The Storm’s Gone But It’s Getting Worse

The past 24 hours were the most difficult time yet to watch what’s going on in the areas struck by Hurricane Katrina.

First up was the emotional reporting of CNN’s Jeanne Meserve. Here’s what USAToday said.

“It’s been horrible. … You can hear people yelling for help. You can hear the dogs yelping, all of them stranded, all of them hoping someone will come,” Meserve told anchor Aaron Brown.

“Mark Biello, one of our cameramen, went out in one of the (rescue) boats to help shoot. He ended up being out for hours and told horrific tales. He saw bodies. He saw other, just unfathomable things. Dogs wrapped in electrical lines … that were being electrocuted.”

Brown said Tuesday: “Jeanne conveyed a human being’s view of what she saw. Her reporting was incredibly solid. Her humanity was incredibly real. The marriage of those two elements helped viewers understand the desperate situation.”

There was an equally emotional side to Robin Roberts live shot on Good Morning America. She had gone to the Gulf not knowing the condition of her family. This was where she grew up.

Later Tuesday morning I watched an interview with a man who had lost his wife. He was on the street, a child in tow. He seemed dazed or disoriented as he told the story of being on a rooftop, holding his wife’s hand and then having her slip away.

As she drifted off, she asked him to take care of their family.

It was as sad a moment as could be seen. This man was the embodiment of human tragedy.

When the reporter asked the man where he would go, he didn’t know. His simplicity was his eloquence.

I’m hoping that sentence makes sense to you. I wish I could think of a better way to explain, other than to say, he didn’t need to speak volumes of words to have his plight understood.

I got an email from my friend whose mother had been evacuated from New Orleans home he grew up in to Baton Rouge.

She just called from BR. She’s now being moved to a new shelter in downtown BR because the school where she’s been since Sunday opens tomorrow. Since she probably won’t be going back to NO for sometime, as it’s being evacuated, I told her, once they feel it’s safe, we’ll fly her up to Connecticut and buy her clothes and get her settled. Once NO is able to open up, which could be a month, we’ll go down and survey the damage and decide where she’ll move and get her a new car.

New Orleans looks like a war zone. Very very sad..

Until today this had been a New Orleans story. There is plenty of damage farther east in Mississippi and Alabama. The pre-Katrina story had been set-up better in New Orleans. Now it’s all coming into perspective.

In Mississippi and Alabama the damage has been done. In New Orleans additional damage is piling on.

The breach of a levee I wrote about yesterday continued to pour Lake Ponchartrain into the city. Attempts to stop or slow the flow failed. As i understand it, flood control pumps only would pump the water back into the lake – a vicious cycle.

Civil law began to break down today. Looters were out in force. I watched people brazenly fillet a Wal*Mart. People were walking around with carts, as if they were really shopping.

CNN reported tonight there had been shootings and carjackings.

The city is preparing to move everyone out of the Superdome. It hasn’t been said, but I assume people inside are becoming volatile.

The New York Times is reporting a naval contingent on its way to New Orleans. Where have they been? Why wasn’t this done sooner? I don’t know.

Since the hurricane, the weather has been fine. On the Gulf that won’t last. Thunderstorms will fire up. There’s even the chance of more tropical trouble from the Gulf. After all, the hurricane season doesn’t peak for another few weeks.

2 thoughts on “The Storm’s Gone But It’s Getting Worse”

  1. I watched the same news shows on cable, the sadness and the utter chaos of the situation is more then I think most can comprehend. The Superdome had one person jump from the 2nd inside tier to his death for all there to see. The people in there are tired, hot, with out answers and in a place that was to be safe and is now not. They have to be evacuated there is waist deep water outside the superdome from last report. They are also sending more and more peopke into the SD as they are rescued from their roof tops. The human drama that is unfolding is heart wrenching at best. The rescues, the animals that are suffering, the agencies trying to figure out how best to help. It goes on and on in each state and city that was hit, each with their own set of problems. As I watched these news programs and drank my cold pepsi and sitting in A/C, I felt guilty that I was drinking a cold drink and had eaten a hot meal, because I knew they could not. My prayers are with them all.

  2. I saw the piece where the reporter was speaking with the man whose wife had slipped from his grasp. “His simplicity was his eloquence” perfectly captures that, Geoff. I don’t know for sure, but I thought the reporter was crying. Who could blame her?

    I cannot figure out what can be done to save more people in the short or long term. If a terrorist ever nukes a city, this is what it’ll surely be like: immediate devastation and long term suffering.

    Move everyone to federal land and give them parcels – but how? You can’t even GET to the people.

    I was repulsed by the sight of the looters but then thought who am I to judge, never having been that desperate.

    I can’t see rebuilding, but I am sure some will. To live in essentially a bowl surrounded by water in a hurricane-prone area is… I am at a loss for words because I don’t want to dishonor those suffering.

    It is a NATIONAL tragedy.

    I wonder why aren’t more higher level (federal) politicians on the scene?

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