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New Orleans underwater

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 30, 2005 06:32 AM

***scroll down for updates***

See the Hurricane Katrina Help Wiki for comprehensive links/info on relief/aid agencies, fundraising events, helpline numbers, missing persons info, and breaking news.

N.Z. Bear, tracking Katrina at The Truth Laid Bear, sends this aerial view of New Orleans via MSNBC:

noaerial.jpg

AP reports that New Orleans residents who had successfully ridden out Hurricane Katrina now face “a second more insidious threat as flood waters continued their ascent well into the night.”

The flooding is the result of major breaches in the levee system, including one major levee at the 17th St. Canal.

New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin says the city is devastated (via BayouBuzz.com):

In a most frightening interview with WWL TV, Mayor C. Ray Nagin gave the worse-case scenario of events that anyone could possibly imagine. In the beginning of the interview, he stated that New Orleans is devastated.

Of most importance is the breach of the levee between Jefferson and Orleans Parish.

“We probably have 80 percent of our city under water with some sections of our city the water is as deep as 20 feet”.

Both airports are underwater

The twin spans are destroyed.

The Yacht club is burned and destroyed.

Mayor Nagin also stated he was not sure of the structural soundness of the highrise. He stated that it is possible that the highrise bridge in east New Orleans could be unstable.

The Mayor also stated that all of Slidell (a city [over] which he has no jurisdiction) is under water. Nagin also stated that there was no clear path in and out of New Orleans, that I-10 is underwater.

Nagin stated that FEMA is coming into town tomorrow and that New Orleans will need to obtain major federal help to rebuild the city of New Orleans.

As corroboration, a spokesperson from Tulane University said that they were about to move all of the patients from the hospital due to rising water at one inch every five minutes. She said white water was pouring down Canal Street (which would be from Lake Ponchatrain-related to the breach in the levee) from the canal separating the two parishes.

Video of Nagin’s remarks here.

The publisher of BayouBuzz.com, Stephen Sabludowsky, says it will take a miracle for the city to get back on its feet: “New Orleans might not be able to survive the total inundation of water that is rising so quickly and causing so much damage. With Slidell, St. Bernard and other cities and Parishes so completely devastated it will take more than a Marshall Plan to restore Louisiana to its glory.”

The Times-Picayune provides further details:

A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new .hurricane proof. Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina’s fiercest winds were well north. The breach sent a churning sea of water from Lake Pontchartrain coursing across Lakeview and into Mid-City, Carrollton, Gentilly, City Park and neighborhoods farther south and east.

As night fell on a devastated region, the water was still rising in the city, and nobody was willing to predict when it would stop. After the destruction already apparent in the wake of Katrina, the American Red Cross was mobilizing for what regional officials were calling the largest recovery operation in the organization’s history.

Police officers, firefighters and private citizens, hampered by a lack of even rudimentary communication capabilities, continued a desperate and impromptu boat-borne rescue operation across Lakeview well after dark. Coast Guard helicopters with searchlights criss-crossed the skies. Officers working on the scene said virtually every home and business between the 17th Street Canal and the Marconi Canal, and between Robert E. Lee Boulevard and City Park Avenue, had water in it. Nobody had confirmed any fatalities as a result of the levee breach, but they conceded that hundreds of homes had not been checked.

***

Brendan Loy says the breach occurred here (closer-up view here).

***

Gary Coronado of the Palm Beach Post snaps an amazing photo of a 3-month-old baby being rescued from a roof in New Orleans’ 7th Ward. The family spent 10 hours in the attic yesterday.

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More flood photos here, here and here.

***

According to CNN, officials are urging evacuees to stay away for at least a week. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has ordered state police to block re-entry routes to all but emergency workers.

***

National MSM outlets were slow to recognize the significance of the levee breach. Some still don’t get it. According to Ray in Austin, somebody on MSNBC said this morning, “As cleanup begins in New Orleans, all eyes turn to Mississippi.” NorthJersey.com published AP’s Katrina article at about 8 am EDT this morning with the following headline: “New Orleans misses date with doomsday.”

***

The initial damage estimate of $9 billion now seems waaay too low. Already Associated Press is reporting new estimates of $12 to $26 billion. The revised estimates, released late yesterday, do not take into account this morning’s flood.

***

Via Brendan Loy, who continues to provide the blogosphere’s best coverage, today’s Times-Picayune “is being distributed electronically only.” Its front page:

katrina-timespicayune-aug30.jpg

As Loy notes, “[t]hey certainly don’t seem to be buying into the ‘dodged a bullet’ theory.”

Stay tuned to Loy’s site for further updates throughout the day.

9am EDT Update: Matt at Overtaken is requesting help finding info about his mother-in-law in Metairie.

NowPublic is a public service website for those seeking info on missing persons in Katrina’s wake.

Josh Britton is providing continuing Katrina coverage.

Reader Lynne S. sends news that interstates are blocked throughout the hurricane region and will impede FEMA efforts to get supplies to New Orleans, Slidell and coastal Mississippi:

Right now we are trying to get a generator to my elderly parents in central Miss. (120 miles inland from the Gulf). My father is an invalid and the heat index will be too much for them. It may be weeks before power is restored to their farm. If needed, my son (in Tallahassee) will drive a generator there. With the roads out leading into southern Mississippi—-even Hattiesburg—-it will slow down rescue operations and FEMA assistance.

Please ask for continued prayers for all in Katrina’s path. And ask for donations to the American Red Cross.

The Weather Blog has photos from Gulfport/Biloxi MS and notes that Mid-City and Slidell are under water as well.

10am EDT update: Death toll estimated at 80 and rising.

Firsthand reports from New Orleans Times Picayune readers.

The Salvation Army has also set up a missing persons bulletin board/emergency iinformation network online. (Hat tip: North America Patriot)

Hugh Hewitt puts a call out to bloggers to coordinate a blogger relief effort.

11am EDT update: The military steps in.

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