What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans?

From October 1994:

What if Ivan Had Hit New Orleans?

New Orleans was spared, this time, but had it not been, Hurricane Ivan would have:

* Pushed a 17-foot storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain;

* Caused the levees between the lake and the city to overtop and fill the city “bowl” with water from lake levee to river levee, in some places as deep as 20 feet;

* Flooded the north shore suburbs of Lake Pontchartrain with waters pushing as much as seven miles inland; and

* Inundated inhabited areas south of the Mississippi River.

Up to 80 percent of the structures in these flooded areas would have been severely damaged from wind and water. The potential for such extensive flooding and the resulting damage is the result of a levee system that is unable to keep up with the increasing flood threats from a rapidly eroding coastline and thus unable to protect the ever-subsiding landscape.

Evacuation Challenges

Researchers have estimated that prior to a “big one,” approximately 700,000 residents of the greater New Orleans area (out of 1.2 million) would evacuate. In the case of Hurricane Ivan, officials estimate that up to 600,000 evacuated from metropolitan New Orleans between daybreak on Monday, September 13 and noon on Wednesday, September 15, when the storm turned and major roads finally started to clear.

(via Waxy)

LA National Guard Wants Equipment to Come Back From Iraq


JACKSON BARRACKS — When members of the Louisiana National Guard left for Iraq in October, they took a lot equipment with them. Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem.

“The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission,” said Lt. Colonel Pete Schneider with the LA National Guard.

Col. Schneider says the state has enough equipment to get by, and if Louisiana were to get hit by a major hurricane, the neighboring states of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have all agreed to help.

The New Hampshire Union Leader’s Editorial on Bush

Sheesh, even the conservative papers are letting him have it.

Katrina already is measured as one of the worst storms in American history. And yet, President Bush decided that his plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day with a speech were more pressing than responding to the carnage.

A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease.

The cool, confident, intuitive leadership Bush exhibited in his first term, particularly in the months immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, has vanished. In its place is a diffident detachment unsuitable for the leader of a nation facing war, natural disaster and economic uncertainty.

Wherever the old George W. Bush went, we sure wish we had him back.

Late to the Party Photo-Op


From Think Progress:

Why are these helicopters being used as a backdrop for President Bush, instead of assisting the victims of Hurricane Katrina?

Why are members of the Coast Guard being used as a backdrop for Bush’s press conference? Don’t they have more important things to do?

I especially like how Shrub’s sleeves are rolled up as if he just got back from dropping off food and water at the Convention Center.

Hunger and Rage

From the NY Daily News:

The soldiers inside opened the doors and pushed out cases of water and boxes of MREs – meals ready to eat. People pushed. People yelled. The old folks and kids grabbed what they could. The young men made out best, though some were willing to share their bounty. Others just kept what they had claimed and shouldered their way through the crowd.

Claudia Sims, 54, watched from the side, her six grandkids all around her. They hadn’t eaten in 24 hours.

“I can’t compete with these people,” she said.

One of her little granddaughters waded into the throng and came back with a smile on her face.

“Grandma, I got food!”

In her tiny hand was her bounty – a single MRE.

Three minutes after landing, the copter lifted off and rose into the air.

I have seen such scenes before, but always on television and always from faraway places. In Third World nations, but not here.

As I watched the copter go, I thought to myself:

Can this really be happening in America?

More Superdome Evacuation Coverage

From yesterday:

At the front of the line, the weary refugees waded through ankle-deep water, grabbed a bottle of water from state troopers and happily hopped on buses that would deliver them from the horrendous conditions of the Superdome.

At the back end of the line, people jammed against police barricades in the rain. Refugees passed out and had to be lifted hand-over-hand overhead to medics. Pets were not allowed on the bus, and when a police officer confiscated a little boy’s dog, the child cried until he vomited. “Snowball, snowball,” he cried.

The scene played out Thursday as the plodding procession out of the Superdome entered its second day _ an evacuation that became more complicated as thousands more storm victims showed up at the arena.

Capt. John Pollard of the Texas Air Force National Guard said 20,000 people were in the dome when the evacuation efforts began. By Thursday afternoon, the number had swelled to about 30,000. Pollard said people poured into the Superdome because they believe it’s the best place to get a ride out of town.

The refugees began arriving Thursday at the Astrodome in Houston, where they got a shower, a hot meal and a cool place to sleep.

“I would rather have been in jail,” Janice Jones said in obvious relief at being out of the dome. “I’ve been in there seven days and I haven’t had a bath. They treated us like animals. Everybody is scared.”