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Subject: New Orleans - No Rest For The Weary - Or The Dead. Levee Fails.

Written By: Hairspray on 09/23/05 at 1:39 pm

New Orleans levee fails; water pours in again.

‘Our worst fears came true,’ official says as flooding swamps Ninth Ward

NEW ORLEANS - Hurricane Rita’s steady rains sent water pouring over a patched levee Friday, cascading into one of the city’s lowest-lying neighborhoods in a devastating repeat of New Orleans’ flooding nightmare.

“Our worst fears came true,” said Maj. Barry Guidry of the Georgia National Guard.

“We have three significant breaches in the levee and the water is rising rapidly,” he said. “At daybreak I found substantial breaks and they’ve grown larger.”

Dozens of blocks in the Ninth Ward were under water as a waterfall at least 30 feet wide poured over and through a dike that had been used to patch breaks in the Industrial Canal levee. On the street that runs parallel to the canal, the water ran waist-deep and was rising fast. Guidry said water was rising about three inches a minute.

The impoverished neighborhood was one of the areas of the city hit hardest by Katrina’s floodwaters and finally had been pumped dry before Hurricane Rita struck.

Throughout Friday morning, water began rising again onto buckled homes, piles of rubble and mud-caked cars that Katrina had covered with up to 20 feet of water.

Ninth Ward believed cleared of residents
Sally Forman, an aide to Mayor Ray Nagin, said officials knew the levees were compromised, but they believe that the Ninth Ward is cleared of residents.

“I wouldn’t imagine there’s one person down there,” Forman said.

Mitch Frazier, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said contractors were being brought in Friday morning in an effort to repair the new damage. The corps had earlier installed 60-foot sections of metal across some of the city’s canals to protect against flooding and storm surges.

Refugees from the Lower Ninth Ward were housed at the Progressive Baptist church in Lafayette. They were watching the TV news as the canal levee was breached again, flooding their neighborhood anew.

“It's like looking at a murder,” Quentrell Jefferson said. “The first time is bad. After that, you numb up.”

Forecasters say anywhere from 3 to 5 inches of rain could fall in New Orleans as Rita passes Friday and Saturday.

Another concern is the storm surge accompanying Rita, which could send water rising as much as 4 feet above high tide.

Already Friday morning, rain was falling and a steady 20 mph wind, with gusts to 35 mph, was blowing.

Higher than expected storm surge
Army Corps of Engineers Brig. Gen. Robert Gen. Robert Crear blamed Friday's problems on a storm surge that was higher than expected so early in Rita's assault.

“The surge is affected by the winds and we expect that to continue for several more hours,” he said, adding that contractors were being brought in Friday morning to repair the new damage with rock rocks and sandbags.

Federal Emergency Management spokesman Butch Kinerney said the breaks appeared to be mainly in places where sand had washed away, and that the stone holding the wall together was still intact.

FEMA was working with parish officials to pump out the water that was flowing from the levee, Kinerney said, but that main pump in the Ninth Ward was still inoperable because of Katrina damage.

“It's just not holding,” St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stevens said as he watched water pouring from the same levee breaks at midmorning. “The only way you'll be able to get out of here will be by boat in about five or 10 minutes.”

Because of uncertain weather conditions from Hurricane Rita, the recovery of bodies was suspended. Already the death toll from Hurricane Katrina stands at 841 in Louisiana, and at least 1,078 across the Gulf Coast.

Subject: Re: New Orleans - No Rest For The Weary - Or The Dead. Levee Fails.

Written By: Hairspray on 09/23/05 at 1:40 pm

Grim advice from the governor

As many as 500,000 people in southwestern Louisiana, many of them already displaced by Hurricane Katrina, were told to evacuate and many jammed roads north to escape.

Glynn Stevenson, who swam out of his New Orleans house with belongings taped to his body, had just gotten settled into a trailer provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency when the call came for him to uproot again.

“It’s nothing to get mad about,” he said Thursday. “Just keep a cool attitude and help your brothers.”

As for those who refuse to leave, Gov. Kathleen Blanco advised: “Perhaps they should write their Social Security numbers on their arms with indelible ink.”

Rita was headed for a Texas landfall but the massive storm threatened southwestern Louisiana as well, with tropical storm-force winds expected by noon and hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or higher by early Saturday. Flash floods were possible as 10 to 15 inches of rain was forecast.

By midday Friday, state police said there was already low-level flooding in coastal Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, forcing street closures.

National Guard and medical units were put on standby in the city. Helicopters were being positioned, and search-and-rescue boats from the state wildlife department were staged on high ground on the edge of Rita’s projected path. Blanco said she also asked for 15,000 more federal troops.

Buses running continuously

“We’ve got buses running continuously to get residents out. We’re trying to learn from other areas, not to repeat their mistake,” said Cindy Murphy, a manager at the police bureau in Lake Charles.

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen said three days worth of supplies, including food and water, for 500,000 people are ready and waiting around Louisiana, if needed after Rita.

Hospitals around the state were shutting down, too. Jimmy Guidry, Louisiana’s state health officer, said patients from hospitals in Lake Charles and Cameron were being evacuated, some north to Alexandria, La., and others to hospitals as far away as Oklahoma.

A mandatory evacuation order was in effect for homes on the eastern bank of the Mississippi, and police said people in the city’s Algiers section on the other side of the river would be wise to get out, too. But thousands stayed put.

“I’m sticking it out,” said Florida Richardson, who sat on her front porch in Algiers, holding her grandson on her lap. “This house is 85 years old. It’s seen a lot of tornadoes and a lot of hurricanes. You can’t run from the power of God.”

Subject: Re: New Orleans - No Rest For The Weary - Or The Dead. Levee Fails.

Written By: Hairspray on 09/23/05 at 1:44 pm

The dead still unclaimed by the authorities will float again.

Subject: Re: New Orleans - No Rest For The Weary - Or The Dead. Levee Fails.

Written By: CatwomanofV on 09/23/05 at 1:59 pm

So sad.  :\'( :\'( :\'(

Right now I am worried about a friend of mine who lives in the Houston area. She is going to be staying put but is prepared. My thoughts go out to all in that area.


Subject: Re: New Orleans - No Rest For The Weary - Or The Dead. Levee Fails.

Written By: CatwomanofV on 09/23/05 at 2:55 pm

Well, the hurricane itself should be weakened a bit by the time it gets there, but my SIL says they are worried more about tornados than the hurricane itself (at least, up in Dallas-Ft. Worth) :-\\

I was living in San Antonio when Hurricane Gilbert hit in 1988. We got a lot of tornados from that. They were about 10 miles from the house.  :o  Here we were, sitting in the middle of the house during a tornado WARNING when the phone rang. I thought it may have been my sister being concerned for us. But it some survey wanting to know who we were going to vote for.  ::)  I told the woman, "This is NOT a good time" and hung up.


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