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Return to New Orleans ***(Dial up Warning -..Pictures)****

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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 04:39 PM
Original message
Return to New Orleans ***(Dial up Warning -..Pictures)****
****Chapter ONE can be found in the Minnesota Forum. After touring some of the city, I felt I should share these with the whole DU Community. I will be posting more pictures and commentary daily. I am using WiFi wherever I can find a connection. I-Net accessibility is capricious. Locations change hourly.
If you are interested in Chap ONE, you can read it here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...




I made it to New Orleans safely. The area where my house is has water, electric ty, and sewage. The AC is on, so I have everything I need for the initial recovery work. This area was flooded, and water was in the house to a depth of 6" in places. There was little wind damage. Most people in this area had 2-3' of water in their houses. The place looks pretty bad....trees are down, many people lost their roofs, and alot of trees fell on houses causing roof damage.
This area was on the dry side of the 17th street canal. ALL the water damage was caused by accumulating rain water (it was cleaner than the toxic mess closer to New Orleans, but still caused great damage. Most people are working to salvage their homes. They lost most of the contents, flooring, furniture and sheetrock. They are ripping out the bottom floor walls, carpets and furniture and piling them at the curb.
I was much more fortunate. My house is the oldest in this area, and built to a stronger code. It sits higher than most. I will lose the carpets and some drywall in parts of the house, but nothing compared to my neighbors. I actually have some embarrassment (survivors guilt) at the minor damage I sustained. For security reasons, I won't post a picture of my house.
The tenants had split leaving food in the refrig and garbage in the kitchen. This caused a nauseating mess, but nothing that can't be cleaned up. Some carpets, baseboards, and lower walls will need to be removed, but this is NOTHING compared to the rest of the people on my block, much less New Orleans and New Orleans East.


What doesn't come across in the pictures is the STINK. We are lucky here because we are only 1/4 mile from the lake, and most of the wind is off the lake blowing the stink away. Daytime temps are mid 90s with 100% humidity. The entire area is a fetid, simmering bio-hazard incubator for molds, maggots, and bio-organisms.


Yesterday was the first day that uptown was opened for returning residents. I have family in this part of town, and I accompanied them in to their house. They also sustained very slight damage and no flood water inside the house.

The rest of the area in Uptown was not so lucky. The damage is severe, and the stink is indescribable. Part landfill, part vomit, part rancid cheese, part death. I have a strong stomach, and it turned mine. The stink gets on your clothes, in your hair, and stays in your nose.
I can't describe the devastation. I tried to take pictures, but it is everywhere, and every picture only catches a small portion. It is much more overwhelming in person. There is no electricity, water, or sewage in this area. I was able to drive outside the official limits.
Some people are trying to save their houses, but it is a lost cause.
There are parts of Uptown that won't be inhabitable for years.

People are open, and want to talk. As I was driving around, I stopped and talked to people who were getting their first look at their losses. Some had bravely started to work cleaning up. It was obvious to me that this effort would be fruitless, but I didn't have the heart to say so. I felt ghoulish, but I asked if I could take pictures. Most agreed. The following are pictures from the Uptown area.


A city block destroyed by fire and flood.
This is an area that I know well, but I kept getting lost.
All the landmarks have changed.



You can see the watermark on this house.
Claiborn & Napoleon


There are boats scattered all over New Orleans. They broke down or ran out of gas during the rescue efforts..



The Dome and skyline from Claiborn





Cryptic messages left in the debris.
The VooDoo fridge is in Anne Rice's neighborhood.
It is not the only one. I saw several with this message.


I want to restate something everyone already knows, but the Reich Wing is trying to obscure these FACTS!
***New Orleans survived Katrina with little damage. 90% of the damage was caused by the failure of the 17th St Canal "Flood Wall" due to poor maintenance and lack of upgrading. This was NOT a traditional earth covered levee. ALL the earth covered levees held. The only breaches were in the "steel flood walls" which were scheduled for upgrading. I am trying to determine if the "upgrading" was to cover them with Earth. If the 17th St Levee has been covered with earth and rip-rap, it would NOT have failed.
I will get pictures and post here showing the difference between a "LEVEE" and a "Floodwall". I will also try to determine when it became OK to use "floodwalls. It has been at least 15-20 years that I first began to see these "floodwalls.

The "rainwater damage in Metairie was caused by a decision (insane) to NOT run the pumps. The rainfall accumulation in Metairie was well within the capabilities of these pumps. Had the pumps been running, there would have been NO flood damage to Metairie.

I grew up in this area and rode out many hurricanes including Betsy.
SOP for storms is to run the pumps 24 hrs in advance of the storm to draw down the canals, and run them continuously during the storm. This procedure WAS CHANGED for THIS storm.


I will be posting more pictures and commentary. I-Net connections are hard to find. I am using a WiFi connection at a coffee shop that is intermittent. I will post more when able. Please forgive any spelling or composition errors!

Thanks for all the support!
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. kicked and nominated....
eom
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intheflow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. In the time it took me to read this post, it got on the Greatest Page.
I added the 6th vote. This is truly tragic. I'm not sure which image I found more disturbing: the uptown block ravaged by flood and fire or the voodoo fridge. Maybe the feed me box. Aw, f*ck, the whole post is disturbing and tragic! :cry:
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
3. How are your tenants?
Edited on Sun Oct-02-05 05:09 PM by sandnsea
Just curious.

Devastating pictures. I don't think most of the country still understands the magnitude of the destruction or what it's going to take to rebuild or what it mean to the country as a whole. If there is a God involved, seems to me the message is "whoa" because that is definitely what is going to happen. Everybody is going to have to sacrifice in one way or other, so no need for any "survivor's guilt". :hug:
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femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
4. Thank you for posting....I appreciate your information.
Please let us know about why the SOP was NOT followed this time. Can't wait to hear this excuse.

I am beginning to think...LIHOP. I remember NO came thru the hurricane OK...it was on Tuesday morning when I woke up that I heard that the levee had failed....when it was really a 'floodwall.' I await the pictures so I will be able to tell the difference.

Be safe....
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. Word on the street....
Aaron Broussard, the Jefferson Parish President believed the forecasts of a Cat 5 hit. The predicted storm surge was 27'. The Levee system tops at 22' (I believe). The for cast storm surge would top (overflow) the Levee system. At that point, it is useless to run the pumps. He said he was worried for the lives of his men, and evacuated them across Lake Pontchartrain. There was NO One manning the pumps until they returned 24 hours later. When the pumps were "switched on", Jefferson Parish was drained in 6 hours.

This story is remarkable consistent. I talked to someone from my neighborhood who lives close to a Pumping Station. He confirmed emphatically that he "eyewittnessed" the fact that the pumps were "shut down" and not restarted until 24 hours after the passage on Katrina. By then, it was too late.

The Pumping Stations in Jefferson parish are the highest and strongest built structures in Jefferson Parish. Anyone who lives here is familiar with them, and it is a frequent topic of interest especially during floods. I believe the eyewitness testimony of the resident who lives by the Pumping Station. The pumps were not turned on.

The reasons why are still open for speculation. There is very little hard data on the streets. There is one radio station (870AM) that is doing 24hr. Hurricane info service. But most of the info they are broadcast if from the callers, and it is frequently contradictory.
AFAIK, all cable TV systems are down, but it is possible to receive local broadcast V if your set was above water and the electricity is ON. I haven't tried to get TV working. I'm too busy to watch, but 870AM (the Rush Station) is on in the background.

I will post more as information becomes available.
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ecoflame Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. Do the pumps run on electricity?
No power - no pumping. Generators, diesel or other petro would need to be brought in?

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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. They have their own generators.
I have no clue as to the amount of fuel they keep on hand.
I will post a picture of a "Pumping Station" tomorrow.
They are elevated and built like a fort. In my 45 years in New Orleans, I have never heard on one being damaged by a storm. They do "break down". Some of the pumps in New Orleans are rumored to be over 100 years old. The pumps in Metaire are brand new by comparison....maybe built in 1950.
I am going to do some research on this and post more "hard" information and pictures.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks very much, bvar22. I look forward to your
continuing posts. It's interesting to me to hear and see the personal stories and how individuals have been affected. And please don't feel guilty!
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FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thanks for updates and pictures. My heart goes out to you and everyone
in NO.

Interesting change in the pumping procedure. Now I have to get my tin hat out.
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democrat in Tallahassee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
7. I used to live on Loyola one block off Napoleon. How did the
folks in that neighborhood fare?
Godspeed you and all my friends there.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. I didn't make it up to Loyola,
but I suspect there was significant water damage in that area.
I could be wrong, and if I go back into the city, I'll try to post some pictures of that area.
Thanks.
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Pirate Smile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thank you for the post. Please keep us updated when you can.
I wish you strength and wisdom. :grouphug:
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sonias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 06:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. Thanks for the report bvar22
Take care out there and good luck!

Sonia
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
10. Thank you!
Accounts like yours are the only way that America will learn the truth about New Orleans and her recovery efforts..

Corporate media will never show us the real extent of the damage, or tell us truthfully how many perished.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 07:18 PM
Response to Original message
13. Thanks for all the support.
It is reassuring to feel a family connection to DU.
I will try to post daily.
If anyone has questions about particular areas, I will try to answer them.
New Orleans East was the hardest hit, and I may try to get out there tomorrow.

The National Guard is everywhere, but all they do is wave. I have been into some areas of the city that were not officially open, and they just waved at me as I drove through.



Batttery Low.
Tomorrow.
I'll start a new thread
Chap 3
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Lifelong Protester Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 10:22 PM
Response to Original message
14. Thank you for your pictures
and your story. We need to see the true story, and you are to be commended for your efforts to keep us informed. I wish the best for you, and will be anxious to hear from you again, as will all your DU friends.
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CottonBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
15. Thank you for the first hand report and good luck!
Edited on Mon Oct-03-05 10:45 AM by CottonBear
What a stinky mess. :( I'm glad you still have your house. You are very lucky. Be safe.

My sister-in-law's house in Lacombe survived without flooding but with tree (roof) and utility damage. However Mr. CB's cousin is now living in an RV in his sister's front yard because her house in Grand Isle flooded. So many people lost their homes completely, so my in-laws are trying to be brave but the magnitude of the damage has really stunned and depressed them. They seem to be in a state of shock and bewilderment at what has happened.

Peace. CB
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npincus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
16. Thank you for posting- been to NO 2x and love the place
you are luckiy to have come from a great city with a rich history (and great, great food...)

best of luck to you and glad to hear your damage was relatively minor.
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Catchawave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
17. Thanks for sharing your story bvar !
At least your home now with the basic necessities. Here's to rebuilding your home and community :hug: :applause:
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slybacon9 Donating Member (848 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
19. Thanks! and
wow.... please continue with this research and report it here. We don't get any of this out here and i for one am fascinated to hear what is going on. Thanks again...
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Capn Sunshine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
20. Is Copelands intact?
I did some work for Al Copeland in the 80's and I semi recognize the area you're talking about. He had a lot of property in Metarie.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. I'll check.
Yes, Copeland's is in the area.
Are yiu talking about his "Racing Boat Shop" or the Franchise?
Almost everybody got some flood damage.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
23. Thank you for the pictures and the descriptions
The stench is bad, destroys your ability to smell anything good for quite a while. Thank you again and hang in there, wishing you the best possible.
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buzzsaw_23 Donating Member (631 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 02:16 PM
Response to Original message
24. keep this posted
and please put more updates as time allows
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DemonFighterLives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-05 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
25. I'm a few days late to your post
Thanks for the pictures and information. It looks like a real mess.
Take care man! :grouphug:
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