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Many Victims of Katrina Have Themselves To Blame

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When the Boxing Day tsunami hit Southeast Asia late last year the whole world was shocked and visibly shaken. So many innocent people lost their lives. Fingers were pointed at the world community for not having an inexpensive early warning system. That kind of blame is good, because one will certainly be purchased now. Not one victim was warned about the impending doom that came that day. All victims were innocent.

I hate to be so insensitive with what I am about to say, but someone must say this.

Many of Katrina’s victims had fair warning and have only themselves to blame for their own death.

Please note that I said “some” and not “all”.

Many poor, mentally and physically challenged could not evacuate and therefore cannot be blamed. Nor can those that tried to get out and could not and of course, no child or elderly person carries any blame.

However, able-bodied adults are a different story. It was quite well known that a BIG storm was coming. Many stayed behind for ridiculous “macho” reasons, or to keep looters from stealing property or even worse, in order to loot themselves. Some even put their own children at risk for these idiotic reasons. It’s completely inexcusable.

I also blame the media for focusing so much on New Orleans. The areas that took the brunt of the damage may have had the idea that New Orleans was going to be ground zero. Fueled by sensationalism instead of science. The news media focused completely on the New Orleans “doomsday” scenario. Again, inexcusable and sickening.

I feel the media shares the blame for those who lost their lives in Mississippi.
However, for those in New Orleans who stayed, I can’t help but feel anger as well as sadness.

The media repeated the worst-case New Orleans scenario over and over and over again. Still, many capable, intelligent people refused to leave.

Well, they have themselves to blame and if they survived, but their children did not, they should be prosecuted. In fact, all survivors that stayed behind that did not do so for good reason should be prosecuted. These people take resources away from those who really need it and put rescue workers at risk. Why? Because, “I’ve been through this before?” or “I need to protect my home?”

Am I being harsh? Yes, I will admit it, but people need to wake up. Hurricanes are SERIOUS matters that require you to LEAVE the area when ordered.

All the early warning technology in the world is no match for human stupidity.

Robert Burke spends much of his time lovingly crafting thematic music playlists at the Rhapsody Radish.

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  • I understand where you’re coming from, Mr. Burke. I’m more concerned about the low-life scumbag looters. We should have strict laws in place specifically for people who capitalize on natural disasters in this way like life imprisonment with no chance a parole. Sounds too harsh? Tough shit because if I had my way it would be nothing less than the death penalty.

  • I agree with severe penalties Silas, although I would not be as harsh as you with the penalty. I would make them pay off whoever they stole from 3 fold. In money or work.

  • In Louisiana I’m pretty sure the state police just shoot looters and leave the bodies to be buried with all the floating corpses.


  • I just heard that Marshall Law has been declared, so I think your comment is true at this point.

  • Nancy

    This whole situation was a teeth-grinding situation in lots of ways: the MSM was intent on making this out to be the End Of The World For N.O., & IMO made things worse; people in MS & AL weren’t as prepared as they should have been, because it was supposed to hit N.O., not them … but you’re talking a hurricane how many hundreds of miles wide, what did they think it was going to do, just hit within the immediate neighborhoods/parishes of New Orleans? The tourists were stupid, too: who the hell takes a vacation in hurricane territory (FL, LA, the Caribbean, Honduras)at the height of hurricane season? Or STAYS on vacation when a hurricane is headed their way, right up to the very last minute before waiting to book a flight out – a flight that, dollars to donuts, is going to be cancelled? If that isn’t rank idiocy, what is? As for looters, w/them it should be shoot to kill, I agree w/Silas. Also, any able-bodied adult who had to be rescued or use emergency services, should be sentenced to community service – a LOT of HARD community service, preferably cleaning up debris – for wasting time & endangering needlessly rescue workers. Pity the hurricane isn’t selective, & couldn’t be persuaded to take out stupid or criminal people.

  • Right on, Nancy. Those who remained behind and had to be rescued should be forced to gather and bury corpses.

    I am grateful to all the forces of nature for sparing the French Quarter (the irony is just so too delicious for words), but my heart goes out to everyone who has been devastated by this storm. This is a time for all of us to come together and pitch in. And while I’m at it a contribution from the House of Saud would be nice, too.

  • Shark

    Hotel and gasoline gougers should also be shot — including the CEOs of Exxon/Mobil et al.

    Almost a Liberal Pacifist

  • I’m with you guys. Let it out. Vent. I guess the one good thing is that people will be more apt to leave during a hurricane after this. At least for a while.

  • Georgio

    what I am shocked about is WHERE ARE THE RESCUE BOATS..I have not seen one rescue boat going up and down the streets to rescue ppl ..and that Levee breaking helloooooo why didn’t N Orleans prepare for this..they have had years to plan for it..and where is the national guard ..man I don’t see anyone coming to the rescue other than that red cross helicopter geezzz do they only have one..

  • Why should we vent? Why can we not mourn? (the passing of sanity and compassion in America)

  • And before any says, “We can do both.”

    Nope – not effectively or sincerely. One undermines the other.

    – Temple

  • Dawn

    The areas hardest hit areas were rural and full of poor people, I doubt anyone with the means to leave didn’t do so, so it would seem that the poor were the ones who were forced to remain behind.

    Yet another crappy factor to being poor. I can’t see blaming anyone for a natural disaster they couldn’t escape.

    All looters should be beaten and forced to help in the clean up effort, especially those involving raw sewage.

  • We can mourn the dead and vent over the looters?

    I don’t know. It is a terrible, terrible tragedy. It is difficult to understand why anyone would stay; my husband’s aunt and uncle live there and they left and arrived safely in Tennessee, and for that I am grateful.

    Me, I would certainly leave. Things can be replaced. Husband and beloved kitties could not. Bills can be dealt with. I would sacrifice a mortgage payment and take the debt in order to save my life if I had no savings.

    But I am not there, and I have no experience with such, and thus I cannot say what I would do in the crunch.

  • Not effectively or sincerley?

    According to who? You?
    That’s the most laughable thing I’ve heard all day.

    Please explain Temple, to those of us without your in-depth grasp on psychology, how one can “effectively grieve”?

    Since you obviously have a hard time with simple concepts, let me explain something to you.

    Anger, is in fact, the second phase of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’seven stages of grief.

    Grief and Anger are not mutually exclusive as you so ignorantly suggest, but anger is indeed a natural part of the grieving process.

    And by the way, mourning won’t stop this from happening again.

    I appreciate your comment, but you damn well better be able to back up such absolute bullshit, because you will be called on it.

  • Rich

    Is this a time for blame?

    People are still in grave danger.

    Write out a check to the Red Cross, or something constructive that will help.

    Do the “righty” thing, get a gun and shoot those people looting food for there families.

    How insensitive.

  • Dawn Said “I can’t see blaming anyone for a natural disaster they couldn’t escape.”

    Hey Dawn,

    I thought I made it quite clear in my post that I did not blame those who tried to escape, but could not. I blame the idiots who stayed behind to “protect” their property, or because they wanted to throw a “hurricane party”, etc.

    They brought it on themselves and take resources from those who were hurt by no fault of their own. And those who who would put children at risk are the lowest of the low.

  • The stark reality is that living along any shore comes with its risks. New Orleans has known this for years and those who live there have done so at their own peril. I do agree that the poor are probably the ones victimized the most by not having the means to escape. That being said, I hope that the mistakes born out of this tragedy will create an even better system in the future.

    Having experience in emergency management I can personally testify to the fact that these folks get the shit end of the stick no matter what. During the down times when they seek more aid, they don’t get it because the taxpayers and politicians look at emergency managment as somewhat of a necessity only when it’s needed. That’s an intrinsic problem with our society. We’re reactive as opposed to proactive and, folks, that only changes when the voter does something about it.

    One thing that can be said for the Louisianans is that when push comes to shove, they come together like no one else. They’re a strong bunch who can withstand the harshest of nature’s fury. As one French Quarter resident said today, “they don’t call ’em the Saints for nothing!” Amen to that, my Cajun cousin.

    Turning from the Big Easy to Biloxi and Alabama, I think we’ll see that these folks are going to need us even more so. Mississippi doesn’t have the best of reputations but it does have the best of politicians in Senator Trent Lott and Governor Hayley Barbour. As one official put it, this is their tsunami. I’ll go one better: America’s tsunami. Our fellow countrymen are in trouble, my friends. Their governments at the local and state levels will be tested as they never have before. Assistance is going to be demanded from the Federal government. The thing we have to remember, though, is that this is not just a governmental issue. There’s plenty that folks in the private sector can do to help in the aftermath.

    As I look to countries across the pond and beyond I certainly hope we will see aid come from our friends especially Britain, France and Spain who all have had a vested interest in this part of the continent for centuries. And, finally, there’s the House of Saud. Americans have invested billions in the Middle East; it would be nice to see some positive reciprocal gestures.

  • Robert you sound defensive. I didn’t really think you’d respond so badly or so, um, well badly. Didn’t know you had it in you. Now I do.

    Attack mode so quickly?

    Mourning effectively means, for just one example I can think of, not damaging yourself or the rest of your family in your grief.

    Why do you seek to assign blame so quickly? Why are the victims now no longer the victims in your eyes?

    “Poor” is a relative term, state to state, though FEMA disaster relief depends upon a federal level of poverty. That’s not fair either. Should we do away with all FEMA disaster relief because of that unfairness?

    I guess I’ll have to remove myself from the conversation if you respond the same way again – victory is yours and discussion dies.

    What would you suggest, anyway? A lot of this hurricane seems to have hit pretty far inland. Should everyone along the 800-mile plus San Andreas Fault just back that ass up?

    Besides that – the original post misses half the story. I’ll leave someone to guess for a while. The last two words in word in the three word phrase, however are … industry bailout. There would be no federal savings.

    Thanks Robert.


  • Duece

    I was in the Coast Guard for Hugo, and Floyd and a few more disasters. It is FAR worse than a TV camera will ever portray.

    Those people in the gulf had a hard day yesterday. Have a little compassion.

    Looters are looting what? Food, spoilage. That stuff is going to be under water in a day or two. NOLA is sinking fast. What is a 200 foot breech in a levee, will scrub out to 300 feet in a day or two.

    This city is underwater, much lower than the water table. Perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to the big easy.

  • i remember about 25 years ago, when the USA woke up one day, and realized that all the talk about evacuating our cities in the event of imminent nuclear war, was a complete hoax, that our transportation system could not even begin to provide for.

    and yet you want to believe that everyone can just get up and go.

    you ought to just blame the loss of life on our political leaders for not ordering an abandonment of the gulf coast and a ban on the return of human habitation in these areas. including florida.

    or perhaps its time to demand a federal tax surcharge on all persons living in texas, louisiana, florida etc. to cover the annual disaster relief expense ?

  • RogerMDillion

    I’ll still trying to figure out why you had to say this now. Were you waiting until a certain death toll or dollar amount of damage before it was right? Why didn’t you write this yesterday while Katrina was still classified as a hurricane?

    At one point you write “Many of Katrina’s victims had fair warning and have only themselves to blame for their own death.” And then go on to blame the media as well. Which is it?

    The hurricane by all accounts was supposed to hit New Orleans, but turned as it hit landfall. Any examples of how the predictions were “fueled by sensationalism instead of science.” What about examples of the “macho” people that stayed behind?

    If you were so smart, more so than the National Weather Service, why weren’t you blogging that it was going to change course and head east? Or were you too busy making out your sensitive Hurricane music list?

    Instead of drawing people’s attention on how to help, you feel compelled to give your oh-so-important opinion of the obvious. That should really help current and future victims you don’t have the power to read it.

    It’s usually at times like these that Nature and the Universe remind people of just how insignifigant they are, but I guess your ego and self-worth are just too massive to be affected.

    I sincerely doubt you hated being so insensitive. By the way it’s martial law. Learn the terms before you get all uppity and righteous.

  • Temple, first of all if you feel attacked, I’m sorry.
    But I cannot disagree more with your statement, which you still have not adequately defended.

    The only way to “mourn effectively” is to mourn in which ever way helps you make it through the grieving process. Period. That includes anger. It includes screaming. It includes yelling at the government. It includes blogging about mush-for-brains, idiots who stay behind in the path of a category 5 hurricane in a city that is below sea level. You’re comment was that people cannot mourn and be angry. You’re wrong. If you don’t believe me talk to any grief counselor. Or you could continue to show your ignorance.

    Why do I assign blame so quickly? Well, let me try to explain…


    That’s why!

    Children are most likely among the dead because their parent were idiots. Nothing wrong with morning, but if we don’t look at why people ignored MANDATORY evacuation orders or how we can improve public outreach, or how the media can help in a more productive fashion then we are as stupid as those that stayed behind when they could have left.

    I have no clue why you are talking about FEMA. I said nothing about FEMA.

    >>>QUOTE: “Should everyone along the 800-mile plus San Andreas Fault just back that ass up?”

    Huh? That’s quite a stretch, don’t cha think? As far as I know, there is no early warning system for eathquakes. I never said people should not LIVE in New Orleans only that when you’re told to leave because a hurricane is coming that you pack up and leave.

    Seems absolutely reasonable to me.

  • QUOTE: “and yet you want to believe that everyone can just get up and go.”

    OK.. Did you folks even read the article? I went through great pains to make it quite clear that I wasn’t talking about those who tried, but failed to escape, or the poor who did not have the resources or the disabled who could not. I was talking about the Yahoos that were able to leave and did not. I saw at least two people intervied before the storm hit that were not leaving. When asked why? They said, “Oh, I’ve been through this before.” Or the guy on MSNBC when asked why he has not leaving actually said “Fuck you it’s none of your business” Well it is OUR business, because these people do not only put their own lives at risk, but the lives of others including rescue teams and those who do not get help in time.

    The event was a horror to be sure, but I will not defend those who chose to ignore the MANDATORY evacuation order.

  • Hey Roger,

    You said,

    “At one point you write “Many of Katrina’s victims had fair warning and have only themselves to blame for their own death.” And then go on to blame the media as well. Which is it?”

    Read what I wrote again. You know how to keep yourself from mistyping “Martial”, but you have a problem with the definition of the word “Many”?

    I said, “MANY of Katrina’s victims..” not “ALL of Katrina’s victims..” Do you understand the difference Einstein?
    No? Let me explain, since I did not say “All” that means I am not blaming EVERYONE who perished. Get it? If you need more help on the definition of the word “Many” please see dictionary.com

    Also, drawing attention to “how people can help” is great, but I didn’t realize I was required to focus on that. Please point me to the rules on what I can and cannot write about and I will promise to do better.
    In fact, money and time is what people need most right now, but it will be anger that makes real changes happen for the future.

  • You’re absolutely right, Robert. That being said, America has an opportunity.

    For the first time since the Civil War, a major American city is to be evactuated. Here is a project that urban planners can only dream of. From New Orleans to Mobile and all the way in between along the Gulf there is an opportunity to try new technologies. There’s an opportunity to create an efficient and effective mass transit system that will encourage the natives to adopt a new lifestyle. There’s an opportunity to create new refineries with technologies that are environmentally friendly. The entire electrical grid of New Orleans will have to be rebuilt. This is the time to implement bold new initiatives.

    Americans have a reputation for stepping up to the plate in our darkest times. We need the Army Corps of Engineers, laborers unions, craftspeople and, yep, even Rosie the Riveter. What Americans accomplish on the Gulf can serve as a model for other cities as they are renewed over the next hundred years. We’ve squandered so much since the Japanese surrendered 60 years ago. Let’s do it right, for once. We must demand and expect excellence from our elected officials. We must encourage the creative minds within and outside of civil service to bring us into a new age. Out of this disaster can rise something so great, so classically American.

    As I’ve said this is not a problem for Louisianans, Mississippians and Alabamans. This is an American problem which can be solved with American ingenuity. So conservatives and liberals, shut the fuck up. Let’s put aside all our differences. Let’s look toward all the other peoples of the world we have helped over the years and see just how much they appreciate what we’ve done for them. This is a test, America. This is our tsunami. For once, let’s not squander an opportunity to do something great.

  • That’s the spirit Silas! I love that. Anger, ingenuity and a desire to IMPROVE are the keys here. Look at how much safer are cars are today than 20 years ago. We are a smart nation. We can create the infastructure to prevent this from happening in the future.

  • Kurt

    I bet we could all turn very blue holding our breaths waiting for any kind of overseas help, least of all from our Saudi mast, er, I mean friends…

  • RogerMDillion

    You can focus on whatever you want. Maybe you should list the types of reactions that you want in the comments and tell people that don’t fall into that group not to respond. Although many might wonder why anyone should listen to your anger when you can’t handle any directed at you?

    We obviously have no idea of the death toll yet, but what about the many deaths that occured in MS or AL? What was their fair warning, if as you claim, they didn’t get it from the media who was completely focused on New Orleans?

    It just seems to early to be angry. Sure you can gripe about the anecdotal stuff you are seeing on television, but it doesn’t seem to be productive when we are days, if not weeks, from knowing the complete story of the past days events.

  • RogerMDillon

    I also wanted to echo Silas’s wonderful and heartfelt thoughts. To show my appreciation for his warmth toward these hurricane victims, I want to drop my pants and bend over for him now. Take me, Silas, take me! I surrender to you, you big bear!

  • Roger, the point of this post is to piss people off if you haven’t noticed.
    Anger is the key. We must do better.
    And are you gonna include a reacharound with that offer?

  • RogerMDillion

    If I was going to show my apprecation, wouldn’t I would perform something on him rather than make him do all the work?

  • That’s the ticket..

  • RogerMDillion

    and have the guts to use your own

  • RogerMDillion


  • Sorry I’m not up on my Gay lingo there Rog. I’ll try to do better. In regards to “Getting people angry isn’t going to do anything.”

    Wrong. And that’s my point. Idiots like yourself have no understanding of history.

    Anger was a key ingredient for:

    The defeat of Hitler
    The success of the Civil rights movement
    Safer cars
    Safer roads
    Safer planes
    Safer drugs
    Better police protection
    Environmental laws
    Consumer laws
    Violent crime laws
    Punk Rock

    I’d rather be confused on reacharounds than something this obvious.

  • My name is Robert.

  • Let me tell you something, dudes. If I thought for one minute that I could inspire people to step up like I described in comment #25, I’d offer blow job lessons to all girlfriends and housewives from Portland, Maine to San Diego. I’d do it like a Tupperware Party. Husbands and boyfriends across America would owe me their souls.

  • I’m with Robert on the anger thing. Remember Network? I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore! I’m at that point. It’s time the rest of us were. We need to seize this opportunity and do it right. What we do with the Gulf in the aftermath of Katrina could be a model for the next 3 centuries. We’ve got a chance to make an impact like they made during the Renaissance. We have a common goal that will foster the best that Americans have to offer. People bitch about national pride. Well, folks put your money where your mouths are.

  • >>Why do I assign blame so quickly? Well, let me try to explain…


    >>That’s why!

    And you said they deserved it.

    That’s not just anger, it’s misplaced anger. I also did not say people could not mourn and be angry – I said it couldn’t be done effectively, as in it quickly becomes not productive but counter-productive. And I don’t think you are grieving about this so your stages of grief comment is off the mark. (If you have lost or are worried about loved ones then I am wrong on this count, but you have not indicated as such so far.)

    If you’re writing in anger fine, that’s what you’re doing. And I’m saying you cast a wide net and it’s directed at true victims (those vast majority of others who were not throwing hurricane parties etc.), which is very hard to defend. I’m commenting to see if you can do that – effectively – following what was obviously a provocative post, meant as you said to draw more anger.

    Haven’t succeeded in my case. I’d rather deal with your reasoning behind your anger, which I find to be absent.

    I not only felt attacked – I was attacked, verbally, of course. But I didn’t just lose my home and all my belongings, so I’m fine with that misplaced anger.

    Now are you ready for why your post is completely wrong on how the federal government will save much at all? As I mentioned before I’m sure someone can easily guess. Three words, two of them are …. industry bailout.


    >>That’s why!

    TEMPLE: And you said they deserved it.

    I made it quite clear that there were innocent victims AND those who deserve blame. If you cannot see the difference between the innocent (ie: children, elderly) and the Guilty (the capable) I can’t help you. I did not “throw a wide net” in the least. Please read the whol post again. You’re problem is you are completely unwilling to place blame.

    That’s very dangerous.

    And about your bailout. I will guess Entertainment or Insurance

  • Just to be clear when I say “castng a net”, I’m referring to paragraph six.

    >>However, able-bodied adults ….

  • bhw

    I think that all the people in those red states down there ought to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and refuse the FEMA money and any other commie-state sponosored funds that were stolen at gunpoint from good, hardworking high-earning ‘muricans in the blue states.

  • And again, Anger is a stage in the grieving process. It certainly is an “effective” part of mourning. You argument is weak.
    One does not “undermind” the other. One is an integral part of the other. Comprende? And the thrust of my argument was very clear. You are the one building the net. I gave many specific examples.

    But since you are having such trouble let me try again.

    “If you are an able-bodied adult, who knew the storm was coming and ignored the mandatory evacuation orders you are guilty”

  • Again, I don’t feel I can speak on those who felt they’d seen the worst and weathered it before, or those who felt they needed to protect their homes… because I’ve never been through anything like this before. Has anyone here? I’d be interested in hearing from someone who did weather a disaster that is even half the scale and size of Katrina.

    Now, if you want to target the people who were sitting in bars in the French Quarter mixing up special edition Hurricane Hurricanes, partying, and puking as though it were all business as usual, then I can see saying that they deserved it. Let’s hope they didn’t breed and now can’t, and chalk it up as a loss.

    But as for the others… who didn’t feel they could afford to leave, or who thought it might be okay, or who weighed the risk of trying to leave (and possibly failing and being caught out) against staying in their homes to protect their property for the looters… again, I don’t feel I’m in a position to state that they deserved it. But that’s just me.

    Silas is good people, and he makes an excellent point. However, unless truly vast and sweeping changes are made to the basic American system — changes that are likely unrealistic even if the death toll were quadruple current numbers — if a full rebuild of New Orleans is indeed necessary, we may just have to chalk that up as a loss as well.

    The simple fact of the matter is that many insurance companies will pay out for replacements on property damaged or destroyed in disaster prone areas… but in the last decade, these companies have been making the decision to no longer insure property in these areas after replacement costs are paid.

    I work for a mortgage company. When our clients ask us about filing claims with their insurance companies if something happens to their new homes, it has become policy (though not official) to counsel against such unless it is something truly drastic. Why? Because once you file a claim, obtaining future insurance becomes difficult or simply too costly to manage. In areas prone to hurricanes, tornados, and possibly earthquakes… we may see a time very soon when it becomes impossible.

    I can’t think of a single company that will enter into a mortgage agreement on a property for which one is unable to secure insurance.

    THAT is going to be a major issue in the resurrection of New Orleans. How will the policymakers handle that one? Will they simply dictate that insurance companies MUST offer coverage in these areas? Every happy capitalist in the nation will twitch at the very thought. Because compassion isn’t what we’re about.

    We’re about SUVs and credit cards and reality television.

    I agree with you, Silas. But unfortunately, I think Americans rallying to anything that affects a relatively small part of the nation (particularly one denigrated as a bastion of trailer park trash and rednecks, with the exception of New Orleans proper), is a pipe dream.

    Wish I could say differently.

  • IgnatiusReilly

    How about getting angry at those that didn’t bring enough provisions or money to deal with the extended evacuation?

    If they die, it’s their own fault; they knew a big storm was coming.


  • The Duke

    “I think that all the people in those red states down there ought to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and refuse the FEMA money and any other commie-state sponosored funds that were stolen at gunpoint from good, hardworking high-earning ‘muricans in the blue states”

    That was called “reconstruction”

    As long as we’re grinding our teeth about events and such not within our immediate control.

    Have you all looked at a map? How big is the gulf? How unpredictable is a Hurricane? How much time does one really have to take action and evacuate?

    2 MAYBE 3 days? Or, shall we expect when a hurricane enters the gulf for everyone living on the coast to up and split?

    It’s not a reality. At least not once you get your butts up out of your office chair and away from your precious postulating keyboard positions.

    All great ruminations, mind you… but realistic… not yet.

    Mr. or Ms. Tung lov in statement #20 indicated a federal surcharge for living in the hazardous areas. Hmmm, possible but I foresee insurance companies just plain abandoning coverage for rebuiding areas which are prone or historically have had significant damage from natural disasters (they’re still called acts of God, but as Pat Robertson has pointed out — are really the spawn of Satan).

    Look at the Casino Barges, for example. Where gambling was against the law, the law was sidestepped and barges were constructed and sat offshore to accomodate the gambling. Now those barges reside on the beach, and have crushed houses, killed people and I reckon, aren’t such a good idea afterall (hindsight being 20/20). Other damage was caused by barges offshore with 2 ton rolls of paper, splitting apart and discharging the cargo towards the beach. Hundreds of rolls of paper careening into neighborhoods and destroying everything they collided with.

    There is really quite a lot of damage to assess. And learn from.

    I’ve been to New Orleans many times, work and play. I’ve been all over the region working on communications towers, mostly in support of the oil platforms and local/regional emergency systems. Grand Isle is about (was) 6 inches above sea level, yet completely inhabited. That’s crazy. I was offered a job in New Orleans 2 years ago, and after very little thought, turned in down… because of what you are witnessing today. The area was ripe for catastrophe. There was no question in my mind to turn the position down, absolutely none.

    Some folks down there, were born and raised and would never leave. Or couldn’t.

    Yet, New Orleans grew, sprawled and money kept pouring into the area… that is foolish, that is insane. Why invest billions in an area with such risk?

    Now we’re in an era where risk mitigation is practiced at all levels of business. Yet entities invest capital in areas with very high risk ratings; both political and natural — why? Is it the gamble? Are humans prone to chance? It’s amazing. It’s amazingly stupid.

    The New Orleans area was designed and built over 150 years ago. The placement was flawed. The design is flawed. We should know better. We should learn from this. Why rebuild? Biloxi is destroyed, Gulf port — a shambles. And there’s more places along the coast.

    The bad news is that what was once an agricultural area of infrastructure, is now primarly supporting energy.

    Do we (as a country) need energy? Sure we do. Do we need New Orleans as part of that infrastructure? It was handy while it was there, but maybe the need just went away, and the response will be to adjust base operations from different locations with greater stability than from a city below sea level. We’ll see. Write your Senators and Congressmen. Grousing here will not lead to any change. The HILL needs to know that federal dollars pouring into a rebuild may not be such a good idea.

  • The New Orleans area was designed and built over 150 years ago. The placement was flawed. The design is flawed. We should know better. We should learn from this. Why rebuild? Biloxi is destroyed, Gulf port — a shambles. And there’s more places along the coast.

    And that’s why we should not be in such a hurry to rebuild. This is a time for strategic planning. This isn’t just about New Orleans. There’s a 110 mile stretch between New Orleans and Mobile, AL. Along the I-10 corridor are areas that will forever be affected by Katrina’s wrath. We’re still unsure about places like Gautier and Bay St. Louis.

    Do we (as a country) need energy? Sure we do. Do we need New Orleans as part of that infrastructure? It was handy while it was there, but maybe the need just went away, and the response will be to adjust base operations from different locations with greater stability than from a city below sea level.

    The more important question is: Do we as a country need to change the ways we consume energy? You bet your ass we do. We’re the most self-absorbed wasteful society known to mankind. We’ve taken highways, gasoline, electricity and home heating for granted.

    My fellow Americans, we are a pubic hair away from being in the same boat as Third World countries. Don’t ever believe that it could never happen to us! No one ever believed that WTC could happen. Thousands of people in New Orleans never believed that Kristina had that kind of force. The Secretary of Homeland Security has invoked the new domestic security laws by declaring this “an incidence of national significance”. No shit, Sherlock. The problem is that this is an incident of monumental proportions.

    We are about to face a harsh winter. Remember the legend of the Revolutionary Army at Valley Forge? This year people across the Northeast will have to decide between a dozen eggs and a gallon of home heating oil. Farmers in the Mid-West will face rising fuel costs to the point where a lousy potato may end up costing $2 before it’s over. Californians are facing rolling blackouts because the electricity needs of the remaining country will be strained. Disease and despair face New Orleans for the next 3 – 6 months. Biloxi and Gulfport may never rebuild.

    In our selfishness we tend to close our eyes to the devastation our American compatriots are experiencing. The lawlessness and panic setting in across New Orleans dwarfs what could happen in other parts of this country if we get another natural disaster in the short term. Hundreds died in Mississippi because they could not afford a tank of gas to get out of the area. How can that happen in America?

    I know I sound like a Mullah in heat. I’m sorry but I am so angry I can’t see the forest for the trees. There’s plenty of time to assign blame where it belongs but right now America needs to focus. We need to help those who remain. Once we have taken care of our own, then we need to decide how we can best serve the people of the Gulf in rebuilding. This is a great opportunity for a great nation. Let’s not squander a chance to get it right.

  • To not be rude and to answer a question I posed, yes, the insurance industry.

    (I don’t get the entertainment industry bailout reference.)


    House Panel Considers Bill that Spells Disaster for Consumers

    Paying for the Next Big One (Starting fifth paragraph).

    Flirting with disaster – disaster relief reform (Though if you click back to page 1 there’s some grist for all)

    Are insurance companies evil? Yes, some … I mean, No. My parents own one (exclusively aviation). But the point is, federal savings, or government savings in general are slim.

    Not to mention flood insurance is exeedingly expensive – when it’s offered at all. Check that last “Flirting with disaster … ” link – In Florida and California, the state has become the largest insurer because private insurance companies won’t cover. In some cases they will, with the funding lead coing from the state.

    (Yes, I know a couple of the links are old. I hope no one pretends the problem isn’t right here and now. I’m only allowed three links in this commenting system I believe. )

  • Jeanne

    I am sure many had reason not to leave. One problem I see is that, like ants, the Bowl will be rebult As Before to invite the same problem and result. We often blindly think that if a city exists it must be safe…we think we are being looked out for when often we are not. We are too busy, destracted, uneducated or illinformed in general. Dangers are kept underwraps, crime is made little of etc. in the interests of politicians and big business…they don’t want to keep anyone away…how will the area thrive and grow?…keep the bad stuff undercover! Anyone who speaks up is called “henny penny” or described as “crying wolf”. AND…many want to live their lives avoiding the truth if it is not pleasant! It seems obvious that once the areas are cleaned up, rebuilding needs to be rethought but it won’t be. New Orleans was a fabulous city and they will build it once again without filling in the Bowl or dealing with drainage problems or the Army Corp.changing the way the lake is drained. I have a thought on the looting…It is wrong, yes, but due to the fact that many needed water, food, clothing, toiletries…to this extent I personally excuse it. There were no clerks in the stores to pay! However…jewelry and electronics and other totally unnecessary items stolen is not acceptable to me in the least.

  • What about the policewomen in uniform who looted the WalMart? It’s on film. I’m sorry but as far as I am concerned these officers of the law should be taken to the middle of the French Quarter and stoned to death. Sound harsh? Tough shit. These women were on the city payroll. At least they have a job unlike a milliuon other people in that crescent. The taxpayer invests in them to protect the public safety. Granted there’s very little that can be done to stop the looting from happening, but to take part in it while on duty and in uniform is unforgivable. They deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law and I would expect nothing less.

  • augrad

    I agree with you 100% — people who had the means and ability to leave should have left on Saturday morning. Now, understand that this is coming from a woman who lives in Pensacola, Florida, and I have been through 4 significant hurricanes in my lifetime (I grew up in Mobile). They were only cat. 1’s and cat. 2’s, which are scary enough. Our houses are built to withstand 120 mph winds. Once you have been through a terrifying 4-5 hour experience where you think you are going to die at any minute, you loose your love for your home and belongings and just want to get out.

    Southerners are a very proud people, and it is very hard to force them to do something they don’t want to do. As far as I know, New Orleans has never been through a cat. 4 hurricane, so they had no idea that it would be as bad as it was. I considered evacuating even at 160 miles away!! BTW: I flew to Kansas a year ago when Ivan was making his way here. All it takes is once, and I guarantee they will leave next time. I have friends who stayed here through Ivan and they all say never again!! I will stay for a cat. 1, and MAYBE a cat. 2 —- but never ever ever a cat. 3 or higher. So if anybody reading this is moving to the Gulf Coast, please heed this warning and leave for the big ones!!

  • Bob

    Where is the offer of help from the nations we aided in the Tsunami disster?

  • I think we have to give those nations a break, Bob. They’re still recovering from that disaster and are poor countries to begin with. Plus, what exactly COULD Indonesia offer us in the way of help? Cheaper furniture at Cost Plus World Market?


  • You might want to see how people are blaming Bush for this here

    I have mentioned this blog there as well.

  • Many nations have offered help in the form of ships to transport oil and refined product out of Louisiana, and food and water into it.

    But I think that the wealth of this country is such that the US is still the best-positioned to provide assistance.

  • kelly

    some of you peopel haev horrible things to say.I mean just out right mean! the poorest of poor peopel are out there dying people can’t get to help because they don’t have cars the city is flooded the roads are closed and they have no wear to go how dare some of you say those mean things…What woudl you do if you were so poor you coudl not get out I think you would be doing the same thign step backa nd put your self and thier place!

  • I normally like your music stuff, Robert, but WOW this left me cold.

    I’m sure even rational intellectuals like us can understand the primitive, stupid human desire to stay with their hard-earned belongings, family members, and pets and hope for the best, especially those without money to travel away and to whom those possessions cannot be replaced.

    And you can understand why anyone would think the media might have cried “Wolf!” one too many times, especially when bad weather stories have become nothing but ratings-getters during sweeps week in May when the weather’s beautiful.

    Have some empathy, my friend.

    That is all.

  • Robert

    If you stay in the path of a category 5 hurricane to “protect your hard-earned belongings”, you’re an idiot. And for the 100th time. I am not blaming the poor who did not have the means to leave.

    You wanna know who has no empathy? The shit-for-brains goombas who kept helpless children in the path of this storm when they HAD THE MEANS AND BRAINS to leave. They make me sick.
    It’s a parent’s RESPONSIBILITY to protect their children.

  • Simon

    Many of the poor didn’t own much, they just could afford to travel. Payday was 3 days off and they live paycheck to paycheck.

  • RogerMDillion

    Yeah, they should have gone for shelter like the Superdome or the convention center. We can all see how well that’s working out.

    By the way, Howard Beale’s anger accomplished nothing other than getting him shot when his ratings went down. Try another movie, Silas.

  • Bennett

    Robert – If you’re gonna post here, either learn how to make your links clickable, or bury them benieth the pearls of wisdom you have to contribute to the site. Otherwise they screw up the collumns and you look like a spammer…


  • Bennet,

    Maybe you should learn how to cut and paste.

  • shannon

    What people fail to understand is that there are alot of people living check to check these days….maybe …I’m sure…. some of these people didnt have the means to get out of town . As far as the looters go…in a situation like this….I wouldnt take a tv or anything but if I needed water or bread and couldnt get back to my home….you bet I would grab that loaf and bottle!! It’s about survival!!

  • Banging on the clueless to use an HTML link is a waste of time, Bennett. Usually an editor will notice the worst examples, and clean them up.

  • carson

    One thing I haven’t seen addressed well is how the Mayor of New Orleans is crying to the press about the sluggishness of Federal response, when he should have had an evacuation plan and a response to a levee breach plan. Including something better than, we’ll just throw sandbags at the hole. Given the potential for damage a few million dollars spent on developing a potential fix would have been cheap. We talk about all the poor people who couldn’t leave, or the people who couldn’t leave because they couldn’t pay for gas. If you have a Cat 5 hurrican bearing down on you, gee… all of the gas stations might be wiped out, consider taking government control of all buses, gas stations, boats, trains, operate them evacuating people until the very last minute and hole everyone else up in the dome. They didn’t even try, up until the storm hit they just said “leave!” if you can’t go to the dome, the feds and state had to convince the Mayor to order an evacuation. The leadership in New Orleans felt that spending the money to prepare for the worst and the potential for political damage if there was no disaster outweighed the lives of their citizenry. The complete lack of leadership and planning should result in him being thrown to the angry mob. Looters in a desperate survival situation are not the problem, people preying on each other with guns and violence are the problem. If someone is stupid enough to think that stealing a tv in this situation is getting them ahead, let them burn the energy, hopefully that will be the energy they needed to survive that they wasted. Grabbing food, water, clothing well I don’t think anyone would behave differently under similar circumstances.


  • Mollie

    I agree w/ alot of what you guys are saying(Silas). But what I don’t understand is why didn’t the people that work for the city of N.O. or even some of the military help those who were poor or disabled to get out of there. They were warned several days before the hurrican hit land. They may have saved several peoples lives. WHY in the world would anyone stay behind to protect their belongings, I would think that they would care more for their family’s then material things.I feel for those who died because they had no way out because of lack of transportation,but those who stayed behind and who lost family and their babies due to stupidity. I think you should pay for what you did, those children couldn’t have defended themselves. You should have to stay and help find those who are lost and who are dead and buried. If you are going to use what FEMA and A.R.C. has brought to help you, then you should stay and help us.(IF able)Those who are looting should pay dearly for what they stoled.What is a t.v. or vcr going to do when you have no electricity,HU! I would really like to know.

  • Imagine, Fidel Castro offered to send 1,100 doctors to the Gulf not once but twice. According to AP:

    Castro said a diplomatic note containing the note was sent late Friday afternoon to the U.S. Interests Section, the American mission here, and was the second such offer of its kind made this week.

    At the time, American officials had asked Cuban authorities not to publicize their offer of aid, said Castro, who indicated Havana was still awaiting a response from Washington.

    Castro said the first offer to send Cuban doctors to aid in hurricane relief efforts was made during a meeting with Cuban foreign ministry and U.S. officials in Havana on Tuesday, days before the extent of the hurricane’s catastrophic damage was known.

    What disturbs me most upon hearing this news is that the American press has done little to bring this fact to the public. If Castro is telling the truth about the Administration’s request to keep quiet about the offer we have a serious problem here.

  • Kay

    Regardless of why the victims of Katrina stayed behind is of no significance because as we all
    know, they did. More significantly however is they did not have to suffer and die the way they did while we Americans watched helplessly as they begged and pleaded for water, milk for their babies, and food. Sadly, we watched some of them die like animals while nothing, absolutely nothing was done to come to their aid for days, by the government.
    One more note of importance, and the one I find most appalling – if we were watching the Katrina victims (not refugees) beg for their lives on national TV, so did our government officials who had the power to do something about it.
    I am truly saddened for the victim’s trauma, particularly the aftermath of this catastrophic event. And yes, I want to know who is responsible for this inhumane, merciless cruelty and why. Moreover, my congressional representative had better have some answers in addition to responding to my memorandum calling for a congressional hearing.
    What a disgraceful moment in history for America. The aftermath of this tragedy could have been avoided, if only the focus would have been about saving lives, human lives, and that did not happen.

  • yes….damm those people for being poor.

    damm them for not having transportation or the resources to get out of the area.

    far more important is that we are really helping create a better life in iraq.

    jack jett

  • Shannon

    I’m in the Mobile, AL area and I left. A CAT 5 is nothing to mess with and this storm was very menacing. I think the only way you’re going to get able-bodied people to evacuate is to go in with guns (ie. military police) and force them to leave. Have the busses waiting, tell them they have 15 min. to get what they need and get out. If they refuse, handcuff them and throw them in the bus. Otherwise, deal with all of this after the storm crap. I will never stay for anything as severe as this. We left for Ivan, Dennis & Katrina. Dennis turned out to be nothing for us, but I was still glad we left. Things are just that, things. My childrens’ lives, my husband’s life and my life is worth more then a house and a few trinkets….

  • Shannon

    And I think that it’s ridiculous that nursing homes & such places as that were not evacuated by the authorities! Those people CAN’T do it themselves and the people that work there had their own families to worry about…the local government should have stepped in and got them out. I think the Mayor of N.O. really screwed up…..

  • Jack,

    Did you even READ the article or did you just read the headline? It was quited clear that I was not placing blame on those who could not get out because they were poor or infirm, etc. I was bringing light to those who had the resources to leave and refused to.

  • Shannon

    And there were a lot of those and there are still a lot of those refusing to be rescued when the helicopters & boats show up! What is us with these people? And those refusing to get on the bus because they wouldn’t tell them where they were going?! Who the heck cares where you’re going as long as it’s far from there?!

  • Shannon

    Should read “What is UP with these people?” lol

  • Kriston Lewis

    I see ALOT of people here just don’t know how to read. He clearly said those who “HAD THE RESOURCES TO LEAVE, AND STAYED BEHIND FOR DUMB REASONS”. I don’t remember him saying the poor deserved it.

    Maybe you all need to go back to Grade School, Reading Comprehemsion people!

    3rd Grade Stuff, come on!

  • scot d. johnston

    it is now the 12th of .dec, Why is the american taxpayer still furnishing hotel’s meals, and money to Katrina Victims. There are help wanted signs out in almost every city or even small town. Why can these people not work at some of these jobs instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to give something to them. Where is the pride in paying your own way instead of depending on someone else?