KATRINA DEVASTATES GULF COAST: Friend and poet Robin Kemp (and a former CNN employee) has created a blog to follow everything happening in her hometown of New Orleans and the surrounding areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The skyscrapers along Canal Street had all their windows blown out, the roof of the Superdome shredded and a building collapsed in the French Quarter. However, the flooding that was expected in the Quarter didn't happen. Save for some debris and smashed windows, it looks like the Vieux-Carre was spared. Other parts of NO were not so lucky. CNN is reporting the 9th Ward in west New Orleans is completely devastated with bodies floating in the water. Gulfport and Biloxi in Mississippi took the direct hit and there are reports of Gulfport being "dismantled" by the storm. It will probably be tomorrow before we see the true scope.

Here in Atlanta, the bands of Katrina spawned tornadoes and storms. I was out in the rain outside my apartment digging a trench to funnel some of the water away from the corner of my bedroom, which flooded earlier in the summer when remnants of the other hurricanes came over. Water was seeping in under the floor because of the pooling water, but by creating a trench out into the landscaped area helped drain the pool of water and no water got in this time. The apartment complex is supposed to be fixing this, but it hasn't happened yet. So, I did my own quick fix.

UPDATE: It's almost midnight and a darker more harrowing picture of what's happening in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast is emerging. Jeanne Meserve, usually a rock when reporting on CNN, was near hysterics (NOTE: In the Comments section, Robin objected to my use of "hysterics" to describe Meserve's reporting, but she was actually crying while reporting the story...that doesn't make her less of a reporter...it just adds depth and humanity to the excellent coverage she did all day by phone. She should get an award.) describing what she had seen near New Orleans. Bodies in the water, people trapped on rooftops, horrific injuries and animals wrapped in power lines being electrocuted. Inside the Superdome, rescue officials said the situation there is "almost nuts" with no power and anxious residents wanting to leave. Hospitals are either flooded or inundated with patients, so the Superdome is also being used as a triage area. The city is totally in the dark and Canal Street and the business district looks like a war zone. Of course, the direct hit was over near Gulfport and there has been no communication at all with some of those areas. Morning will tell.


nolapoet said…
Meserve, I would say, was hardly "hysterical" --a word rather uncomplimentary to any woman journalist. She was as professional as it gets and rock-solid.

I had the pleasure of working with and writing for Jeanne for many years. She is a CONSUMMATE professional and what she describes is dead on. What will come to light in the next 24-48 hrs are the number of dead floating under those roofs.

My dad, Jim Kemp, did exactly the same story as Meserve, in exactly the same place, during Hurricane Betsy in 1965. I will have him post on the blog soon.
Collin said…
Did you hear her on Aaron Brown's show last night? She was about to lose it. She had to hand the phone over to her cameraman. Not that I blame her. I probably would have been near hysterics myself after being up for more than 24 hours and witnessing all the destruction. There seems to be some unofficial law that reporters remain calm, but I was quite moved by Meserve's reporting and the emotion she brought to it. With no pictures available, her skills, even under tremendous pressure, painted a picture of what's happening in New Orleans in vivid detail. I won't forget it.

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