Tuesday, August 30, 2005
New Orleans Levee Break Update
WWLTV has a blog for further updates:
7:59 P.M. - Mayor Nagin: Pumps at 17th street canal has failed and water will continue pouring into the city. Nine feet of water is expected on St. Charles Avenue that will be nine feet high. Water is expected to spread throughout the east bank of Orleans and possibly Jefferson Parish.How are they going to get people out of the Superdome?
6:41 P.M. - Efforts to stop the levee break at the 17th Street Canal have ended unsuccessfully and the water is expected to soon overwhelm the pumps in that area, allowing water to pour into the east bank of Metairie and Orleans to an expected height of 12-15 feet.
4:21 P.M. - WWL-TV Reporter quotes officials as saying there may now be 60,000 people in the Superdome and that more people are still being urged to go there.They are trying to figure out how to evacuate the prisons, etc. They are ignoring corpses and looking for the living. From Lucianne.com, there may be an effort to get people with boats in there:
Everybody who can get to a flatbottom boat and move towards the city is asked to go to a local Walmart for further rescue planning. Imagine. I didn't hear whether they would need to get there by water but it seems likely. This area is going to turn into the worst sort of jungle very soon. I'm not sure it won't be too dangerous for the average citizen in a couple of days. How many boats does the National Guard have? They need to start removing people ASAP. All of them. If the mayor says it's "unimagineable" we have a problem.Florida Cracker thinks the situation in the Superdome is bound to get nasty.
I read somewhere that the helicopters are picking people up and plunking them on levees to wait for the National Guard. As for those who are being snarky about people not heeding evacuation orders, snap out of your fog of complacency. Some stayed because they had no way to get out. In cities you don't need to own a car. Some had no money for gas and a hotel. Some stayed to take care of the old or ill for whom evacuation was likely to be too risky. Some were doctors, nurses, police, fireman, dispatchers, engineers, in charge of facilities, etc. They stayed to do their duties.
For the rest of the country, it is time to count our blessings and shell out the cash. Give until it hurts, because believe me it will not hurt you as bad as it is hurting them.
Michelle Malkin had a link to a pro-looting DU thread....
See this Daily Kos thread:
What I am going to say now is that there are thousands who are dying and dead. They will be scandal and rioting and rightly so in my opinion as the "Negroes" of New Orleans and tourists were left to drown. And that's what happened to a lot of people but the news media and the public is slow to announce and realize the obvious.
I am not going to apologize for being perceptive and reading between the lines. If you can't see that the poor people were herded into the unsafe Superdome because no one cares about them then that is not a problem I can address.
And if you had ever lived there you would know the economic conditions that the black population in New Orleans. The public school system is crap and if you can't get a private school education, you might as well kiss any future goodbye. You obviously don't understand the economic disparity that continues between the races in that city. We are seriously talking about third world conditions for many of the blacks who live there (and I am not exaggerating).
For one thing, everything is slanted to the haves. e.g. renters rights. In any other state in the country, if there is a problem with the house/apartment you are renting, you can withhold your rent until it is fixed. In Louisiana, it is ILLEGAL to withhold your rent. Yes, ILLEGAL. If you withhold your rent, they evict you - and we are not talking about the whole 30 days to get out most of the country has. You get 5 days notice of a court hearing at which point, if you don't have the money to pay, you have 24 hours to get out or the land lord can seize everything (And I have seen the actual court proceedings 50+ times. There is no mercy). So, what happens if you do have a problem with your apartment. You have to notify your land lord. The landlord has 30 days to make a "good faith" effort to fix the problem (I'll get to the good faith part a little later). Once the landlord has made a good faith effort to fix the problem, he has another 90 days to actually fix the problem. If after 90 days he has not fixed the problems, you can then make a complaint to the housing board. Your complaint will be heard in about 60-90 days. Once the housing board has heard your complaint, and IF they agree that the problem has not been fixed, the landlord is required to fix the problem within another 90 days. You are talking about upwards of 10 months to get the problem fixed. By that time usually the landlord has not renewed your lease anyway. How do I know this process? I have been through it. I FELL THROUGH MY BATHROOM FLOOR TO THE GROUND UNDERNEATH BECAUSE THE FLOOR GAVE OUT. The landlords good faith effort to fix it? He put a piece of plywood down over top of it. Nothing else, just plywood. I fought him for 7 months until I finally gave up. Now, imagine if I gave up, an ivy league educated and currently in law school person, what it would be like for someone with a GED. When I worked for the NO Bar Association, I saw a lot of other good faith efforts. No windows? Landlord puts up black plastic bags. You can't keep any valuables in your house when you only have black plastic bags. Toilet not working because the pipes are broken? $20 portable chemical toilet from wal-mart used by hunters. Toilet backing up with sewage seeping on to your floor? A mop and a bucket. Your roof leaking? A $15 blue tarp from wal-mart. Which, of course, blows off with every thunderstorm.
Is it like the French revolution? Possibly. But only because they have been told to eat cake. If the law dosen't respect you, you don't respect the law.
None of this surprises me. Looting by the cops or by citizens. Unless you have lived there, you really can't understand how it all works there. Many times, when the cops bust drug dealers, they just take the drugs and sell it themselves.
You have to remember, this is a state where the governor was indicted for corruption and was still re-elected. He is now in a federal prison. 4 out of 5 insurance commissioners were indicted for fraud. 4 judges while I was there were indicted for taking bribes. And, the entire car inspection division (800 people) were arrested for taking bribes.
I saw multiple accounts of the same Walmart incident. They had radioed that they were going to open the Walmart to distribute food and water, and then things let loose. But as you point out, New Orleans is known to have official corruption problems. There is going to be civil disorder in a city without power and water and communications.
That doesn't excuse people breaking into jewelry stores and the like, but I think the situation will get much worse as people panic.
I do want to say that sleazy landlords, corrupt police and paid-off officials are not confined to New Orleans. I have run into them elsewhere!
There is actually "accepted" ways to bribe judges there. You go to a campaign fundraiser (all state judges are elected). While shaking his hand, you put a campaign contribution in his other hand (unmarked envelope). The judge puts it in his coat pocket. The legal limit for a contribution is FAR exceeded, but since there is no name on the envelope, the judge has no way of "returning" the additional funds.
And no, there is no excuse for the looting (other than food and water. If any of us had no food or water, we would all loot). Looting jewelry stores is wrong, but it does not surprise me a bit. I am still amazed that my apartment was never broken into down there. I loved NO, but the crime was horrendous. At 10 in the morning, I caught a guy clipping the lock on my bike. I chased him down in the street and made a citizens arrest (yeah, I know not smart but I couldn't afford a new bike). My upstairs neighbors were mugged on our front door step by 2 12 year olds with a nine millimeter. There get away vehicle was a huffy.
The last police commissioner did a good job of starting to clean up the police force, but he is actually Atlanta's police commissioner now. Before him, the starting salary for a cop was $12,000 a year. On duty police were actually guarding drug stashes for the criminals.
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