August 28, 2005

Katrina the Monster

Well, I have spent most of the day truly sick over this. Completely and totally sick. It may seem absurd to some of you, but I am from Pensacola. I lived three hours from the area targeted to take this hit for over 10 years of my life… the most formative years at that.

And lest y’all think I’m being flippant in any of this… I feel like I have a horse in this race. A friend of the family is a doctor in New Orleans. You can’t evac critically ill patients. People stay… nurses, doctors… hospital staff. He is there for the long haul and he’s not living in some utopic bubble. He’s a smart man. He fully comprehends what could happen to him… to them.

I am sick for my folks… sick with worry that they could feel more than I want them to. I don’t want them to feel ANY OF IT. They’ve had Ivan and Dennis. I worry about tornadoes spawned off in their direction. They are ready… they are prepared, but I am nervous for them again. I think if it changes course and comes East… like it was supposed to hit me in Palm Beach County, but then went 90 miles South and hit Miami… if it goes those 90 miles East… I cannot even go there.

According to Jeff Masters, Katrina is so big, she has taken on a life of her own. She is a Monster in her own right.

And my Mom is sick about the people of New Orleans and ALL the neighboring areas. This isn’t just New Orleans… this is Southern Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama. Mobile is an hour from my folks… they’re expecting a 12 foot storm surge in Mobile. She and I talk, watching the TVs from our respective homes, horrified by what is before us.

As The Great Omnipotent One says, “I'm afraid we're about to witness the greatest human catastrophe this country has ever been part of in a short period of time. It'll rival some of the wars that have been fought.”

I was talking to my Mom on the phone… she worked in the mental health profession for years before retiring. She brought up a point I had not thought of.

So… who exactly is in the Super Dome right now? The poorest of the poor in New Orleans and the middle class and wealthy tourists who could not get out. The down trodden and forgotten of the Big Easy… some of them just down on their luck while others are drunks or drug abusers… mixed in with tourists, some of whom probably have children with them. All put together into a big Dome to hopefully live through a Cat 5 hurricane… at best a Cat 4.

It’s going to be hot. It’s going to be dark. It’s going to stink. The children will be loud and they will be afraid. And all through it… in corners here and there… will be random people suffering from the DTs. Oh yes, I’m sure they’ll have some drugs or some booze with them, but overall? That’ll run out.

And it’s not just for a few hours. That Dome WILL take in water. It’s just a matter of how much. And as the city lies under 20-25 feet of water, with sewage, chemical waste, fire ants, snakes, gators, bodies (they don’t bury their dead… they’re all above ground cemeteries… water table is too high) and the like… how long will it take before someone can get them out? And where will they all go?

It could be days. DAYS of hot, smelly, scared, angry people. DAYS of the mentally ill mixed with the substance abusers, sometimes one and the same, the poor who have always just gotten by, and tourists who’ve never been through a Tropical Depression let alone a Cat 5 Hurricane, who are used to staying in Marriotts and Hiltons, now holed up in the Super Dome.

And I keep going over the structural integrity of that Dome, built according to Laughing Wolf in the early 70s. Perhaps it was made to withstand a Cat 5, but at what level? A Cat 5 starts at 155 mph. What if this is 175? 20mph is about the range of an entire Category. Can it take that? And did they cut corners when they built it?

It has been running through my mind all day. I’m a wreck. People are going to die. And if that doesn’t bother you… think of a city 3 hours from you… one you’ve lived next to your entire life… and then picture it… gone. And the people either suffering greatly or dead. Now expand that to all the neighboring towns of that city... for another 100 miles. And the suffering that will be endured... and most definitely more death. That pretty much sums it up. Gut wrenching.

Posted by Boudicca at August 28, 2005 09:29 PM | TrackBack

You describe my thoughts and feelings about this. I know people there. I know people who have left their homes and belongings, as well as their "lives" behind to head north. Most of those I know are safe, but there are so many left behind.

From what I'm seeing, there's a good chance Katrina will lose some wind speed between landfall and NOLA. Every little bit helps. Maybe it will "only" be a CAT 4 when it hits the city. Maybe...

I also see the National Guard is checking for drugs, weapons, alcohol, and other contraband. That is why it's taking so long to get people inside.

In order to bring medication in, people have to have the prescription bottles and a picture ID to match.

I'm worried about their safety, as well as food and water. They were told to bring five days worth of food and water. From the pictures on FoxNews, most have a blanket, but little more than the clothes on their backs. No food. No water.

They keep asking the reporters interviewing them if there is food inside.

God Bless them all.

Posted by: Christina at August 28, 2005 09:50 PM

I've spent good portions of today checking on people I know that live in New Orleans. When you live in a place long enough, you know people in all the surrounding areas.

All those folks in the SuperDome with the DTs. It's going to be pandemonium. Not to mention all the predators and flat out evil people.

Posted by: Bou at August 28, 2005 10:09 PM

My prayers are with the folks going through this ordeal. Today I stumbled across a website at which supports the brave people facing Hurricane Katrina. Others have posted letters of support on the site as well.

Posted by: george at August 29, 2005 02:20 AM

I woke up this morning, dreading what I would see. And I have no words for it.

Posted by: vw bug at August 29, 2005 06:43 AM

I can only say that things have so far turned out better than I expected for my beloved New Orleans. However, there will be a lot of changes in that beautiful old city. It will still be a day or two, perhaps a week or more before we will all find out just how bad things really are. My husband and I fell in love on the streets of the French Quarter and return there whenever we can. We both looked at each other with sorrow yesterday as Katrina aimed right at the place we hold so dear.

They were spared the brunt of the storm and that is good. I'm sorry that Covington, Gulfport, Biloxi and Mobile got so much of it, however, I believe that they will be able to recover from it without as much horror as was predicted for the direct hit to the bowl of New Orleans. God bless all of those affected.

I believe that all of us along the Gulf Coast (I am in SW Houston) should all be prepared for a new dawning in the weather to come in particular the hurricanes. Did any of you see "The Day After Tomorrow"? Yeah, maybe a little extremem and all in all not a great movie, but the idea of the changing weather patterns really got to me and I'm not a "tree-hugging liberal". Perhaps this is all happening in slow motion - this is the preamble to what it to come. The storms are coming more quickly and more furiously. We must all be ready and vigilant. There are people that probably were not prepared at all so far inland that will be suffering from the effects of a Cat 2 or 3 storm. The National Weather Bureau or the Hurricane Center or whomever needs to get out on the airwaves telling everyone that this is not an anomaly - this is real. The tides are changing literally and we must all be prepared.

I can't even fathom what the people in the Super Dome must be enduring. Besides the fear and the general "yuck" of it. The danger is also there. Perhaps they will be able to leave there and go to other places in the next couple of days, but we won't know that for a while.

Posted by: Momotrips at August 29, 2005 01:57 PM