Monday, October 31, 2005

Zero tolerance for social parasites and criminal predators

My neighbor said he talked to an FBI agent at a local bar on Friday who told his story of a recent traffic stop. The agent said he stopped a black man who was drinking a beer while driving somewhere in New Orleans. The agent asked the driver what the hell he was doing. The driver answered that he was looking for a job. The agent hollered, "You better drive your car the hell out of town right now! And don't you ever come back, because we don't want your kind around here anymore."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Believe what you will. Add this to your understanding of the chaos that ensued in absence of a preparedness plan in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. From New Orleans Metroblog:

His first fear was that he would be killed, his wife raped until she was dead and their son left to the non-existant mercy of the crowd. He says personal, violent assault (sexual and otherwise) was common and the crowd was literally held inside the dome's perimeter at gunpoint. He says the National Guard had only an outer perimeter, disregarding what was happening inside because they knew the dome occupants were thousands of people they wouldn't have to try to keep up with on the streets.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Katrina photos - Lakeview

The 17th Street Canal, looking south toward the city, as repaired by the Corps of Engineers with 300-lb sandbags covered with gravel.

A torrent of water pushed houses off of their foundations, and washed away their contents.

The canal is just through the far wall.

Next time, Mid-City.

The spoils of war, by the numbers

A reader's letter in yesterday's Guardian UK:

Two thousand Americans are dead. Fifty times that many Iraqis are dead; 300 times that many human beings are injured. One million times that have been indirectly affected by a barbarous act of inhumanity (Casualties of a war a world away, October 26). War is about numbers. The small number of humans who have much to gain by war. The large number affected. The small number who sit home and rally the large number to send their kids to die physically or mentally. The largest number who say nothing. The financial numbers are so huge that millions aren't accounted for, and millions more are paid in bonuses.

I'm a Vietnam infantry veteran who has taken the time to peel away the onion of war. Strip off the uniforms, the flags, the nationalities, the slogans. War is, at best, the failure of leaders to solve problems. At worst, war is a massive money-generating machine with no regard for life. It's all in the numbers.

Arnold Stieber
Grass Lake, Michigan, USA

Hat tip to WTUL dj, Duncan.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thursday Katrina photos

Other than raising houses on piers, the other flood-prevention possibility is building up lots with fill, as was done in this Gentilly neighborhood (roughly 1920's construction). Note the line of brown caused by brackish water. For many families in New Orleans, how high their homes were raised was the difference between lives radically impacted, and lives inconvenienced.

This past weekend, a friend recounted how his grandmother always marveled at the appearance of houses in the 1950's which were built at ground level on top of concrete slabs. In a city where, historically, the Mississippi River overflowed its banks every spring, building houses on slabs seemed like a willful act of defiance against nature that would one day cause owners grief. In floods like the one in 1915, Nashville Avenue, Uptown, was under 10 feet of water. After the 1927 flood, the banks of the Mississippi were raised by a levee system that contributed to the defiance of heady developers. A lesson was learned again when Hurricane Betsy struck in 1965, but in the intervening 40 years, nothing was done to improve the levee system, and Louisiana's fragile coastline disappeared.

Happily, many pets were rescued ...

... but, sadly, not all made it ...

... nor did some residents.

Lakefront homeowner seated on porch below water line.

Lakefront, near the University of New Orleans: Ferrara Grocery, "Makin' groceries since 1906."

Next time, the Lakeview neighborhood.

Hurricane protection map

The Times-Picayune published a map yesterday describing the current Army Corps of Engineers plans to finally create a hurricane protection system to protect southeast Louisiana from more storm surges like the one that toppled canal barriers in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. (Note: You may want to save the PDF to your hard drive rather than try to view it online). The accompanying article can be found here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mundane things about life after Katrina

One aspect of life in New Orleans now is flat tires from all the crap in the streets - and almost nowhere to get tires fixed. I had a roofing nail removed from a tire this morning after trying to get into a busy repair shop three days in a row.

The caption from The Times-Picayune photo above stated that C.A.R.S., LLC. in Metairie is repairing tires for free.

Useless information I never thought I'd learn: One 12-ounce can of Red Cross/Anheiser-Busch filtered water perfectly fills a standard ice-cube tray.


The Times-Picayune published a story on flat tires:

With enough debris around town to fill up 12 Superdomes, much of it is ending up lodged in tires, leaving motorists fuming and keeping tire shops busy with repairs that more than double pre-Katrina volumes.

"For tires, this is like a war zone," said Texas roofer Ron Lotten, as he hopped recently from one Metairie tire shop to another, looking for someone who would fix a flat the same day. "It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack."

He's hardly alone.

AAA, which has more than 170,000 members in the New Orleans metro area, said roadside assistance calls for flat tires jumped 62 percent last month compared with September 2004, spokesman Mike Right said.

And though no one in the industry seems to have metrowide figures, nails and screws in roadways are giving local tires such a whomping that auto shops are turning down customers or have waits of hours and even days.

The elephant of New Orleans

Once again, Chris Rose finds words for the feelings many of us are having since Hurricane Katrina:

I suspect many folks have sat with us and thought, upon going home: You guys need to get a grip. You need to talk about something else. You need to get a life.

That may be, but I, personally, have been unable to focus on anything but the elephant.

Love and hope in the French Quarter

Due to Hurricane Katrina, two months to the day passed since anything was posted by my alter ego at Serendipity Happens. Now, finally, comes a must-read post about chance, free spirits, love, and hope.

Katrina victims map

The Times-Picayune created a map of Hurricane Katrina victims in the New Orleans area.


Yesterday, I noted the sad passing of 2000 American soldiers killed in Iraq. Need anyone be reminded (does anyone in the Bush White House have a heart beat?), an additional 15,220 American soldiers have been wounded in Iraq. Many of those wounds are among the most horrific ever seen in the battlefield, ironically, because of the medical technology and skill that makes it possible now to save soldiers who suffered what would otherwise have been fatal wounds.

On top of these casualties, just a little over a week ago, Bush administration spending in Iraq surpassed the $200 billion mark - none of it paid for out of current accounts. Instead, the Bush administration continues to borrow on our childrens' futures from the totalitarian regime of China while cutting taxes to the richest aristocracy the history of the world has ever known.

All of this has happened not for a war against terrorists, because neither terrorists nor weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq before the United States invaded.

Note that mistrust of the Bush administration should not be played as simply a liberal ruse. From the Washington Post map of the home towns of American soldiers killed in Iraq, it's clear that "blue state" urban soldiers are being sacrificed just as much as "red state" rural/suburban soldiers.

I think it should now be said, definitively, that the lies perpetrated by the Bush administration on the American people in front of a world stage, in order to justify the invasion of Iraq, have wreaked more destruction of American lives and families than did the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

Americans ought to declare a war against the treasonous lies, opportunism, incompetence, and profiteering of George W. Bush, his administration, and his corporate allies.

Let's hear again the call for IMPEACHMENT NOW! Americans can't afford the harm that may yet done to them by another three years of the Bush administration.

NOPD 6th District Katrina video

Members of the New Orleans Police Department's 6th District posted a video at (hat tip to The Times-Picayune).

The actual WMV file is here, but I haven't figured out how to copy the file for the sake of posterity. For others who might be thinking the same thing, the video's producers appear in a credit roll at the end of the video. I suppose you could call the 6th District and ask for them by name.

11/02/05 update: Talking to a 6th District acquaintence yesterday, I learned that some official bugaboo ordered that the Muzility link be taken down, but the video can still be viewed by accessing the file directly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks, may you now rest in peace

Thank you for your modest courage.

Washington Post profile and photos.

The Bush cake walk in Iraq has now cost 2000 lives

The toll of American soldiers killed in Iraq has now reached 2000.

Remember their sacrifice, and honor their lives, but dare not speak of the worth of their sacrifice - for, although others willingly approve of their sacrifice for selfish motives, those who die cannot speak for themselves.

Tuesday Katrina photos

The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club on Broad Street - the meeting facility for the Carnival Krewe of Zulu, the king of which meets with the king of Rex - the pinnacle event of the Mardi Gras parade season.

A Hair Salon on Broad Street in Mid-City.

The interior of the salon.

Messages spray-painted on a house near the horse track/Jazz Fest fair grounds - police clear a 911 call, and the Louisiana SPCA rescues a pet left behind.

Gentilly: Some pets may never be found.

Gentilly: A rocking horse in a pile of trash.

Gentilly: Many animals were traumatized by the destruction of Katrina.

Gentilly: The inside of a flooded house.

Gentilly: Porch.

Gentilly: Statue of Mary.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Monday Katrina photos

9th Ward: Large-screen TV in an abandoned boat. Was the owner trying to save his own TV, or was the TV being stolen by a looter? I suspect the latter.

9th Ward, above St. Claude Avenue: More of the tens, or hundreds, of thousands of flooded vehicles in the graveyard of autos.

Gentilly: Look at the water height on the van.

Gentilly, Music and Prentiss Streets: Across New Orleans, owners hoped that elevating their cars a few extra inches on the neutral grounds would save their vehicles from flooding.

Gentilly, Prentiss Street: "Enter to worship, depart to serve."

Canal Street: American Red Cross, New Orleans chapter.

American Red Cross: Baby Anne.

American Red Cross: Help can't wait.