Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Festering

Sometimes David Brooks, for all his ignorance of life among the ordinary, can get things very right:

Civic arrangements work or they fail. Leaders are found worthy or wanting. What's happening in New Orleans and Mississippi today is a human tragedy. But take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor. The political disturbances are still to come.

As the police barricade themselves in for another night in New Orleans we see video after video of desperate people, and many of those who not only have no respect for the law, but suddenly find themselves in a position not to fear it either.

How many people in this crowd, to whatever degree justifiably, are wondering if they being left to rot in New Orleans because they are black? This anger will grow, and at the same time their plight will forever worsen for the violent images.

As anger grows, pols, and understandably, predominately the ins, plead this is not the time for politics. It is hard, though―so hard―to keep quiet when you hear something like this:

I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.

George Bush

Apparently this was true of just about anybody he knows well enough to have landed a job in departments like Homeland Security and agencies like FEMA.

The Daily Koz ran this quote:

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

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

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

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

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

National Geographic, October, 2004


2,800 Guardsman are on the ground today in New Orleans. 30,000 are said to be "On the way".

This is the forecast of the track of Katrina from last Friday:



Here is some text from a NOAA advisory from the same hour:

THE OFFICIAL FORECAST BRINGS THE CORE OF THE INTENSE HURRICANE OVER THE NORTH CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO IN 48 HOURS OR SO. IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT THE GUIDANCE SPREAD HAS DECREASED AND MOST OF THE RELIABLE NUMERICAL MODEL TRACKS ARE NOW CLUSTERED BETWEEN THE EASTERN COAST OF LOUISIANA AND THE COAST OF MISSISSIPPI. THIS CLUSTERING INCREASES THE CONFIDENCE IN THE FORECAST

Six days later, help is still "on the way".

2 Comments:

At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Blogg. My Blogg

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger cloverz said...

Some friends of mine are working on this... http://www.katrinashelter.com/
Spread the word or help out if you can.

 

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