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 maps.google.com 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.

Here's a way to look for missing relatives and friends. It's from the WXYZ-TV website in Detroit, Michigan. Note web address where you can ask for help in locating the missing.

Detroiters Use Ham Radios to Find Hurricane Victims

By Michael Rosenfield
Web produced by Sarah Morgan
August 30, 2005

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) is helping family members of stranded victims locate loved ones using ham radios.

With the power out and communication down, it’s incredibly difficult for people across the county to get in touch with their loved ones in the hurricane ravaged areas.

Detroit residents Iola Corbett and Renee Washington have been trying desperately to reach relatives along the Mississippi coast.

"I’m very worried because I called a couple of times yesterday, and nothing. And I didn’t get really worried until I saw the news and saw all the devastation in Gulf Port," said Corbett.

Washington hasn’t heard from her mother since just before Katrina hit. "I’ve been calling family, friends, anyone I know down there on the Gulf Coast that could help me hear from her," said Washington. "I haven’t heard anything, I can’t get through. They say the lines are busy."

To help locate their loved ones both women have turned to the SATERN, a group of 2,800 amature radio operators. They can provide information and communication when modern technology goes down.

"It works, it’s easy to set-up, and in fact some of the folks in the area have back-up batteries and generators so they can get back on the air right away," said Major Patrick McPherson.

So far the radio operators have not gotten any information for Corbett and Washington, but they’re working on it, which provides a little bit of comfort.

"It feels good knowing that people are helping all the victims of the storm and the families there and helping us here," said Washington.

About 500 people have already contacted the SATERN program to try and find missing friends and relatives.

Visit the SATERN website here: www.satern.org and click on the "Health and Wellness Information Request" link at the bottom of the page to send a request.
I saw that you said you worked for the West Bank Guide. I was told that I could probably find an obit in that paper for my father, but this is the only link I found that was close. Do you know how I can find an obit that might have been printed in this paper in 1986?
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