Tag: Katrina

Hurricane Isaac

Over the last two days slow moving Hurricane Isaac has pounded the Gulf Coast states with high winds, torrential rain and coastal storm surge at high tides. Seven years after the disaster of Katrina Gulf Coast residents were more wary and many headed away from the coast to higher ground and shelters. Now downgraded to a tropical storm, New Orleans’ new levees, built with federal funding, have held, but to the west of the city, in Plaquemines Parish, there has been serious flooding and emergency evacuation and rescues are underway. There are plans to open a hole in the levee there to relieve the pressure behind the wall that if breached would cause even more damage.

On Wednesday, President Obama declared major disaster areas in Mississippi and Louisiana and has ordered the release of federal aid to supplement state and local recovery.

One friend of Stars Hollow who lives in the direct line of the storm managed to send a message before they lost power, that this was the slowest storm that she had ever experienced. It’s just not moving:

The worst-hit part of the coast was Plaquemines Parish, La., the finger of land that follows the Mississippi River from Orleans Parish out into the Gulf of Mexico, and the place where both Isaac and Katrina first made landfall.

Fears that a locally built gulf-side levee would be overtopped by Isaac’s massive surge were well founded. Many of those on Plaquemines Parish’s east bank who ignored Monday’s order to leave were forced into their attics when the gulf poured in, filling up the bowl between the levees with up to 14 feet of water.

Dozens of people had to be pulled to safety by rescue workers and neighbors. As of Wednesday evening, water was beginning to creep up the west bank of the parish as well, prompting officials to go door to door to evacuate what is effectively the bottom two-thirds of the parish.

“We’ve never seen anything like this, not even Katrina,” said a visibly rattled Billy Nungesser, the parish president, in a briefing to reporters. [..]

And still Isaac trudged on, drenching the towns of the north bank of Lake Pontchartrain on Wednesday night and heading at an agonizing 6 miles per hour in the direction of Baton Rouge. Officials warned that the risks were far from over, as flooding was a threat not only along the coast but in mid-Louisiana, upstate Mississippi and the drought-starved regions north. On Wednesday afternoon, Isaac was flooding towns farther inland with its unceasing rain, and was far from finished with southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

“There is another half of the storm to go for most people who have already begun to experience it,” W. Craig Fugate, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said on a conference call with reporters. “For some folks in the path, the event and the weather haven’t even begun. We are still way early before this is all over.”

While nowhere near the intensity and strength of Katrina, because Isaac is only moving at 10 miles an hour, the damages could match those of 2008’s Gustav, a Cat 2 storm, that topped $2 billion in insurance claims:

While comparatively modest as hurricanes go, Hurricane Isaac is already wreaking havoc. More than 644,000 were without power in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, power companies told CNN. And some 100 residents had been or were in the process of being rescued from flooded homes and rooftops in coastal Plaquemines Parish, according to CNN affiliate WWL.

Eqecat, a catastrophe modeling firm, suggested onshore insured damage — which includes residential property, commercial property, energy production and the interruption of business but excludes most flooding damage — would run between $500 million and $1.5 billion. The firm excludes flooding because the federal government insures against flood damage for most properties.

The storm could also cause more than $500 million in damages to off-shore energy production.

The up side is that so far there has been only one death related to the storm, a young man fell 18 feet from a tree attempting to help his friends move a car. Another person has been reported missing after going jet skiing. A curfew has been declared in New Orleans and surrounding parishes to prevent looting areas without power and make it easier for utility crews to restore electricity.

Donations for victims of Isaac can be made to:

Salvation Army

Call 800-725-2769 (Sal-Army), text RED CROSS to 80888 for a $10 donation or visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Red Cross

Call 800-733-2767 (Red-Cross), text REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 donation or visit www.redcross.org.

Stay safe, poligirl and LaEscapee

O’Reilly-izing the Face of Haiti: Racism & Photographs from the Disaster


Frederic Podoux/Getty Images

We are on the brink…so we are told and so we will see as the photographs roll in from Haiti, images of death, destruction, survival, conflict, and despair.  

We are ready, as they will paint a whole people as thugs and thieves and we will consume these images with a shake of the head. These descriptions will come from all sources, whether believed to be “left” or “right,” “objective” or Fox.

But we remember Katrina. We remember the power of the photograph and the greater power of seeing behind the image. Experiencing the visual content in light of the context.

“The Old Man and the Storm”

Last night, 1-02-009, on the PBS News Hour they held a discussion with “Frontline” correspondent and filmmaker June Cross who describes her documentary “The Old Man and the Storm” which will air on PBS’s “Frontline” on Jan. 6th, New Orleans: Three Years After Katrina.

This is a timely documentary more than three years after Katrina and especially as to the way the Government has been handling that compared to the extremely quick bailouts of the financial institutions in the present economic collapse and at other times when the corporate elite demanded their political friends come to their aid. There are three short video’s at the ‘Frontline’ site that I’m embedding below, the third one touches on just that, especially as to the promises made by the President bush and other Government Officials and to the rapidly failing ‘free market’ ‘trickle down’ economic policy of the GOP.

Bush Fatigue

The latest in a long string of screw ups, the economic decline towards Hooverism, is not being blamed on George W. Bush for some reason.

Harlold Meyerson at the Post says: http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

Herbert Hoover, we should recall, had a program for dealing with the Depression. It consisted of lending to banks but opposing fiscal stimulus or direct aid to individuals. Which is why Hank Paulson’s frenzied endeavors to prop up the banking sector and Bush’s dogged resistance to assisting anybody else amount to pure neo-Hooverism.

As the 1930s began, Hoover believed that the coordinated actions of the private sector could save the beleaguered economy. It soon became apparent that the only action that private-sector businesses could agree upon was closing down factories and offices and throwing people out of work. Under immense pressure to do something, in late 1931 Hoover asked Congress to establish the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, to provide funds to banks it deemed creditworthy.

Does this sound familiar? A “commander”, inept or otherwise, forcefully closing his eyes so he won’t see the locomotive juggernaut of failed economic policies and how they affect us little people not included in his “base”.

As breadlines lengthened, he [Hoover] vetoed a bill appropriating funds for public works on the grounds that it was inflationary and contained pork-barrel spending. Bankers would be saved; everyone else was effectively damned.

History repeating itself? Isn’t this administration focusing its efforts on the lending institutions and ignoring the homeowners unable to pay off their mortgages? Do they still think it’s going ‘trickle down’ after 28 years of proof that the only thing that trickles down is warm and wet and unwelcome.

Katrina’s Bridge at the Edge of the World

In Bridge at the Edge of the World:  Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability, James Gustave Speth discusses how capitalism is inherently destructive to a sustainable environment, community and popular democracy.  The drive for economic expansion and accumulation is based on cost-benefit analyses for projects that do not include the economic, environmental or social costs caused by the destruction of natural resources.  This results in false price tags for projects because we either pay upfront or we pay much higher costs later.  Speth warns that we are now at the bridge of an environmental calamity and must choose between two paths: one path is business as usual and leads to certain destruction; the other path is a bridge that will help us cross to safety. This bridge stretches across America, but today we look at the Gulf Coast region.  

Bush and McCain’s Greatest New Orleans Hits

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Hurricanes aren’t the only things that spiral out of control.  Rethuglican politics spiral too.  They go round and round and round, reprising their greatest hits, trying to revise and rewrite and edit out their greatest failures.  Trying to help you forget.

Who doesn’t remember this as Katrina was destroying New Orleans:


Quote for Discussion: New Orleans

“Mr. Cobb, how are you doing?” I asked James Cobb, a lawyer in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“It depends on what you mean,” Mr. Cobb answered. “If you mean how am I doing after losing my house and every fucking thing in it, and after being forced to live in a two-bedroom shithole with my wife and two kids and being told how lucky I am to get it, and after being fucked — and I mean absolutely fucked — by my insurance company and by the United States government (and by the way, just so you know, if anybody from New Orleans, Louisiana, tells you that they’re not getting fucked by their insurance company and by the United States government, they’re fucking lying, all right?) . . . if you mean, how am I doing after all that is factored in: Well, I guess the answer is that I’m doing fine. Now, how can I help you?”

Jim Cobb and I had never spoken before.

From the remarkable article, The Loved Ones, by Tom Junod, Esquire Magazine, September 2007.

I try not to be too cynical about government.  But I have to ask, at what point do all these cumulative failures become evidence of the inability of it to not fail?

New Orleans: Canary in the Coal Mine

(Part of the NOLA/GULF BLOGATHON now ongoing at Dkos, see below for the schedule)


“Our” government is spending $434 million per day, $3 billion per week and $13.2 billion per month on Iraq. And still no one can tell us why, not even it’s architects

As Americas infrastructure crumbles, as the Iraqi government builds a surplus. As New Orleans languishes, still destroyed, still hanging on by a thread, still essentially abandoned by both government and the Republican lauded “private sector.” (Please read commonscribes diary

on the insurance industry and NOLA!)


30 Mill: N’Orleanians vs N’Learians

A short rant on Priorities.

30 million to bail out the rich folks.  What?  Afraid they might make a late Lear payment? Of course all the employees who worked for B-S just got the big douche, being minor stock holders.  No job, no 401K’s nadda. No bailout for them.

Of course, I have a hard time working up a great deal of sympathy for those who make a living shuffling papers on other’s loans, milking profit off the middle class’ interest rates. I realize I am being simplistic, but still…..

This is even truer, because if we have 30 million laying around, why the fuck did we not use it in New Orleans? Never mind. We all know the answer to that.

Pictorial explanation below.

Looking Back…

Here is another look back at the first few months post-Federal Flood here in New Orleans. At the time Betts and I were in SoCal, and the only way for me to “be with” Gentilly was to use an e-list.

This letter started a movement to build a community association, and ultimately it did. (Just not exactly my version of the dream.)

Rise, America

Well, fuck, I guess he got bored dancing exclusively on the graves of New Yorkers.  Time to deface New Orleans once more before he goes!

          –Yours truly, reacting to Bush’s SOTU announcement to hold this year’s North American Summit in New Orleans

Normally, I’m not the kind to start a diary of any sort out this way, especially with an lead quote from myself.  But when Meteor Blades tells you to start a diary with it you don’t ask questions.  You just do it.  So I did.

This State of the Union is perhaps the most valuable of Bush’s reign.  Why?  Well, they’ve all been so entirely worthless, that the fact that this one has had a single lone happy side effect makes it by default the best.

It got people talking about what I thought they’d forgotten: the crime against humanity committed in New Orleans in the last days of August and first days of September 2005.

I’m not claiming any moral superiority.  I had moved on in my own thoughts as well.  Sure, when it would come up, I would feel disgust and outrage.  But between the business of living and the neverending tidal wave of horrors that have come since, it hasn’t been in the forefront of my thoughts.

I was, perhaps, just ahead of the curve.  I had what happened to New Orleans brought home to me not long ago.  And I wanted to share the experience with all of you.

“Eyes on the Prize”

On NightProwlKitty‘s diary, “I’m not waiting on the government to give me nothing”


tahoebasha3 posted a comment about a group named NENA (The Lower Ninth Ward Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association) that is part of the effort to rebuild the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans. The organization is under the auspices of Lower 9th Ward residents. Tahoebasha3 posted NENA’s telephone number.

I called and the woman who answered the phone later told me she was President of Lower Ninth Ward Homeowner’s Association. She was handling the phones while everyone else went to lunch. I’m still a little bit overwhelmed by our conversation, so this essay will be brief. I was told that the majority of the people NENA helped were senior citizens. We exchanged emails and plan to stay in touch. I thank everyone who blogs on this issue, it’s because of you that I made this simple phone call.

NENA’s priority needs are:

1.) Building Materials: nails to studs to wire.

2.) Money

3.) Gift Cards from: Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, Win Dixie Food Stores, Dollar General, Family Dollar  

Send to:


PO Box 3920

New Orleans, Louisiana 70177

“If it wasn’t for the people who call us, we wouldn’t be as advanced as we are.

It’s the thought, you know?”

~~Linda Jackson

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