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August 30, 2005

Katrina info
Posted by Teresa at 01:33 PM * 41 comments

Scroll down or click through to Katrina for our accumulating collection of links to check-in pages, current info sources, and background articles.

(Note: This post—the one called “Katrina info”—has been moved up to its current position. You may have seen it before without seeing the posts immediately following it.)

Comments on Katrina info:
#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:39 AM:

A note on the increasing uselessness of Technorati: This morning, if you type "Katrina" into its search box, it tells you:

There are no posts that contain that text yet. Please try again later or add it to your watchlist to track future conversation.
So much for "Currently tracking 16.3 million sites and 1.4 billion links."

#2 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:31 AM:

Yet you do get the links to "pages" 1...11, and if you click on any of them other than 1, you get good search results. And it's #1 on their top 10 searches. (Of which 6 are hurricane-related.)

I don't think this is evidence that their site tracking is broken; just their interface. Not that that excuses it.

#3 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:43 AM:

I was doing such searches with their Tags feature yesterday and having no problem. I didn't try it the other way.

But they seem to be having some problems this morning. I tried it just now and got the message:

There are no posts with that tag yet. Please try again later or post one yourself!

#4 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:43 AM:

What is the appropriate tag for a check-in page?

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 11:45 AM:

Now I can get results when I type in "Katrina," but it's mostly zero-linked blogs, half of which aren't in English. Technorati's "most popular" page gives me one each most popular news story, book review, movie review, and weblog, plus two subsidiary links per category. They're bleeping useless.

Once upon a time, you could use Technorati to find groundswell stories and information sources, identified via a straightforward plebiscite: People read them. People linked to them.

I don't want my news and information delivered to me as tidily-packaged predigested pap because THE PEOPLE WHO REPACKAGE THE NEWS ARE EXACTLY WHAT I'M TRYING TO AVOID.

Am I being excessively paranoid? Moving into conspiracy-theory territory?

#6 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 11:53 AM:

PubSub's roundup has a couple of mainstream stories mixed in, but looks to be mostly offbeat stuff. The big problem is that there's not much of it. It's also not sorted by date, which confuses things.

#7 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 12:42 PM:

No, Teresa, you're not. What you want is reasonable and shouldn't be so frustrating. It's particularly galling since you used to be able to get it. This might fall into the "all upgrades suck" rule of life.

#8 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 12:55 PM:

It just sounds like you want balance in your news diet, a little fiber to balance out the cheesy poofs.

The other problem with getting the big news sites is: It's all the same AP news story. Maybe they switched around a paragraph or two, or wrote their own perfectly inverted who-where-when-why paragraph as an opener, but it's all the same story.

#9 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 01:18 PM:

And then you get a story written in ways which are perfectly clear for those with local knowledge, and woefully obscure for the rest of us.

There's a lot of that around New Orleans, with names on particular stretches of road which, on the maps, are usually marked by number. The naming habit isn't limited to NOLA, but it's been one big source of confusion.

#10 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 03:27 PM:

I also spoke too soon about the safety of my family, it turns out.

My grandmother's sisters are trapped in Jefferson Parish. Coast Guard's been notified. They are 86 and 90 years old. We didn't realize they hadn't evacuated till this morning. Family-wide freakage.

So I'm waiting to hear. And telling random people about it. Maybe if enough people hear that Aunt Betty and Aunt Shirley are out there, waiting, then that'll help, in some wishful thinking kind of way.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 03:33 PM:

That's awful, Leigh. Jefferson Parish is not a good place for a couple of old ladies to be. Let us know what happens?

#12 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 04:04 PM:

WWL-TV raw newsblog here. It's very raw -- they're basically dumping factoids as they come in.

The one that drove me to despair:

2:41 P.M. (CDT--evo) - Jefferson Parish officials say schools could reopen by Dec. 1.

From the front page:

Jeff Parish President. Residents will probably be allowed back in town in a week, with identification only, but only to get essentials and clothing. You will then be asked to leave and not come back for one month.

Emphasis thiers. (theirs? That word looks mispelled no matter how I write it. I envy you spellers. And, if you think I'm trying to distract myself, you're right.)

Why we're not getting much raw info -- how do you get it out? No power, no phones, even the ham radio folks are having real problems in the city. The press is trying to get info, but of course it'll run through the press when they do.

They're trying, esp. the locals.

I hear from mulitiple "I heards", but no true confirmation, that the floods are in the French Quarter now -- the highest and oldest part of the city.

#13 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 04:43 PM:

Teresa: I will. Thanks for the kind thoughts.

Erik: According to the conference on CNN right now, the French Quarter is one of the driest areas in the city. Let's hear it for irony (the Quarter also being one of the lowest-lying areas of the city).

That could change, of course. The CBD wasn't too badly flooded earlier, but now there's water surrounding the Superdome. Who knows what the hell will happen. If they don't get those levee breaches plugged...

#14 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 04:43 PM:

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network has a web form for submitting names and addresses of people for whom a health&welfare check is desired; it says on the web page, "Your inquiry will be sent to the disaster area, where SATERN personnel will attempt to locate the person or persons about whom you are inquiring."

(Found off of the web page for WLOX, that covers Biloxi/Gulfport/Pascagoula -- much smaller places than New Orleans, and not so world-famous, but hit as hard or even harder. My prediction is that when the waters finally go down, there are going to be some places -- little fishing towns, rural crossroad settlements in the farming country, isolated hamlets back in the bayous -- that will simply have ceased to exist.)

#15 ::: Rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 05:09 PM:

Nola is back up and blogging again.

Darn, they are good journalists. I wish all my hometown news was always in the form of a blog like that.

#16 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 06:15 PM:


Have you posted at the Jefferson Parish forums? There's a lot of notes-comparing and kindness-of-strangers going on there.

(I actually ran into one of my parents' neighbors there; he was asking the same "how's my neighborhood doing?" question I arrived to ask.)

#17 ::: Rose White ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 07:40 PM:

Y'all: From the WWL update page (

6:41 P.M. - Efforts to stop the levee break at the 17th Street Canal have ended unsuccessfully and the water is expected to soon overwhelm the pumps in that area, allowing water to pour into the east bank of Metairie and Orleans to an expected height of 12-15 feet.

#18 ::: David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 07:52 PM:

Just saw that. FWIW the picture I posted a link to in an earlier thread is I believe of the breach referred to in Rose's post. 17th Street Canal about 700 feet south of the Hammond Highway Bridge. You can see what used to be the bridge in the center of the pic.

There are clearly multiple breaches at this point.

#19 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 08:59 PM:

They've just updated that bulletin.

7:59 P.M. - Mayor Nagin: Pumps at 17th street canal has failed and water will continue pouring into the city. Nine feet of water is expected on St. Charles Avenue (google map -- EVO) that will be nine feet high. Water is expected to spread throughout the east bank of Orleans and possibly Jefferson Parish.

That much, that far from the lake. That's lapping against the river walls.

#20 ::: David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:10 PM:

If the breach at the 17th street canal is flooding all the way to St. Charles... I don't know what to say. That's awful.

It sure seems to me like a lot people saw the little bit of positive news reporting immediately after the eye passed inland and decided that things weren't as bad as they feared. Even the news networks seemed to be playing the damage way down for about 24 hours. Maybe I'm too plugged in via blogs, websites, and first hand accounts but nobody else around here ("here" being where I live, not Making Light) seems to recognize how bad things really are down on the Gulf Coast. Denial maybe?

#21 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:21 PM:

"Denial maybe?"

Because the storm swerved and that *didn't* happen, and the serious
problems didn't start until the storm was well past.

#22 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:27 PM:

They're still fighting....

Tuesday, 8:55 p.m.

The state Department of Transportation and Development and the Army Corps of Engineers worked into the night to plug a 500-foot breach in the 17th Street Canal
which has flooded Lakeview, West End, Bucktown and large swaths of East Jefferson.

Mark Lambert, chief spokesman for the agency, said that a convoy of trucks carrying 108 15,000-pound concrete barriers – like those used as highway construction dividers -- was en route to the site Tuesday night.

Once there, Lambert said, helicopters which hook up the barriers, and drop them into the hole in the canal.

Lambert said another 50 sandbags, each weighing 3,000 pounds, are also being maneuvered into place to stop the breach.

“That’s 800 tons of concrete,’’ Lambert said. “What we are trying to do is just stop the water from going into the city.’’

Lambert did not say how the state is addressing another breach in the Industrial Canal.

Alas, if that 500' isn't a typo -- if the breach has grown that much in this time, they don't have nearly enough material to do the job. Hell, I doubt they have it now - if they're trying to dump k-rails to form a wall, it'll be a leaky nightmare.

I'm guessing they're going dump the k-rails in to form a backstop, then drop the sandbags in front of the k-rails. Done right, the krails would keep the sandbags from being pushed away, until there was enough sand to hold.

But without the pumps, and with the waterflow, very, very hard.

#23 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:40 PM:

"Nine feet of water is expected on St. Charles Avenue" [...] That's lapping against the river walls.

Cf. an elevation map of the city; does anyone know how high the river itself is right now?

#24 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:43 PM:

Apparently some commo failures kept helicopters which were doing rescue work from knowing they were wanted to lift those 3,000 lb sandbags into the breach.

#25 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:51 PM:

The river's below flood and falling. The Midwest as a whole has been in a drought, I haven't see the river this low in a decade. But there's a bunch of water heading downriver from the remnants of the storm, so I would expect the river to climb some.

I don't think the river will be a factor unless the river levees start to fail from backflooding.

#26 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 11:44 PM:

As it was explained on WWL a few minutes back, it's the level of Lake Ponchartrain (three feet above sea level) that (unless this works) will be the level of water in New Orleans.

#27 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:47 AM:

Debra Doyle wrote

Biloxi has Keesler Air Force Base, which has "Keesler's population includes 12,646 military and 3,613 civilian personnel. The military count includes Air Force Reserve and active-duty student populations. The military count includes Air Force Reserve and active-duty student populations. Civilian numbers include civil service, contract, exchange and= other non-tax funded employees. More than 11,000 military dependents live on Keesler or in the local area. "Our largest training mission is to take young men and women, many fresh from basic training...." Hmm, 12,000 members of the US military....

"The 81st Medical Group (81 MDG) is the largest medical group and the second largest medical center in the Air Force. Its mission is to maintain medical readiness for worldwide contingencies by providing quality, cost-effective healthcare for 14,700 active duty and 54,000 local beneficiaries … more than 1.5 million prescriptions per year, and 400,000 walk-in patients."



Keesler Air Force base has survived a direct hit by a Hurricane Katrina a Category 4 hurricane. Initial assessment shows extensive damage to our industrial and housing areas. We are deploying assessment crews and are in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with commanders of many military bases who have offered assistance. The damage is severe enough that we are unable to leave our shelters until Thursday at the earliest in order to assure our recovery teams have cleared debris and made it safe for us and our families to return home. Brigadier General Lord and your leadership promises to keep you apprised of the progress of our recovery teams and release you to go home and assess your own damage as soon as it is safe for your family to travel... Updated: 28 Aug, 1900"

Hmmm, 12,000 military and 3000 contractors at that one military base alone, and rather than being mobilized to deal with disaster relief that to me would seem to be more in the national interest as a whole, the emphasis is getting Keesler, which is a base in a stupid place to have an Air Force base, up and operating again doing training which COULD be done in -other- places, that don't get flooded out so easily.... traditionally military bases help out the civilian communities around them in crises, doesn't look like it's happening with Keesler based on that notice.

And again, Keesler is far from the only military base in the area.

#28 ::: David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:25 AM:

Mayor Nagin said on the air that engineers are telling him that the point of no return may have been passed and that he expected water to "fill the bowl" now. It's been dark for a couple hours. I'm not sure I want to see what it looks like in the morning.

I've never been to N.O. A friend tried to get me to take a trip there about 2 months ago. But I've had too much on my mind to do it. I think I'm going to regret not going.

#29 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 08:37 AM:

Thorough are the ways of hurricanes -- lower Mississippi flod predictions

#30 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:12 AM:

Lower Mississippi River Forecast. Short version -- the Mississippi is fine. The rainfall from the storm is all down now and accounted for, the crest for NO is 5', flood stage there is 17', the walls and levees are built to 20'.

Unless something drastically changes -- and, as dry as it has been, we're talking another couple of hurricanes -- the Mississippi isn't going to flood over from the rainfall. The local rivers are a different story, but the only ones that are a problem are the ones feeding the lake. Unless water on the dry side collapses the river levees, the river is no longer a problem.

The lake forecast is improving, they're predicting back to normal levels by Friday, so a good part of the water should flow back out. Of course, that doesn't help anything below 1' MSL, they'll need pumps for that.

#31 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:35 AM:

I think Keesler AFB is in a bootstrapping situation. Part of that is getting it running as an airhead for the relief effort, and that overlaps with caring for families and sustaining the personnel. Get the runways open, fly in the relief supplies and equipment, and fly those families out.

Right now, it's the logistics that matters on the national scale. There's a limit to what can be supported in the target area, and a part of solving that problem is getting survivors out.

That's one reason why a warship on-scene can be so useful. You don't need a special effort to feed the crew; they brought everything with them.

Those amphibious ships (and that's a phrase to conjure wild images) from the East Coast; they're mobile cookhouses as much as anything else. That sort of support is something which an army fed by contractors might not be able to provide.

And even then, they can't feed that many people. They can support the damage control but not the tens of thousands in New Orleans.

#32 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:38 AM:

Does anyone have good resources for looking at Biloxi? My wife's aunt and uncle's home is right by the lake, according to Mapquest, and while I'm sure they had the sense to get out (he said, hoping to hear back from the Red Cross), we'd like to know for certain that their house is destroyed. Or not--but I can't see it being there, from looking at the map.

I've got people to worry about in New Orleans and elsewhere, but honestly, this is the only one we can do anything about--and that ain't much, but it's something--so on this, I'll break silence.

(If anyone knows Biloxi, they're between the Sunkist Country Club--on Country Club Lane, in fact--and Tchoutacadouffa. Again from the map, I believe they're homeless.)

And by the way: Nicole, we live in Hot Springs.

While we're a bit busy lately--two non-Katrina deaths in the wife's side of family this week--if there's some small thing we can do, ask. I can't promise success, or timeliness, but we'd try.

#33 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:49 AM:

I was looking at the latest from

According to this article:

  • New Orleans population is ~ 480,000

  • "an estimated 80 percent" evacuated

  • That should mean 96,000 remain in the city

  • About 20,000 people are in the Superdome (elsewhere I've heard numbers as low as 10k, but I'll take this as more authoritative)

  • The Red Cross reported it had about 40,000 people in 200 shelters across the area (unclear whether this includes the Superdome or not)
So where are the other 20-60 thousand people?

The city has no drinkable water and conditions in the Superdome sound dire: "The water was rising, the air conditioning was out, toilets were broken, and tempers were rising." Others talk about food shortages.

BTW, the WWLTV blog is reporting that plans are underway for a bus convoy to transport Superdome evacuees to the Houston Astrodome. The governor wants the structure emptied within two days.

#34 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 11:10 AM:

adamsj--thank you for your kind offer. I am happy to report that today my mom and grandmother should be en route to the Atlanta area, where one of my mom's sisters lives.

My brother's crew, she says, will either head to a friend's house in Houston, or go with her to Atlanta. So they'll be out of hotels soon, too.

I'm in the sort of amusing position of being one of the family information hubs. Since I have a non-504, non-985 area code, people can actually get ahold of me.

I've also discovered, via a suggestion from my brother, that text messages can often connect where phone calls cannot. The Tinywords Haiku Site Mobile Subscription Page is a good resource for figuring out the email address corresponding to a given cell phone, based on phone number and carrier company.

And besides--haiku by moblie phone! Too cool.

#35 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:33 PM:

Nicole says:

Have you posted at the Jefferson Parish forums?

That link is very cool, thank you. I don't know for sure, but a couple of things I saw on there lead me to hope that perhaps my parents' home may be relatively unharmed.

No word yet on my great aunts, BTW, although I do know as of yesterday morning their house was still dry. Of course... well. We continue to hope.

#36 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:15 PM:

It's a wonderful source of info--I've heard from several people there that my parents' block is dry, too.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of racist sentiments regarding the looting floating around on that forum. Wade carefully.

#37 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:57 PM:

As an Air Force Base Keesler would make a better marsh oceanfront nature preserve. Runway? I piss on its runway, it was so short that the road around the base had to be shut down every time it was used when I was TDY there. It's a bad joke as a runway, barely above water level in calm clear whether did I mention "short"??

A nature preserve would attract tourists. Put the hotels inland a bit to avoid the worst of the surge tides from storms, and having a "natural" beachfront with marsh and such would also act as protection.

Basically, Keesler is a miserable bad joke (and so are the abominations wrought by Bill Gates and Steven Jobs regarding personal computer software and stupid invisible moron-bait settings for Hot keys and such which seem to have gotten changed on this system and are effing up my typing this and I am using the f-word at it and them for the misery... ) that I spent a miserable hot sticky summer at in 1975 and was in a classroom ina converted airplane hangar, where the women's room was down on the long-flight of stairs and several hundred feet having to double back from the classroom, and so dark in the stalls that menstrual fluid wasn't discernable on underpants, and where the jerk teaching the class insisted the students in the class wash the blackboard in rotation after class --the utility sink was in the men's room, which was a couple dozen feet away from the classroom. The jackass teaching the class got upset when AFTER HOURS I went into the men's room to wet the stupid sponge and rinse the stupid sponge off--thre wasn't a pail for water, it was all go to the sink with the sponge--not so inconvenient for the male lieutants, but since the women's room was down a very long flight of stairs at the far end of the building and then back again....

The Officer's Club stank of mildew--the Gulf Coast in July and August is hot and humid, and the airconditioning lacked sufficient dehumidifying. It rained every afternoon with a thunderstorm, and it was just as hot and sticky after it rained, than before. And did I mention that thunderstorms make for lousy flying weather?

Anyway, I don't have pleasant memories or much respect for Keesler and its facilities.

#38 ::: Allen Baum ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 06:20 PM:

Not sure if this is the right category here for this, but
has a good history of how funding for New Orleans flood control was repeatedly cut from the Bush budget. It didn't have to happen this way - but we all know that.

#39 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:19 AM:

Apologies if this has already been posted, but there are so many posts I can't keep up.

List with annotations of which charities are secular and non-evangelising religious organisations, and which are fronts for sectarian and dominionist groups which are likely to use donations to fund their evangelising. I wish this list wasn't necessary, but as already pointed out on Making Light, FEMA's website is asking people to donate to Pat Robertson's "charity". :-(

#40 ::: [ spam deleted ] ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 12:28 PM:

[ posted from ]

#41 ::: Mark sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 12:36 PM:

Null payload, goes to a hosting service. A test maybe?

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