Tuesday, August 30, 2005


The Associated Press just issued an urgent, citing an emergency management official for the now-confirmed "more than 100 dead in the Biloxi-Gulfport area of Mississippi."

Right now, who knows how many perished in New Orleans and the rest of southeastern Louisiana. Given the population density and the breadth of damage, it's hard to believe that toll won't be in the hundreds.

The governor of Louisiana wants a complete evacuation of New Orleans. Her face blank with shock, Kathleen Blanco said the situation is "untenable ... "It's just heartbreaking."

We can expect tent cities, refugees, images of misery. We've already had plenty of that last category, and it's only Tuesday.

Rescue dominates the current mission. Recovery -- the delicate word for the rounding up of corpses -- hasn't happened yet. The living souls in New Orleans are too busy trying to stay alive.

This evening, an attempt to plug the breech in a canal at the Hammond Highway bridge has failed. Water could rise to 3 feet above sea level -- or as high as 15 feet in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. Anyone still alive in the attic of their flooded home might be overwhelmed.

We started this post fully expecting to ask whether the media will show graphic images of bodies, as they did during the 2004 tsunami. We were then going to wonder why President Bush didn't show public leadership today, when the storm's damage became apparent, and whether he planned to repeat his tsunami performance by keeping quiet until forced to speak.

But screw that noise. It ought to matter, but it doesn't. Tonight some people who survived the storm's first blast will die in the dirty water engulfing a great American city.

No comments: