The aftermath

The mention of New Orleans usually reminds me of the Mardi Gras trip with Mas, Mike and Zach way back when, and also funny things like Hurricanes (danger in a cup), the search for oyster loaf, broken chairs and the Hummingbird Cafe.Although New Orleans was spared of the cataclysm many experts feared, hurricane damage was still extremely severe:

During the storm, scores of desperate calls for help poured into the emergency operations center in a vault-like section of City Hall. They were recorded with mechanical self-control by operators who usually handle 911 lines.

“Residence has collapsed,” a woman operator said, as she passed on the information to rescue crews shortly after 7 a.m. in one of the first cries for assistance. “Flooding inside.”

“Female unable to breathe; she is oxygen-dependent,” the woman reported a few minutes later within earshot of a reporter who rode out the storm in the emergency operations center.

“House on fire,” the woman said, after her next call.

“Another fire,” she said, moments later.

Then a man’s voice summed up the early damage: “Three house fires, four building collapses.”

The woman operator’s voice again: “Two males on a roof, apparently water rising.”

“Water up to windows,” she reported after another call. “People screaming that I’m drowning.”

A man’s voice: “People complaining they are trapped in high water.”

“Elderly couple in a building,” the woman reported. “Roof came off.”

Perhaps sensing the strain mounting on the emergency operators, a military officer had told them earlier, “Realistically, we’re not going to be able to save everyone.”

Governor Barbour of Mississippi said that the state had suffered a “grievous blow” on the coast, and that the state’s Highway 90 had “essentially been destroyed.”

From The New York Times.

Photos of the storm’s impact


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