Katrina: People Dying at New Orleans Convention Center

CNN reports that numerous people displaced by Hurricane Katrina at dying at the New Orleans convention center.

Despair, death pervade New Orleans

Thousands of people forced from their homes by Hurricane Katrina have crammed into the New Orleans convention center, where they’ve had no food, no water and no word on when help would come. And people are dying. CNN’s Chris Lawrence described “many, many” bodies, inside and outside the facility on New Orleans’ Riverwalk. “There are multiple people dying at the convention center,” he said. “There was an old woman, dead in a wheelchair with a blanket draped over her, pushed up against a wall. Horrible, horrible conditions. “We saw a man who went into a seizure, literally dying right in front of us.” People were “being forced to lived like animals,” Lawrence said — surrounded by piles of trash and feces.

He said while he has seen police SWAT teams drive by in armored vehicles, no one has stopped to talk with the refugees. People are asking, ‘Where are the buses? Where is the plan? Where is the help?” he said. More people were arriving at the center, walking south along Canal Street. The route north to the Superdome is blocked by chest-deep water. The convention center was used as a secondary shelter when the Louisiana Superdome was overwhelmed.

As reports indicated a mounting death toll in New Orleans, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said that “we understand there are thousands of dead people” in Louisiana, according to media reports. Meanwhile, boat rescues in some areas of flooded out New Orleans have been curtailed because of violence, officials said Thursday. “There are isolated incidents where security has become an issue for our rescue efforts but only isolated incidents. FEMA is not suspending operations,” said Natalie Rule of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington.

The Coast Guard also said it is avoiding areas where there are reports of gunfire. “We’re having to hold off going in until we’re assured that the areas are safe to transit,” said USCG Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Carter. “We’re following the lead of FEMA on that.” He added, “We’re not shut down. There’s a wide area where we’re still doing rescues. There’s still plenty of people out there.”

[…]

Widespread looting and random gunfire have been reported across the city. Police told CNN that groups of armed men roamed the streets overnight. Officers told CNN they lacked manpower and steady communications to properly do their jobs — and that they needed help to prevent the widespread looting and violence now prevalent in the city.

A police officer working in downtown New Orleans said police were siphoning gas from abandoned vehicles in an effort to keep their squad cars running, CNN’s Chris Lawrence reported. The officer said police are “on their own” for food and water, scrounging up what they can from anybody who is generous enough to give them some — and that they have no communication whatsoever. Police also told CNN they were removing ammunition from looted gunshops in an effort to get it off the streets. The head of Acadian Ambulance Service, Richard Zuschlag, said Wednesday that a generator was stolen from his command center and an ambulance was tipped over as his workers tried to evacuate hospitals.

Incredible.

Note: CNN links numerous javascript videos from the story above.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    Okay, help me out, my conservative friends.

    We’ve been on notice at least since 9/11 that there’s a very real prospect of massive devastation to an entire city.

    Obvious constants would be water, rations, & evacuation.

    It was common knowledge from at least a day & a half before the storm hit, that N.O. was in serious danger of being flooded.

    Why haven’t we had regional stockpiles of water and rations? Coordinated planning for evacuations & shelters?

    What has our “department of homeland security” been doing for 4 years?

    Will there be a serious Congressional investigation of this? Or does loyalty to the administration trump everything else?

    Please, snark aside, explain how it wasn’t utterly foreseeable that water, food, & evacuations would be a major problem, be it a flood in N.O. (one of FEMA’s top 3 disaster potentials in 2001), an earthquake in San Fran, or whatever, and that steps had to be taken.

  2. Millions says:

    It was common knowledge from at least a day & a half before the storm hit, that N.O. was in serious danger of being flooded.

    This is wrong–it has been known for AT LEAST A DECADE that N.O. has been in serious danger of being flooded with extensive media coverage being given to that fact since at least 2001.

    It is clear here that the only way to alleviate and rebuild New Orleans is to invade Iran. We will be much safer as a nation if the Iranian mullahs are no longer ruling that country.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Anderson:

    Fair point, I guess, although I’m not sure it’s a post-9/11 issue. In terms of flooding and such, though, one presumes that stockpiles would also be subject to the same flooding, no? That is, we could preposition a warehouse full of food and water and have it rendered inaccessible by the storm.

  4. cirby says:

    James:

    You got that right. When planning for emergencies and disasters, you *can’t* rely on food and drink prepositioned in the area. You also can’t have huge “disaster stockpiles” that sit around for years and years – they have to be replaced on a regular basis (food rots).

    The only reasonable plan is to bring things in from out of the area. Which is happening. The problem is that they have to bring it in from hundreds of miles away, and bring it in with guards (so we don’t have Somalia 2).

    The real problem with this disaster is that *people are people*. They’re acting like people do. They don’t evacuate, they don’t keep their own stock of disaster food and water, and they, well…

    They die.

  5. jesse says:

    the levees around new orleans are managed by the corp of engineers. the budget for maintaining
    the vital levee system has been slashed by two thirds since 2001.explanation from the white house, money is needed for home land sec,and the Iraq war,follow the money the levees were not maintained the hurricane missed new orleans the levees were neglected they broke follow the money……………….

  6. Anderson says:

    I was thinking of regional stockpiles, probably at military bases, that could be airdropped in. If you and I were to sit down in a coffee shop one afternoon and doodle up a disaster relief plan, I think we’d come up with that one the first hour.

    As for 9/11, that’s actually cutting some slack. The possibility was always there for the San Andreas cities and the coastal cities, but after 9/11, I think the prospect of massive devastation to a city became a lot more present to people’s minds. Though apparently not to those of anyone in the administration.

    I can forgive the lack of spending on levees, etc.—it’s hard to get people to fix the roof when the sun’s shining. But this terrible lack of response, with people dying like flies for want of the basics, is just appalling.

  7. Anderson says:

    You also can’t have huge “disaster stockpiles” that sit around for years and years – they have to be replaced on a regular basis (food rots).

    You know, I think that would be part of the expense: replacing the bottled water every year or two, replacing the MRE’s as needed. (76-month shelf life at 80 degrees.) If you care about responding to disasters, then you spend money on it. If not, not.

    The real problem with this disaster is that people are people. They’re acting like people do. They don’t evacuate, they don’t keep their own stock of disaster food and water, and they, well…

    They die.

    I think we can rule out Cirby’s being confirmed as the FEMA chief.

  8. Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet) says:

    There is a response. But this is an unprecedented disaster. It is without question the single greatest natural disaster in in the history of this continent. The scope is just now becoming apparent and although we have the benefit of instant communications.

    The counties involved had nearly 5,000,000 inhabitants before this. New Orleans is but a part of the overall situation. It is almost as if a hydrogen bomb had exploded in the center of New Orleans and atom bombs exploded in Biloxi and Gulfport. The infrastructure is damaged that much. Most roads and streets inundated by water, and choked by debris. A little over 72 hours have elapsed since ground zero. Helicopters and airboats are buzzing around picking up people in ones and twos.

    During that 72 hours the shock is just now wearing off, but many have been at work. Trying to save lives. Trying to find out what happened. But not enough. Not enough. Not enough. No matter what plans had been made, they would have been inadequate, because

    It takes time to mobilize for a problem of this unimaginable magnitude. But to many there is no time. Whole new communications systems must be set up.

    Victims must be calmed, triaged, stabilized, moved and managed. Because their local leaders are victims too, the victims appear leaderless. People are volunteering all over the country to help, but it takes time to get there.

    Patience, generousity and resolve are necessary in this situation. I hope it will be forthcoming.

  9. jesse says:

    millions of dollars in flood and hurricane protection projects in the New Orleans district.

    Chances are, though, most projects will not be funded in the president’s 2006 fiscal year budget to be released today.

    In general, funding for construction has been on a downward trend for the past several years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the New Orleans Corps’ programs management branch.

    In 2001, the New Orleans district spent $147 million on construction projects. When fiscal year 2005 wraps up Sept. 30, the Corps expects to have spent $82 million, a 44.2 percent reduction from 2001 expenditures.

    Demma said NOC expects its construction budget to be slashed again this year, which means local construction companies won’t receive work from the Corps and residents won’t see any new hurricane protection projects.

    Demma said she couldn’t say exactly how much construction funding will be cut until the president’s budget is released today. But it’s down, she said.

    The New Orleans district has at least $65 million in projects in need of fiscal year 2005 funding. In fiscal year 2006, the need more than doubles to at least $150 million.

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    Unfunded projects include widening drainage canals, flood- proofing bridges and building pumping stations in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The Corps also wants to build levees in unprotected areas on the West Bank.

    Demma does not expect the Corps to award many more projects before fiscal year 2005 ends.

    The New Orleans district already owed about $11 million to construction companies after funding dried up last July, well before the end of the fiscal year. By paying its debt, the Corps lost money it could have spent on other projects in 2005.

    Boh Bros. Construction Co. LLC of New Orleans waited until November for the Corps to pay off a nearly $2 million debt, said Robert S. Boh, company president.

    When the Corps doesn’t pay its bills, companies like Boh Bros. either use internal funds or borrow money to continue work.

    That is a tough burden that is placed on us, Boh said.

    Boh said his situation was not as bad as construction companies working the Corps’ Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, which was created to improve drainage in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes.

    The burden that reduced funding puts on us is that funds are not necessarily available in each fiscal year to pay for the construction work that we might be able to do, Boh said. They’re running out of funds and presenting the contractor with a real dilemma.

    The most urgent work being delayed by funding shortfalls involves levee construction on the West Bank.

    The West Bank doesn’t have the first level of protection completed. So, that’s the really critical one, Demma said.

    On the bright side, the West Bank work has been receiving higher funding than usual in the past few years to get this work done, she said.

    Still, $3.5 million in West Bank construction contracts have not been funded in fiscal year 2005.

    SELA has a backlog of $35 million, according to the Corps’ 2005 budget.

    Our progress is definitely beginning to slow, said Stan Green, SELA project manager.

    Green said SELA has 14 project plans that could be awarded if funds were available. SELA’s highest priority, he said, is completing an intake culvert for Dwyer Road in eastern New Orleans. The culvert, an underground concrete box that carries water to a pumping station, would improve the flow of water to the Dwyer Road pumping station, where construction should be completed by October, he said. A roughly $18 million contract for the culvert has been not awarded due to lack of money, he said.

    Fourteen SELA projects worth $114 million could be awarded, he said. But SELA’s 2005 budget is only $28.5 million, he said.

    The last time a SELA contract was awarded was early in fiscal year 2004, he said.

    We’re just continuing work that’s been under way for some time, he said.

    Green said the 14 projects consist of widening canals and replacing bridges, such as the West Esplanade Avenue bridge at Elmwood Canal, which restricts water flow in area canals.

    I think the projects are of critical importance in reducing rainfall flooding, Green said. I’d say in the last two or three years, the work that we’ve already done under SELA has made a significant difference. We have a lot of benefits yet to be realized from this work we haven’t built yet.

    The 2006 SELA budget has also been cut, Green said.

    Corps projects are important to companies such as Boh Bros., which is in the middle of a $36 million contract to install floodgates for the Harvey Canal.

    Boh said the unpredictable pay pattern will make him scrutinize Corps contracts more closely before applying for work.

    Well, we’re going to have to look at each one now, he said. We’ll have to make a judgment about the likelihood of funding being adequate to pay for the work.

    Copyright 2005 Dolan Media Newswires
    Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

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  10. Anderson says:

    Not uninteresting, Jesse, but could you (1) attribute and (2) analyze, or at least comment? At least, where not made expressly clear by your previous comments?

  11. cirby says:

    Anderson claims:

    You know, I think that would be part of the expense: replacing the bottled water every year or two, replacing the MRE’s as needed. (76-month shelf life at 80 degrees.) If you care about responding to disasters, then you spend money on it. If not, not.

    Okay, you stockpile a million MREs in each of a hundred different disaster locations (at a cost of a couple of bucks each). You need that many, if that’s your aim (a million people who need aid, only two meals a day, for a month and a half – inadequate for the current disaster, but it’s a start). You pay for storage, you pay for the people to maintain the inventory. Every four or five years, you have to buy new ones. At an estimate cost of almost seven dollars each. Seven hundred million dollars. One hundred forty million dollars every year, just to replace the ones that went bad. With the extra costs, you’re looking at a billion bucks every five years or so.

    A disaster strikes, and you have to get them from other stocks and ship them in. The ones in the area are assumed to be destroyed or looted, as many food stocks were this week. Hundreds of tractor-trailers, and they’d be sitting in the middle of nowhere, because you *can’t* get them in.

    Don’t forget the water, which is much bulkier and heavier than the MREs. Hundreds more trucks, also still sitting.

    MREs are a horribly inefficient way to get food in, and are only used when nothing else is available.

    There are other, much more effective ways to feed people in disaster areas, and we already use them.

    I think we can rule out Cirby’s being confirmed as the FEMA chief.

    Anyone want to guess who’s even further down the list?

  12. Anderson says:

    One hundred forty million dollars every year, just to replace the ones that went bad. With the extra costs, you’re looking at a billion bucks every five years or so.

    Looking at the pictures, that sounds like a good price to me.

  13. Chris says:

    “Okay, you stockpile a million MREs in each of a hundred different disaster locations (at a cost of a couple of bucks each). You need that many, if that’s your aim (a million people who need aid, only two meals a day, for a month and a half – inadequate for the current disaster, but it’s a start).”

    So that’s the only option – either a month and a half of supplies or nothing? I think it’s reasonable to assume that two weeks worth of supplies would make a huge difference here, and would alleviate the pressure until more supplies could be brought in. And I’m guessing that if you’re looking at a city like NO, where it’s likely that flooding will be the natural disaster you’re dealing with, you could find a place that wouldn’t be susceptible to floodwaters. You know, high ground soemwhere outside of town. What defeatist excuse making.

  14. Wayne says:

    President Bush did declared the area a disaster area days before the hurricane hit. FEMA did have preposition stocks, equipment and personnel ready. They did have to wait for the hurricane to hit then they to reestablish routes as well as having to deal with many other obstacles. The only ones who think you can snap your fingers a have everything done are the one’s who never had to do anything like it. Without the preparations that were done, it would have been much worst.

    A small point, the Governors of the States are the one’s with the primary responsibilities for the disaster preparation and recovery not the President. That includes construction and maintenance of levees.

  15. Anderson says:

    Oh, I’m not letting the state/city authorities off the hook; I just expect them to be incompetent.

    As for this notion that FEMA had all these wonderful supplies in place, how does a Fox News reporter walk around & not see a bottle of water for 4 days? How do people at the convention center have NO water and NO food?

    Everyone actually on the scene agrees on the utter lack of leadership and management. I refer you to FEMA’s name.

    This is a massive fuckup at all levels. Just don’t anybody ever breathe a word to me again about Bush v. terror, because it’s obvious that in the event of another terror attack, he and DHS will be as clueless as in this event.

  16. cirby says:

    Chris and Anderson:

    Even with a much smaller stock of MREs, you still have to deliver them, and when you have the sort of situation we’re seeing in New Orleans and Biloxi, you might as well be specifying seven course gourmet meals.

    There are huge stockpiles of all sorts of other food, easily packaged, easily stored, and we don’t have to have special-purpose warehouses full of food that will go to waste in most years. *There is plenty of food available, across the US.* Getting it there isn’t going to be any easier than getting a bunch of MREs there. Actually, having a lot of different suppliers slap food into boxes from a thousand different locations ends up being cheaper *and* faster than trying to get a bunch of MREs from a bunch of government-run warehouses.

    And, since you didn’t seem to notice, they had MREs available in New Orleans. 30,000 of them at the Superdome. They lasted a day.

    Since this point got lost in the noise: the reason the majority of victims in this are going to die is that they *wouldn’t leave*. Even in the poor neighborhoods, car ownership is still high enough that most of them could have gotten rides *somewhere*.

    They keep interviewing folks, and the common thread is “I decided to stay.”

  17. Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet) says:

    Anderson:

    Why do you expect the state and local officials to be incompetant? They spend massive amounts of taxpayer money to preserve the public safety in their jurisdictions.

    Were the New York state and local officials incompetant on 9/11? Have Florida and California state and local officials been historically incompetant in hurricane and earthquake situations?

    I think you are a bit hypercritical myself. Have you ever been involved in managing even a minor disaster relief situation? If so, can you share some of your experience with those now responsible in Louisiana, Alabama or Mississippi? I am sure they could use your expertise.

  18. Ben Marbury says:

    I don’t understand why we don’t have a “Berlin Airlift” to New Orleans. Emergency flights are allowed to land in and near New Orleans. Where are the C5a’s and the C117s etc.?

    Talk about not prepared!!!

  19. Ben Marbury says:

    Jim Rhoads,

    I was the Emergency Communications Coordinator in the Center of the 1989 California Earthquake. We had pre-positioned emergency containers in Los Gatos, CA.

  20. Ben Marbury says:

    As far as the lack of Police communications, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service has positioned communicators (they have extensive experience and bring their own equipment including generators) and are ready to go. The government will not let them go. A typical response for this would be to have a qualified Amateur (RACES/ARES) “ride along” with Police and Fire. We did this during the 1989 California Earthquake.

  21. leelu says:

    I’m just wondering, Anderson, if you’ve had any formal training in disaster relief?

    It kinda sounds more like you have an ax to grind…

  22. Lurking Observer says:

    Ben Marbury:

    My understanding is that the viable airports aren’t there any more.

    Look at it this way: How many airports are designed/equipped to handle 747s? Most of the major international airports, but New Orleans’ is gone. So, where’s the next closest one?

    Now, military airlifters can carry more. But the flip side is that they also weigh more. And even with their special landing gear to distribute the weight, you still have only so many airports in the world that are rated to handle a C-17, never mind a C-5.

    Which means that you’re almost certainly flying those aircraft into the same airports you’d be flying 747s into, which is probably Baton Rouge (assuming that airport is open), possibly Jackson MS (again, if it is open) or else Houston.

    And then you’re back on the ground, which means you have to move that stuff to New Orleans. Over bridges that no longer exist, along roads that are washed out.

    BTW, this is one reason why more people is not necessarily better. The deployment of additional National Guardsmen or police would put more people in the street, but it would also escalate your supply problems.

    This is why they say that amateurs talk tactics, while experts talk logistics.

  23. anjin-san says:

    Well I guess sending the National Guard to Iraq was a bad idea after all. Even a nation as wealty and powerful as American has limits to its resources. Resources we need desperatly at home now have been squandered on a tragic mistake overseas. God help the victims of this disaster.

  24. Anderson says:

    Why do you expect the state and local officials to be incompetant? They spend massive amounts of taxpayer money to preserve the public safety in their jurisdictions.

    Experience living in Mississippi & Louisiana, that’s why.

    I’m just wondering, Anderson, if you’ve had any formal training in disaster relief?

    It kinda sounds more like you have an ax to grind…

    It’s an either/or? No formal training whatsoever, a quality I share with the head of FEMA and the head of Homeland Security. No ax to grind either. I would have loved the relief efforts to be a flawless operation casting a golden light on Bush’s administration.

    I don’t really care *how* relief’s handled, and as I just commented elsewhere at OTB, I didn’t have grandiose expectations for what could be done: fill the city with troops by Tuesday night, and have plenty of food/water for the wretches at the convention center & Superdome. Cirby’s “local supplies” would be JUST FINE, if anyone actually had a plan to get them & deliver them.

    There’s a weird pro-Bush complacency at work here that does not fit my pride in the U.S.A. “Oh, of course we can’t provide our troops with armored vehicles after 2 years of war.” “Oh, of course we can’t provide food and water by air in 24 hours’ time.” I believe that if the President’s people had declared those to be unalterable priorities, they would’ve happened. But no.

  25. Anderson says:

    This is why they say that amateurs talk tactics, while experts talk logistics.

    Amateurs say “it can’t be done,” experts get it done. Or to quote another source, “genius does what it must, talent does what it can.”

    The Jackson airport could’ve been ready at once had a major seat-of-the-pants effort been made.

    The bottom line is, THERE WAS NO PLAN FOR THIS. *That* is what’s driving me & others nuts. (Why the hell did FEMA identify this as a major threat in 2001 and only get around to very preliminary gaming (“Hurricane Pam”) in 2005?)

    If al-Qaeda releases a nuke or chemical attack in another city, apparently the federal response will be just this bad. Are y’all really so cool with that? Ready to make excuses? Shrugging off the human cost of incompetence? Why???

  26. maskow says:

    There’s all these boring people, you see ’em on the TV
    And they’re making up all these boring stories
    About how bad things have come to be

    They say “You got to, got to, got to feed the hungry”
    “You got to, got to, got to heal the sick”
    I say we ain’t gotta do nothin’ for nobody
    ‘Cause they won’t work a lick.

    They just gonna have to roll with the punches, yes they will.
    Gonna have to roll with them.
    They gonna have to roll with the punches, yes they will.

    It don’t matter whether you’re white, black or brown
    You won’t get nowhere putting down
    The old Red, White and Blue.

    Tap it baby.
    Alright!
    Look at those little shorts he’s got on, ladies and
    gentlemen
    You can see all the way to Argentina
    Get it!
    So pretty…

    Let ’em go to Belgium, let ’em go to France
    Let ’em go to Russia
    Well at least they ought to have the chance to go there
    We have talked about the red, we have talked about the blue
    Now we gonna talk about the white
    That’s what we’re gonna have to do
    Now we had to roll with the punches, yes we did
    We had to roll with ’em
    We had to roll with the punches
    Yes we did
    We had to roll with ’em

    I don’t care what you say
    You’re livin’ in the greatest country in the world
    When you’re livin’ in the USA

    Tap it out, baby.
    Alright!

  27. DC Loser says:

    If al-Qaeda releases a nuke or chemical attack in another city, apparently the federal response will be just this bad.

    This is the crux of the matter. A terrorist attack would present about the same scale of catastrophe. This is not a good omen of our capabilities to deal with such an attack 4 years after 9/11. A real disgrace.

  28. From the South says:

    This is a frightening example of how delicate the string is that holds civilization together. Less than three (3) days to anarchy.

    Have you noticed that many of the victims are not interested in helping themselves. Could not the strong at least put the litter in a pile? I seem to remember 9/11 victims helping each other and not just yelling “Someone come help me.”

  29. Anderson says:

    Sigh. I’m worn out. You think this level of response is great, you win. Congrats when your city gets attacked and this shit repeats itself.

    Someone wanted expertise in disaster relief?

    From a commenter at Brad DeLong:

    I’ve spent years working on and helping coordinate search and rescue and forest fire-fighting operations (though admittedly never in hurricane relief). This thing just looks like the consummate clusterfuck. An earlier poster pointed out that navy rescue and hospital ships are late in getting started, but from what I can gather is that the fundamentals have been screwed up coming and going. There were no inland staging areas of resources, there was a complete failure to drop cargo nets of humanitarian food packets (MREs of lentils that say “a gift from the citizens of the United States” on them) and blivets (giant water balloons) of potable water. I mean, that stuff is basic – like the first things you secure for a big project fire. And, yes, this is a scale that I have never seen before. But the fundamentals: water, food, sanitation (I have no idea how you secure that helicopter – maybe empty dumpsters with toilet seats over the sides?) are the kind of thing that you start staging when bad shit looks imminent, not a day or two after the shit has hit the fan. I am so f*ing ashamed.

    But I’m sure this guy’s wrong, and we couldn’t do anything, because we’re just a 3d world country.

    Oh, and look here: Chertoff denies any lack of food at the convention center, and the FEMA head says the feds didn’t even know there were people there until today.

    THAT IS WHY THERE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A PLAN AHEAD OF TIME.

    The NYT showed copters landing water & food tonight at the CC. Thank God.

  30. Resuna says:

    Have you noticed that many of the victims are not interested in helping themselves. Could not the strong at least put the litter in a pile?

    They’ve been doing that.

    Have you noticed how the media has been doing a totally schizo job on this, from “Ha ha ha! The cops are looting Walmart!” to “Chaos! Anarchy! Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!”

    They’re not reporting the people trying to clean up the convention center and lining up waiting to be picked up when the authorities showed up… only to have weapons pointed at them when they tried to help the national guard safely distribute supplies!

    Total organizational failure followed by uncaring brutality:

    “Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

    “The people are so desperate that they’re doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

    “The buses never stop.”

  31. Ben Marbury says:

    Lurking Observer.

    The New Orleans airport is open to emergency traffic. However, how about C130s landing a New Orleans as well as other Area Airports? Food and water 50 miles away is a lot better than 1,000 miles away.

    C130s land on dirt.

    No amount of excuses can conceal the lack of preparedness and execution on the part of government.

  32. md says:

    If you build it below sea level, it [the sea] will come………..Namor, Prince of Atlantis

  33. Aaron says:

    It is amazing sitting here listening to all these people who have all the answers after the fact. Telling every one how the government should of been better prepared and should of had rations stockpiled. These are the same people who would of been complaining about the condition of the economy if we would of allocated these funds previous to a disaster. I could see it now Pres. Bush allocates 50 Billion dollars for the possibility their MIGHT be a hurricane in N.O. one day. People would be going livid that Bush did this when their is such a large gap in our society between the rich and the poor. These are the same people who were bashing Bush months ago and our now getting a lesson in “The boy who cried wolf”. No one is listening to your moronic statements but other morons because REAL MEN and WOMEN are out their trying to help people instead of blaming people. Pres. Bush could of been out snorkeling for survivors the morning after and people would still be complaining. People say the government is a disgrace when in reality the people who have let absurd insane politically driven rhetoric fill the airwaves and blogs are the true disgrace. You can always tell the people with ulterior motives in a time of crisis. Instead of grabbing a life jacket their grabbing a picket sign or yelling at a reporter. Their are thousands of family’s in Texas and other surrounding states that had no money, no car, and no were to go but yet they still gathered what little they did have and marched to the super dome. All though their stay their was not easy or fun by any means they survived which is more than I can say for a lot of the idiots who stayed and are now putting police, firefighters, and national guards men lives at risk. A lot of people dont want to here the truth because they dont like or they are just afraid of it. But the truth is these people could of gotten to higher ground by walking in the time they had I know this because I have been to N.O. and I am more than aware the walk could of been accomplished.

  34. Larry says:

    “But the truth is these people could of gotten to higher ground by walking in the time they had I know this because I have been to N.O. and I am more than aware the walk could of been accomplished.”

    This refrain is familiar. “It’s all their fault for not evacuting, and it would have been impossible to prevent…”
    First, please check this account of the flood in the WSJ.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112603869789333061,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us

    N.O. survived the hurricane winds just fine, as it has many others. Having heard exaggerated alarms before, some old timers didn’t listen when they should have.
    But the bulk, perhaps 90% couldn’t afford to get out. *Most didn’t own a car*, some had a clunker of some sort and nowhere to go. You need a credit card once you get on the road: you can’t just sleep, eat, and shower in the car.
    ” 50 Billion dollars” I can’t see where you get this figure. It would have cost millions, not billions to fix the known weaknesses in the levees.
    ” marched to the super dome”..
    Local residents knew conditions at the dome would not be clean or orderly and stayed home. Once they heard of the piles of feces, plus the stories of rapes and gangs, they stayed home. That was a fatally wrong decision, but one can understand why many called it that way, especially people who didn’t have their act quite together with a chart of flood heights on the fridge. We don’t owe them a new mind with more sense, but it shouldn’t be a death sentence.
    In response to an earlier post (9/1 14:22)
    “In terms of flooding and such, though, one presumes that stockpiles would also be subject to the same flooding, no? That is, we could preposition a warehouse full of food and water and have it rendered inaccessible by the storm.”
    Um, no. NO is a bowl. Just position the stuff about 10mi outside the bowl, not hundreds, and use foodstuffs much cheaper than MREs. We had a system food+water system in place for fallout shelters; it’s been done.
    All the actors flunked: a few folks who had a way out and stayed, then the city, the state, and the feds.
    Only in the case of the Feds did we have an agency head, Michael Brown of FEMA, cracking jokes (and laughing at his own jokes) in a press conference just after the flood (Tuesday or Weds). He also had no clue that people were stranded at the convention center, while that had been reported by every TV network for over 12 hours.
    Of course the governor’s performance was shameful as well.

  35. Tiffany Patterson says:

    I’m 24 yrs. old. I never thought that the good people of this country would ever have to withstand this type of ignorance from a portion of this country’s leader’s. It is absolutely beyond me as to why Gov. Blanco did not call in her own national guard, which was available. Was she just waiting to lean on Bush’s shoulder like she was a victim? That is all that she did!
    She held off the more than ready Red Cross because she didn’t want anyone else to come in the area because she wanted to get the people out. This bitch sat on her short ass fingers, and prayed that someone would immediately take over her position. The Red Cross was right out side the area waiting in the go ahead to come in with a full supply of the needed items,food,water,etc.
    They were told no! Now you all viewing this, tell me this female doesn’t need her rank yanked! Let’s remind each other, F.E.M.A. dose not have control over a states national guard. So, Why did she not let the Red Cross come in again? why didn’t she call her individual guardsmen in? YANK!!!! HER!!!!!!!! RANK!!!!!! RANK!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Aaron says:

    But the bulk, perhaps 90% couldn’t afford to get out. Most didn’t own a car, some had a clunker of some sort and nowhere to go. You need a credit card once you get on the road: you can’t just sleep, eat, and shower in the car.

    I am so tired of hearing whiney annoying people say they didn’t have a car! Give me a break if a hurricane with these types of implications were coming my way and my family had a 4 to 5 day warning we would of hiked to high ground! People say they didn’t have any money. Well they still dont have any money or food just as before but know instead of being out of the floods way they are right in the middle of it putting our army and national guardsman in harms way not to mention the fire deparment and the police! Liberals always want to have an excuse for someones suffering yet this excuse can never be the truth which is the majority of these people are to blame for their current suffering (as far as the flood is concerned). Don’t get me wrong I think the response could of been faster and their should be an investigation into why it was so slow, but on the other hand if authorities did not have to rescue all these SELFISH IDIOTS who stayed behind maybe responses could of been directed into better ways! Anytime someone see’s a poor person or a minority suffering in this country they always have to have an excuse for it . When the truth is the majority of the poor are poor for a reason which is they never got hard work and intelligence instilled in them by their parents or whoever raised them. Wake up LIBS it’s the truth stop lying to yourselves!!!

  37. Aaron says:

    Also for people who said 90% of the people had no car what a lye you totaly made up those numbers. Look around next time the news is on cars litter the flooded landscape. People were just to stupid to head the warning and use these cars.