Saturday, September 03, 2005

Ammunition Update

It is sad to see when common sense no longer prevails. Academy Sports in Baton Rouge has pulled all of their guns and ammuntion out of the store. They did this on Wednesday. I hope all of their customers complain. A store that sells hunting and fishing items should not bow to this pressure. When your government can't apparently protect you, they ensure the means are taken away to protect yourself.

On a sad note, the reality of the situation is everywhere. While I was at Acedemy Sports I saw a trailer pull up and 4 full shopping carts of rubber boots were loaded into it. I didn't interupt them to see where they were going but I'm sure it was cleanup duty.

I have found several friends I assumed were OK but couldn't track down. All of the college crowd is safe and sound although one brainiac stayed in a condo on the lakefront. I'll get his story and post it later. If they only knew how happy/mad we are when we find them... Also, Mr. D has checked in for those who care. We have tracked down all but one rocketeer as well.

I have confirmations from several people that have been able to get in and out prior to the Monday official entry. It appears that cell phones are working outbound in these areas. Much of Kenner and Metarie is dry now and people who have IDs with Kenner or Metarie addresses have made it in. We may try a run tomorrow but may decide to wait until Monday. I'll have the camera and video out to get some good images. Security is tight but if it works, I'll post the magic way into the kingdom in case you need it. I'll also have several cell phones from different carriers and post who is working and who is not. Hopefully diesel and propane is being allowed into the city as the cell towers have about a 2 week generator on them.

I'm sure there will be more later. We have another family coming over to our house that has just arrived.

St. Bernard Ordeal

I mentioned that we found our friends in St. Bernard Parish. I finally was able to sit down and get a good bit of the details first hand. More details will come out over time. I'll update when I get them.

The house is 8 feet above sea level and has survived much flooding. During much of the storm there was lots of wind but no significant flooding. At some point in the day, things settled down. They went outside to assess the damage. While there were trees down and other wind damage, the house had done suprisingly well. They noticed that the ground seemed saturated and almost looked like water was coming out of the ground.

As they turned around to go into the house, they noticed a wall of water coming quickly. In less than 5 seconds, water was up around their waste. They struggled to get inside the house and went upstairs to the 2nd floor. Convinced the water wasn't going to rise significantly, they went to bed.

They kept hearing loud crashes in the night. This turned out to be the furniture getting banged around on the first floor. The next day they noticed that the water was still rising a little. Their across the street neighbors were in their attic. They decided they needed to get them out of the attic before they became trapped there (no axe, see previous posts). An attempt to swim was made but the current was so strong it was not deemed safe. The boat was taken across the way and the neighbors were informed to come out of the attic and swim to the boat. Everyone got into the boat and were brought back to the 2nd floor and spent the night together. Some sound of helicopters were heard during the night.

The next day their daughter decided to go to where her horses were kept to untie them, figuring that if they were tied they would surely drown. After she had been gone for a significant amount of time, the father was determined to find her. He got into the boat and began to make the trek. The wind was so strong that the front of the boat kept getting blown up out of the water. After several times of trying, he finally figured out a way to make somewhat safe forward moving progress with a sideways movement. At that point a rope became entangled in the propeller and the motor became useless. As the boat drifted with the wind and current, it began moving towards power lines which were close to the height of the boat. He decided the best option was to lie flat in the boat and hope for the best. He passed under some lines and realized the lowest ones were telephone lines. He grabbed those and managed to get the boat tied up to a local grocery (I'm assuming roof high). He then swam several blocks back to the house.

They spent that night in the house with the neighbors. Not sure of all the details here but basically lots of water and sound of occasional helicopters.

The next day the waters began to subside but they noticed that the sound of rescue helicopters had stopped completely. After much discussion they decided to make a run for it for fear they would be left behind. As they began walking in the waist deep water, other people joined them and soon talk of a rescue barge began. Not sure how long the walk was but suffice to say it was a long one. Eventually they did find a barge and were brought to an area with school buses.

The school buses proved to be an ordeal with near riot conditions as people loaded into them. Eventually they made it to a bus and got out of the city. I don't have the details on their daughter yet, but they were reunited in Baton Rouge.

Bottom line, while having a boat may be better than not, it is no guarantee in a storm.

Photos and Supply Update

I found some interesting satellite photos of the flooded areas on the LSU Earth Scan Laboratory site. You will want a high speed connection for this one.

I'm still looking for any good before/after pictures of the Gulf Coast and Mississippi River. If you find a site, please click on my profile and send it to my email address or post a comment.

A few tips if you are driving around LA. I have talked with someone driving through Louisiana. Anywhere that borders Mississippi, seems to be low on gas, groceries, etc. Natchez, MS is actually giving ice away. Natchez, MS and Vidalia, LA (across the river from each other) are short on supplies but if you go North, you will find plenty. The trend seems to be the heavily traveled highways have more issues than the lesser traveled. You can find food and gas, just make sure you plan ahead.

Walmart in Prairieville has pulled all of their ammunition from the shelves. Today is the first day of dove season and I find this absolutely ridiculous. I don't have time to check the other Walmart's in the area but I would appreciate any intelligence on this. The person behind the counter said they were asked to by the State Police. I would love to know if this was true. I'm glad Jim's Firearms and Precision didn't do anything as foolish. Make sure you let Walmart know that you do not approve of this. I can understand putting items behind the counter that have a high theft problem but pulling something you normally sell to protect the citizens is too far. I'm sure Sears will be removing steak knives from the shelves shortly.

With the LSU games cancelled, people are looking for something to do to get a break from the insane. Movie theaters are having record numbers for attendance. We were going to go dove hunting to get away but none of the husbands want to be that far away from home. No sexism here, just no female hunters in this branch of the family. We'll figure something out.

Returning Home

Site maintenance - I fixed some links that had changed in the previous posts as well as a formatting issue. Thanks for helping keep the bugs out.

As of today, they are talking about letting residents return to Kenner and Metarie on Monday. We have a caravan of people that are going to make a try to get in. You don't realize what you should have taken with you in terms of financial and legal documents until you have to file claims and have no access to anything. What was left in the fridge also becomes a concern.

Not much information about the rules to return other than you will not be allowed to use the Causeway Bridge or I-10. You will need to use Highway 61, Highway 90 or River Road. Currently the word from Jefferson Parish is only residents and you will not be allowed back for 1 month - Jefferson Return Info I hope they let friends in to help as I don't want anyone going by themselves. I'm assuming they will post more rules before Monday.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Schools Update

Something good happened today that I need to pass on. Some of the relatives today went to take care of the school situation for their children and went to the school register their children.

Upon arrival they found that the school had already setup a help desk for refugees. They enrolled the kids, let them know that the kids would have id badges and that a bus would pick them up in front of the house and not to worry. These people knew how to treat people in a time of need.

They then told them that there was room with uniforms and to grab some. They only asked that if they didn't fit, that they would return them.

When they asked what kind and how many notebooks to bring they were provided free school supplies and told not to bring anything.

Would the state and federal government please pay attention to the Ascension Parish School system.

Friday jitters

I’m finding more cases of the rumor mill not panning out with regards to Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge has not become the DMZ.

ATMs – you can find ATMs that are on and have money in Baton Rouge. While it is true that there are still ATMs without power and some that have power are unavailable, there are still locations where you can get money. Some of the remote ATMs rely on phone lines that are not reliable. Many branches are now open for business and accepting deposits and withdrawals. I recommend you have some cash, but there is no need to throw out your credit cards. I have used a credit card and debit card today without any problems.

Gas – gas is widely available. I don’t have an exact average price but it seems to be around $2.70. There are places at $2.99 but there are also places just under $2.50. Gas cans are hard to find but even small hardware stores are starting to get shipments of 200-300. The stations around I-10 and I-12 do tend to have lines and run out but shipments arrive daily. 6:00am is probably the best time to buy.

Guns – Woa, this is a biggy. It appears that many people have chosen Labor Day to be gun buying time. I have heard rumors that gun sales are up 40%. I have no way to validate this number but I can tell you what I observed first hand. Jim’s Firearms in Baton Rouge had a line coming out the door yesterday. This is what I would call a large gun shop. I’ve never seen a line inside let alone outside the door. Today every cash register had a line at least 20 deep. Even the cash/check only line had that many. They were actually completely out of .38 caliber rounds. I called this morning and they had just received a new shipment of handguns and were expecting another one later. People were buying rifles and shotguns but hand guns seem to be the hot ticket. Handgun checks were not hampered by the phone lines. Precision Firearms and Indoor Shooting Range has people in it and were low on revolvers. Didn’t check them for .38 rounds, I have plenty.

Rumor that the Academy Sports on Siegen was looted and all of their guns stolen is completely false. I confirmed the rumor was false with East Baton Rouge Sheriff in addition to driving by it. It is currently closed. My guess is that it is closed due to power outage. There is power in the area but one business told me that they had 3 phase power and the 3 phase was not on yet. has an article about 100 rescued people dying in Chalmette. You can see this at Chalmette .


Something came to me when I was in the shower this morning and heard a helicopter. I remember after 9-11 hearing/seeing fighter jets flying over Portland. I'm sure it happened more often in other larger cities. Every time I would get this chill in my spine. I'm not sure if this comes from remembering what happened, patriotism or watching Top Gun too many times in college. I'm getting the same feeling every time I hear a helicopter.

Helicopters are everywhere in Baton Rouge. You see them surveying the highways, getting news footage and just flying around. At the Baton Rouge airport, you normally see 3 or 4 hellicopters parked. It's a big deal to actually see one flying. When I flew out of the airport the other day, there were 30 or 40. All kinds - police, Coast Guard, Military, news stations I didn't recognize, privates ones etc. I've never seen so many helicopters flying around.

Just one more thing that reminds you life is different.

On a sdie note - the neighborhood is deathly quiet. No longer the sound of generators humming away.

Life in Baton Rouge

With so much focus on the negative, it is hard to find all the good stories about people helping people. I have seen these in Mississippi and Alabama but they are few and far between in Louisiana. As usual, the few bad people make all the news. Let me give some reporter a great story about the human spirit that no one is writing about.

Go around to just about any neighborhood in Baton Rouge. Stop and ask someone walking around if they have anyone staying at their house. What you will find is that most of the cars on the street and in the driveways are not normally there. What started out as a family or two staying 1 or 2 nights to get away from the storm has turned into a semi-permanent community. I went to many neighborhoods yesterday and found this to be the case. There are less people in the neighborhoods still without power but I expect that to change once they get it.

These people aren't looting or getting angry about waiting in line for food or gas. They are planning their meals together, they are figuring out where to get their kids into school and they are contemplating where their job or home will be. Kids are playing together with people they have never seen or known. Life will be different for some time. One interesting note - many kids/parents are sleeping in the same room. It isn't 100% but I think both kids and parents find this comforting.

Kids - these human beings have an amazing strength. They know something is up but they don't let it bother them. It is fun being out of school for a day but they realize this is different. Our children are playing with cousins and friends of the family they have either never met or only seen at Christmas or Thanksgiving. The older ones are starting to realize that life may be different for longer than they expected. Kids somehow know how to let go of the things you can not control.

Schools - The Baton Rouge area (Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Livingston) has be overwhelmed with people trying to enroll their children in school. All schools in the BR area are not in session indefinitely. This is due to power not being restored 100% in all areas. I suspect things will start back up on Tuesday but it is only a guess. Schools in the Greater New Orleans area are not expected to be in session for a minimum of 2 months. In Baton Rouge many people school their children at a private or parochial school. These schools have also had record numbers of applications. One private school is considering running 2 complete sessions a day. The Catholic schools are getting together today to make a decision on how to admit out of area students. Some form of priority list based on whether they were already enrolled in a Catholic school is being discussed. Not of the public or private schools in this area had an empty desk problem. After food/clothing/shelter, I think this is a big issue.

Jobs - many people are calling offices wondering what the employment situation will be. It seems like most companies just don't have a clue yet. Some are securing offices around the state but few have let their employees know what the future holds.

Mail - mail service has been suspended for Greater New Orleans. No idea how this will be handled. Postal employees have no idea where their job will be or where they will be doing it.

Refugees vs. Evacuees - these people are refugees and will always be referred to by that name on this site. Evacuees would imply there was a organized plan that was executed. There was no plan. Look around. Remember when CNN refused to call the 9-11 hijackers terrorists and referred to them as "alleged terrorists"? These people are refugees, don't let the media white wash this. You get the point.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pictures of aftermath

The New York Times has some decent pictures of some of the damages from an aerial view. Make sure you look at both the Mississippi shore and the New Orleans ones.

One additional source for good New Orleans information is

Storm photos are particulary good.

I'm still trying to find the satellite photos of the gulf and Mississippi.

NOAA has some high resolution photos on

Anarchy vs. Rumors

Lots of information today. I can not emphasize enough that sorting out the rumors from reality is becoming tough. I'm going to do the best at confirming everything before posting but I have found that even officials do not have the correct information.

Some facts - Baton Rouge has a tremendous amount of people and the city is not designed to handle it. There have been some problems with people being approached for money and car jacked.

Rumors that Baton Rouge was locked down were initially not true. Later in the day they did clear out all of the state workers from downtown. Some businesses chose to leave, some did not. There have been several business looted or held up but it is not widespread anarchy.

Gas is still running $2.50 at many places but I did find a $2.99 at a Racetrack. Maybe signs to come.

Rumor that the Tanger Outlet Mall is being looted by the people staying at the Lamar Dixon shelter in Ascension Parish is false.

Rumor that a person was car jacked in front the the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office is true. I realize the Mayor of BR denied this but I have sources that have confirmed this.

Earlier I reported the Venice and Fouchon were under water. This was confirmed by someone who flew over them. I spoke with someone who flew over Venice on Wed and the tops of the condos are now showing. Many of these are 30'-50' tall. This means 2 things - 1st the water is receding. 2nd - the buildings are still there. I also have a first hand account that Fouchon is still there as well.

Rumor that Grand Isle (now the 1st real barrier Island) is gone or is flattened is false. Grand Isle suprisingly looks fine.

There are still businesses that are only taking local checks or cash in Baton Rouge. Hibernia customers can not access their accounts online but the phone or ATMs appear to work fine. Would someone please explain how a bank can be down for 4 days? My house has better redundancy and data recovery.

New Orleans is under Marshal Law. While this has been stated on TV where is the military? The National Guard raced in on Sunday with supplies to beat the hurricane. They have been there for the duration. Supposadely they were rescuing people but the only photos and videos show Coast Guard helicopters. Yesterday there were finally some military helicopters beginning to rescue people. Then I hear they are working on the levee which they were. Now that the craziness if finally getting press (note the craziness started long before the media picked it up) they are to keep the peace. Well? Where is the peace keeping? I don't see much. In fact, I don't see them in many of the shots.

It is clear to me that the leaders have no plan. They keep mentioning a plan but they aren't executing it. The good people of Jefferson Parish are running their own show and doing a fine job of it. The state and feds seem to be no where.

More later tonight.

Found Friends!

We found our friends in St. Bernard Parish! No scoop yet but they called from Gonzales. They are on a bus to the LSU refugee center. Yes - they are calling them refugees. They couldn't talk long so we do not have any details. As soon as they get there we are going to pick them up.

For those who know this was the Mr. Phil of Mr. Phil's Drink Machine and his family. One daughter had to work at the hospital until 7:00pm on Sunday night which is why they stayed.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

We have Power

We have power! The kids were asleep and we went over to turn on the AC, make sure the fridge was going etc. We lent our neighbors our generator and they hailed us as we came home. We are taking the generator back toButch's to lend to Rochelle's Aunt who we got in contact with. The generator has now helped 3 families.

Butch just started a job (actually he starts on 9/15) in New Orleans.They are a domain registrar, a hosting site ( and several other web related business. One of the owners and the head IT geek are keeping things going. They have a blog with web cams at

This is an absolute must read. 1st - the comments from the readers and the entire keeping up the generator and tweaking the circuits to maximize time are the most interesting and funny/useful comments I have read. 2ndly - it has info on all types of information including the downtown looting by some of the public servants.

Another good site to get the news that CNN is afraid to show is This is a New Orleans station operating out of Mississippi.

Random updates

This will be moving online shortly as many people areforwarding this around. Thanks for all the support! I'm also going tostart getting some addresses for donations. Right now the shelters needclothes more than anything.

I spent the day in Monroe LA. They have 2,000 refugees. People were coming to the gas stations with 55 gallon drums and filling them. I have no idea if these were Miss. or LA citiizens. Gas is still holding around $2.50/gallon. I think people are worried about being accused of gouging. I have compiled the following info from a contact in St. James, a SWAT team member who handled a prison riot last night in Orleans and the fact that I spent the day in a dispatch center installing our software.

St. James and Lafourche (laa-foosh) Parishes have no electricity but arebasically OK. Some building damage but nothing catastrophic. St. John Parish, which borders Jefferson, is basically OK as well. Noelectricity but the water has subsided. Most probably, this will beused as the base for emergency operations since you can get to NewOrleans via I-10 and Airline Hwy. (Hwy 61) from here.

Jefferson (Kenner, Metarie, Westbank) – basically screwed. They losttheir 911 center, all radio communications and all computer networks. I have seen all of the data centers for Jefferson and don’t understand howthis could have happened. The only communication is Police/Fire usingtheir radios as walkie talkies on simplex.

Orleans (New Orleans) – Criminal Sheriff radio system working, NOPD system down. NOPD using radios as walkie talkies. For some stupid reason, they evacuated the St. Bernard prisoners to Orleans and several riots have broken out. Why they didn’t bring them to Baton Rouge is a mystery.

St. Tammany (Slidel, Covington, Mandeville) – Only communication is aham radio that was setup yesterday. Parts appear to be as flooded asNew Orleans. No word from anyone. The I-10 bridge and causeway are theonly 2 ways into New Orleans from this side. Both have major damage andwill be impassible for months. I do know one person who was able to makeit to their neighborhood. Some houses do not have flooding. No power for sure.

Plaquemines – They are getting the latest satellite photos from NOAA today to see where the river and gulf are. It appears that PlaqueminesParish is non-existent now. This is not like the Tsunami where there was water that eventually receded. This is the Mississippi and Gulf nowstart much closer. Reports are that the Gulf now starts 20-40 miles further inland. I will not call this until I can look at the maps later today. If the photos get on the internet, I’ll send a URL. If thisproves to be true, there will be people who no longer have land torebuild their house.

Sugar Cane – many of the land that was/is lost is sugar cane producing. There is talk on the news about how devastating this will be. It will have some impact but realize that there are many more parishes who did not suffer significant damage that produce sugar cane. This is too early to call and the media should be spanked for speculating. I want to see percentage numbers. There are still many sugar refineries thatare up and running.

The funny - there are rumors of sharks being spotted in Metarie. This has been confirmed. There are bull sharks in Lake Ponchetrain and now that the levee is busted there are sharks in Metarie. At least one alligator has been spotted.

Traffic is terrible in Baton Rouge. They estimate over 1,000,000 additional people are in the city. They expect this to stay for months. At least 2,000,000 people have no place to go (don't believe the low numbers the media is showing). There are no home rentals and few office space available (since Monday). There is an UNCONFIRMED rumor that 4,000 homes were sold today. I have someone checking on this. Apartments have few vacancies. I believe life in Baton Rouge will be differrent for a year or two.

The ugly - I have confirmation from law enforcment and medical peoplethat there are tons of bodies floating around. Low estimates are thousands. People keep coming out of the city. The officials had no idea how many people stayed. You keep seeing pictures of people on their houses. What you don't see is that they are checking every house since people could be in the attic. When they find bodies, they mark the house with a red X. They don't have much time to get the survivors and they don't have the refrigeration. New Orleans has a 5,000' no flyzone which is why the media has not gotten this.

Another displaced family just arrived where we are staying. I'm signingoff for now and will post more info later. I have much more to share.

Paul (still without power)

Emergency Preparedness Tips

Since many people on this list live in earthquake zones, I’m sending some tips that I have learned in this particular emergency.

I'm in Northern LA today and will send an update later. I have more scoop on the real story.


Money – I have always heard that you should have cash in case banks and ATMs are down. I never thought it was possible with all the networks and redundancy that exist. In Baton Rouge, there are many merchants only accepting cash because the local banks or banks who have headquarters in New Orleans are down. People went to buy generators and were turned away. I think $1,000 is a good amount to keep in a safe place. I would also have one bank that is a national bank. Our credit union is down for online bill paying and phone pay. A national bank will have a greater chance of being in business. Fortunately, Rochelle and I did get cash out on Saturday. There are many merchants accepting credit and debit cards now.

Direct Deposit – Believe it or not, I still know people who refuse toget direct deposit. These people are having trouble getting live checks since many were processed in New Orleans. Even with large payroll companies like ADP this has been an issue. All of the direct deposit people are getting their money without trouble. For some people, finding a branch that has power to deposit the money has been an issue.

Gas – we had 2 full tanks and about another 10 gallons in reserve. Now that the power is coming back, it isn’t an issue but Monday and Tuesday gas was an issue for many gas stations. It isn’t safe to store a ton and you need to rotate it out, but gas is needed to get to the hospital, evacuate or run a generator.

Propane – there are some areas where you are being instructed to boil water. Propane is easy and safe to store. You need electricity to fill your containers so planning ahead is a good idea.

Natural Gas – in New Orleans, there are so many gas leaks they have cut natural gas off in many places. I understand why it would be cut off in an earthquake but never figured a hurricane could affect it since most of the lines are underground.

Radio – You need a radio that can receive TV stations as well as AM/FM. A shortwave radio is even better so you can hear the ham frequencies. The best option is to buy a ham radio. You should get a license and know how to use it but in times of emergency the FCC waves the license requirement.

Internet/ISP – This is for both personal and business. There are ISPs in New Orleans that had no redundancy with regards to another geographic location. They all had the standard generator plan with x days of diesel. Multiple diesel contracts with vendors in different locations in case a bridge was out. No one considered that the city would have no access from any direction. There are businesses and individuals that have received email that they are going down in a few days and to make other plans. I evaluated data centers extensively and find this to be appalling. Remember when shopping for something you must rely on that saving a few dollars on the front end may put you out of business on the back end. Offsite backups are a must. Offsite means in another state.

Generator – I have always debated getting one for RV camping, drycamping etc. I always tried to rationalize the purchase by using the“time of emergency” argument. I now own one and couldn’t be happier with the purchase. Fridge, microwave, TV (sometimes TV has better coverage on emergency than radio), medical equipment, etc. If you do get one, spend the money to have an electrician wire a few key circuits. In addition to being safer than having cords running everywhere, it is important to have a cut over switch installed to prevent energizing the line feeding your home and electrocuting the people working on your power lines. Our neighborhood now has a constant hum. Ice only lasts so long and you can’t count on a steady supply of it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tuesday Evening

Not much Baton Rouge news. Still tons of people without power (including us). Most of the people are being nice to each other. Lots of peopl eselling ice and generators.

Cell phones have about a 50/50 success rate. Due to our work with all ofthe wireless vendors, I called some of the folks at Verizon Wireless to find out why things weren't working so well. They build the switching stations like military bunkers. The main switch that handles the 504 and 985 area codes (New Orleans and the North Shore) is running like a champ. The problem is that cell towers use wires to communicate with the main switch. These lines are either physically cut or under so much water that they are not functioning. All of the cellular vendors have towers that are down, the big problem is that they have no idea of knowing how many. They are setting up microwave dishes on the towers to get them funtioning again. They also can not get to or are not allowed to get to every tower due to the damage. The system was designed for towers to go offline, but not entire grids. If you call our cell phones you get through sometimes, you get a message that the number has been disconnected the others. No one can retrieve voice mail.

The ham radio is proving to be the most valuable tool. It works 100% of the time. There is a statewide network that the OEP and Red Cross are monitoring. Ham radio is the only method to communicate with several ofthe Parishes that are heavily flooded. I can hear the events before they happen but more importantly, I actually hear about them. The media has not been allowed into the heavily damaged areas and real news is sparse.

We had one of Rochelle's Aunts that we couldn't get in touch with. A ham from Chicago called to let us know she was OK. Her son is a ham but the repeater I can normally get him on is physically down and I couldn't get a message to him. Somehow he got a message to the Red Cross and it made it through the traffic net and got to us. We still have one close friend in St. Bernard Parish that we have been unable to find. St.Bernard has about 12' of water over most of the parish.

I'm not trying to be the doom and gloom person but I believe the death toll from this will be large. I don't have any credible accounts of numbers yet but I do know there are lots of bodies floating that the media is not reporting yet. One Parish, Plaquemine, has 80% of it covered with water. I'm waiting from some satelite photos but it appears that the Mississippi River has consumed about 20 miles of land. As many of you know, we have many friends and customers in law enforcement. I can't get in touch with any of them in Orleans, Jefferson or Plaquemines parishes.

I mentioned a town called Fouchon (foo-shon). We spoke to a person who works for BP who flew over Fouchon and several of their rigs in the gulf. Fouchon is completely gone. No buildings just water. This is significant for everyone. The US gets about 10% of all of its oilunloaded from tankers through Fouchon. You think gas was expensive? You just cut out 10% of the refining capacity for the entire US. The people we know that work for oil companies are concerned. It looks like atleast 7 rigs are floating around the gulf.

More updates later. I'll be unavailable most of Wed so don't worry ifthere aren't any updates.

Tuesday Morning

We abdicated to Butch's (Rochelle's brother) house. He never lost electricity so we took advantage of the air conditioning.

We rode our bikes around the neighborhood yesterday. Lots of downed trees and some siding and shingle damage. On the drive to Butch's house, we realized that Baton Rouge was worse of than we thought. Notone light on the entire drive. Latest estimates are 90,000 without electicity just in Baton Rouge. People are starting to get power on but they expect a week in some cases. Rough estimates are half of the area has no electricity.

When we arrived at Butch's we started to get the idea of the magitude of the problem. Rochelle's family is from New Orleans. Rochelle's parents have 3 families at their house and Butch has 1. We offered our room but people opted for the houses with electricity over the ones without.

Rochelle's aunt and uncle have at least 3 feet of water in their house. One family is in the area where the TV keeps showing houses up to theroof with water. Rochelle's cousin Monica found out their house did not flood but they can't get into New Orleans. Obviously there is no power for anyone.

Between my fire and police contacts as well as some of the people here, this what we have found out:
No hospitals in the entire New Orleans area have power
Many hospitals have 3-5 feet of water on the first floor and are evacuating critical care patients to Baton Rouge
Current estimates are residents won't be allowed back until Moday
Kenner (where the airport is) is 90% flooded
Metarie (where cousin Marc lives) has 3-5 feet of water in parts; We don't know about Marc's house yet
The French Quarter actually faired pretty well - no significant flooding
The Super Dome pictures they keep showing are sigificant - The roof litterally pealed off layers during the wind. If you see the Hyatt with all the widows broken, it is the debris from the Super Dome that broke all the windows.
There is no word on the southern coastal Parishes (counties for youYankees). If you look at a map, there is much of Louisiana south of New Orleans. Plaquemines, Terrebonne and a few others are a combination of fishing communities and camps. I don't know the exact population but there are at least a few hundred thousand people. Most evacuated but some did not. We have a few scetchy reports that some of the most southern portion (part of the barrier islands) are no longer there(Venice, Fouchon). My concern is most of the people I am friends with are the people who would have to stay (Sheriff's etc.) There is a bridge known as the twin span the separates New Orleans from Slidel. Pieces of it are missing. This will not help with getting emergency vehicles and citizen back into the city.

A point of clarification that the media keeps getting wrong. You hear stories of people trapped in their attic and using an axe to cut theirway to the roof. These are true, but let me give you a piece of history. When Betsy hit in 1965, many people died trapped in their attic. Since then, emergency preparations in New Orleans area consist of having an axe in your attic. If you start to get flooded, you go into your attic (remember, it is raining and debris is flying around at 100 miles an hour so the roof isn't a good place to be). If the water gets into the attic, you are supposed to axe your way to the roof and stay put. In Betsy and Camile, many of the people on the roof were bit by snakes. To summarize, best option in a hurricane is to leave, next best is to make sure in addition to food and water that there is an axe inyour attic. When you see the media ragging the people who cut holes in the attic, they were actually reasonably prepared and doing what the emergency people told them to. By the end of this, there will be thousands of people who did just this and saved their lives.

I'll send more as I get it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday Night

The worst is over. No power still. The generator purchase proved to be the right call. Just enough to power the fridge and and a small TV to keep the kids happy. Lots of family time.

No storm damage to our house. Most of the neighbors did well - a few minor things but nothing huge.

Baton Rouge area has about 30,000 without power but crews are working on it. No damage to the incoming feed just lines and blown transformers.

New Orleans and South did not fare as well. The lines outbound from the power plants are down which has never happened. They aren't sure how long it will take to repair.

The other cousin Marc, who lives in New Orleans won't know until Wed if his house flooded. 50/50 shot at this point.

Touchdown and Power Loss

Looks like it hit east of New Orleans which is a good thing for Louisiana.

We lost power about 5:40am. They don't even attempt to fix transformers until the winds die down so it looks like the generator purchase was a good call. Wireless internet is a good thing

Wind and rain, no flooding yet.

One of the hospitals in New Orleans has 3 feet of water in it.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Late Sunday Night

No real news other than the winds will kick in around midnight - landfall about 6:00am. We set a tent up in the house for the kids to sleep in (no reason other than to amuse them). They played with the flashlights so much we had to threaten them within inches of their lives to go to sleep. They wanted to set the tent up outside but we convinced them it wasn't the best idea.

On an interesting note, I made sure the ham radio worked. All the repeaters had traffic helping people find best routes to where they were going etc. Lots of people giving reports. Nice to have a helpful hobby community when it comes to a disaster. Rhianna was asking why I had a "talking radio" instead of one that played music. She thought it was pretty neat.

Unlike previous storms they have many gas stations with fuel. The grocery stores looked like they had been wiped out though. They have 20,000 people sleeping in the Super Dome.

Sunday Evening

6:15 PM

Everything is OK. All the hatches are closed. Most of the neighbors stayed as well. Everyone has gas, propane, water and food. We decided to purchase a generator since a power outage is almost a guarantee. Baton Rouge should be OK, just normal storm damage.

New Orleans is a different story. Hope that anyone you care about has left. It could get ugly if they get the amount of rain they are expecting and have to shut down the water pumps that keep the below sea level city dry.

1st Post

Folks - all remains well in the Baton Rouge area. All of our friends/family (that we care about) have left New Orleans.

Still too early to tell but they are expecting Baton Rouge to get hit like hurricane Andrew in 92. Our area doesn't have any trees to worry about so we are moving all of the outside items like BarBQ grills and play houses into the garage today.

Everyone has had two hurricanes this summer to get prepped for so there was actually water and food at the grocery stores last night. We have so much camping stuff thanks to living in Oregon that we have plenty of water capacity and propane. Although our utilities are underground, the sub station that feeds our neighborhood has a lot of above ground wires. I expect we will lose power but nothing else.

My Mom lives 1 1/2 hours to the west and should be fine. We have family there that has agreed to grab her if Katrina goes further west. I have a wireless cellular data card and laptop so I should be able to get email in case the weather knocks out power.

Paul and Rochelle