The day started with the shocking news that someone shot at a rescue helicopter, so all evacs were temporarily stopped. A state trooper or someone was hit in the leg, apparently. The media reported this as though the helicopter was attacked. I am not so sure I believe that. Just yesterday, the same media was reporting that stranded people were shooting their guns in the air to try to attract the attention of the choppers. That's what I think it is.
Another report said that people were attacking the rescue boats. Take a close look at the people doing the rescuing. They look just like normal people. In most cases, there is nothing to indicate they are a rescuer. These same stranded people may have seen another boat approach them earlier and attempt (or even succeed!) at robbing them. What would you do? This is part of what creates anarchy - when you have trouble telling the good from the bad.
A large group of tourists managed to hire 10 busses for $25,000 to get them out. All they had to do was walk across the Crescent City Connection (the bridge that crosses the Mississippi River at downtown) and get to the west bank. The people were turned away when they got to the bridge by law enforcement officials armed with shotguns. The busses never arrived anyway - they were commandeered by the National Guard. This is what happens under Martial Law - you have no rights, and if you are arrested they do not have to provide Miranda. I am not suggesting this is a bad thing. It is what New Orleans needs at this time. It is still shocking, however.
The Oakwood Mall burned down today. Arson. This was the closest "non-tourist" mall to our house, just across the river. It took us 5-10 minutes to get there. Anarchy.
30,000 troops are on the way to the Gulf. No - not that Gulf, for a change, OUR Gulf. The Gulf of Mexico. 30,000 troops. That's over 20% of the number in the ENTIRE COUNTRY OF IRAQ. Anarchy.
We will soon have new pictures in the Gallery on MacChuck.com. The ones that are there already are amazing. Some outstanding before and after pictures. Cary is working on some new satellite pictures that are very hi-res. He is working on labeling certain landmarks so you can see what the impact is to property of us and those we know.
I am working on a People page. All the people we know who have been impacted. Their stories will be there, on a "living" page that will be updated as we hear from them.
Time for some good news:
We heard from several more people today. Our four "Most Wanted" have reported in.
- Keith Davis and his wife and daughter returned to their home in Ponchatoula and said the house was "beat up, but survived." They got cell phone service back today. They were told it would be 5 weeks until the electric came on, but it came on this afternoon.
- Amber Dodge got hold of Janis. After the storm, she and Dairobi (a friend) made it to Morgan City somehow, and are trying to find funds to take a bus to Oregon (where she is from). Her boyfriend Jason Palmer, and their other friend Lee elected to stay in New Orleans. Since they didn't go to Coop's, we hope they either ended up at the Superdome (and thus on the way to Houston at some point), or perhaps left for points unknown.
- Mike Moses and his girlfriend Nicole rode out the storm at her parent's house in River Ridge, just west of New Orleans, along the river. They are becoming very worried about the looting and violence (even there) and are looking for a way out. Unknown at this time whether they found one.
In other news:
- Janis is spending the night in Tulsa, OK, on her way to her friend JoLynn's house in Illinois, near St. Louis. She should arrive there sometime tomorrow night with Jarret, Andrea, and Andreas in tow.
- Janis' uncle Joe passed away today. The funeral is Saturday at 10AM. Cary and I are going out tomorrow to buy some presentable clothes and will represent our family. Janis is going to leave Saturday morning and will join us at the family's house Saturday afternoon (it is about a 5 hour drive from JoLynn's house). Poor Janis, she keeps having to drive.
- Adam and his girlfriend Megan have a flight from Florida to Chicago on Saturday evening. Finally, after over a week apart, we will all be together again this weekend.
- Coop left New Orleans at 5AM this morning with Barry, Jesse, Tom Taylor, Matt Gone, and Laura Roe. Barry called from Lafayette, where Coop dropped him off. In the relatively comfortable and undamaged confines of Coop's Place, it didn't look so bad. After seeing the devastation on the way out of town he commented "Had I only known, I would have left before the storm." Barry and Matt are going to Kentucky. Laura flew out of Lafayette today to her Mother's in New York. They dropped Tom Taylor off in Baton Rouge. Jesse went with Coop to Houston.
- Sean and Juli Green are in Lafayette. The are thinking about going to Detroit, where they have family.
- Fay and her group left Tennessee and made their way to Jacksonville, FL.
- Kathleen, Kattai, and Allan are leaving Houston tomorrow and heading to Bradenton, FL where they have family with more room. (I understand the motivation, but I just have to question the sanity - at least a little bit - of anyone that goes to Florida for any length of time.)
Cary and I did an interview with the Racine Journal Times. They taped part of it and may have it on their web site soon. I'll send you a link when I have it.
Many people have asked me permission to share the URL with others who may want to donate. Don't ask! Just do! That's what it is there for. These people (my kids included) are going to need some help getting back on their feet again, whether it be in New Orleans or somewhere else. I want to help everyone as much as I can.
Sorry for the long update, but, as you can see, a lot happened today.
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