Monday, August 28, 2006

Voices Of Katrina

Instead of trying to think of something clever to write to commemorate Katrina, I have decided to publish snippets of online conversations of an internet community from one year ago. These are the thoughts of people both in the storm and watching it unfold on television. Reading them again gave me a bit of an eerie feeling. Those in bold are multiple residents of Louisiana just north of the city of New Orleans.

August 28th

11:11am - We got yet another pass on this one and yet as I'm watching this thing play out on CNN I'm all narly in the stomach for the folks in Naw'lins

11:12am - Why do proclamations have to be so formal? Why can't they just say "Hey, we've got a freakin' disaster on the way, get the hell outta Dodge. NOW!

3:18pm - We have gusts now about 20 mph and the first rain bands are moving in. I'll keep ya'll updated until we lose electricity. It's cloudy and getting kinda rumbly over here

4:09pm - F*ck even Cantore is bugging out. Landfall predicted somewhere near the mouth of the big muddy. This is shaping up to be the nightmare scenario where the right side of the storm funnels water straight into Pontchartrain.

4:33pm - Weather Channel is predicting 20+ foot storm surge in New Orleans. That will be high enough to breach the levees. Be prepared for pictures of Bourbon St under water.

4:38pm - The mayor said people who opted to go to the Superdome should take enough food and supplies to last three to five days. He said police and firefighters would fan out throughout the city telling residents to get out and that police would have the authority to commandeer any vehicle or building that could be used for evacuation or shelter

6:44pm - Beer is the most important thing though!!!!!!!!!!!! i bought 4 cases....Ya'll think that's enough???? Hmm...Is it enough? i'm going to the store folks

6:51pm - She's coming

7:52pm - Gas prices just jumped to $70 a barrel due to the storm

8:34pm - will be my 3rd to ride out...The others were not too bad..the worst being Andrew in 1992 which was a Cat 3. This one is a bitch

8:53pm - I've not had to ride out a big one since Camille.. did Betsy and Carla as a child, and countless other small ones.. that was enough, and I, like every New Orleanian (no matter if you move away or not, it's always home) always said "Oh, the next one will be the big one" and we slogged on. This one may be it...

9:17pm - I'm ok...a rain band just passed so I didn't get online for a little bit. It's calm now but will be getting uglier as the night goes on.

10:25pm - we are a bit out of NO so we didn't evacuate. It's a coonass stubburdness that makes most stay. It's out home and we will ride it. That is not saying it's not stupid, but that just a coonass.

August 29th

12:02am - It's wierd...We have big blasts of wind then they are gone...rain comes and is gone. It's all quiet now, except for the wind. It goes away then comes back...dies down and comes a little bit longer..right now it sounds like a wolf howling

1:04am - Weather is getting sh*ttier by the minute. Winds are picking up and I can feel the rain doing the little circular motion around me..It's whipping in a clockwise motion. I'm going to be scared when it's counterclockwise. F*ck that...I'm scared now

1:33am - The whole thing in the City will be a mess, with the sewers, the pumps overtime, and all those bodies.. generations of remains are in those tombs.I know the stubborness.. we used to refuse to leave, too.. the Aunt left only after being forced, and she's still not out of harms way. It's eerie to see the films of the City.. complete quiet. Like I said, when Bourbon Street is boarded up, things are bad...

2:09am - Hey guys!! Still here with electricity thank baby jebus!!!! Weather has done gone to hell in a handbasket and tomorrow is to be the worst

7:29am - Katrina just made landfall, was in the middle of an eyewall replacement, which is good because it brought her just under category 5 with 150 mph winds. The track appears to be slightly east of New Orleans, more towards Gulfport, so that might be good for the city if it means the bulk of the rain won't fall in NO itself

7:29am - The superbowl has 25k people using it for shelter, and they lost their power, they have emergency lights only and no AC

9:35am - Sheperd Smith in the French Quarter says street flooding is up to the curb. There are reports that the pumps are off line and will not be back until this afternoon.Eyewall is passing to the east which is good. But winds are going from north to south across Pontchartrain which is not good

10:04am - Just got a call from her, she says they are in the eye right now. It lost a lot of punch when the eye made landfall.She lost power around 5:30 this morning and has weak signal on her cell. So far they are in good shape. Winds are steady at 55-65 mph. Siding blown off in her neighborhood, 3 elderly died sitting in a bus in traffic trying to get out but no one has been lost from debris or surge. They managed to take an hour nap last night.So far the water is only up around a foot from last night by her but they expect it to get bad and crest in the next 24 hours. The back side of the storm is still coming around. She'll call again when she can

10:44am - Weather Channel is reporting one levee has been breached, sending 3-8 ft of water into New Orleans' 9th ward

11:04am - Levee's seem to be breaking.. water in some areas rising at 1 foot an hour.. and with the storm moving up into Mississippi, much of my family that took in family from New Orleans are all now in the path of this weakening, but, still very large, powerful storm, even bigger than Andrew

11:36am - eye has passed them and the backside of the storm is starting to hit. Hopefully by 3pm the worst will be over. One of the levee's did break and this is causing much of the water to head south towards New Orleans, thankfully she is north of the city.

2:22pm - BAD RAIN.... static, WIND........, static..............we ok.

3:23pm - the bands have reached here, and it's cloudy and may rain. Not a bad day so far. I had a great time walking peoples pets and feeding them. Our shelter opened for pets from New Orleans if you had a crate or cage, many of the hotels are refusing animals, as do the shelters. Met so many sweet little fuzzy friends today, it's a good thing they kept an eye on me or I'd have stolen a few of them.I am in the Northwest corner of Louisiana,{shreveport} have been safe all the time

3:50pm - There are lots of reports now of people on rooftops and in attic windows because their houses are underwater. And another levee burst. And the power company is saying be prepared to be without power for a month or more due to a catastrophic failure

4:10pm - It's all over. Sassy and her area lucked out. Trees down but minimal flooding so far. They are running the generator periodically and overall doing fine. No one hurt just looking over the damage, she lost a few screen and a few roof shingles but the house is intact

4:44pm - First thunderstorms have hit me. They'll come like a train all night. But we're used to it. Nothing like the hell on earth that's happening a couple of hundred miles west

5:31pm - It's funny because American Airlines says the flights are still scheduled for Thursday. Hmm, can they land in a lake

6:15pm - From the reports I'm getting, the entire area my Aunt and two cousins live in is underwater, and no idea when they'll be out, as they live on the East side of the Lake... no word yet on those who hunkered down in Ponchatoula.. Mississippi clan are without power, and have had torrential rain, but, far from the coast, so, no coastal water flooding.. Looking at those people wading just brought back memories..

8:51pm - She cranked up the generator, took a shower and feels "human" again, went to the store and got more beer *happy dance* and is getting ready to cook up dinner on the grill. They are estimating getting the power back on in a week or so, but shes hoping for sooner obviously

August 30th

1:10am - Estimated 40,000 homes under water (a twenty square mile area) in New Orleans alone. Still possibly the most expensive and deadliest natural disaster to strike America in the past 100 years

10:26am - I saw some heartbreaking footage last night of a man, clearly in shock, telling an on-the-street reporter that his house had split in two. He tried to hold on to his wife but couldn't and she was swept away. Before she disappeared she told him to take care of the kids. The man's last words to the reporter were something like, "I'm lost. I've lost everything"

11:34am - many people just did not receive enough warning, and/or thought they were safe from the onslaught. The American Red Cross is working to shore up the blood supplies in that area

12:05pm - just tried to raise any one of my family on any of the numbers I have.. cell, landline.. something...All I get, no matter the time of day, is a busy.. so, I have to presume the cell towers are down, too. I have no idea how anyone is, if they made it unscathed, what condition homes are in.. If I don't hear by tomorrow, I'll register with the Red Cross, I imagine, and have them go check it out.. I'm starting to grow concerned.. with levee's breaking, flooding.. sure, we missed the hardest part, still.. the City is below sealevel to begin with.. and this water has no place to go
7:42pm - It's so sad up here, the people were given the word the Parishes where they live are now closed, and they cannot go back for at least a week. No water there, food, or electricity. Plus the water main broke in New Orleans, and they will have to wait for the water to drain, or be pumped out {once the electricity gets back on, which may be 2-3 weeks}, then the water system will have to be flushed and sterilized

10:40pm - I love seeing people stealing Huggies, TP, and plastic bags. Is that so wrong?

8:30pm - in Louisiana, when we elect an honest official, we vote him back out again.. too boring. If your last name is Long, you are guaranteed a job in the government..

August 31st

2:36am - CNN did a short piece about all the alligators and snakes that were in that lake which is now flooding NO. Ew.

9:32am - - what a mess. I wonder if they can even rebuild after this? (The better question is does it make any sense to?)

1:30pm - It really is Survival down there. You can't drink the water until it's boiled. How are you supposed to boil it?

2:01pm - I saw Slidell on MSNBC this morning.. and there was one cousin's house in the background... well, what was left of it. No way to tell her, as they are out of any kind of contact. The thing is, with the rebuilding (which we've done before).. this time, there is no place to go while you rebuild. Slidell has over 65% of the homes and businesses severly damaged, and 90% of them flooded out with up to 16 feet of water. Where do you go? Gulfport is 90% gone... where do you stay when you rebuild, because rebuild they will

7:39pm - The slowness of everything now is really creepy. A whole major city just sitting there underwater, with people that haven't managed to get out still. Access still blocked to ports, cities still empty

You can read the entire conversation including the anger and frustration of the aftermath here.


Sara said...

Sassy's first prediction was so true:

Bourbon is boarded up, and we have all our shit tied down, generator ready to go. I don't think this one is going to turn. NO is's so far below sea level that the levee's won't help. They are gonna bust and Lake Ponchatrain is going to overflow..which will back up to Lake Maurepas, so I'll be swimming. When the levee's go kiss NO goodbye for at least a year.

Well, it's been almost a year. Now we wonder if New Orleans will ever be back to something approximating "normal."

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Oops: Impostor scams Louisiana officials