More Storms

New Orleans        Let’s look at some follow-up.

*    We have a report from Houston from Orell Fitzsimmons.  Power is still down, but to his shock the telephone was working yesterday, so he was able to call out.  His tree had fallen, missing the house and his car, but blocking the street.  He told me on Sunday he was going to have to wait until it was cleared.  Here in post-Katrina land, we shook our head and wondered if he would be stuck for years!  Houston must be something different though, because he said he was able to somehow get his car out.

*    When we evacuated from Gustav, I mentioned in the blog that the only people I saw on the streets in my neighborhood were Latinos, likely undocumented workers helping in the recovery.  There was a piece in the paper recently that mentioned that many Latinos in the same situation had been afraid to evacuate because immigration officials are notorious for congregating at bus stops.  The paper claimed that the Department of Homeland Security had issued an announcement saying that they were NOT going to patrol or pick up evacuees, so there was a “safe pass” in effect for evacuees.  Nonetheless, others reported hearing of friends coming back that were picked up and deported, and didn’t get the memo, I guess.  This continues to be a real problem.  The story from Houston, when there is one, will no doubt be even worse!

*    Speaking of Katrina there was a recent chart in the Times Picayune before the 3rd anniversary or where the New Orleans area is on recovery in some sectors three years later.  Let’s look:

o    Orleans Population:  321,466:  down 26.5% still.
o    FEMA Assistance:  Of $3.7 billion committed, only $1.1 billion paid.
o    Hospitals Reopened:  down 25%  — we now have 15
o    Hospital Beds:  down 38% — we now have 2548 compared to 4083
o    Hotel Beds:  down 13% — we have 33500 and were at 38500
o    Restaurants:  up 35% — I guess this is what we do now?
o    Airport:  passengers are even with 3 years ago.  Conventions are back.
o    Port Cargo:  down 36% to only 2 million tons.  This really hurts!!

NY Times caption: The emergency room at Charity Hospital was by far the busiest in New Orleans before floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina forced the evacuation of hundreds of patients and staff members…the building appears almost abandoned.
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