks on the limerick. That was a triolet on the triolet, and right up there with the best of them.

#88 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Actually it's a filk.

#89 ::: Pendrift sees spam here ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 05:25 PM:

on the roof of the world.

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