Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Uptown, Downtown flooding report reports that water of 1.5 feet reached Prytania St at 10:30 am and was still riging. On Marengo St. water was 3-10 feet high in stretches beweenClaiboren and St. Charles Avenues between Napoleon Avenu eand Louisiana.

St. Claude Ave must be at least wadable west of the Industrial Canal, as also report people deposited at the St. Claude bridge after being deposited there by the rescue boats began making their way downtown on foot.

Access to the lower Ninth Ward is possible along Royal and Charters Streets from the French Quarter.

No updates on the Lakefront, except second-hand reports of people that the entire Lakeview area is innundated and the water is spreading out from there. An unconfirmed report had Lake Terrace relatively dry, but the UNO Campus and Lakefront Airport innundated. says EJ flooding; WWL reporter says western half dry

A reporter inteviewed on WWL-TV ( I can't read his name in the tiny little video box) reported dry conditions but a lot of obvious hurricane damage in the western end of East Jefferson Parish. The current NOLA.Com home page reports waters rising in East Jeff, so it's difficult to say what areas have water and which don't.

Posts on the reader blogs on the local news outlets reported dry conditions around Transcontinental.

The reporter cautioned that East Jeff had flooded on Monday, so people should not expect to find no water damage in their homes. Flooding was reported early Monday morning at East Jefferson Hospital. No reports have been posted I can find that indicate the source of East Jefferson flooding.

East Jefferson officials were building temporary dikes to try and contain the spill over from Lakeview at the I-10 turn threatening the eastern end of East Jefferson. The reports that I-10 at Causeway is being used as a temporary first aid station are not clear on whether there is dry land, or if they are using elevated portions of the interchange.

Someone in the NOPD, NOFD forgot to pick up the batteries

More disturbing that the devestation and the loss of life and the looting is this simple far: It is reported in various locations that communication is breaking down among public safety providers because they don't have anyplace to charge their radios.

Quiz: Besides beer and cigarettes, what is the most important commodity to stockpile against a hurricane? Quick, quick, before Dr. Nash Robert's smacks your knuckles. Batteries. That's right, batteries. Apparently the rechargeable radios used by public safety officials are running down and can't be recharged, hampering communications among police and fire and other officials in Orleans Parish.


Finding People, Neighborhood Conditoins Online

People evacuated from the city are desperate to find loved ones. If you are here, you can access these on-line locations for neighborhood and I'm OK/Where Are You postings:
WWL-TV: Go to the bottom of to What Happened to my Neighborhood. It's almost all questions, but if you have time, you can find a little bit of information.
Here is the Orleans Parish link:

WDSU also has a site at: If this link breaks, go to the home page and click on People Looking for Loved Ones.

Again, the best news sources are:
The Times Picayune's
and WDSU-TV at

The latter two are streaming video out of remote stations (in WDSU's case, Orlando) and continuing all day coverage. If you find soap operas on, it's because they're dealing with a technical issue and have gone to the network feed (or so I saw elsewhere).

Can we find Eddie Gabriel?

From the NOLA.COM People needing rescue blog, comes a report that 94-year old Eddie Gabriel, who entertained people at the Pat O'Brien's piano bar (he is, I believe, the tamborine-and-tip guy) stayed and is missing. If you know where he is let his grandson know at

There is a long list of people known stranted or people looking for people at

There is also an Evacuee information blog on where you can post where you are, and look for people you're pretty sure got out but you don't know where they are.

"The flow has...eased" says Senior Corps official

MSNBC reports comments by Corps of Engineers senior project enineer Al Naomi that "the flow has pretty much eased mainly because the lake is dropping in elevation." On, NOLA homeland security director Tery Ebbert said, "we're not to far from filling in the bowl."

According to a report on, the Lake is typically one foot above sea level, and lake levels have been increased not only by the storm surge, but by runoff into Lake Pontchartrain of Katrina rainfall from the Florida Parishes on the North Shore.

The breech is being reported at 500 feet in length this morning.

Reports on indicate that all areas of the city are flooded except the French Quarter and narrow strip of Uptown are flooded, "the same small strip that was settled by Bienville", writes Dan Shea of the T-P. still reports that Jefferson Parish residents might be allowed back in to gather personal goods and leave as soon as Monday, but reporting on the state of East Jefferson flooding is not clear.

A poster still in Lakeview on indicates that Harison at Canal Blvd. is underwater, but the water does not appear to be rising.

Port St. in Marigny was dry this morning, as was Baronne Ste.

Sandbags for 17th St. vanish into "black hole"

Gov. Kathleen Blanco told MSNBC this morning that attempts to plug the 17th St.
Canal breech with 3,000 sandbags has been "an enineering nightmare" with sandbags dropped from the air simply falling "into the eternal black hole".

Mayor Nagin indicated that intial estimates of a six to eight week time to get the city functional would be increased by the flooding from the lake.

Superdome refugees to be evacuated to .... Astrodome

WDSU-TV reports that plans are in motion to evacuate 25,000 refugees from the Superdome to the Astrodome in Houston, TX via bus convoys. No further details were avaiable.

Update: Nagin says this morning (reported that it will be 12 to 16 weeks before anyone would be able to return to NOLA.

Lower Ninth is draining, not flooding further

Cable news continues to report that NOLA is flooding through two breaches in the levee system. They all need to look closely at the NBC footage of the Holy Cross/Lower Ninth floodwall breech. Water is clearly flowing out of of the breech and back into the Inner Basin of the Industrial Canal.

Thanks to Tommy M for correcting my Bywater/Holy Cross mix up. The video is of the east side of the Inner Basin. He notes that there must be a west side breach flooding the Bywater area. I have not see this in the aerials.

Flooding on Tulane Ave at the hospitals

A spokesman for Acadiana Ambulance (the guys who brought you civilian medical airlift) stated there was 10 feet of water at "the hospitals". I presume he meant the Tulane/Charity complex downtown, although the old Mercy hospital area is also very flood prone.

He also reported that people were taking shelter in the hospitals, and that they were having issues keeping order. He didn't have any more specific information.

If there is 10 feet of water at the foot of Tulane, there must almost certainly be water in the CBD and possibly the Quarter.

Rescues being led by Fish & Wildlife Service

A news crawler this morning on CNN or MSNBC reported 3,000 were rescued by the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries service using their boats. FOX News crawler reported another 1,200 rescued by airlift.

I don't have a source/cite, but the impression is filtering out that there is no National Guard presence in search and rescue efforts in New Orleans, a drastic change from years past. A story seen earlier, which I will rundown a cite for, quoted an officer from Jackson Barracks as stating all of their equipment is in Iraq: boats, bulldozers, ducks, Humvees.

Nagin: Hundreds, most likely thousands dead

The AP reports Mayor Nagin estimating "minimum hundreds, most likely thousands" dead in NOLA. St. Bernard officials report 2,000 rescued and no "mass casualties". World on WWL-TV that the I-10/Causeway intersection has been turned into a large, open air first aid station.

Jefferson Parish as we know it is gone

reports the normally chipper Aaron Broussard, Parish President. The director of emergency services for Jefferson Parish broke down in tears during an interview as he pleaded for food and water for the parish emergecy center, which is out of supplies.

NOLA.come reports that the flooding from the 17th St. Canal is streaming into Metairie, and that refugees are fleeing over the Crescent City Connection in search of water, food and shelter.

Margaret Or on WDSU said the same yesterday of East Plaquemines after a flyover, and Sen. Mary Landrieu made an almost identical comment after flying over the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard.

I am trying to locate information on the condition of core city neighborhood flooding and will post it here as I can. If you have any info gleaned from media video or other sources, please share it with

If you know something from viewing on-line video, or from talking to someone on the ground, please let me know at

The Lowlights

Levee Breech Threatens City

The levee on the 17th St. Canal at Bucktown on the Orleans Parish side threatned to innundate the entire central city, NOLA Mayor Nagin has reported in various outlets. The breech is variously reported as 200-500 feet long, and has flooded all of the lakefront neighborhoods east of the breech to the Marconi/Orleans Canal.

Water was reported to have reached the foot of Tulane Avenue midafternoon.

Efforts were reported all day to seal the breech, but according to the mayor, the promise helicopters from federal sources to place 3,000 sandbags designed for the purpose in place were diverted.

The T-P's NOLA.Com reported efforts were underway again with the large sandbags and jersey barricades as of about 9:00 pm, but other local outlets (WWL and WDSU) contradicted this and indicated there was no means to seal the breach at this time.

According to Nagin on WWL-TV, Pumping Station Six serving the area was innundated and offline, and the water was spreading through the city. The WWL web site also reported that Jefferson Parish officials were saying nine feet of water was expected through the entire east bank by morning. Breech can't be closed

They are now predicting 12-15 feet of water in the city.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Wet Bank Guide -- All The News I Can Find About NOLA

I've been aggregating news from NOLA for numerous online forums I participate in over the last two days. I'm going to concentrate my efforts here instead, to help the new Katrina diaspora keep up with what's happening to our city.

First, the cable news networks are behind on the story, and are often flatly contradicted by local sources. I recommend those (and will list them in a separate post) if you prefer to go straight to the source.

I named this blog for my old newspaper, the West Bank Guide, where I once slaved as an ink-stained wretch in the 1980s. I also worked in New Orleans East and St. Bernard Parish for the same outfit, and the pictures I see of those areas are just devastating.

I can't just go back to work at my home in Fargo, N.D., and I don't know exactly what do to. The best I can think of is to gather as much info as I can for the family and friends huddled in various hotels and friend's homes around the South on the things we care about in NOLA.

The entire east side of Greater NOLA is The Wet Bank. As you can plainly see from the widely distributed aerial photography on cable news, there is catastrophic flooding from Kenner though St. Bernard/East Plaquemines, but particularly east of the Industrial Canal.

If you're not form NOLA, go to and lookup New Orleans, LA. In the initial display, the Industrial Canal is the unlabeled north-south channel running from Lakefront Airport to the Mississippi River, with the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) running east out of it.

One last note for this initial post: friends and compatriots, please send any confirmed information including your sourcing to my email and I will incorporate it here. Please include an approximate time and station for broadcast information.

One Bright Spot for the Ninth Ward

The flooding of the Ninth Ward from a failure in the floodwall on the Inner Basin of the Industrial Canal has been catastrophic, filling the neighborhood to the rooftops of most homes. However, an airborne videographer captured pictures late today that shows that the water was clearly flowing out of the area through the same breach.

If you didn't hear the reporter on Aaron Brown's MSNBC show last night describing her voyage into the flooded Seventh Ward, it was devestating. She broke down on the phone, describing how people were calling out for help from the attics of their homes as the boats returned to their I-10 exit ramp launches on orders from above, leaving people to spend the night atop the rafters of their flooded homes.

The flooding of Bywater and the Ninth Ward in general, and of St. Bernard, should have been anticipated by everyone. Published analysis of storm surge from Hurricane Betsy showed that the point where the MRGO meets the Industrial Canal was a key stress point.

I saw reported (but can no longer cite) comments by St. Bernard Parish Police Juror Junior Rodriguez --who was on the police jury when I worked for the St. Bernard Guide in the early 80s--who had been complaining for years of this threat to his community. Plans to address this by creating an outside flood protection structure at the mouth of the MRGO remain shelved by federal authorities.

An MSNBC-broadcast flyover of St. Bernard Parish from the Violet Canal to the Jackson Barracks showed a community completely innundate with water to the roof tops of single story homes.

Martial Law Not Declared in NOLA

The Times Picayune and several broadcast outlets have clarified that martial law have not been declared in NOLA. What has happened is that Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard has taken the emergency powers granted to him by state law for an emergecy, putting him in charge of all officials in his parish.

If you're complete new here, a parish is equivalent to a county. Jefferson Parish is the large suburban parish/county just to the West of NOLA proper, covering both banks of the river.

It is not clear if Mayor Nagin in New Orleans has or has invoked similar powers. I will try to clarify the situation in Orleans Parish (NOLA proper).

The Straight Dope

If you want your news unfiltered, forget the cable news networks. They are clearly behind on this story in almost all cases. They do have some compelling video, such as the broadcast last night by on MSNBC by a reporter who broke down in tears describing her voyage into Bywater.

I am getting much of my information from these sources, and will acknowledge sources on my postings, adding links where ever possible.

The Times Picayune online site:, and in particular the news blog inside at:

Tuesday's Times Picayune was only published electronically, and can be viewed in PDF format here: Call me picky, but couldn't they have managed a broadsheet at least to distribute in the shelters?

The two local television station WWL-TV has a home page with news, but it is being updated sporadically. There is a streaming feed of WWL-TV there:

WDSU-TV is also being carried as a feed here: There is less news on the home page, but I have found their coverage to be a bit less insipid than WWLs. That is a prejudice, however, that I've held for decades, and is mostly a matter of preference.

On WDSU as 9:30 pm the NOLA talent appears to have gone to bed for the night (and deserve it), leavinga couple of clueless pretties from a sister station in Florida reading the scripts handed to them. They mean well, but until you get people back who know the city, I'd go with WWL-TV.

I will say I found WDSU-TV's coverage on Day 1 superior. They were trying to cover the storm while WWL-TV was interviewing the new chancellor of LSU and admiring the lovely studio at the J-school they were using there to him.

I am using some online journals or blogs I frequent as leads to other information, and asking friends to report as accurately as possible any broadcast information, with a station cite and a time.

"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

Any copyrighted material presented here is done so for the purposes of news reporting and comment consistent with USC 17 Chapter 1 Title 107.

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