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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Unless you've been living under a rock or are cut off from all human civilization, you now know that Hurricane Katrina has come and gone from the coastal states - leaving behind massive destruction.
The aftermath has been strange to see. Baton Rouge got a small beating, but made it out well. Nearly 90,000+ people were without power after Katrina knocked us around a bit and some still don't have it today (myself included), but that is such a small inconvenience when compared to what those in the southeastern parishes are going through.
Jefferson Parish, which took the brunt of the storm, is now under Marshal Law. Residents will be allowed back in on September 5 - with ID as proof of residency only - to collect their things. They will then be escorted back out and will not be able to return for at least a month; most likely more. The damage is simply that bad and it will be a long time before it is safe to live there again (damaged buildings, bridges, roadways, and contaminated water being just a few of the factors).
They have finally decided to get everyone out of New Orleans - other than all of the other things they are having to concentrate on (search & rescue, securing the once-leaking levee, etc.) there is a HUGE problem currently with looters. Yes, there are a high number of
New Orleans, all of Jefferson parish, Gulfpost and Biloxi, Mississippi - the images I'm seeing (for the first time) on TV today are heart-breaking.
As for us, we made out just fine - though we've not had electricity since 11am (as the storm was starting to come in) Monday morning. They say it may be back on tonight, but we'll see. We just couldn't take waiting in the hot house another day, though, so we drove out here to my family's for some a/c and Internet and TV coverage. When we left it was around 90 degrees inside our apartment.
Seeing the aftermath from here is interesting. The city is overflowing with evacuees and will consider to do so as more come in. Since it may be months before they can go home, all surrounding areas - even into Texas - are full up with now homeless people. Schools in even remote towns miles from New Orleans are full of people with nowhere to go. Most of these people have no idea what they've lost and a lot have family members that decided to ride the storm out - and now they don't know if they're alive or dead.
It's all just sinking in still for me. We haven't been back to work yet, though the state may resume operations tomorrow (may not - don't know). Baret is still on call (he goes in for a 12-hour shift tonight), and life is sort of on "hold". Schools can't resume because they are being used as shelters, and LSU has canceled classes until (at least) next Tuesday. The first LSU football game of the season (scheduled this coming Friday, Sept. 3) has also been canceled.
The good news today seems to be that the water has finally stopped rising in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. That's important. Now they are concentrating on getting everyone out, because it's too difficult to do what needs to be done with all the looters making the job worse and more dangerous.
I haven't heard any figures on death tolls yet, but I know it will be high - when they first got into the city after the hurricane passed through the mayor said there were bodies floating in the water filled streets. As this continues, more will die, because the standing water is contaminated and dangerous - and disease is a high risk. There are also snakes to watch out for, and one man reported a shark swimming a street that had become a river the day after the hurricane; with a storm surge such as the one that came in, it's possible.
I'll update as I know more, but at this point, we're all still kind of reeling. Nothing can really prepare you for something like this.
In the meantime, any help you can give, please do. Millions of people are likely homeless now - even $1 will help. Please use the links to contribute something:
Network for Good
American Red Cross
Info & Links from FEMA
And if you'd like to help our furry friends hurt by this disaster:
The Humane Society of the United States