Throughout the day, government officials and the news media have assured us that the scene at the Astrodome–unlike the the horrific one we saw at the Superdome–can provide us with some hope. The refugees in Texas do have food, water, electrical power, and medical supplies, which is a gigantic improvement over what they had in New Orleans. The people of Houston appear to be working non-stop to take care of the needs of the refugees. And the Red Cross is providing everything from food to blankets to the thousands of people who are stranded in Baton Rouge.
Meanwhile, in New Orleans, houses continue to burn down as I write this (even across the lake, in my neighborhood, a house has burned down), and both helicopters and ferries continue to rescue people from their roofs. In St. Bernard Parish, a large number of firefighters and their families are trapped in a building and are being fired on by snipers. The snipers have not been identified, but the intelligent guess is that they are escapees from the nearby St. Bernard Parish Prison.
Outside the Louisiana Superdome, evacuation continues. One evacuation bus has crashed, killing one evacuee and critically injuring several others. So far, 30,000 people have been evacuated.
Today, on a conservative radio talk show, the host made a criticism that seemed valid to me: Why–when everyone knew a Category 5 hurricane was about to hit the city–didn’t the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana immediately mobilize Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish school buses in preparation for evacuating people?
One thing Governor Blanco did do early on was to ask cruise ships to please come to New Orleans as soon as they could and take people. To my knowledge, none responded, or perhaps they were unable to.
There have been numerous reports of rapes and beatings around the New Orleans Convention Center, as well as the shootings that are all over the national news, and several NOPD officers have turned in their badges.