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.”