August 30, 2008

New Orleans' Evacuation Ordered
— DrewM

It’s almost inconceivable that everything that has been done to rebuild that area in the last 3 years may very well be blown away.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city beginning 8 a.m. Sunday but urged residents to consider escaping "the mother of all storms" before then.

"You need to be scared," Nagin said of the Category 4 hurricane tearing along Cuba's western coast. "You need to be concerned, and you need to get your butts moving out of New Orleans right now. This is the storm of the century."

The city's west bank is to evacuate at 8 a.m.

Nagin said the city had evacuated roughly 10,000 people Saturday on buses, trains and planes. Buses from collection points would continue running until midnight and resume at 6 a.m. Sunday, he said.

Gustav hit Cuba tonight but wasn’t expected to weaken much and is predicted to strengthen when it gets into the Gulf of Mexico.

Obviously the danger to life and property is the most important part of this story but there is a political element as well.

The Republican ticket of McCain/Palin will be heading to Mississippi on Sunday to see how storm preparations are coming along and quite frankly since there's not much they can do, to be seen to be caring.

More importantly for them however is the affect the storm will have on the Republican convention. At this point landfall is predicted for Monday evening and no one will wants to see a party going on while lives are in danger.

Louisianan Governor Jindal was scheduled to speak at the convention but he along with other officials from across the Gulf Coast region will obviously be staying home to deal with the emergency. President Bush and Vice President Cheney were scheduled to be in St. Paul on Monday but obviously those plans are subject to change.

This is a pretty unprecedented situation in recent history so there is talk of turning the convention into a relief drive but McCain in an interview with FNC raised the possibility of suspending the convention entirely.

"It wouldn't be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster," McCain told Wallace.

McCain said that he has been in touch with the governors of the Gulf Coast states—where Gustav is expected to make landfall—and that his campaign would continue to monitor the now-Category 4 storm.

"I'm afraid, Chris, that we may have to look at that situation and we'll try and monitor it. I've been talking to Governors Jindal [La.], Barbour [Miss.], Riley [Ala.], Crist [Fla.], I've been talking to all of them," McCain told Wallace. "So we're monitoring it from day to day and I'm saying a few prayers too."

Eventually the politics will shake themselves out. In the meantime, good luck to everyone in the target line, especially any members of moron nation.

Posted by: DrewM at 05:51 PM | Comments (103)
Post contains 502 words, total size 4 kb.

1 good luck and be safe to all Gulf Coast morons! The convention can wait. The 'Cuda will not be denied!

Posted by: Frank G at August 30, 2008 05:57 PM (P0rQD)

2 Good luck to everyone down there. Hobos and Scandis, too.

Posted by: eman at August 30, 2008 05:58 PM (SeMKR)

3 I always wonder how Cuba handles these storms. You'd think Cuba, Jamaica/Nassau would've been wiped a hundred times by now.

Posted by: Bart at August 30, 2008 06:01 PM (VDuLh)

4 The convention can wait. Honestly it can. Plenty of time for that. Godspeed gulf coasters!

Posted by: topsecretk9 at August 30, 2008 06:03 PM (5sJ00)

5 I always wonder how Cuba handles these storms.

A lot of the Caribbean uses masonry construction with concrete roofs.  That's pretty good until you get into Andrew territory.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 30, 2008 06:04 PM (6L459)

6 I though it was because the storms picked up more energy once they get over the warm waters of the gulf, Bart. 

Posted by: DPR VIII at August 30, 2008 06:06 PM (4XUD3)


Truly potentially (probably) heart breaking for us down in New Orleans, and the predictions keep getting worse and worse.


Posted by: maxxman at August 30, 2008 06:12 PM (OYeDg)


Sorry to leach on for blog hits, but get a load of what passes for Democrat humor:

Funny stuff...



Posted by: Nigel at August 30, 2008 06:13 PM (4gHqM)

9 Ahhhh...Bush is trying one more chance to get some more NO Negroes before he gets out.  Bastard.

Posted by: Obstreperous Infidel at August 30, 2008 06:16 PM (qkSG+)

10 Cuba handles the storms by having a total iron-fist on the media.  You ever wonder how a country still driving cars circa 1960s evacuates?  They don't.  They just don't ever report any deaths.

Cuba could get slammed by two Cat 5s back to back and their apparatchik organs (and dutifully re-reported by the MSM) will claim 0 - 1 deaths.

Posted by: Techie at August 30, 2008 06:19 PM (yjPD8)

11 A lot of the Caribbean uses masonry construction with concrete roofs.  That's pretty good until you get into Andrew territory.

That's when you use reinforced masonry.

Posted by: shit-house lawyer at August 30, 2008 06:25 PM (2CVxB)

12 Sorry, DrewM, but your lede is preposterous:

It’s almost inconceivable that everything that has been done to rebuild that area in the last 3 years may very well be blown away.
That simply isn't a statement made by anyone who understands the least bit about the geography, geology, hydrology, or any other hard-science -ology of the area.

You don't build a city on ever-compacting silt in a hole in a swamp with one of the world's most powerful rivers on one side, a massive lake on the other, and the Gulf spitting distance away with only an ever-receding marsh for protection, and think anything except that getting blown away is precisely what can should, and will happen, no matter how much money we piss away first.

Years prior to Katrina, coastal and marine studies scientists, as well as the Corps of Engineers, figured that New Orleans would be gone by 2050-2090. That was before Katrina. I haven't seen numbers since, and doubt they been published for fear of a PR backlash, but considering the amount of barrier marsh ripped away by Katrina, a 2020-2040 end-of-life WITHOUT another hurricane strike seems quite possible. With a hurricane? It is quite possible any single major storm could mean goodbye forever Big Easy.

People bitch about the money we're pissing way in foreign wars, but that money is at least being spent on something that has a chance. Putting money into much of New Orleans is an utter waste of time. Some sections might be possible to save with a massive outlay of funds, but most of the city should be abandoned, as it cannot be saved at any price. It is only our egos that won't let us recognize this.

I wonder how many more billions we'll piss away before it's finally recognized as the lost cause it is.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 30, 2008 06:26 PM (HcgFD)


But you are forgetting about the titty bars.

New Orleans has some of the finest titty bars this side of Manila.

I like titty bars,

Posted by: Sam Hall at August 30, 2008 06:35 PM (/KF1A)

14 That simply isn't a statement made by anyone who understands the least bit about the geography, geology, hydrology, or any other hard-science -ology of the area.


From an engineering and meteorological stand point you may very well be right and I had similar thoughts in the wake of Katrina but  in this case I was thinking on a more human level. Perhaps I don't have a sufficiently vivid imagination but I have trouble imaging what it would be like to be someone who got through Katrina, rebuilt and now a short 3 years later having to face it all again.

I also don't remember storms of this magnitude hitting this area with this frequency in the past. I'm not saying it hasn't happen but it seems the odds are against it.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 30, 2008 06:40 PM (hlYel)


Truly potentially (probably) heart breaking for us down in New Orleans, and the predictions keep getting worse and worse.

 Maxxman, if you're in New Orleans then stop wasting time posting and get your ass out of there.

Posted by: Aaron at August 30, 2008 06:42 PM (2S1LU)

16 Amen

Posted by: Sam Hall at August 30, 2008 06:43 PM (/KF1A)


Here's a real-world thought problem for you morons.  I live in Long Beach, Mississippi, which is between Gulfport and Pass Christian.


Pretend you are me, with a wife and family.


Do I evacuate?



Posted by: Sam Hall at August 30, 2008 06:47 PM (/KF1A)

18 Uh yeah, Sam....go.  If nothing happens to your place, great!  If something does happen, it won't include the physical well-being of you and your family.

Posted by: Tami at August 30, 2008 06:54 PM (P3ErD)



I'm a former New Orleanian, and my wife is a meteorologist. See the previous hurricane posting for a serious rundown.

As far as Long Beach goes- you're on the periphery. If the path continues for the moment, you will be okay- but you're going to get a hell of a lot of storm surge. Out there by Gulfport, your winds are going to be southerly and southeasterly. If you live between the train tracks and the beach, I'd say you'd be smart to get the hell out of there.

The thing that bothers me is that the track is bending a bit back to the east. Sam, this is awfully close- I'd feel better if you got out of there. It's not as crucial as it would be if you lived in Bay St. Louis, but... again, check it out.


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 06:55 PM (Gz0u5)


But the storm might not come here.  Uprooting a family for more than a day is not simple.

Where can I go?  I have dogs I won't leave behind.

Posted by: Sam Hall at August 30, 2008 06:57 PM (/KF1A)


This is why McCain should have selected a Veep with relevant experience managing emergency preparations/operations and National Guard resources across a large geographical area.  Just imagine the well-thought-out, practical suggestions Joe Biden could offer up in this sort of crisis situation.

Posted by: Baron Von Ottomatic at August 30, 2008 06:57 PM (4ZOxD)


It’s almost inconceivable that everything that has been done to rebuild that area in the last 3 years may very well be blown away.

Moron blog indeed.  There's such a thing as trying too hard to be even-handed.  As pointed out above, it is below freaking sea level!, in a freaking hurricane zone!  Rebuilding with tax dollars at all, at that location, was a politically driven non-rational decision to begin with.

We ought to start a pool after Gustav on the date for the next one.

Posted by: Saladman at August 30, 2008 06:59 PM (+BoDD)

23 > I wonder how many more billions we'll piss away before it's finally recognized as the lost cause it is.

If we can put a man on the Moon we can build a city in a river delta. Seventy families of colonists and a multi-million-dollar atmosphere processor should be more than enough to get the ball rolling.

At least this time around the governor of Louisiana is someone who'll take some kind of mitigating action, instead of waiting to blame the Feds (and particularly their CEO) after the fact.

Posted by: The Chap in the Deerstalker Cap at August 30, 2008 07:00 PM (H1KQH)

24 Sam,

Yeah, you should. It looks like it's going to be ordered anyway:

Governor Haley Barbour issued mandatory evacuations for Harrison and Hancock counties beginning Sunday morning for people living the following:
· FEMA travel trailers.
· FEMA mobile homes.
· Mississippi Cottages.
· Residents in designated flood hazard zones.

If you're in the flood zone, you really need to go.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 30, 2008 07:02 PM (hlYel)

25 Sam, GO!  Pack up the family and the dogs and GO.  I'm in CT, or you'd be welcome here.  Any morons able to offer shelter..and maybe some vodka?

Posted by: Tami at August 30, 2008 07:04 PM (P3ErD)

26 Sam,

If you don't have any place to go, here's info on a local shelter that takes pets.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 30, 2008 07:07 PM (hlYel)


Hey, folks- let's do a bit of rumor control here.

First of all, if the current scenario holds, New Orleans is not going to get nailed.

Folks in Baton Rouge need to be more concerned at this point than New Orleanians do. That said, if you live along the I-10 corridor, you need to pack it up and move to higher ground. This is currently acting more like Hurricane Andrew back in 1992.

In New Orleans, we will see hurricane-force winds sustained. That does not mean we'll get the 150+ mph winds- that will only happen within the eyewall. We're going to be in the northeastern quadrant of the storm- the worst side of it- so tornadoes are a possibility, and WWL-TV is calling for 10-15" of rain.

As far as what has been previously predicted for New Orleans long-term- we know that. Christoph, Confederate Yankee- there's little debate that New Orleans is sinking. That said, there are many strategic reasons to maintain the port of New Orleans. As long as it remains a shipping and petroleum hub, it's going to require some significant infrastructure. Sorry, guys, but that's just the way it is. That's not going to just dry up and go away by 2040.

Would a direct hit sink New Orleans permanently? Possibly, maybe even probably. What we're seeing here is similar to 1965 and 1969, when hurricanes Betsy and Camille hit New Orleans and Pass Christian respectively.

Gustav is already being handled better than Katrina... so let's not worry for the moment about what the long-term tax ramifications are. Once this shit is past us, then we can start talking about what to build back up. But I will confidently predict to you that you're not going to see a nightmarish Katrina-like scenario unless you see a massive shift to the east in its track.


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 07:07 PM (Gz0u5)


I know I'm in the flood zone, but this is my home.  I made it through Katrina, so I'm not sure I need to go. 

Think about how you would feel about leaving your home forever, not knowing where you will wind up.

Posted by: Sam Hall at August 30, 2008 07:08 PM (/KF1A)


Sam- your best bet may be to check out places in Meridian, Natchez, Jackson, or even in Hattiesburg. The overriding majority of lodging in the area will take pets. And I know what you mean- I just got myself a 10-week-old bearded collie puppy.



Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 07:10 PM (Gz0u5)


Sam, my brother's house was pushed 7 feet off its foundations. You may be fine staying- but Sunday night into Monday will be the landfall of the storm. How close to the beach are you? Are you south of the train tracks?


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 07:11 PM (Gz0u5)

31 Think about how you'd feel if you stayed and something bad happened to you or your family.  Please Sam...think about the humans in your life, not the structures.  No one wants to lose their home, but I'd not want to lose my family trying to save my home.

Posted by: Tami at August 30, 2008 07:12 PM (P3ErD)


BTW- for sane wall-to-wall coverage of Gustav from a New Orleans perspective, you can pick it up online at - they're good folks and former colleagues of mine.

If you want the southwestern LA perspective, my old station in Lake Charles,, will be on the air wall-to-wall starting at noon tomorrow.

Sam- check out WLOX for the same. What do they have to say?


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 07:18 PM (Gz0u5)

33 You know knowing the way the MSM will cover it..maybe it's not such a bad thing if the convention is delayed or doesn't go on....but I'm no Michal Moore so I really do hope that this Hurricane fizzles before it hits...even if it means 4 nights of Chrissy Mathews and Keith"the new Murrow"Olbermann leading the bashing of Repulicans for the MSM.

Posted by: mlong at August 30, 2008 07:20 PM (VJzRF)



You're so right... but we'll see. Again, if this is handled better than Katrina (already happening), that will affect things in a very interesting way.


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 07:24 PM (Gz0u5)


I'm going at dawn, but I hate it.  Imagine leaving your home knowing it might not be there when you come back. 

Posted by: Sam Hall at August 30, 2008 07:27 PM (/KF1A)


Sam, I'm right there with you- the house I grew up in is very much in harm's way in Metairie. I have all kinds of friends in Slidell and Bay St. Louis, and it's going to be a long couple of days.

Thank you, though, for listening to us- we morons care about each other. Hug your dogs for me... I'm hugging mine right now.


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 07:33 PM (Gz0u5)

37 Sam,

You're doing the right thing. It must be a terrible feeling but God forbid something does happen to your home, nothing good will come of you being there if it does.

Stay safe and good luck.

Posted by: DrewM. at August 30, 2008 07:33 PM (hlYel)

38 I'm guarding the levees against Bush & Cheney.

Ah, no I am not. I'm in my million-dollar home writing shit for my next shitty "documentary."

Posted by: Spike Lee at August 30, 2008 07:34 PM (VDuLh)


Good decision and I know it's not an easy one. 

I have two dogs and a cat and I wouldn't leave mine behind either.

Good luck to all of you in harms way.




Posted by: Tami at August 30, 2008 07:38 PM (P3ErD)

40 I dedicate this song to Mr Moore

Posted by: David Ross at August 30, 2008 07:40 PM (mLibn)

41 Sam, houses can be rebuilt, lives can't. 

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 30, 2008 07:46 PM (6L459)

42 Thank you all for your kind thoughts.  I've found a landing pad well north of this trouble, and will be leaving at first light.  God be with those who stay behind.  I hope this storm fizzles.

Posted by: Sam Hall at August 30, 2008 07:49 PM (/KF1A)


I posted this in the other hurricane thread, but it bears repeating...

Please pray for the men and women of the Louisiana National Guard. One of my groomsmen is currently in Breaux Bridge, LA (that's near Lafayette), but 6000 LA Guardsmen have been deployed from Lake Charles thru Lafayette, on through Baton Rouge, and well into downtown New Orleans... particularly the 256th Infantry, the 2225th Engineers, and the 141st Field Artillery. I believe the 156th Armor Battalion are ramped up as well.


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 07:58 PM (Gz0u5)

44 God be with them.

Posted by: Sam Hall at August 30, 2008 08:07 PM (/KF1A)


BTW- watching WWL's coverage of this (the overnight anchor, Lee Zurik, and I were in elementary school together), the striking thing is the non-panicky but forceful unanimity of the local and state officials telling everyone to get out right f'ing now.

And WWL is outdoing themselves in terms of just putting out raw fact- no opinions. Bravo to them.


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 08:08 PM (Gz0u5)

46 May the LA National Guard be safe, and all those remaining in the path of the hurricane including those who have volunteered to serve, military and civilian.

Posted by: Christoph at August 30, 2008 08:19 PM (hawOV)


Damn, I just can't get to sleep. 

I've watched so many homes and businesses go back up since August 2005.  I can't stand the thought that they might be destroyed. 

Not now.  We're just getting back on our feet.

Posted by: Sam Hall at August 30, 2008 08:24 PM (/KF1A)

48 Sam, make damn sure you wake up on time if you sleep. Set every alarm you have and call a friend for a wake-up call.

Don't even sit down unless you have a plan to wake up.

Posted by: Christoph at August 30, 2008 08:32 PM (hawOV)



Remember as well that the storm is going to throw some water into your neck of the woods, and it's going to make a mess. But it should not affect the MS Gulf Coast in the same way Katrina did. That doesn't mean you take it lightly- you just get out of its way.

It is going to be okay- you've got an excellent state government there that has demonstrated quite ably that it can handle the situation from 2005. All they've done is refine it. The casinos came back, the businesses came back, Keesler regained flight operations within 24 hours of landfall.

The Gulfport-Biloxi area will take a hit, but not like it did unless the storm veers 100-200 mi to its right. All you're doing is making sure that you aren't directly in its path.

Keep the faith, my friend. Now make for damn sure you get some sleep and wake up on time. Contraflow begins at 4 AM.

Go to bed!!!


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 08:47 PM (Gz0u5)

50 So how exactly are they enforcing the evac?  How do they stop looters citizens from saying behind to steal protect their homes?

Posted by: Bender Bending Rodriguez at August 30, 2008 08:59 PM (1z2o+)

51 God bless you, Sam Hall, and all your family and friends.
I'm in Florida and I've seen what bad storms can do.
Stay safe.
Stay dry.
And one way or the other I wish you nothing but the best.

Here's to hoping Gustav doesn't turn into the monster the predictions indicate!!

Posted by: Nom de Blog at August 30, 2008 09:04 PM (14k+t)

52 Oh sure, now New Orleans is ready, is evacuating ahead of time, and telling people not to hang around waiting for The Government Man to intervene & make everything better. Better late than never, I guess, right?

Posted by: exdem13 at August 30, 2008 09:18 PM (fenBi)


Bender, the 141st Field Artillery and 256th Infantry from the Louisiana Guard are buttressing an extra couple of hundred State Police. They have been deputized (I don't know what the legalese is on it, but Jindal and Bush collaborated on that) and have all the powers of State Police in this.

I don't know what rules of engagement are, but you may safely assumer it's going to be a weapons-free situation.


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 30, 2008 09:55 PM (Gz0u5)

54 "I don't know what rules of engagement are, but you may safely assumer it's going to be a weapons-free situation."

Well, I certainly hope artillery isn't required.

Posted by: Christoph at August 30, 2008 10:25 PM (hawOV)


If Gustav does run over New Orleans, I hope to gawd that we're (the US) smart enough not to try to rebuild a city below sea level for a third time.

If someone wants to build a city at the bottom of the Gulf, they should do it with private money.

Posted by: bcismar at August 30, 2008 10:51 PM (GvB2v)

56 To understand the problem, go stand on the levee next to the Cafe du Monde and look at the river on one side, and the French Quarter significantly lower than the river on the other side.  When it rains, the city has to pump water uphill to get it to the river.  They don't bury people in graves in the ground because the coffins would be pushed up to the surface by the water level.  People are "buried" above ground.  If you fly over New Orleans you are struck by how the city is surrounded by water, and how little dry land there is.  Best of luck to all Ace of Spades morons in and near N.O.  Stay safe.

Posted by: Hammer at August 30, 2008 11:09 PM (QtO87)

57 Drew M:  They have had severe storms in the past (1900 Galviston, 1920 Labor Day, Camilla), but 1) the coast line was not as heavily populated as it is now.  Remember, prior to affordable AC (essentially post WWII) most of the Gulf Coast was not thickly inhabited; and 2) we didn't have the kind of 24/7 coverage throughout the nation in the past that we have now.   NO has been subsiding as well as losing its barrier marshland; it's becoming more and more vulnerable with each passing year and there really isn't anything that can be done about that.

Posted by: rabidfox at August 30, 2008 11:17 PM (AIVrP)

58 Its hard to trust the US National Weather Service.  Local industry hires meteorologist to predict hurricaine tracts and landfall.  They are right more often than the weather service.  The thinking is that the weather service allways skews the tract toward the larger population centers in case it does happen to go there they have been given warning.  Thats why hurricaines allways seem to be heading for New Orleans or Mobile.  The downside has been that year after year N.O. has been told that "this is the big one", only to see nothing happen.  Hell, Katrina didn't hit NO, it missed it to the east.  NO flooded only because the levees were not worth a shit. 

Posted by: Hammer at August 30, 2008 11:18 PM (QtO87)



I lived in St. Bernard all my life, except for six months in Spring Hill, FL.  It was so hard to walk away, wondering what we would come back to three years ago. I have a house north of Hammond now, but  I go back and forth between St. B and here.  I am so freaked out right now, and I am usually pretty stable.  It's debilitating to watch it all happen, all over again.  Even if the storm stays on its current track and misses the city, we're pretty much guaranteed a huge storm surge again, and more flooding.

It's really easy to say that NO is a lost cause, don't throw money at it, etc., but when it's your entire life, and everything you've ever known, it's a lot easier said than done.  When NO was built, of course no one knew what the area would be like today.  When my family moved here, two gens ago, no one knew how erosion and sinkage would eat away at the surrounding area.  So we all settled in and lived our lives.  Now, we're supposed to be able to look back and see what a bad idea it all was, but it's not just cut and dried like that.

Sam, timi3rd, you know how this goes, along with anyone else familiar with the area.  I can't imagine never seeing any of it again.  It's hard enough that my elementary school was recently torn down. my high school is not far behind, and so many familiar places are not so familiar anymore.

Good luck, Sam, and I know if you were still online you'd wish us all the same.  You be safe, along with anyone else in the area.  I have a house full of people, more expected tomorrow, and am just glad to be able to offer an alternative to hours and hours and hours and hours and hours (memories of Katrina evacuation) of driving to those I can.  I don't even know some of the people coming, but that's how these things happen sometimes...

Posted by: LickyLicky at August 30, 2008 11:49 PM (RWIot)

60 A former New Orleans Resident, (before Katrina), I can tell you why New Orleans is where it is. it's the easiest way to get into the Mighty Mississippi. The Mouth was always silted over and hard to find. Meanwhile you can sail right into Ponchartrain, which is a giant estuary, basically, and have a real tiny portage over to the River. Canal Street was originally going to be an actual canal from the Lake to the River. Never completed though. Funny enough -- that geographic reality hasn't really changed much since the early 1700's. As noted above, it's a major transport center, a rail-river-sea hub. That's geographic reality and probably won't change any time soon. Lots of East New Orleans, and other places though, are probably gone. Such as Lakefront (million dollar homes, equivalent to $25 million homes in Malibu), or Mid-City, or Treme. Ironically, high ground is by the river.

Posted by: Whiskey at August 30, 2008 11:56 PM (4878o)

61 Maybe some people will realize after this that most of the Katrina fiasco wasn't the federal government's (Bush's) fault.

Posted by: Ralph L at August 31, 2008 03:21 AM (vuppY)



As much as this proud son of Jefferson Parish hates to say it--head north.  I'm in Houston and still taking a hard look at my hurricane kit, evac plan, etc.  just in case Gus takes a swing at us. 

We're hearing in Houston that there a lots of shelters taking pets and making clear that they are doing so.  Also, a lot more hotels are taking pets  than they used to and the web can be a great source ("advanced search" tools on the hilton and holiday inn websites can show which hotels will take pets(...I've learned this over the past couple years travelling with my dog-crazy wife. 

I hope everything goes okay for you and yours and that your in your fellow Morons thoughts.


Posted by: BLU 666 at August 31, 2008 03:52 AM (A8ews)


Thank you all for your kind words.  My late-night obsessing seems rather fatuous to me now.  I'm headed out the door.


Thanks again for the emotional support.  It means more than you might think.

Posted by: Sam Hall at August 31, 2008 04:18 AM (/KF1A)

64 I think there's a lesson here.  The people of New Orleans have again placed their faith in government to save them from what is at least a risky, arguably stupid decision to build their homes below sea level.  The Army Corps of Engineers and the whole civil service might have done a great job - give them a 99 on the test, but one bad levee and you're underwater.  Somehow, I don't give any large organization a 99.

When you choose to depend on the very folks who brought us the TSA, ICE, BATF, the FBI (google Hatfill or Jewell) for your health, or your life, you are taking more than a prudent risk.  The state and local governments are worse.  These are all large organizations full of imperfect humans who mostly do a good job.  Water, however, always flows to the lowest spot. 

I'm praying for all of the residents.  It is going to turn out badly, if not this time, then later.  If we had a government that cared more about doing its job than politics, the adults would have said no to rebuilding the first time.  It's like flood insurance.  People flooded once by rising rivers suffer tragedy.  The second or third time, there's another name for it.

Posted by: MarkD at August 31, 2008 05:43 AM (qZFLO)

65 This is the storm of the century

Well... I guess overdoing it on the side of concern makes up for not giving a crap or doing a thing the last storm that came by.

I gotta repeat my statement though: what moron builds an entire city on mud, partly below sea level in the middle of the hurricane superhighway?

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at August 31, 2008 06:38 AM (0+Ggj)

66 I'm in Mobile, well east of the cone for this one.  However, even if it were drawing a bead on us, I would stay.  I live in a very well built, two-story brick house on some of the highest ground in the city. 

I am a project manager for a company based in NOLA.  We are federal contractors, and have large contracts with the Corps.  We're also a "small business," meaning the big guys are calling us and offering subcontracts so they can make their small business subcontracting goals. 

Hurricanes and other natural disasters are tragic, but they are part of living in paradise.  I pray that this storm takes no human toll whatsoever, but I also look forward to a very profitable next few months, as we work the debris and blue-roof circuit.

When the storm passes, I'm headed over to the heavy equipment yard and paying cash for two excavators, two skid steer loaders and grapple buckets.  Then, I'm inking a deal with a roll-on / roll-off container company to provide trucks, containers and drivers.  When the government gives me the go-ahead, I'll have more than $1 million in yellow iron and supplies headed west on I-10.

Posted by: GulfCoastBamaFan at August 31, 2008 06:53 AM (1kWdt)

67 I can't wait for this storm to hit so my taxes can pay for people to move back to what is obviously a bad place to live. But I guess as long as the federal government (i.e. you and me) will pay people to rebuild in the same lowlands over and over again we'll just have to keep raising taxes to pay for it. I don't want to see a single person die from this storm. With the forewarning we get in this age of technology we should see almost no deaths. But people will stay, for whatever reason. And many will die. It isn't good enough to say "I have no place to go." If you have a way to get out (road, rail, air, boat, bus, national guard convoy) then you should be gone. A house is only a home when you and your family LIVE to make it so. Please don't misconstrue me as cold-hearted. I'm simply able to temper my compassion with my common sense. Good luck to all.

Posted by: Joe at August 31, 2008 07:12 AM (mtKSE)


Posted by: Christopher Taylor at August 31, 2008 11:38 AM (0+Ggj)

When this city was built, hundreds of years ago, who knew? Once people establish their lives, how do you just pick up and walk away?  If you found out, as a kid, that the place where you live was prone to say, sinkholes, that happened years and years apart and didn't do a whole lot of damage for the most part but mostly made life inconvenient, would you move?  Would you, as an adult, pick up and move away from everything you've ever known, everything familiar to you, because of something that might happen in 10 or 20 or 30 years?

I understand, don't get me wrong. I always say that a crouton in a bowl is the highest point in the bowl, but once you fill the bowl, the crouton still goes under. I understand the illogical decisions people make.

You need to understand it's not so easy to walk away from everything you know. Sell your home, change jobs, move your kids from their schools and friends, leave your friends, family who want to stay behind, change your entire lifestyle for something that might happen years down the line. The last time St. Bernard flooded before Katrina was almost 40 years ago. That's half a lifetime! Half a life of living in a wonderful place with everything I know.

Besides, where do I move?  North, for ice storms, east for more hurricanes and those actual sinkholes in Florida? The east coast, which also has hurricanes, West, for earthquakes? Mid-America for tornado alley?  The northern plains, which also flood like we just got finished seeing on the news a few months back?  Where do I go? We're not the only place that got Fed aid to rebuild, we were just a spectacle that made it look so much worse that it was, coupled with users and losers who took and took and never gave back.

Posted by: LickyLicky at August 31, 2008 07:15 AM (RWIot)

69 LickyLicky, the answer is, yeah, I'd go.

However, I'm not attached to a piece of land, certainly not one below sea level.

Humans are a migrant species. Out of Africa, and all that. Going to the New World from the Old. Heading to NYC. Joining the navy. Whatever!

For fuck sakes, it's just stupid to throw good money after bad at the risk of your family's lives.

IT IS that easy. We have trucks and airplanes for Christ sakes. It's not even the late 1800s. You say... "Hmmmm... looks like we have to uproot and start again. We'll stay together and we'll look at it as an adventure. So whadya say, folks? Alaska? Cali? Hawaii? Nebraska? What about Texas?"

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 07:48 AM (hawOV)

70 Jonah, NRO: "My only point is that Commander of the Alaska National Guard sounds defensive and lame. It sounded defensive and lame when Bill Clinton bragged about his role as the Commander of the Arkansas national guard too. " Power (abstracted) desires that the President should be able to call up an individual State's National Guard without the approval of the Governor of that State. The Katrina response made that clear. There was essentially no reinforcement of the intended division of power from the media or government institutions. I consider that division to be an important check on power in our Constitutional structure, and I appreciate that Palin has emphasized it.

Posted by: LiveFreeOrDie at August 31, 2008 07:54 AM (4HuGv)

71 Me and mine are either out of the way aready or are about to leave.

Posted by: cybrludite at August 31, 2008 07:55 AM (PsJDn)

72 Be safe, cybrludite.

Posted by: Christoph at August 31, 2008 08:05 AM (hawOV)

73 Also in Mobile - looks like we're dodging another bullet.  I've been reading Ace longer than I've lived here, and already this is the third major hurricane we've had to prepare for.  This time I'm in a wooden 1928 Craftsman style cottage - just moved in last month, now I guess I'll get to see how well it'll hold up.

Posted by: Mary at August 31, 2008 08:46 AM (SN8y6)

74 Joe, unfortunately it's a spot that needs to be there. Unless we reactivate Operation Plowshare, the Mississippi is going to reach the gulf via the Louisiana swamps. Whether that's through New Orleans or Morgan City, either city will be vulnerable to Hurricanes.

Posted by: cybrludite at August 31, 2008 09:38 AM (PsJDn)


Some damn good news, folks...

Intensity is down to 115 mph. That's still a Category 3 storm, but just barely. The eyewall is ragged and decentralized, and that's got to re-form before the storm can strengthen more.

What we're looking for (as ably mentioned by Brendan Loy over at Pajamas) is for the pressure (currently 960 mb) to stay there. A massive drop in pressure would mean a re-strengthening of the storm.

Without putting in eye-glazing detail, the storm has a few things working against it. It's in a high shear environment (Piglatin for unfavorable strengthening), it's getting over cooler water, and it's getting close enough to begin interacting with land (currently 270 mi southeast of the mouth of the river, moving NE at 15 mph).

The problematic part is still the landfall- right now, the models have it going in at Terrebonne Bay.

If it jogs slightly to the right, it'll wind up in Barataria Bay- the worst possible situation for New Orleans. If it jogs slightly to the left, it'll push more towards Atchafalaya Bay and be a better situation for NO. There is some slight indication to the latter- keep your fingers crossed. No ill will against the folks in Houma and Morgan City, but...

The other thing to note about these models is that a fair number of them having the storm get to us in Dallas as a depression, then bringing some much-needed rain to central Texas- keep your fingers crossed.

So, to sum up- we're hoping for a slight jog to the west, along with minimal strengthening. Today has been a good day so far- let's keep the faith.

Next post talks about the pros and cons of rebuilding...


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 31, 2008 09:47 AM (Gz0u5)


Okay, now onto the rebuilding element...

There have been a number of intelligent efforts to protect the city from hurricanes. The most noteworthy happened right after Betsy in 1965, which proposed floodgates to close off the east end of Lake Ponchartrain in the event of a storm... authored by the Johnson administration. This, along with several other good efforts, were derailed by environmentalists. I'll find some links and put them up... the Times-Picayune website is not always the easiest to find this stuff on.

The funny thing about it is, New Orleans draws far fewer hurricanes than you'd think. The Biloxi to Pensacola stretch draws far more hurricanes than New Orleans does... and Lafayette tends to get hit most often, at least in my lifetime. We've been edged by many- LickyLicky has actually had it tougher living in St. Bernard. Licky, I used to date a girl in Yscloskey... you know how far the hell that is out there.

As far as abandoning it goes- it isn't just a question of finding new work. It's a question of one's home, and a genuine feeling of cultural identity. You don't find it in many cities in the US, but you know it when you've got it. You don't really belong elsewhere in the country... you can't put your finger on why, but you don't.

The strategic reasons for New Orleans being where it is have already been laid out- we don't need to rehash those. The short end of it is, New Orleans will not be abandoned. There are any number of reasons for it to continue, and many are quite pragmatic. Where you've got a presence of significant industry, you're going to have to have a certain amount of city. I don't blame anyone for feeling like you're throwing your tax money into a large hole in the ground, but... back to the whole shit sandwich argument.

It is my hope that, in the next decade, we'll finally get the things we need to protect the city of New Orleans from hurricanes on a level that the Dutch and the Japanese have managed to work out. Part of that will require serious housecleaning on the state and local levels- it's being worked on.

To close, living in New Orleans is a lot like living anywhere else with significant natural threats. In the West, you have wildfires and earthquakes. In the Midwest, you have monster tornadoes. In the Upper Midwest, and along the Great Lakes, you have massive snowstorms. And even our mighty New York has been struck directly by hurricanes- go back to 1938 and read some of the descriptions of the Long Island hurricane... NYC is long overdue for their next one, and it wouldn't take a Category 5 hurricane to do some serious damage.

Hell, you could abandon NO, and the fishermen would return... along with the oil workers... and slowly but surely, you'd see the city work on rebuilding itself. It's the nature of people to defend their homes- rationally or irrationally.


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 31, 2008 10:02 AM (Gz0u5)

77 I wonder if anyone suggested that Galveston be abandoned in 1900?

Posted by: mpur at August 31, 2008 10:23 AM (IYv7W)


Goddamn... I'm listening to Bobby Jindal's press conference from earlier today where he's talking about the deployment of the Guard forces and the things that are going on to make sure that the evacuees get the help they need and can return after the storm.

The man is a peripheral friend of the family, and I am so proud of him and his work that I could pop.


Posted by: tmi3rd at August 31, 2008 11:21 AM (Gz0u5)


Besides, where do I move?

You move a few miles inland, where the Atlantic Ocean WON'T be in 10 years.

Posted by: The Band at August 31, 2008 11:52 AM (XsVqe)

80 Galveston wasn't abandoned in 1900, but before the hurricane that city was well on its way to becoming one of the nation's major cities. After the hurricane, all the big investors and developers went elsewhere, like Dallas and Houston, and its growth was severely restricted, making it a minor (though I assume nice) city.

If you think about it, New Orleans is the same way. Its geography severely limits its growth and as a result the only thing the city has to offer is a bunch of drunken college girls flashing their tits once a year.

Posted by: Aaron at August 31, 2008 01:36 PM (2S1LU)


Ok, for the idiots who "hope for the best" and hope that it goes west of New Orleans...who lives there? WE LIVE THERE!! Not only is it devistating to hear that a hurricane is coming this way, let alone hit New Orelans, but to hear you people talk about hoping it hits to the west of New Orleans.  Ok, so let's say your prayers are that puts New Orleans on the EAST side, the worst possible side of the hurricane, then what? We'll still here about how ONLY THREE YEARS ago Katrina devistated New Orleans , and to be down right honest, I felt compassion for New Orelans residents who lost their homes and businesses. BUT, just like in any other situation.... some people take advantage of help and expect more. There were New Orleans refugees spending FEMA money on jewlery, alcohol, etc. GIVE ME A BREAK. Not only that...the crime rate increased in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles and even Houston! SO, let's say if the hurriane hits in the "less populated areas" such as Lake Charles, Cameron, or Sabine Pass, LA...then what? Is that the "better" place for it to hit? HELL NO! I LIVE THERE! My family, who was devastated by RITA, lives there. They have rebuilt, not completely, but they have done what they could and have NOT complained about the government's lack of assistance.

And for the guy who said that N.O. would rebuild starting with the have never spoken more true words, the fisherman will return....they WILL WORK and they WILL make their income by WORKING...not by sitting on the porch waiting for the GOVERNMENT to send them a check for their lazy asses. WORK, for what you have. WORK for what you need and WORK for what you want. The government will help you, when you need it. The fisherman did return and did start working, but obviously the fish did not return. So, the fisherman are out there working but there's no fish to be caught. I'll be damned if the fisherman quit, or ask for money.

And for all you people who are saying that YOUR taxes are helping to rebuild New Orleans? Have you ever been threatened by a natural disaster? Have you ever been told to leave your home of many years and relocate? After you have lived in an area that you call home, after you have raised your family in an area that may be on a higher scale for hurricanes or tornados...did you consider leaving? Maybe you did. But for those who have NEVER experienced the disaster of a natural catastrophe..come to Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama or Texas and experience it first hand. Put your money, taxes and hard work into the area and see how you feel when someone tells you that you have to evacuate and leave it all that behind!  So, feel free, come on down and get a first hand experience....we'd love the help!


Posted by: Rebecca at August 31, 2008 03:44 PM (VO+Jt)

82 Made it from Biloxi out to Pensacola, out of the cone, we should see strong winds and a little rain, but we should be OK. Interesting trying to get out on US 90, it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be.

Shortest vacation ever - we got the word to evacuate 24 hours after checking in.

It may hit as a category 2 now - but it looks like it is going right for Houma and Morgan City.

Posted by: Francase at August 31, 2008 08:53 PM (eJ8Ob)

83 Dude. People knew that New Orleans area flooded all the time and was hurricane prone since the 1700s. This wasn't something that suddenly became clear after the city was built up into the millions, there's no secret to it. They built gigantic walls to keep the sea out on purpose, it's not like one night the ocean snuck up on them.

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