God, it just keeps getting worse. Downtown New Orleans is flooded, houses are breaking off their foundations and floating away, and some neighborhoods are completely underwater. The governor just ordered everyone – including those in the Superdome – to evacuate.
The WWL TV station is live-blogging updates as they come in. Keep checking that link because more are added every couple of minutes. Below are some of today’s highlights.
10:15 A.M. A spokeswoman describes Jefferson Parish as a “very dangerous” place. Jackie Bauer says there’s gas leaks everywhere, water needs to be boiled, there’s no commercial power, no pumping stations and the water’s toxic.
And there’s still some deep water in some neighborhoods. Bauer says there are other dangers — snakes in the water, other vermin, loose dogs and cats everywhere. She says — quoting now — “We kind of have to fight for survival with them.”
10:35 A.M. Governor Blanco – “Worse than our worst fears.”
11:13 A.M. – Plaquemines Parish…if you are found on the street…will be arrested. Marshall law in effect.
11:35 A.M. – (AP) Downtown streets that were relatively clear in the hours after the storm were filled with 1 to 1 1/2 feet of water Tuesday morning. Water was knee-deep around the Superdome. Canal Street was literally a canal. Water lapped at the edge of the French Quarter. Clumps of red ants floated in the gasoline-fouled waters downtown.
11:43 A.M. – Councilman Byron Lee of Jefferson Parish, “This is not life as it used to be. It’s like a war zone.”
12:41 P.M. – Rescue efforts a priority. Clearing infrastructure to hospitals. Most streets blocked by pine trees. Slidell – A Hampton Inn on Old Spanish Trail with 20 feet. Fifteen feet of water downtown.
1:30 P.M. – –The American Red Cross says it has thousands of volunteers mobilized for the hurricane. Spokesman Bradley Hague said it’s the “largest single mobilization that we’ve done for any single natural disaster.” The organization has set up operational headquarters in Baton Rouge.
2:00 P.M. – Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi says “this is going to be the most expensive natural disaster that’s hit the United States in history.”
2:42 P.M. (AP) — The question is not whether Congress will pass legislation to speed disaster relief to communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but how soon and how much. The answers: real soon and a lot.
3:12 P.M. – Senator Landrieu – Scenes are similar to what she saw after the Tsunami.
3:43 P.M. – Senator Vitter: New Orleans will “absolutely” be rebuilt.