Monday, September 05, 2005


I can never decide who qualifies as the worst member of the Beltway cocktail circuit - David Broder or Cokie Roberts - but Cokie is sure working overtime to achieve the honor:


(Off Camera) And for 48 hours those in charge in the Federal government didn't even know about it.


(Off Camera) Well, I'm not sure who knew about it. Because, you know, nobody had heard about anything but the Superdome up until that point and I'm not sure who knew that people were at the convention center. It's on the river so there was no, there was no directive to go there because it's on the river and nobody knew what the river was going to do.


(Off Camera) Well, except we were getting reports ...


Well, Ray Nagin knew, because he stayed in the city. And he talked, he was on the radio and he said that there were people who were in the convention center who were desperate.


(Off Camera) Not, not until that day. Not until that day. I mean, that's part of what's happened but you know, the other thing that, you know, George talked about the big one and there's been a lot of talk in the last few days, about is the city going to rebuild and, you know, is it, is it worth putting money in the levees because it's only going to happen again and all of that.

Times-Picayune, which should've been where DHS and FEMA were looking for information:

At 91 years old, Booker Harris ended his days propped on a lawn chair, covered by a yellow quilt and abandoned, dead, in front of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Mr. Harris died in the back of a Ryder panel truck Wednesday afternoon, as he and his 93-year-old wife, Allie, were evacuated from eastern New Orleans. The truck's driver deposited Allie and her husband's body on the Convention Center Boulevard neutral ground.

And there it remained.

With 3,000 or more evacuees stranded at the convention center -- and with no apparent contingency plan or authority to deal with them -- collecting a body was no one's priority. It was just another casualty in Hurricane Katrina's wake.

A steady stream of often angry or despondent people, many from flooded Central City, trickled first toward Lee Circle and then to the convention center, hoping to be saved from increasingly desperate straits. Food, water and options had dwindled across Uptown and Central City, where looters seemed to rage almost at will, clearing out boutique clothing shops and drug stores alike. Hospitals would no longer accept emergencies, as staffers prepared to evacuate with patients.

On Scarborough, Wednesday night:

HOFLAND: We are hearing some really frightening stories tonight down at the convention center, where everyone has been told, go down there. You can get some medical treatment. We will be able to get you out of town. So, we have seen people walking for miles, carrying their suitcases, carrying everything that they have left, desperate to get someplace, and also to try to let their family members know across the country that they are still alive.

Fox News, Wednesday evening:

GOLDBLATT: Hi Shepard. The sun is about to set in New Orleans, and everywhere I look in this central business district, I can see people walking the street aimlessly. Many heading to the convention center because they have heard the rumor that buses will take them somewhere. Many of these people started their day at the Superdome. They don't want to be transported to the Houston Astrodome. They say that that was just a miserable experience spending the last couple of days in the Superdome.

CNN, Wednesday afternoon (this guy's an NO cop):

WININGER: I think the biggest danger we have right now is disease, you know, in the water. The water's full of gas and diesel. It's like it's probably going to be like a hazardous waste dump, I guess, you know? BLITZER: Are people getting out? Can they get out? Because I understand it's not that easy to get out of New Orleans.

WININGER: No. There's places you can get through, especially -- we just pushed a whole bunch of people from Canal and Bourbon there to the river, where they can get to the convention center, trying to get them up there.

CNN, Lou Dobbs show, Wednesday:

BLAKE: They are trying to evacuate. We saw some buses that were empty. We didn't see any that were full. There were two points for evacuating. I believe my colleague, Chris Lawrence, is down at the convention center, where they're also attempting to evacuate people.