[percy-l] hurricanes

J Rivas-Pita juliorivas at gmail.com
Sat Sep 3 12:12:52 EDT 2005

By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer 38 minutes ago 
NEW ORLEANS - A fleet of air-conditioned buses rolled up to the city's 
devastated convention center Saturday to begin evacuating an estimated 
25,000 people who have been waiting for days amid the stench of garbage and 
rotting corpses. 

Thousands of people began pushing and dragging their belongings up the 
street to more than a dozen buses, the mood more numb than jubilant.

Yolanda Sanders stood at a barricade clutching her cocker spaniel, Toto. She 
had been at the convention center for five days.

"I had faith that they'd come. I feel good that I know I can get to my 
family," she said. Sanders didn't know yet where they were taking her, but 
"anyplace is better than here. People are dying over there."

Thousands from the Superdome were taken to Texas on air-conditioned buses, 
but early Saturday the operation was halted — with as many as 5,000 in the 
stadium still to be evacuated five days after Hurricane Katrina made 

Lt. Kevin Cowan of the state Office of Emergency Preparedness said the 
evacuations were stopped so authorities could focus on getting people out of 
the convention center. Jennifer Washington was among the frustrated evacuees 
who waited for buses to come.

"At first they said 6:30 this morning, then they said 9," said Washington, 
25, who has not been able to find her four children in the aftermath of the 
storm. Buses arrived later in the morning.

Helicopters were taking the sickest people from the center, and two of the 
city's most troubled hospitals were evacuated Friday after desperate doctors 
spent days making tough choices about which patients got dwindling supplies 
of food, water and medicines.

"We're just trying to ease their pain, give them a little bit of dignity and 
get them out of here," said Lt. Col. Connie McNabb.

A Saks Fifth Avenue store billowed smoke Saturday, as did rows of warehouses 
on the east bank of the Mississippi River, where corrugated roofs buckled 
and tiny explosions erupted. Gunfire — almost two dozen shots — broke out in 
the French Quarter overnight.

As the warehouse district burned, Ron Seitzer, 61, washed his dirty laundry 
in the even dirtier waters of the Mississippi River and said he didn't know 
how much longer he could stay without water or power, surrounded by looters.

"I've never even had a nightmare or a beautiful dream about this," he said 
as he watched the warehouses burn. "People are just not themselves."

On Friday, 
  *President Bush*<http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=President+Bush>took
an aerial tour of the city and answered complaints about a sluggish
government response by saying, "We're going to make it right." Flatbed 
trucks carried huge crates, pallets and bags of relief supplies, including 
Meals Ready to Eat. Soldiers sat in the backs of open-top trucks, their 
rifles pointing skyward. 

In what looked like a scene from a Third World country, some outside the 
convention center threw their arms heavenward and others hollered 
profanities as camouflage-green vehicles and supply trucks finally rolled 
through axle-deep floodwaters into what remained of New Orleans.

National Guard Lt. Col. Jerry Crooks said troops had served more than 70,000 
meals outside the convention center and had 130,000 more on hand. Watching 
the caravan, Leschia Radford sang the praises of a higher power.

"Lord, I thank you for getting us out of here!" Radford shrieked.

But on Saturday, hope was overtaken by frustration as people continued to 
wait. A dead man lay on sidewalk under a blanket with a stream of blood 
running down the pavement toward the gutter. People said he died from 

"We're hurting out here, man. We got to get help. All we want is someone to 
feel our pain, that's all," said Tasheka Johnson, 24. 

About a dozen people who headed down the street to look for food and water 
said they were turned back by a soldier who pulled a gun. 

"We had to get something to eat. What are they doing pulling a gun?" said 
Richard Johnson, 28. 

The soldiers' arrival-in-force came amid angry complaints from local 
officials that the federal government had bungled the relief effort and let 
people die in the streets for lack of food, water or medicine as the city 
was overtaken by looting, rape and arson. 

"The people of our city are holding on by a thread," Mayor Ray Nagin warned 
in a statement to CNN. "Time has run out. Can we survive another night? And 
who can we depend on? Only God knows." 

The president took a land and air tour of hard-hit areas of Louisiana, 
Mississippi and Alabama Friday, and admitted of the relief effort: "The 
results are not enough." Congress passed a $10.5 billion disaster aid 
package, and Bush quickly signed the measure. 

Gov. Kathleen Blanco said the military presence helped calm a jittery city. 

"We are seeing a show of force. It's putting confidence back in our hearts 
and in the minds of our people," Blanco said. "We're going to make it 

Guard members carrying rifles also arrived at the Louisiana Superdome, where 
bedraggled people — many of them trapped there since the weekend — stretched 
around the perimeter of the building. Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, commander of the 
National Guard, said 7,000 Guard members would be in the city by Saturday. 

All the victims in the Superdome were supposed to have been evacuated by 
dawn Saturday, but shortly after midnight, the buses stopped rolling. 
Between 2,000 and 5,000 people still in the stadium could be there until 
Sunday, according to the Texas Air National Guard. 

Within minutes of the soldiers' arrival at the convention center, they set 
up six food and water lines. The crowd was for the most part orderly and 

Diane Sylvester, 49, was the first person through the line. "Something is 
better than nothing," she said of her two bottles of water and pork rib 
meal. "I feel great to see the military here. I know I'm saved." 

With Houston's Astrodome already full with 15,000 storm refugees, that city 
opened two more centers to accommodate an additional 10,000. Dallas and San 
Antonio also had agreed to take refugees. 

One group of Katrina's victims lurched from one tragedy to another: A bus 
carrying evacuees from the Superdome overturned on a Louisiana highway, 
killing at least one person and injuring many others. 

At the broken levee along Lake Pontchartrain that swamped nearly 80 percent 
of New Orleans, helicopters dropped 3,000-pound sandbags into the breach and 
pilings were being pounded into place to seal off the waters. Engineers also 
were developing a plan to create new breaches in the levees so that a 
combination of gravity and pumping and would drain the water out of the 
city, a process that could take weeks. 


Associated Press reporters Kevin McGill, Allen G. Breed, Brett Martel and 
Mary Foster contributed to this report.

On 9/3/05, Tommy Armstrong <tfa at brickengraver.com> wrote: 
> I am at a bit of a loss about all the ranting and raving about the Federal 
> Government's response to this huge disaster. As a member of local government 
> and the super of the water treatment plant and the wastewater treatment 
> plant (albeit in a very small town), I am at a loss as to where the City of 
> New Orleans' emergency response plan was? Even we have plans in place and on 
> the shelf to put into action in response the the eventuality --and that word 
> means what it says--eventually it WILL happen--of a hurricane or other 
> natural disaster. To hear the mayor of New Orleans say he is pissed at the 
> Fed. Governments response, if I was a citizen of NO, I would be pissed at 
> the City's lack of adequate planning and pissed at him, the commissioners, 
> and the whole damned City government . It is first and foremost the 
> responsibility of the local officials. They above all others should be the 
> "First Responders." They know their city, their vulnerabilities, their 
> citizens. The city and state of Louisiana should bear the brunt of the the 
> criticism in my opinion. Where was the back up water supply located (bottled 
> water,etc)--where were the backup food supplies located, where was the means 
> and organizational structure to distribute them, etc. etc. What should the 
> procedures be to get the people out of harm's way in event of a 
> disaster--after all this is over--someone should study the failures of not 
> the Fed Governments response, but the response of the City of New Orleans. 
> There was no evacuation plan not because the Federal Government did not have 
> one, but because the City of New Orleans did not have one, or if it did, did 
> not competently put it into action. And after the town is evacuated, who 
> should provide security. Should not the mayor of NO have immediately had his 
> request for the National Guard to come ready to sign or already signed? 
>  The order of business in such circumstances as disaster planning seems to 
> be for local governments " Its just too costly and complicated for us to do 
> and the Feds will come in anyway". Now I am in perfect agreement that the 
> Feds should provide relief--and the bulk of the aftermath rebuilding, but in 
> their main role is as support troops to implement already in place 
> strategies that the local governments have in place. 
>  If it had happened on Martha's Vineyard, I dare say that the FED govt. 
> would not even have to have been involved, as the officials there are 
> probably competent. And that has really nothing to do with race or economic 
> factors. 
>  The Quote:
> "yes your all correct. did you know that our federal government, has 
> strict guidelines on how it must respond to the sufferings of 
> african-american people. the lack of help, was actually due to a specific 
> wait time, we must follow, whenever there is a crisis involving poor black 
> persons such as just happened. our governing officials actually sit and 
> watch and chuckle at their suffering. then at the last moment, decide to 
> send in help. oh wait, actually, they knew what was going to happen, and 
> could have prevented it. "
> Is completely without basis--not everything that goes wrong in the world 
> can be distilled down to "racial bigotry". The severity of the disaster in 
> New Orleans had nothing to do with racial bigotry. It had to do with an 
> incredibly destructive "Act Of God" and a lot of incompetent (and in many 
> many instances, competent) planning and/or incompetent execution of those 
> plans. No matter how well any plan was conceived and executed, there would 
> have been great amounts of damage--but I do find some fault in the City of 
> New Orleans for not adequately preparing for the safety of its citizens. 
>   Tommy Armstrong
> PO Box 484 
> Lillington, NC 27546
> http://www.brickengraver.com
>  ...with the method of science one beholds what is generally true about 
> individuals, but art beholds what is uniquely true.
>  Walker Percy
> Signposts in a Strange Land
>  ------------------------------
> *From:* percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:
> percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] *On Behalf Of *Robert_Pauley at oxy.com
> *Sent:* Friday, September 02, 2005 11:17 PM
> *To:* percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
> *Subject:* Re: [percy-l] hurricanes
>   Agreed, Mr. Mitchell. And while we are human and fallible, some of us 
> also are exceptionally corrupt and incompetent, as, for example, the entire 
> political infrastructure of New Orleans, which knew about its weak sea walls 
> for years and did nothing, and which tolerated also for years a violent and 
> increasingly brazen criminal element (a violent crime rate 10 times the 
> national average). New Orleans cannot manage itself on a good day, and so if 
> one wants to know why it could not coordinate a swift and effective response 
> on a sequence of very bad ones, one may of course look for blame to the 
> distance as it one's predictable political cant, but it would make more 
> sense to look no further than an inept, third-world city hall. 
>  -----Original Message-----
> *From:* percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:
> percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] *On Behalf Of *KMitch2626 at aol.com
> *Sent:* Friday, September 02, 2005 7:56 PM
> *To:* percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
> *Cc:* peirce-l at lyris.ttu.edu
> *Subject:* [percy-l] hurricanes
> well since both list are talking about it, and since both share common 
> readers... why not chime in a piss people off. 
> yes your all correct. did you know that our federal government, has strict 
> guidlines on how it must respond to the suffereings of african-american 
> people. the lack of help, was actually due to a specific wait time, we must 
> follow, whenever there is a crisis involving poor black persons such as just 
> happened. our governing officials actually sit and watch and chuckle at 
> their suffering. then at the last moment, decide to send in help. oh wait, 
> actually, they knew what was going to happen, and could have prevented it. 
> we are human and fallible, and im certain mistakes were made and will be. 
> but if you think this is race driven... call me cold, kick me off your 
> listserves, but your full of shit! 
> my rant amidst a time of great sadness for those hit by a hurricane, 
> ken mitchell 
> quotes: 
> "It's the first week of school and I am utterly haunted by the horrors 
> of the Gulf Coast area (Why is help taking so long? Why isn't the 
> media asking the class or race questions?) I know these are not 
> direct Percy points, but I think there are parallels. Your point 
> about mimetic desire would be a lovely thread at which to pull. 
> Surely this applies to Tom More and the man on the train (pre-crash) 
> and even Will Barrett." 
> "IMHO the most significant anachy assoicated with the disaster in New 
> Orleans is the US Federal government's woefully indifferent and criminally 
> inadquate response to the suffering of poor black americans. As an american 
> I'm ashamed of our religious and racial bigotry. First Iraq and now this. 
> May god forgive us. " 
> --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at 
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/percy-l/
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy

Be Happy! (Fr. Benito Ballesteros, OSB, 1924-1996)
Sé feliz! (P. Benito Ballesteros, OSB, 1924-1996)
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