Lots of cuts today... Of course, if you click on one, you can read them all anyway...
The blogosphere is overrun with Katrina tidbits... I'm still not used to the concept of information overload... In 1995, when I first put up my epilepsy site, it was possible for one person to have the authoritative site on something--and my epilepsy site was just that. I made it into some epilepsy magazines and newsletters, completely unbeknownst to me. I was listed as an "expert." Ha! I was just a 23-year-old kid living with some kind of episodes that may or may not be seizures and a roommate with supposed psychogenic seizures, and we both wanted answers. The page grew out of our search for information. Many sites do... When you search for your own answers, you often find a gazillion people just like you who don't know how to search, don't have time, etc. I had plenty of energy and determination, and that's how and why the site came into being and grew into a supposed expert site. Now it's just a little site--at least in my eyes. I still seem to have the corner on nonepileptic seizures, but I don't expect that this will always be the case.
Anyway, the Internet is so big now that nobody gets much of a corner on anything--and everyone wants the corner. For those of us who once had a corner on something, it's hard to get out of that mindset of jumping on a topic and putting together some kind of coverage on it. I guess I should have been a journalist. At least I can afford the luxury of going to bed ... if only I can make my mind cooperate.
So to satisfy the information junkie in me, here are some snippets that have caught my eye, like anyone needs any more collections of Katrina info.
Borrowed from jinxleah:
This is a podcast and blog that has more information on New Orleans. It is run by refuges that have escaped.
Another blog: http://eyesonkatrina.blogspot.com/
Some things are encouraging:
CNN's Jeanne Meserve in New Orleans ... Many people are doing good deeds. Yesterday, when I was out on I-10, watching that horrible flooding and the people trapped in their houses, there was one family who wouldn't evacuate until the elderly woman who lived next door was taken out. And they inflated an air mattress and put her on that to try to keep her afloat. I saw people who were disabled today being hauled through the streets by other younger, healthier people.
Remember my genealogy stuff...? It's amazing what a small world it is sometimes... From that CNN blog...
CNN's Anderson Cooper on his way to Gulfport, Mississippi ... People came out in Meridian and helped clear the road for a CNN crew. My dad was born just south of Meridian. Turns out it was my cousins who helped clear the road. That was a bizarre incident. When we were stuck last night I thought about trying to track one of my cousins down to give us some lodging.
Tidbits from another CNN article, just to give me something to think about...
In the small town of Bay St. Louis, search and rescue crews put paint marks on homes known to contain bodies, because there weren't enough refrigerated trucks to remove the corpses.
In Biloxi, an employee of the city's Grand Casino was awed by the extent of the damage.
"I was a senior in high school when Hurricane Camille hit, in 1969, and I have never seen destruction of this magnitude," said Scott Richmond.
Part of the city's sea wall was washed away, and nearly every downtown building had extensive damage to its first level.
Some of the things I've read are just horrific, and I won't put them here...
katrinacane has links on the friends page to a number of New Orleans-based Livejournals with updates--most of the updates are now from one or two journals, which is not surprising since there is no power.
You have to persevere. As bad as we've got it right now in New Orleans, we have to keep in mind that the native americans lived in this place when it was nothing but a swamp 400 years ago. This was their life. What did they do when a cat 5 hurricane blasted their swamps?
I keep being told that CNN and the Slate reported our "moods" as something other than upbeat. The city is falling apart, no doubt. The looting is rampant. Just take a look at the cam and you'll see them breaking into that hotel and taking everything. The water is still creeping in. But you know what? My team's mood is not negative. We're focused. We've got things that need doing and we're gonna get them done. That's all there is to it. We need diesel. We'll find some. We have people depending on us and we are not going to let them down. That's all there is to it.
And if that's not enough to put our situation in perspective, just remember we live here. Think about the thousands of American soldiers deployed across the world in a place where they barely speak the native language, facing down people actively trying to kill them while they try to put a whole region back together. This is what, day 3 or so for us? Some of them have been there 12 months or more. I want everyone to let them know that we're thinking of them; all in all, they're a lot worse off than we are.
So if you're in the media and you're following this blog, please make sure you get this right: we're preparing for the worst, we know things are going to get worse -- a lot worse -- before they get better, but we're positive and we're gonna fight through this and win. Period.
The coverage at http://www.wwltv.com/local/stories/WWLBLOG.ac3fcea.html, which is a bit difficult to read with a screen reader for some reason, gives a quite realistic spin and helped me to feel a bit more like I could connect somehow with the reality of this. Because I can't see the images on the news, this was something that helped me to process some of my feelings about this. A few things that stood out:
12:17 A.M. - Emergency search and rescue phone lines for those in distress: (225) 925-7708 | (225) 925-7709 | (225) 925-3511 | (225) 925-7412
To inquire about those in the area who did not evacuate: American Red Cross, (866) 438-4636.
12:12 A.M. - Info on parish and road access:
[Lists parishes with info about whether they are open or closed and condition of roads leading in. Many parishes open to residents only, bring ID. Some allow you to pick up belongings and then not return for a month!]
11:28 P.M. - (AP) LAFAYETTE, La. -- Parents who had to evacuate because of Hurricane Katrina will be able to register their children for school in Lafayette Parish starting tomorrow.
Burnell Lemoine, deputy superintendent and chief academic officer for the Lafayette Parish School System, says registration ends Thursday and parents will be contacted Friday to let them know what school their children should attend.
He says students should be in classes by Tuesday. The children will be assigned to current schools depending on where they are in homes or shelters.
9:21 P.M. - (AP) One Mississippi county alone said its death toll was at least 100, and officials are "very, very worried that this is going to go a lot higher," said Joe Spraggins, civil defense director for Harrison County, home to Biloxi and Gulfport.
Thirty of the victims in the county were from a beachfront apartment building that collapsed under a 25-foot wall of water as Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast with 145-mph winds.
9:18 P.M. - Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu: 3000 rescued to date. People taken from rooftops, attics and from water, clinging to inner tubes.
9:17 P.M. - New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says hundreds, if not thousands, of people may still be stuck on roofs and in attics, and so rescue boats were bypassing the dead.
6:04 P.M. - Thomas: Most sobering moment - being told to leave the dead bodies, because there are people to rescue.
6:03 P.M. - N.O. Councilman Oliver Thomas: "What you see on TV, you have no idea what the level of devastation and frustration is on the street."
5:57 P.M. - Jeff Parish schools chief Dianne Roussel says two months is probably "optimistic" to get schools back and functioning.
3:59 P.M. - WWL-TV reporter Jonathan Betz reports widespread looting and WWL-TV cameras showed people walking out of Canal Street stores with racks of clothes and electronics. Some looters concentrated on basics and supplies, while others made no secret of their desire to get what they could.
3:53 P.M. - N.O. Mayor Nagin: Priorities - 1. Rescuing people. 2. Fixing levee breaks. 3. Taking care of refugees in Superdome and hospitals.
3:43 P.M. - Senator Vitter: New Orleans will "absolutely" be rebuilt.
3:25 P.M. - With conditions in the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans rapidly deteriorating, Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Tuesday that people now huddled in the Superdome and other rescue centers need to be evacuated.
"The situation is untenable," Blanco said during a news conference. "It's just heartbreaking."
3:15 P.M. - Charity Hospital is out of commission and they are trying to evacuate patients, but it is hard to get there because rising water is surrounding the hospital. They will try to evacuate the patients to other cities.
3:13 P.M. - Governor Blanco: A lot of people have lost their lives, but we have no numbers because the priority is saving those who are alive so we don't have more casualties.
3:12 P.M. - Senator Landrieu - Scenes are similar to what she saw after the Tsunami.
2:01 P.M. - Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard says there is no plumbing and the sanitary situation is getting nasty. He told WAFB-TV that he is carrying around a bag for his own human waste.
1:08 P.M. - "I'm very hopeful, with the devastation we've had, that the number (of deaths) will be much more reasonable than people think. There are not thousands of people floating around." -- Terry Ebbert, New Orleans' homeland security chief.
1:05 P.M. - (AP) -- With much of the city emptied by Hurricane Katrina, some opportunists took advantage of the situation by looting stores.
At a Walgreen's drug store in the French Quarter, people were running out with grocery baskets and coolers full of soft drinks, chips and diapers. When police finally showed up, a young boy stood in the door screaming, "86! 86!" -- the radio code for police -- and the crowd scattered.
Around the corner on Canal Street, the main thoroughfare in the central business district, people sloshed headlong through hip-deep water as looters ripped open the steel gates on the front of several clothing and jewelry stores. One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store. "No," the man shouted, "that's EVERYBODY'S store."
11:46 A.M. - (AP) The president asked individual Americans to get involved with the relief effort, suggesting anyone who wishes to help could call 1-800-HELPNOW, log on to the Red Cross Web site or get in touch with the Salvation Army.
10:15 A.M. A spokeswoman describes Jefferson Parish as a "very dangerous" place. Jackie Bauer says there's gas leaks everywhere, water needs to be boiled, there's no commercial power, no pumping stations and the water's toxic.
And there's still some deep water in some neighborhoods. Bauer says there are other dangers -- snakes in the water, other vermin, loose dogs and cats everywhere. She says -- quoting now -- "We kind of have to fight for survival with them." - Associated Press
I've seen articles quoting the mayor of Biloxi, MS, as saying, "This is our Tsunami." In some ways I have to acknowledge that I don't have enough perspective to comment on this. I couldn't see the devastation after the tsunami, and I can't see it now. Reading the facts, I understand how and why the comparison is made. Whole sections of towns are just washed away... People were literally ripped out of each other's arms and killed... But reading the facts, I also think that it's a horrid comparison to make. We had a nice long warning. We are a technologically advanced nation with lots of money. We are not suffering aftershocks that hamper our rescue efforts... We do not have to rely on the goodwill of other countries for our rescue efforts... This is not our tsunami! We have no clue what a tsunami experience would really be like. It angers me that someone in this country would even make such a comparison!
I've been wishing there was some way I could help. I wondered if I could get involved with some kind of volunteer effort, but I'm afraid I would be more of a hindrance than a help. On top of that, I've got a machine that requires power that I need at night... I can't exactly be on the scene... I thought how sad it is that I have all this extra space and can't offer it up to someone who needs it... If it was mine to do, I would. My parents would probably not think it was a wise idea--and it's certainly true that it would need to be done cautiously. But reading all of this makes me so conscious of all that I have and all that I take for granted.
Then again, I remember another comment I read. These people are going to need help for a long time. When the physical evidence is cleared away, they'll be expected to move on as if nothing had ever happened. Who will be there? ... Maybe that is part of the point of what I went through last year. I got not a scratch from Frances; but it's an experience I will never forget. If I had lost my home or my cats or Meghan or a family member... If I had fallen behind in life because I couldn't go to school... If I had been stuck up on a rooftop... If I had had to endure symptoms because I had to spend days in a shelter with no meds and no CPAP... And would I ever forget those sounds and smells...? No, not really. I would learn to go on anyway, but I would never forget them, just as I don't forget the traumas in my own life. They are things I bury because they aren't things anyone really wants to hear. But sometimes I need a place to unveil them--and so will they. I can't help now... But I hope that when the time is right, if someone needs that place, I can provide it... Maybe my home can't be a place of immediate shelter... But maybe someday it can be a place of healing for someone who has become a friend and who can visit here for a time of healing.