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August 31, 2005 05:09 PM

Broken: (please help) New Orleans/Gulf Coast

I lived for ten years in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast, and my heart goes out to the residents of those areas.

If you want to help, please donate money. I know I will.

Also see Wikipedia's entry on Katrina.



The introduction of the Wikipedia article Mark Hurst posted stated that Hurricane Katrina is the most costly disaster America has seen.

Posted by: Kevin at August 31, 2005 08:15 PM

Honestly, even though Katrina was a tragedy, I am angered by peoples reactions to it. Claiming it's their "Tsunami" really infuriates me. They had more than a days warning to evacuate, but many chose not to. Meanwhile as we all know, those people in Indonesia had no advance warning at all. Everyone should want to help and be able to understand its a tragedy, but saying its their "tsunami" is something that have no right to say. I am not trying to spark controversy here, but that is not fair seeing as all those that died, died needlessly.

Posted by: Not much sympathy at August 31, 2005 09:31 PM

As an edit to my last comment. I couldn't remember who said the quote exactly, but I looked it up in todays local paper. Quoting Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway "This is our Tsunami"

Posted by: Not much sympathy at August 31, 2005 09:45 PM

i know i'm a cynical bastard, but i will say this anyways.

what's realy broken is building a huge city in a depresion surrounded on 3 sides by water and only having 10 feet high seawalls and levees. i'm sorry, but someone had to say it.

Posted by: a at August 31, 2005 10:47 PM

You can also donate blood. They're going to need that too.

Posted by: Faolan at August 31, 2005 11:20 PM

@not much sympathy - True, and I agree with you saying that we should not call this our tsunami, however, many people who wanted to evacuate were unable to, due to massive road blockage, lack of gas, etc. But, those that did not at least try to get to a safer place, in a secure building, on a safe floor, when they had plenty of warning, are just broken.

With that said, I will be donating money.

Posted by: Logan at September 1, 2005 01:25 AM

What is broken is that they waited to bus people out until AFTER the storm (news reported 350 busses going last night to take people from the Superdome to the Astrodome)...Only people with cars and money get to evacuate???

Posted by: cmadler at September 1, 2005 07:30 AM

I was talking about cmadlers comments yesterday with my friend and that is exactly what I said. Did the government make any efforts to evacuvate people who didnt have cars(=money) preemptively?

I do realize that things are easier said than done. Two factors I can think of time to evacuvate or they didnt expect the leveee would be breached. My hunch is that both are not entirely true...anyone's got proof for either side of the argument?

Posted by: V at September 1, 2005 08:48 AM

What is with you people? Who cares about semantics and whether or not we could have changed the past. The situation is that 10's of millions of people in the United States are without homes, without jobs, without places to get basic biological services, and are suffering tremendously.

As a New Yorker who saw the outpouring of this nation during 2001, I have to say I'm dismayed by the lack of sympathy we are seeing here. An entire HUGE metro area and an historical city at that (something we don't have a lot of in this country) was devastated.

Yes, there were lots of things that could have been done differently, but concentrating on those issues instead of focusing on what we should be doing now is just inhumane.

Please do what you can to help. This is not a political problem. This is a human one from beginning to end. Let's be humans about how we respond.

Posted by: David Heller at September 1, 2005 10:02 AM

What's broken is an evacuation that leaves people in the city. Evacuation means everyone out. Apparently, they didn't care that people unable to leave on their own might die. Unfortunately, they neglected to think about the public outcry re: those people actually died this time, oh crap!.

Posted by: sir_flexalot at September 1, 2005 10:21 AM

What really gets my goat is people who say The Big easy should not have been built in a bowl surrounded on three sides by water with levees as protection. Excuse me but New Orleans was settled by two brothers in 1718 (pre-levees).

Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, led an expedition from France to rediscover the mouth of the Mississippi, which they succeeded in doing in 1699. Bienville later setup a fort in what is now Biloxi, though, he had dreams of returning to the mouth of the Mississippi. The French Monarchy instructed Bienville to establish a settlement that could easily be protected from British expansion. He chose the area that he and his brother had been to nearly two decades prior. In 1718 the settlement named New Orleans was founded in honor of the duc d’ Orleans.

As far as the Corp of Engineers getting involved protecting the city from floods was a secondary concern. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' involvement in New Orleans dates back to 1803, when an Army engineer was sent to the city to study its defenses. The Corps' early work in the area was of a military nature. By 1829, Army engineers had turned their attention to the development and maintenance of safe river channels. The Mississippi River -- a vital transportation link between the Gulf of Mexico and the nation's heartland -- was a dangerous waterway littered with snags (toppled trees), shoals and wrecked ships. Navigable waterways were vital to settlement, commerce and growth. The Corps was directed to make them safer and more reliable.

While navigation remained the Corps' primary role for the next 100 years, a series off floods -- the largest occurring in 1927 -- made it clear that more effective flood control was needed. Years of experience on the river made the Corps the natural choice for such a task, and flood control became the Corps' second important mission in the area.

River navigation was the primary concern.

Those who say the city should not have been built there don't seem to understand that it is not a case of levees being built first and then a city.

I suppose if flood waters wiped out the bridges leading to Manhatten ans isolated it from the rest of new york, the same people would say, "Well what do you expect, it's an island and they shouldn't have built there to begin with.

Anyway, donate to your charity of choice and believe me there will be a Mardi Gras of some sort in 2006. Those people are very strong.

Posted by: Tim at September 1, 2005 10:30 AM

what could have been or what should have been now seems very much irrelevant. before making comments about comparisons to a tsunami, try riding out katrina on your own...oh wait, you can't because it's already lucky YOU are. there is more to the universe than your little world revolving around you. how easy it must be to make comments like that while writing from your (still intact) home. bet you went to the fridge afterward to decide between that piece of cake or the chicken leg...oh hell, had them both did you? then you went to the bathroom and used TOILET PAPER, because you have some. probably spit out more water brushing your teeth than most folks there had to drink all day. did you sleep well in your own bed...hope that the noise from the AC did not keep you awake. tsunami? flood? what is the difference? look at yourself...are you really that shallow and small minded? spend your time wisely...make yourself a better person. tired of inhabiting a place with the likes of you.

Posted by: friendlydrbobo at September 1, 2005 10:36 AM

The thing that bothers me is the other countrys are saying that the United States doesn't need any help because we are so wealthy. But who is the first, and with the most help, when other countrys are in dire need. Yes, US!

Posted by: Denise at September 1, 2005 10:49 AM

Damn! I cannot believe y'alls lack of sympathy! The shipping hub of the South has just been mostly wiped out. Possibly thousands dead. And even for you egocentrics, gas prices have gone through the roof, whereas YESTERDAY regular gas was 2.70, today is is three dollars. Thirty cents overnight.

Posted by: Bob at September 1, 2005 03:18 PM

*it* is, excuse me.

Posted by: Bob at September 1, 2005 03:18 PM

I have to stick up for "Not Much Sympathy" on this one. The tsunami comparisons are bugging the hell out of me, too. Yes, I understand that this hurricane is a very tragic event that is effecting many (although not quite the TENS of MILLIONS that Mr. Heller would like us to believe... come on!), and yes, I am VERY thankful that I'm not one of them. But to start comparing this to one of the greatest natural disasters we've seen, one that killed over 100,000 people in 11 different countries, without any type of warning, well, that's a bit much. I certainly agree that those hit by the hurricane need (and deserve) help- there's no question about that. In the mean time tho, we need to keep things a little more in perspective.

Posted by: ambrocked at September 1, 2005 03:52 PM

Also, in re: Denise's comment, it's our lovely president that's saying we don't need aid from other countries (although now he's apparently accepting some). There are over 20 that have offered help.

Posted by: ambrocked at September 1, 2005 04:20 PM

Why do we have to compare disasters? Who CARES which was worse, Katrina or Tsunami. We have people suffering and we dont seem to be able to help them. I say screw the name calling and politics and be supportive to the people who have lost so much. If you dont have any money to send then volenteer at a fund raiser. Donate blood or just pray. Lets just stop the negative crap.

Posted by: Kathy at September 1, 2005 04:23 PM

Am I alone, or don't I understand something here? Why in God's name are some of these idiots in New Orleans shooting at rescue helicopters, police, etc., the very people who are trying to help them? It's insane, what the hell are they thinking? You try to help & they shoot at you? I want to donate something to people who are clearly grateful for the help, not trying to rescue these idiots! They should be shot!

Posted by: Onery at September 1, 2005 04:29 PM

No you arent alone, but I dont think shooting them would do any good. The 1% of bad people are always going to be there no matter what.

Posted by: Kathy at September 1, 2005 04:38 PM

Kathy: Thanks, I agree that there are always going to be some "bad" people, but who & when draws a line & stops it? Is it better for a person who shoots at rescue aircraft & personnell to possibly lose his life so that hundreds of people who really need their life saved to be rescued? (The needs of the many outweigh the needs of an idiot)?

Posted by: Onery at September 1, 2005 04:57 PM

Wow, Al Qaida & other terrorists must be having a field day with our apparent inability to mobilize & save our own people! They must be gloating in the suffering of Americans in the aftermath of Katrina. They must be ecstatic that we are outraged over the price of gasoline & that we will have to alter our comfortable lifestyle. I'm confused, I don't know who or what caused us to be so weak & unable to take care of ourselves. The Democrats will blame the Republicans, etc., but what can we really do about it?

Posted by: Steve at September 1, 2005 05:08 PM

Kathy, the "1% of bad people" comment is generally true. However, it's a bit higher in New Orleans right now since some that stayed behind stayed so they could loot.

Posted by: LD at September 1, 2005 06:11 PM

Steve, Lets not worry about what "every one" else thinks. Lets work on fixing the problem.

Posted by: Kathy at September 1, 2005 06:22 PM

Thanks for the history lesson Tim, btw. I found David H's comment intersting too, if I remember right, 9-11's media coverage was split between Al-Queda and relief (arguably more towards relief) and it was any organization you can find, donate to them. Where here in this situaton, the coverage is split into 3, the devestation to the area, the oil/gas/LOOP, and the relief. Now I ask you, which of those three is getting more coverage? We all know that the relief is getting the lessor amount of coverage, and it's so unfortunate. In my opinion, that's why there's not more of an outpouring to releif. But, this event is still young, and time heals all wounds. The manpower will arrive, the aid will come, the money will follow. I donate to the red cross every two months, but I'm going to donate at least every two weeks now, may not be alot at a time, but it's the best I can do. Just my opinion.

Posted by: noname at September 1, 2005 06:41 PM

Forgot my link.

Posted by: noname at September 1, 2005 06:42 PM

stop whining & donate some money! i already donated $200. tho comparisons to the tsunami... not quite.

Posted by: donate! at September 1, 2005 06:52 PM

If a person loses everything does it matter that you were once rich or poor? If you loose everything does it matter if you live in the richest or poorest countries?

Stop comparing.

Posted by: Kathy at September 1, 2005 07:10 PM

Steve, I agree on some of your comments, but you seem to be implying that a big bunch of people stayed just to loot. First of all, a lot of (future) looters stayed because they had no transportation. They then turned to looting, I don't know why. Second, some of these alleged looters were stuck without any non-destroyed possessions, miserably. This might sound insane-ish, but they were only taking advantage of what was left, and the actual looters weren't helping.

Posted by: nick'd at September 1, 2005 07:53 PM

Oops, I quoted Steve when I should've quoted someone else. Sorry, Steve.

Posted by: nick'd at September 1, 2005 07:55 PM

What's broken is building a city below sea level.

All they need to do now is drop a couple of billion bags of cement in the water and start over with a nice (sea) level surface.

Posted by: Red at September 1, 2005 08:20 PM

The POINT of talking about what should have been done is so that in the future, it actually gets done.

Posted by: Faolan at September 1, 2005 10:04 PM

Not saying that the hurricane wasn't a bad thing in any way but:

--People had advance warning and didn't leave.

--It's 6 feet under sea level and sinking at 3 FT per centuary.

--Rebuilding is somewhat pointless if you ask me.

"It will take many years and a lot of money" yeah, it will. And then in 6 years there will be another huricane and this will happen all over again, except worse due to the fact that there will be more flooding. (see note about sinking rate).

"What is with you people? Who cares about semantics and whether or not we could have changed the past."

"As a New Yorker who saw the outpouring of this nation during 2001, I have to say I'm dismayed by the lack of sympathy we are seeing here."

Anyone care to make sense of that for me please?

--Looting, shooting, etc.

Anyone that shoots at a rescue helecopter or starts looting junk from stores should just be shot on sight.

Seriously, why rescue the people that are trying to make a bad situation worse.

--Why were't there busses bussing people out before the hurricane struck?

Seems to me that the logical sequence of events is as such:


-Tell people to get out now.

-Get busses down there to get people out.

-Continue to bus people out after hurricane.

Instead of waiting until it strikes, jamming tons of people in the superdome, then getting people bussed out.

Bush keeps saying "we are working with local, state, federal governments to manage the situation. There will be people to manage the situation. We have a good management team. etc."

Apparently no one could watch the damn weather channel and see this hurricane and put 2 and 2 together.

With that said, my heart goes out to all of the victims and their families of the hurricane disaster. (except for the ones insiting riots and shooting at rescue helicopters).

Posted by: assadf at September 1, 2005 10:32 PM

"--People had advance warning and didn't leave."

Lots of people couldnt leave. many couldnt afford to leave, didnt have cars ect. and the advance warning really only amounted to a few days, because theres enough 'dud' hurricanes that until they know for certain how bad its gonna be, they arent going anywhere. have u thought about the logistics of evacuating a huge city in a few days? did u see the freeway traffic at a standstill even when all the lanes were outbound? nature happens. every once in a while we get caught off guard. its nobody's fault. now we need to focus on the present, and the people that need help.

Posted by: gmangw at September 2, 2005 12:30 AM

Broken: the "blame the victim" mentality.

Broken: the assumption that everyone had the means to leave before the hurricane

Broken: the assumption that anyone could know before the hurricane that the aftermath would be so severe. This has never happened before, you're applying hindsight as if it were missing foresight.

Broken: FEMA and the dept of homeland security. Major jokes. We now know how we will not be saved when Al Qaida devestates us with chemical and biological attacks. We are so screwed.

Posted by: sparky at September 2, 2005 03:07 AM

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.


Michael Moore

P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.

Posted by: friendlydrbobo at September 2, 2005 09:33 AM

Broken: Lack of sympathy. Children cannot choose for themselves to leave, and they are a large portion of the people stuck there, including those in the hospitals.

Broken: A cat 5 hurricane is headed straight for a city that's well known to be well under sea level, and no one thinks to have national guard, fema, etc. waiting for it to blow by in Texas, Tennessee, and other surrounding inland states. (If CNN had people on the ground already, why couldn't the gov't?)

Broken: The local southern gov'ts hurricane planning. Should be HUGE on the agenda of any Gulf coast town.

Broken: My heart at the sight of people dying b/c criminals have delayed or otherwise made it impossible to rescue those people in time.

Posted by: Andrew survivor at September 2, 2005 10:07 AM

It's a sad situation in New Orleans. Regardless of what went on before the hurricane, the fact remains that we have many people stranded without food, water, proper sanitation, or mdeical help. I can understand disorder,and chaos right after the disaster struck.

But today is Friday. Yet, we have people trapped at the Superdome and conventtion centre. These were specifically identified as shelter points. Today is Friday and relief and rescue efforts should be well underway. Yet we have no appearance of any organised plan in action to get these people out.

One can't plan for every possible outcome, but considering the immensity of the predicted impact if the hurricane had hit New Orleans directly, there should have been forces prepared to mobilize at the first sign of need, and that does not all seem to be in evidence.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at September 2, 2005 11:04 AM

What's broken here is flaming liberals like Michael Moore politicizing the FREAKIN' HURRICANE! Obviously you think Bush is some kind of God if you believe he could have prevented the hurricane. These liberals do not know when to stop. Perhaps you should help instead of yelling at people for not changing the weather.

Posted by: Bob at September 2, 2005 11:23 AM

Dear Bob,

Nobody is blaming Bush for the hurricane. However, the after-effects should be mitigated with a disaster relief plan that should be in action right now. But instead, things are out of control. This responsibility clearly falls to FEMA, who is headed by the Bush-appointed Michael Brown.

This is the Michael Brown who is basically blaming the victims for their own plight.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at September 2, 2005 12:35 PM

I have turned off commenting on this post because (a) I think the major viewpoints are represented and (b) this was devolving into an un-civil discussion.

Please, give generously to the Red Cross (or the relief agency of your choice) and try to be civil to one another, even if you disagree...

Posted by: Mark Hurst at September 2, 2005 01:50 PM

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