katrina

hopefully our friends in louisiana are all high and dry…

-Imp

I think this is Gods revenge on the city of sin, no but seriously I have freinds there, and this hurricane is a… well it’s a monsterous nightmare. I shudder to think of the havoc it will wreak.

and the loss of oil production…

-Imp

Imp, the loss of oil production? You are right of course, and it is a sad affair. In fact I hadn’t even considered it. But now I have resigned myself to paying $3.15 for a gallon of gas in the next three or so months. The only thing that this makes me confident of is that human sacrifice is not dead.

they say the storm is veering east and New Orleans will no longer get the brunt of the storm. It was also downgraded to a cat-4 as it made landfall. So hopefully, new orleans will stay dry, chances are though, it will still be mostly underwater.


Oil jumped up to 70 dollars a barrel this morning because of Katrina, so we can accordingly expect to pay 15 - 25 cents more per gallon of gas.

the oil prices will go to 4 and then 5, as far as anyone can imagine.

and new orleans is domeless, i heard.

My folks retired in the Biloxi/Gulfport area (Mississippi gulf coast for those unfamiliar). They have a condo across the street from the beach. When Katrina hit there was a 27 ft. storm surge- my fingers were crossed… my parents had evacuated two days ago, they called me and I know they’re safe. The thing is, I WANT their condo to get destroyed. I know it sounds bad, but hear me out- I just want them to come back to Chicago. They’re in their 60’s and getting older, sicker and more frail every time I see them, which because of the distance is only once or twice a year. I want to enjoy the time we have left together as a family. The last time I saw them was in New Orleans at the end of May, my brother and his wife lived there until just recently. I’m very fond of New Orleans and I don’t know how those old buildings in the French Quarter are going to hold up…

alot better than they would’ve had the storm not veered track as it made landfall. The damage in New Orleans is thankfully minimized. Mississipi however wasn’t so lucky.

If the French Quarter gets destroyed I will be very angry. It’s really a great place.

Who knows what the final say will be. Earlier on the news they were talking about how some of the levees on Lake Ponchatrain broke and New Orleans is flooding, plus you have all of the looters. And as far as oil goes that probally wont have the damage assesed for a couple of weeks. One thing that doesn’t make alot of sense though is releasing the SPR, Stategic Petroleum Reserve, because if all of those refineries are incapacitated how will we make the gas even with the extra oil. oh well I guess we will find out in the weeks to come.

My parent’s condo is gone. For video images of the Biloxi/Gulfport area, you may click on the following link:

wlox.com/

My brother actually saw the remains of their building in the video, which is on coastal highway US 90. I have a still image of it on my computer to compare with one of the building intact. It is irrefutably their former residence. For any of those interested, I would be happy to email you these remarkable before and after photos. If you PM me with an address I will respond.

My parents are currently homeless and will have to leave the hotel in Baton Rouge LA where they have been staying tomorrow because it has been taken over by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Because of power failures in Louisiana, they have yet to hear any radio broadcasts or see any images of Katrina’s path of destruction.

They are almost certain that they will not return to the Gulf Coast community where they used to live, however, they have no plans to reestablish themselves in Chicago.

A poignant story my brother just emailed me which confirms the destruction of my parent’s condo building:

(original link: sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/12518110.htm)

Reporter finds a neighborhood - his neighborhood – devastated

By Kat Bergeron

Knight Ridder Newspapers

BILOXI, Miss. - St. Charles Avenue, nestled among other streets named for saints off the beach road in Biloxi, is no longer a neighborhood paradise with ancient oaks and a mix of houses that were built at turn of the last century, in the 1920s and after World War II.

On the first half of the four-block street, the houses are now partial shells. The second half of the street and the scattered houses in between fared better.

So goes the story of so many waterfront neighborhoods.

St. Charles is my street. On Tuesday morning, I drove the back way and parked halfway down the street. I could see part of my house, without its porch, where it wasn’t supposed to be. I switched to my reporter mode, knowing that it was the only way to stay sane. I interviewed people as I carefully tracked across a 3-foot pile of debris that was the street.

Brian Cannedy, 25 and a cook at the nearby airport, told me that he lived in the Ocean View Apartments (still known in the neighborhood as The Saddlers). He said he’d waded and swum, then walked to safety at the end of St. Charles.

“I don’t know how many people died in the apartments,” Cannedy said.

"I’ve heard 50 people stayed. I don’t know why I stayed. We were going to leave and go to the house on Keesler Street. We were on the first floor and got out before the building collapsed.

“We waded to the house on Keesler Street. I’ll never stay again. God was with us, because we’re still alive. So which house is yours?”

When I pointed, he managed to say, “Oh, I’m sorry.”

Tommy Wiltz, a neighbor on the corner of Wilkes and St. Charles, had decided to stay in his one-story brick home, because, like others, he knew how well St. Charles, higher than many streets off the beach, had fared in earlier storms.

Just as the light was coming up, Wiltz got a knock on the door from a man who’d made it through the water from the apartments to what he thought was higher ground. Wiltz didn’t recall the man’s name.

That’s one of the things I noticed about my neighbors and me. Shock affects memory. Some told me that the surge came at 4:30 a.m.; others said 9 a.m…

The Wiltz family gave the stranger dry clothes, and they sat and talked for an hour. Then water started coming in, and after an inch of it, Wiltz worried that the surge would come in, so they crawled out the window - into waste-deep water.

Luckily, St. Charles rises steadily as it goes north, and they sat on a porch at the end of the street until they saw light from a flashlight and headed to another house to wait out the storm. The Wiltz’s house got very little extra water, but they had no way of knowing that.

At about this time, Bonnie Lambert, a casino host who’s my next-door neighbor, was climbing on her cooktop and thinking that her next stop would be her attic. The water receded quickly, however, Lambert said.

“What saved this house is the big oak tree directly in front of it, and the deck that is built around it,” Lambert said. “My house did not move off of its piers.”

Mine did. As I talked to Lambert, I tried not to stare. My 1928 cottage now sits partly in her back yard. The porch is gone. The south side has big gaping holes. Gas spewed from the gas line where my house used to sit, and I knew it wasn’t wise to try to go through the front door, which is just a hole.

Still wading through high debris and leery of stepping on nails, I made it to what used to be my alley, now indistinguishable from the storm debris. Three cars were pushed up against the collapsed half of my garage. I guess my “good car” is under there somewhere. When I evacuated, I left in my very old reliable Nissan, leaving my Taurus safely in the garage, because storm water had never come that far.

I also wanted to check the house behind mine, because I’d evacuated with the owner, my good friend and neighbor Doris Knausz. As I inched on top of the debris, I noticed that the houses of two of my neighbors with whom I share the alleyway were gutted and one was missing.

“I cried when I saw everything was gone,” Marsha Lafleur, whose house faced Collins Street, told me when we hugged. “Guess those sandbags we put on the garage did no good.”

We were both standing in the alley, and we noticed that one of the neighbors hadn’t dragged the sandbags in front of their garage door as they always do. So we did it for them. None of the garage remains.

I noticed that the pink house next to my backyard neighbor had collapsed onto itself.

I scribbled away in my notebook, my one bit of sanity. I saw that half of the St. Charles Condos, three stories high, was gone. Rumors were flying that people had died in there, but my neighborhood was one big rumor. I scribbled some more.

Then I glanced at my feet. There was a partially buried plastic cup, and in it I recognized a familiar blue china pattern that my backyard neighbor had gotten in Germany. The plastic had saved it, and that intact eggcup was all I could take back to Doris Knausz at our house of refuge in Biloxi, where we’d safely weathered the storm.

With eggcup in hand, I turned and noticed three strangers scouring the ground in front of her house slab.

“I don’t recognize you,” I said firmly to the man, who acted as if he couldn’t comprehend English. “If you are looking for valuables, this is not your land.”

They slowly backed off, but probably not forever.

Neighbor William Harper, a Biloxi elementary school coach, shook his head when I told him the story. “There are some nasty people out there,” he said.

His turn-of-the-century house is mostly gutted. When I asked if he’d rebuild, he replied, “I don’t know. Martha (his wife) doesn’t even know this yet. I was crushed when I saw it. We love that house.”

From the alley, I could see into my bedroom, and it looked like my grandmother’s sewing rocker was peeking up in a pile of furniture. But with gas spewing from the line, I knew it wasn’t safe to be near my house or to go in to see if anything could be salvaged.

As I picked my way out of the alley, or maybe it was back yards, a guy was making his way down St. Charles, smoking a cigarette. We didn’t know who he was, but several of us yelled at him to put out the cigarette. Couldn’t he smell the gas?

Worse still, because of the gas, I couldn’t take one of the plywood boards off the windows - yes, most of the storm boards and roof held, as did my ancient oaks. I wanted to nail one of the storm boards to my front door, but the pungent gas told me no. The gaping door is an invitation to looters, and as a reporter I know that the police can’t be everywhere.

I put my reporter’s notebook in my backpack and headed back through the St. Charles debris to the car to do some more reporting. As we drove, I handed Dorothy Tinsler, the kind person who’d taken in this storm evacuee at the last minute and who’d come with me for moral support, my note pad to jot down the things we saw. Perhaps being a draftee reporter helped keep her sanity, too.

Kat Bergeron reports for the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss…

shit! i am so so so sorry for forgetting that! new orleans, of course! shit! so they are living in a hotel now? that must cost a lot believe me i bloody know too well. so are they gona move to chicago soon to your new place? i hope it’s big enough for the family. btw, i’ve seen the news, man it’s like hollywood come true - especially that shot of drowned entire downtown orleans - breathtaking stuff! so miss katrina surely isn’t a product of arabic terrorists, is it a product of jehowal himself? what has bush done this time around? forgive me for this kind of crap talk but you know the way how we ilp ranters are… i’m so glad that they are fine, and i hope the damage is not too costy.

They have hurricane insurance. I have a brother in California and one in DC, they have spare room, but I do not. They are going to a hotel in Texas for the time being.

Thanks all for your PM sentiments… we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.