Friday, September 02, 2005

New Orleans - Too Little, Too Late

Fire burns in the east side of NOLA.apYesterday, police were reduced to looting ammunition out of stores themselves to stem the supply from snipers and armed thugs walking the streets. Over 20% of police forces did not show up to work in many precincts, either dead or choosing to stay with their families. The only real federal presence in New Orleans has been in the vicinity of the Superdome as survivors were evacuated to Texas. Residents in surrounding areas are putting up blockades and shooting anyone who attempts to leave New Orleans, fearing for their own safety.

According to Knight Ridder, the situation in New Orleans in sinking deeper in lawless chaos, thwarting relief efforts and police:
An explosion jolted residents awake early this morning, illuminating the pre-dawn sky with red and orange flames over the city where corpses rotted along flooded sidewalks and bands of armed thugs thwarted fitful rescue efforts.

At 4:35 a.m., an explosion rocked a chemical storage facility near the Mississippi River east of the French Quarter, said Lt. Michael Francis of the Harbor Police. A series of smaller blasts followed and then acrid, black smoke that could be seen even in the dark. The vibrations were felt all the way downtown.

Francis did not have any other information about the explosions and did not know if there were any casualties. At least two police boats could be seen at the scene.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ray Nagin lamented the federal response Thursday night on WWL-AM (more Nagin quotes):
I need reinforcements. I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. This is a national disaster. This is a major, major, major deal. And I can't emphasize it enough. It's awful down here, man.

I don't know whether it's the governor's problem, or it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get ... on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now.

We have an incredible crisis here and his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice. Excuse my French - everybody in America - but I am pissed!

They thinking small, man, and this is a major, major deal. Get off your asses and let's do something.
New Orleans' emergency operations chief Terry Ebbert had some choice words to add as well:
This is a national disgrace. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans.
Contact your senators, your house representative, and our president. Let them know that we expect more out of our federal government than press conferences and photo ops. We expect action.

Mayor Ray Nagin called for a "moratorium on press conferences" yesterday until order is restored. Make our federal representatives put their money and actions where their mouths are!

UPDATE: Supplies are finally coming in to those starving at the New Orleans Convention Center. Check out more at the interdictor's journal here.


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