August 30th, 2005

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

News from the Quarter

changingthesky (Liz) just managed to call me in New York from her house in the French Quarter.

Here's what she had to say:

What's going on on the radio there, but which we're hearing nothing of on CNN, etc., is that when Katrina started looming closer, the operator of the Jefferson Parish pumps ditched town with his family, effectively making his pump station switch to off. Thus, tons and tons of water that could have been pumped during the crucial moments of Katrina's arrival didn't happen, and water levels continued to rise. (If this story is true, it is fair to say there will be a hit on his head when/if he returns to New Orleans. Obviously I cannot confirm the story.)

The French Quarter remains relatively intact and dry. Flooding from the break in the Pontchartrain levee is not affecting neighborhoods closer to the Mississippi. Yet. (She wasn't aware of the break in the lake levee. She reports it's hard to get wider info, and it's all word of mouth between people in New Orleans, and the dribs and drabs they can cull from the radio.)

Looting is rampant, and perhaps more dangerous than gasoline-soaked puddles, downed power cables, etc., is the criminal factor. Thus, one can surmise, has martial law been implemented.

As of last night, my friend Michele (who walked to the Quarter and spoke with Liz) reports that Uptown/Garden Dist. is not flooded, and her house is intact.

Marigny likewise seems relatively okay. I am assuming that the Bywater, at least the part closer to Marigny/Quarter, is relatively unflooded as well as it doesn't make sense why the Bywater would be under 12 feet of water, but seven blocks away there would be standing floodwater.

(Reports of Bywater flooding are probably on the other side of the Industrial Canal, past Poland Ave.)

Liz is with a group of friends, with a live phone (land line), plenty of food, cat food, water, and, because she lives above Monaghan's, plenty of alcohol. (Let's not forget what's important.)

The water coming from the taps is still clean and usable for bathing, etc. and probably drinking, though who drinks New Orleans tap water on a good day? ;-)

She couldn't report on neighborhoods that don't border the Quarter, as all news is word of mouth. I'm sorry I have no further info about neighborhoods closer to the lake, or way way Uptown/University areas, or in other parishes, etc.

The pandemonium at present, for downtown/Quarter/Marigny area at least, is not so much nature threats, but peasant criminal activity, including stores and abandoned houses.
I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

News from the Quarter, Con't

Oh, one more interesting thing Liz said to me (and to Bat, who wrote me the following)—
She said something about the fact that since the French Quarter was not flooded, they are now pumping the flood water out of other places and into the quarter. High political scandal looming over how the aftermath is being handled, so Liz imparted.
Also, in my last post, when I say things are "relatively" unflooded, I mean two feet or less. Since 99.9% of New Orleans houses are raised, two or three foot flooding isn't really an issue. Hell, we can get a few feet of flooding from any old summer storm without undue strife.