You had to show up on the seventh anniversary of Katrina? Isaac, you’re a dick.
On the good side, this storm is not anything like Katrina. It’s smaller, less organized, and landed as a Category 1. The storm surge is not as high, nor are the winds. New Orleans has a competent and intelligent mayor running the city this time. (My favorite quote from his now-happening press conference, regarding looters: “If you loot, you’re gettin’ an orange suit.” Speaking of which, looting incidents have been minimal; only four reported, and all looting suspects were arrested.) The New Orleans levee and floodwall system is holding up well.
On the bad side … it’s a lot of wind and rain. A lot. Lots of trees, street signs and light poles are down in New Orleans, plus power lines down and transformers blown. Most of the city is without power, there’s some street flooding although it’s not too bad, varying amounts of debris on the streets (which nobody should be trying to traverse now anyway). Gambit just tweeted that “there’s crap all over the roads in the CBD.”) It’s not an apocalyptic disaster but there’s damage and it’s a huge mess.
Everybody I know back home is okay so far but nerves are frayed. People are concerned, nervous and irritated (although some, like my friend Andrew, are defiant). Even worse, the storm keeps stalling and moving very slowly, and won’t get the frak out of the area in a timely manner. The analogy I keep seeing from the NOLA Twitterverse is that Isaac is like that unwanted guest at your party who gets sloppy drunk, makes a big mess, and stays way too long. It’s going to go on all day today and it’s going to be tomorrow before things let up.
People keep saying that this stalling is what makes it feel like a lot more than “just” a Category 1. It’s been worse than expected, especially down in Plaquemines, Grand Isle, etc. It’s been downgraded back to a tropical storm by Wednesday afternoon, but that’s still a lot of wind and rain that’s sitting on top of southeast Louisiana and crawling like a snail.
On the worse side … lower Plaquemines Parish is bad. There’s been levee overtopping and severe flooding in Braithwaite, Louisiana, with flood waters overtopping roofs and over 100 people have had to be rescued so far.
Then there’s the dumbass national media.
As my pal Ed Branley pointed out … BRAITHWAITE IS NOT NEW ORLEANS. It’s outside the levee protection system. It’s a local levee that was overtopped, not the federal levees. Showing images of Braithwaite and telling the country that New Orleans is flooded is wrong and irresponsible. As Mayor Landrieu said, “Sometimes the national media has a challenge with geography.” To say the least. Apparently it’s too much of a challenge for them to, oh, look at a map or know what you’re talking about before you open your mouth.
I keep hearing a lot of complaints about some asshat on the Weather Channel who’s got a boner for panic-inducing statements and demeanor, too. I don’t know why anyone would watch anything but local news right now anyway. We may not have Nash Roberts anymore, but I want the locals who are following in his footsteps. I want Angela Hill and Bob Breck and Margaret Orr. Screw the Weather Channel and the Wall Street Journal; here’s what you should be watching:
DirecTV Channel 325 is alternating between all these stations’ news coverage as well.
That said, Ed said that the aforementioned stations have been failing at social media. Apparently WWL outsources its socal media outside the city, and the other stations haven’t been doing a good job with it. If you’re following on Twitter, here are some feeds you should be following:
There’s gonna be another day of this. Hang in there, Louisiana.