The governor of Louisiana has announced that New Orleans is to be evacuated:
NEW ORLEANS Aug 31, 2005 â€” The governor of Louisiana says everyone needs to leave New Orleans due to flooding from Hurricane Katrina. “We’ve sent buses in. We will be either loading them by boat, helicopter, anything that is necessary,” Gov. Kathleen Blanco said. Army engineers struggled without success to plug New Orleans’ breached levees with giant sandbags, and the governor said Wednesday the situation was worsening and there was no choice but to abandon the flooded city.
“The challenge is an engineering nightmare,” Gov. Kathleen Blanco said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “The National Guard has been dropping sandbags into it, but it’s like dropping it into a black hole.”
As the waters continued to rise in New Orleans, four Navy ships raced toward the Gulf Coast with drinking water and other emergency supplies, and Red Cross workers from across the country converged on the devastated region. The Red Cross reported it had about 40,000 people in 200 shelters across the area in one of the biggest urban disasters the nation has ever seen.
The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, went on to say that it would be four months before the residents of New Orleans would be able to return. That’s the rest of the year that more than 500,000 people will be without homes or jobs.
Here’s a town-by-town account of damage in the Mississippi Gulf Coast:
Town-by-town report of Mississippi coastal damage from Hurricane Katrina
Highway 90 “destroyed”
Communications down, transportation systems demolished.
Medical services crippled.
Beau Rivage is damaged, but still stands.
Hard Rock Casino, scheduled to open in early September, suffered 50 percent damages. The signature guitar, said to be the world’s largest, still stood.
At least five casinos out of commission.
St. Thomas the Apostlic Catholic Church, which sits on U.S. 90, is gone.
Fire chief estimates 75 percent of buildings have major roof damage, “if they have a roof left at all.”
The storm surge crossed the CSX railroad tracks.
Heavy damage to Memorial Hospital.
First floor of the Armed Forces Retirement Home flooded.
Three of four walls have collapsed at Harrison Central 9th Grade School in North Gulfport.
At least three firehouses have taken significant damage.
Emergency Operations Center swamped.
Back of the county courthouse gave way.
Reports of up to 80 fatalities.
Damage to virtually all shelters.
Lyman Elementary lost two buildings.
People were moved to another building on campus safely.
Woolmarket Elementary lost its roof.
West Wortham Elementary has significant roof damage.
A number of businesses and homes damaged in the area.
U.S. 49 and Highway 11 shut down.
Wind speeds of 95 mph.
Roof peeling off Emergency Operations Center.
First Baptist Church is leveled.
The Jackson County Emergency Management Agency had to relocate to the courthouse after the roof came off their building downtown.
The roof also came off the gym at St. Martin High School.
Reports of flooding in the Chipley area.
I haven’t been able to re-locate the report but last night I read a report from officials in the Mississippi Gulf Coast that people there wouldn’t be able to return to their homes for months, either.
One thing I haven’t heard anyone mention is the impact of Katrina on banking. All of the people of Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast displaced from their homes have also been displaced from their banks and their banks aren’t functioning much better than they are. My wife also noted last night that safe deposit boxes were also inaccessible in the affected areas.