Saturday, September 24, 2005
URGENT Help needed for a Mom & her 4 Kids
Janet Posey who's a mom of 4 kids, needs urgent assistance for her and
her kids such as clothes and furniture. She has a 12 year old, a 9
year old, a baby of 13 months and a 9 week old infant. Janet needs
baby clothes, children's clothes & children's furniture ASAP.
If you can help, please email Janet (email@example.com) or if
you can't get through to Janet with your offer of help, please call
the KatrinaHelp team on +15042081564 with your offers of kind
assistance, leave us a voice mail message if our line is busy.
Alternatively you can send an email to the KatrinaHelp team
(firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject title as 'Help for
+15042081564 -- local to Tulane, LA
24hrs/day & International
Friday, September 23, 2005
New Orleans' Ninth Ward under water again (Nola.com)
|9/23/2005, 2:06 p.m. CT |
By MICHELLE ROBERTS and BRETT MARTELThe Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hurricane Rita's steady rains sent water pouring through breaches in a patched levee Friday, cascading into one of the city's lowest-lying neighborhoods in a devastating repeat of New Orleans' flooding nightmare. But levees on other canals were holding their own.
Dozens of blocks in the Ninth Ward were under water as a waterfall at least 100 feet wide poured over and through a dike that had been used to patch breaks in the Industrial Canal levee.
"Our worst fears came true," said Maj. Barry Guidry of the Georgia National Guard.
"We have three significant breaches in the levee and the water is rising rapidly," he said. "At daybreak I found substantial breaks and they've grown larger."
The levee on the other side of the Industrial Canal, which protected other sections of the city proper, were holding.
Gulf Oil Production at a Stand Still, yet Prices Drop
Oil prices dropped Friday afternoon as Rita was downgraded to a Category 3 at maximum sustained winds of 125 mph.
About 72 percent of natural gas production was shut in by Friday, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said. More from ABC...
Via Nature's Wrath, an aggregator for weather-related news and commentary.
Hurricane Rita Resources (Gary Price's ResourceShelf)
A link to a compilation of sources that Gary posted on SEW Blog
+ Harris County Office of Emergency Management Sitation Report
NewsNow aggregates content from more than 21,000 sources. Page auto-refreshes every five minutes.
Acccess to the page is free, you don't have to be a WSJ subscriber. The tracker is updated with headlines throughout the day.
+ Hurricane Rita Resources via Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management
Maps, links to local emergency mangement offices, and more.
+ Facts: Texas Disasters at a Glance (PDF)
+ Facts: Texas Levels of Emergency Response (PDF)
+ The Harris County (Houston area) Office of Emergency Management offers this real-time,
+ Harris County Storm Surge Zones Map (PDF)
+ Harris County Elevation Map (PDF)
+ Emergency Managers Weather Information Network--Houston
+ Hurricane Rita Tracking Map (via Geodata.gov)
+ Buoy Data near Hurricane Rita (via NOAA)
It's Not Too Soon to Start Thinking About Hurricane Rita...
...and about how information and communication technologies can be
deployed to assist those who are affected by it:
(This item was originally posted to <http://blog.deborah.elizabeth.finn.com/
Deborah Elizabeth Finn
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Conference Calls Detail Katrina Concerns, Failings (National Public Radio)
Morning Edition, September 23, 2005 · In the days before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, officials in local, state and federal governments held a series of telephone conference calls aimed at coordinating their responses to the storm. The sessions were recorded by Walter Maestri, emergency manager for Jefferson Parish, who shared them with NPR.
In tapes of the disaster planning meetings, emergency managers and civic officials evinced a growing concern with the strengthening hurricane's possible effects -- and after the storm made landfall, a growing frustration with the aid effort mounted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
As emergency preparations gave way to coordinated actions and pleas for equipment, the recorded calls depict an emergency command center in Baton Rouge that became a center of frenzied activity.
As late as Saturday morning -- 48 hours before the storm struck -- officials were debating how best to handle an evacuation. At one point, Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans brought up a troubling issue: If community leaders simultaneously told residents to leave, gridlock could result.
Throughout the weekend, local officials continued in their plans to open disaster shelters. In detailed plans drawn up several years ago, state and federal governments agreed on the need for a network of "special needs" shelters, with emergency generators that could power medical equipment. But in a series of phone calls, officials complained they couldn't find the generators they needed.
Dozens of key officials from state and federal agencies spoke with local counterparts like Walter Maestri, of Jefferson Parish, a large suburb of New Orleans hit hard by the storm surge and the flooding that followed.
On the morning of Monday, Sept. 5, with Katrina making its way inland from the Gulf Coast, Maestri said on the call, "Things are collapsing." And questions persisted over who was in charge: "So FEMA will coordinate emergency supplies?" Maestri asked. Soon after, communications were lost, and the next conference call took place nearly two weeks later.
The calls could play a role in any investigation -- whether by the White House or by Congress -- into why the initial response to Katrina failed to match the scale of the hurricane's impact on the region.
This piece was produced by NPR's Katherine Davidson.
Grace E. Lee
Healing Katrina's Damage to 'Liquid Louisiana' (National Public Radio)
Scientists are now piecing together how Hurricane Katrina affected those marshes, which form a buffer against storms and flooding. What they find will help determine how the region is rebuilt. For the latest NPR/National Geographic Radio Expedition report, Christopher Joyce journeys to "liquid Louisiana" to survey the damage.
Scientists believe Hurricane Katrina created a giant storm surge that gathered in the Gulf of Mexico and barreled westward up the wide swampy delta on its way to New Orleans. It may have reached 20 feet high by the time it hit the city's eastern suburbs.
Levees built to protect the city may have actually focused that storm surge: Instead of spreading a sheet of water out across the delta, the levees created a channel for the surge. Also, the natural marsh buffer zones that soften the blow of a storm surge have been largely replaced or hemmed in by ship channels and development. All those channels and levees cut off river sediment that enable the marsh to take root and thrive.
(more...)(audio player software also required, if you want to listen to the whole story)
Thursday, September 22, 2005
'The Only Lifeline Was the Wal-Mart' (Fortune)
The world's biggest company flexed its massive distribution muscle to deliver vital supplies to victims of Katrina. Inside an operation that could teach FEMA a thing or two.
Monday, September 19, 2005
By Devin Leonard
Jessica Lewis couldn't believe her eyes. Her entire community—Waveland, Miss., a Gulf Coast resort town of 7,000—had been laid waste by the storm, and Lewis, co-manager of the local Wal-Mart, was assessing the damage to her store. The fortresslike big box on Highway 90 still stood. But Katrina's floodwaters had surged through the entrance, knocking over refrigerators full of frozen pizza, shelves of back-to-school items, racks of lingerie. Trudging through nearly two feet of water in the fading light, Lewis thought, How are we ever going to clean up this mess?
That quickly became the least of Lewis's worries. As the sun set on Waveland, a nightmarish scene unfolded on Highway 90. She saw neighbors wandering around with bloody feet because they had fled their homes with no shoes. Some wore only underwear. "It broke my heart to see them like this," Lewis recalls. "These were my kid's teachers. Some of them were my teachers. They were the parents of the kids on my kids' sports teams. They were my neighbors. They were my customers."
Lewis felt there was only one thing to do. She had her stepbrother clear a path through the mess in the store with a bulldozer. Then she salvaged everything she could and handed it out in the parking lot. She gave socks and underwear to shivering Waveland police officers who had climbed into trees to escape the rising water. She handed out shoes to her barefoot neighbors and diapers for their babies. She gave people bottled water to drink and sausages, stored high in the warehouse, that hadn't been touched by the flood. She even broke into the pharmacy and got insulin and drugs for AIDS patients. "This is the right thing to do," she recalls thinking. "I hope my bosses aren't going to have a problem with that."
Wal-Mart, America's biggest company, is many things to many people-discounter extraordinaire, union buster, guardian of small-town virtues, wrecker of small-town shops-but about one thing there is no question: It is the repository of the nation's stuff. And for the people whose lives were stripped bare by Katrina, it was mundane stuff that meant the difference between life and death. Lewis was one of thousands of Wal-Mart employees who delivered, and no, her bosses don't have a problem with what she did. ( more...)
New Orleans MP3-annotated musical history (BoingBoing)
Strippers help tease back New Orleans nightlife (MSN)
NEW ORLEANS - In a sign that things may be returning to normal in New Orleans, strip shows are back in the city's famous French Quarter.
Erotic dancers and strippers are entertaining crowds of police, firefighters and military personnel instead of the usual audiences of drunken conventioneers and tourists in Bourbon Street's Déjà Vu club, which reopened this week.
It's the first strip joint to resume business, three weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck.
"It's nice to get back to work, and all these men need some entertainment," Dawn Beasley, 27, a dancer at the club, said Tuesday night. "They haven't seen anybody but their buddies for two weeks."
The crowd hooted and hollered as women peeled off their tops and gyrated as customers tucked tips into their G-strings. ( more...)
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Need and response proved out of sync (NOLA.com)
Getting 'boots on the ground' proved particularly difficult
By Bill Walsh
WASHINGTON - It was 8:30 a.m., shortly after Hurricane Katrina made landfall Aug. 29, and Donald Bordelon was feeling pretty good.
Katrina's 145-mph fury was still raging outside his Arabi home. But in St. Bernard Parish, where residents look up at the Mississippi River, the real worry is water. Always, the water.
For the time being, the levees were holding back the forces of nature that daily threatened to render his neighborhood just one more south Louisiana swamp. His relief didn't last long.
Forty minutes later, water swirled up around the stove in his kitchen. He jumped into his boat and gave up his home to the storm.
Elsewhere in the hurricane's tailwinds, a brief sense of security swept across much of southeastern Louisiana and the nation. In the early afternoon of that Monday, it seemed, the 287-year-old city had once again been spared a direct hit by a major storm. A headline in a national press service assured, "New Orleans Weathers the Storm."
That assumption was dead wrong.
As surely as water seeks the lowest level, Katrina was about to lay bare the shortcomings of disaster plans by local, state and federal officials. ( MORE...)
Katrina Caravan Rescue
In New York:
We need volunteers for a few hours to check messages and take calls in the Brooklyn office, if you are available to come to Brooklyn, M-F between 10-5, please give a call at 718-783-1453 but only if you can come to Brooklyn.
Here is what we need all over:
Caseworkers (Urgent Need)
Think of these as social workers for transport. Our Case Coordinator will help you get ready to aid evacuees. You will be matched with three to five evacuees depending on your time constraints and you will personally contact them to verify their needs, the areas they are traveling to, as well as a host that is expecting them. Then you use our database to match evacuees to drivers throughout the US, that can transport them to their final destination. If interested please email Sharon email@example.com ASAP and tell her you would like to be a caseworker. This is an amazing way to reach out and personally touch evacuees and their families. Can do from home.
We need people to man the phones for our toll free evacuee hotline. You will be trained and the work is fun and the evacuees so grateful. We need people in shifts, so if you have blocks of time during the week or weekend where we can forward the lines to your home phone and you have internet access so that you can enter evacuees into the database as you go, please email Annie firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know that you would like to be a phone support volunteer. Can do from home.
We need drivers already in the South or those willing to drive to the southern regions for the explicit reason of picking up evacuees and bringing them back to their home region. At the moment we cannot accommodate anyone who wants to come down South for a week or more on the off chance that we can use you but if you have a weekend free and can make the drive to Houston or Baton Rouge or areas in Oklahoma, please email us at email@example.com and we will enter you in the database. Please let us know when you can make trips and how far you are willing to travel. Please leave a number and an email we can contact you at, if you have already been contacted because you are in the database there is no need to reply to this call.
We need two data entry people to go into the mail and transfer all volunteers, drivers and evacuees into the database so that we can contact them in a swift and easy manner. An easy job that can be done while you are at home possibly babysitting or watching TV. If you can do this job please contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org . Can do from home.
WEB DESIGNER (Please we need someone) www.katrinacaravan.org
We need someone to get in there and fix things up! Can do from home.
If you are interested in making donations, we cannot accept cash but we have an urgent need for gas and Wal-Mart cards. If this is something you or your local community (social groups, churches, schools) want to help with, this allows us to keep drivers on the road and prepared with food supplies. Please contact us at (866) 738-9144 and we can tell you more.
Thank you all for being patient and for offering so much of yourselves!
Katrina Caravan Rescue
(866) 738-9144 Info/Volunteer
(866) 829-7313 HOTLINE FOR EVACUEE TRANSPORT ONLY (No housing sorry)
NYC: VH1: Get UP Stand UP: 9/23 and 9/26
Thanksgiving 1994 (Regina Schrambling's Gastropoda)
I could lie in that miserable bed and somehow be zipping along in a rental car on an impossibly bright afternoon, crossing the Mississippi from Algiers back toward the French Quarter after turducken at Kelsey's, John Hiatt's "Buffalo River Home" blasting from the tape deck ("tearing through the cotton fields and bus shelters, the South running helter-skelter;" "I've been taking off and landing but this airport's closed;" "just when you think you've been gypped, the bearded lady comes and does a double back-flip").
I went that first time after my consort moved there for a couple of months to shoot it for National Geographic, back in the good old days when a photographer could actually be underwritten in his desire to live and breathe a story. I joined him for one week in slave quarters converted into a rental apartment in the Garden District, and we just soaked the place up, to the point that I noticed a Times-Picayune story about a do-gooders' plan to serve 25,000 or so turkey dinners to the poor and had to make my way to the Convention Center to help. Surprisingly, almost more volunteers than takers showed up -- it was pretty much a horde of white people in "Feast of Friendship" commemorative aprons standing around with a bunch of photographers. I remember being dejected but hopeful: Maybe poverty wasn't so bad in a city that had already struck me as one of the most troubled in America, with blood almost literally running on the sidewalks. Maybe all the needy were off having the Norman Rockwell experience on their own?
I think I knew even then how silly that was. But that day we just blithely got in the car and went to eat turducken (overrated) and then to a run-down house where the young cooks from Nola were holed up and had invited us for their potluck after Bob struck up one of his singularly engaging conversations while we ate at the pizza bar one night. That was a revelation, too: guys sleeping on mattresses on the floor in otherwise empty rooms for the chance to cook with Emeril, a hero a couple of them had not even met. But they could cook -- I had the best duck of my life, in confit with rosemary. Everyone had kicked in a specialty: pot stickers; smoked turkey glazed with roasted garlic; apple-habanero chutney; New Mexican carne adovada; mushroom soup, even canned cream corn, with six types of bread. It was so New Orleans (as was seeing a great-looking young black guy with his girlfriend being fawned over at Nola another day at lunch and wondering what celebrity he might be, only to learn he was an employee who was being treated to lunch to experience how patrons were treated -- a concept every restaurant should adopt, actually).
The rest of the trip was a heady blur, although I'll never forget the artist who shared a joint before taking us to a three-hour lunch at Galatoire's and too many drinks at the Napoleon House, or Jamie Shannon serving us amazing gumbo and then driving us in his little red convertible to meet his seafood supplier and refusing Bob's quicker route because he thought it was too dangerous, or Anthony at Ugglesich's talking us into his trout Muddy Waters and barbecue oysters and crab cakes, washed down with a Barq's and a $2.50 chardonnay, and the local arts official we ran into afterward at a coffee bar saying he could tell by the smell where we had just eaten. Duck at the Upper Line, biscuits at the Sonniat House, a muffuletta from Progress Grocery, a Ferdi po' boy with debris at Mother's, Vietnamese food after the surreal farmers' market out near the Camelot apartments in New Orleans East, Sazeracs and snapper with crab at Brigtsen's with Susan Spicer across the room on a Saturday night -- those are memories I will always be almost able to taste.
It was a truly enchanted city. Bob was so smitten he wanted to move there for good, but reality reared its unavoidable head. Even then it was clear that it would be an impossible place to make a living in, and not just because temptation beckoned from every corner. A good friend once posited that the only way to thrive in New Orleans would be as an alcoholic millionaire. And has that ever been made clear, in the cruelest way.
Only a soulless dry drunk of a millionaire would let it be devastated and then just make photo-op cracks about the good times he let hurl there.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
IT Disaster Recovery - After the Fact (PDF)
Created in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy, this
comprehensive document provides advice on getting technology
systems working again in small- and medium- sized nonprofits
where business continuity plans were not sufficient or did not
exist. Included in this report are instructions on hardware
recovery, restoring Internet connections, dealing with lost
passwords, working with borrowed technology, claiming insurance,
and a host of other useful information for your organization's
Grace E. Lee
Monday, September 19, 2005
How Vile Is Katrina's Toxic Goo? (Wired News)
Before Hurricane Katrina even reached New Orleans, scientists warned of a "toxic gumbo" that would fill the giant soup bowl of a city. Now that their predictions have come true, specialists are turning their attention to the next big challenge: the leftovers.
As the water recedes, a disgusting muck coats the surfaces of buildings and streets. But it might be less dangerous than first feared.
The simple passage of time will cure the Big Easy of many of its ills, according to specialists in germ and chemical threats. To say New Orleans has become a giant toxic waste dump is "too strong," said Danny Reible, chair of Environmental Health Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.
One reason for the optimism is that the nature of the New Orleans flood might actually result in less thick mud for residents and workers to cope with. In typical floods, "you've got this river that has been rampaging and carrying soil from everywhere in the watershed with it," said Reible, a former professor of chemical engineering at Louisiana State University. "Here, in a way it was a slow trickle, by comparison, that came through a breech in the levee. As a result it probably didn't bring in nearly as much ... mud." (more...)
New Orleans mayor suspends reopening of city (AP)
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2005
NEW ORLEANS: Under pressure from President Bush and other top federal officials, the mayor Monday suspended the reopening of large portions of the city over the next few days because of the risk of a new round of flooding from a tropical storm. ''I am concerned about this hurricane getting in the gulf. If we are off, I'd rather err on the side of conservatism to make sure we have everyone out,'' Mayor Ray Nagin said. The announcement came after repeated warnings from top federal officials — and the president himself — that the city was unsafe. The mayor reversed course even as residents began trickling back to the first neighborhood opened as part of Nagin's plan, the scarcely damaged Algiers section. The mayor said he had wanted to reopen some of the city's signature neighborhoods over the coming week in order to reassure the people of New Orleans that ''there was a city to come back to.'' He said he had strategically selected ZIP codes that had suffered little or no flooding. But ''now we have conditions that have changed. We have another hurricane that is approaching us,'' he said. He warned that the city's pumping system was not yet running at full capacity and that its levee system was still in a ''very weak position.'' (more...)
Kerry, Edwards Blast Bush Over Katrina (Yahoo News)
Two Democrats who might seek the White House again in 2008 criticized President Bush for his response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, assailing the suspension of wage laws while urging a concerted effort to aid the poor.
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and former Sen. John Edwards spoke separately Monday on the government's handling of the catastrophe and on the broader issue of poverty in the United States.
In a blistering critique, Kerry said former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown was to Hurricane Katrina "what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq; what George Tenet is to 'slam dunk intelligence'; ... what George Bush is to 'Mission Accomplished' and 'Wanted Dead or Alive.' ... The bottom line is simple: The 'we'll do whatever it takes' administration doesn't have what it takes to get the job done."
Speaking to an enthusiastic audience at Brown University in Providence, R.I., the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee said the government's response to the disaster revealed a "broader pattern of incompetence and negligence" in the Bush administration. (more...)
Home, briefly (sssssturtle)
I get closer and see that our dormer window is gone. On the far side of our house, the neighbor's 30-foot-tall loquat tree has fallen. It slid alongside our house on its way down, taking out the fence, a couple more sideboards, some windowpanes, and one complete window. The hand of Fatima is still hanging by the front door, though. So is the snooty French, "Attention: Chien Lunatique" sign. There's a mark spraypainted on the front of the house, presumably by the National Guard. I can't translate it entirely, but I think it means "No dead bodies inside."
The door is heavy and swollen. That's not surprising: midway through September, it's still sweltering and very, very humid in New Orleans. I give the door a kick and breathe a sigh of relief: nothing's changed. Glass on the floor from a shattered window, but otherwise, it's okay.
There's no smell of death in the air. I'm hopeful for Lola.
I get to the kitchen, and there are still two full bowls of cat food on the floor: the SPCA must've come early on and taken her away. I put my bag on the table and call around just to make sure. No answer. Great. (more...)
Sunday, September 18, 2005
An easy way to display a Katrina-related public service announcement on your blog
"Word of Blog is a new and free service that helps you spread the word
about things you like, events you care about and worthy causes you
want to support.
"Bloggers: You can pick and choose any of the ads appearing on this
site and display them into your blog or website. Simply copy the HTML
code appearing below the ad and paste it where you wish it to appear.
The ads have been formatted to fit into most blog columns.
"Organizations: If you want to post an ad on this site so that
bloggers can start spreading the "word of blog" about you, please go
to the "Submit Ad" section."