LISTENING TO KATRINA
PAGES IN THIS BLOG ARE RATED 'R' AND DO CONTAIN
PROFANITY, VULGARITY, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, NUDITY,
SCENES OF HUMAN EMOTION, DEATH, DESTRUCTION, MAYHEM, AND VARIOUS
EVENT - Descent Into Chaos
As the twilight depends and the city goes dark, many things are happening. The avalanche has begun, and the pebbles no longer have any choice.
Timeline: Monday, August 29, 2005, 6:30 PM CDT
Location: United States
All the major network evening news program report the Industrial Canal breach. All of them also report flooding in New Orleans. This is old news, and just demonstrates that anything you get from mainstream media is likely to be hours (and sometimes days) old.
Timeline: Monday, August 29, 2005, 7:30 PM CDT
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Marty Bahamonde briefs Mayor Nagin on the extent of the
damage. Marty says that the surge of water flowing through the city is
“surprising in its intensity.” Mayor Nagin takes it hard. Others attending the briefing begin to cry. [Knight Ridder,
9/11/2005] Bahamonde asks for a phone.
“I need to call Washington,” he says. “Do you have a conference-call line?”
He's somewhat shocked that the answer is decidedly, "NO!" Bahamonde
manages to find a phone that works, but he has trouble reaching senior
officials in Washington. When he finally gets someone on the line, the city
officials hear him repeating, “You don’t understand, you don’t understand.”
[Newsweek, 9/19/2005] Bahamonde also calls the FEMA team at Louisiana’s Emergency Command Center
in Baton Rouge to brief them on the situation. [Knight Ridder, 9/11/2005]
About this time, Col. Richard P. Wagenaar, the Army Corp’s district commander, files a formal situation report, via e-mail, with the Corps’ national headquarters. The response to this is unclear, but ACOE does start to hustle.
A Baton Rouge TV station announces breaking news: “I’ve just been handed an announcement. There is a breach in the 17th Street Canal levee that’s going to cause flooding for the next 18 hours. The water level will rise nine feet and flood 80 percent of the city.” [National Public Radio, 9/9/2005]
There are unconfirmed (and unfounded) reports by some local media that the 17th Street Canal has also breached on the Metairie side.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will later report that this evening, New Mexico’s Urban Search and Rescue Team leaves for Baton Rouge, where they will receive specific instructions on deployment. He also orders 200 members of the New Mexico National Guard to leave immediately. [New Mexico, 8/30/2005; Newsweek, 9/14/2005] New Mexico’s National Guard will be held in New Mexico, however, until they receive the required mission assignment from the Pentagon late Thursday, September 1
Federal investigators with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are placed on standby to fly to the devastated region “within hours of the hurricane making landfall.” [Newsweek, 9/14/2005]
Mayor Nagin appears on
WWLTV to provide viewers with a “status report” on the city: “My heart is
heavy. I don’t have any good news to really share. Other than at some point
in time the federal government will be coming in here in mass. But, the city
is in a state of devastation. Eighty percent of it is under water, as much
as 20 feet in some places. There’s an incredible amount of water in the
city. Residents are on roofs and trapped in attics, awaiting rescue. Fire,
Police, and National Guard personnel are out rescuing those trapped right
now. Both airports are under water. Twin spans in New Orleans East are
totally destroyed. Three huge boats have run aground. An oil tanker has run
aground and is leaking oil. There is a serious break at
17th Street Canal,” and the water continues to rise. Houses have been picked
up off their foundation and moved. The Yacht Club has burned; it’s totally
destroyed. A barge has hit one of the main structures of High Rise (a
bridge over the Industrial Canal) and we’re not sure that the High Rise is structurally sound.
All of Slidell is under water. Most of Metairie is under water.
(The last two aren't true.) “The list
just goes on and on.” There are gas leaks throughout the city. It’s not a
pretty picture. On the somewhat good news side, many people have survived.
Uptown is pretty dry. The French Quarter and Central Business District is
dry, but they also have buildings that look like a bazooka was shot through.
There is no clear path in or out of the city, whether east or west. I-10
West is still full of water.… The water system has been contaminated except
for the Central Business District and Algiers. We have no electricity and
they expect electricity to be out about 4-6 weeks. “And the list goes on and
on.” Nagin reports that flooding is worst in New Orleans East and in the
Lower 9th Ward, but it’s “coming from everywhere.” Nagin is basing his
information on a briefing he received, apparently from Marty Evans,
President of the Red Cross. Nagin states that he is reading from a briefing
provided by a FEMA official (later identified as Marty Bahamonde). “The FEMA
guy here is saying that 80 percent of New Orleans is under water and a
significant portion of Metairie and Kenner—everything north of I-10 is under
water.” (Not entirely true.) Nagin
also reports that St. Bernard is in even worse shape: “There is total
devastation in St. Bernard alone.” (WWLTV reporter notes earlier Associated
Press report that 40,000 houses in that parish are under water.) [WWLTV 4
(New Orleans), 8/29/2005]
In a later New York Times interview, FEMA Director Mike Brown will state that by this evening, he is calling the DHS and White House to report that the emergency response is in chaos. Reportedly, in a status call with Washington, Brown reports that Governor Blanco’s office is “proving incapable of organizing a coherent state effort.” (Bob Mann, Blanco’s Communications Director flatly denies Mr. Brown’s description: “That is just totally inaccurate. Everything that Mr. Brown needed in terms of resources or information from the state, he had those available to him.”) Brown also reports that his field officers are reporting an “‘out of control’ situation” in New Orleans. According to Brown, he informs the White House early and repeatedly that state and local officials are overwhelmed and that the response is going badly, saying a dozen times, “I cannot get a unified command established.” The White House, contend that Brown’s communications are “not filled with the urgency” that he later recalls. [New York Times, 9/15/2005] Other officials report chaos within FEMA’s Washington headquarters. It becomes “a zoo” at the height of the disaster, according to one longtime FEMA official. “Everything is being done by the seat of the pants,” the official will say. “It’s like reinventing the wheel. We’re starting from scratch as though no planning had even been done before.” Chertoff representative Russ Knocke, however, will insist that FEMA’s response is relying upon long-standing plans and goes “much smoother than the response to the Sept. 11 attacks.” “Because of the National Response Plan,” Knocke will say, “‘there is no confusion, no chaos, there’s just immediate action and results.’” [Los Angeles Times, 9/11/2005]
At some point this evening, city officials say they might open the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as a temporary refuge to shelter an estimated 50,000 people made homeless by the storm. [Times-Picayune, 8/30/2005] FEMA officials will later say that they knew nothing of this plan.
Timeline: Monday, August 29, 2005, 8:00 PM CDT
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana Governor Blanco calls President Bush this evening. Reportedly, she
tells him, “Mr. President, we need your help. We need everything you’ve
got.” Blanco later recalls that Bush was reassuring. However, the
conversation is rather vague, according to later reports. Blanco does not
specifically ask for a massive intervention by the active-duty military.
“She wouldn’t know the 82nd Airborne from the Harlem Boys’ Choir,” says an
official in Governor Blanco’s office (who wishes to remain anonymous).
[Newsweek, 9/19/2005] Blanco will later acknowledge that she does not “give
him a checklist or anything.” [Time, 9/11/2005] “Do we stop and think about
it?” she will ask. “We just stop and think about help.” [New York Times,
9/11/2005] Blanco’s aides will contend that she should not have to provide a
detailed list under the circumstances: “That’s like telling a drowning man
that you are not going to help him until he asks for a life preserver.”
Apparently, only moments after saying that the New Orleans levees have not been breached, FEMA Director Michael Brown tells Fox’s Bill O’Reilly the opposite: “… Now we averted the catastrophic disaster here, but a lot of the things that we anticipated that we practiced for are coming true. We now have breaches. We now have water moving into New Orleans. And you know what? It’s going to be a long time to get that water back out of New Orleans.” [Fox, 8/29/2005]
Louisiana Governor Blanco tells CNN’s Larry King that entire parishes in southeastern Louisiana are underwater, with many homes flooded to the rooftops, leaving thousands stranded: “[W]e’re in full search and rescue operation. We have pulled hundreds of people out of the waters. As we speak we’ve got boats moving up and down streets that, well, canals that used to be streets and people are beckoning our rescuers.” Asked whether Louisiana has adequate National Guard troops on hand, Blanco responds that, “We have an extraordinary number of National Guard members who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan but we have activated 4,000 members. We have some support coming from Texas as well. Our Guard is really helping us in extraordinary ways in bringing in a lot of search and rescue equipment in the morning. We will be in full swing tomorrow. We believe there will still be hundreds more people.” [CNN, 8/29/2005]
Timeline: Monday, August 29, 2005, 10:30 PM CDT
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
FEMA Director Michael Brown appears on ABC’s Nightline. When Ted Koppel asks Brown about the massive flooding in New Orleans and the need to drain the water from the city, Brown responds as follows: “[A] few years ago, I decided that FEMA really needed to do some catastrophic disaster planning. And so, the President gave us the money to do that and the first place we did a study was in New Orleans. And as you know, you’ve probably heard everyone talk about the bowl. What happened is, you know, Max Mayfield at the National Hurricane Center was right. We had a huge storm surge that came across those levees. I’m not sure we had breeches but we certainly had some areas where there’s some leaks and flooding continuing to occur. That water all gets in. We now have to rely upon the pumps. We need generators to do that pumping because the power was out. And some of those pumps may or may not fail. So, it’s going to be a long, tedious process to now get that water back out so we can then even start rebuilding homes, let alone let people back into them.” Asked to compare the damage in New Orleans to elsewhere in the region, and even though he has just acknowledged the widespread flooding in the city, Brown responds as follows: “[W]hat happened—believe it or not, I think New Orleans is the one that got off easy because Katrina moved to the east 30 or 45 miles. And that prevented what we would have seen had it hit the bull’s eye. And that is widespread flooding, breeches of all of the levees. And you would have seen downtown inundated also.” [ABC, 8/29/2005]
It's pretty obvious in hind-sight that Mike had NO FISKING CLUE, and was in
the colloquialism, 'talking out of his ass'.