Monday, September 1, 2008

Hang On St Christopher

Severe over-topping is threatening the levees in Plaquemines parish at the Clearwater Canal near Braithwaite and also near Scarsdale. Parish President Billy Nungesser is trying to evacuate anyone who may have stayed in Braithwaite by implementing a door to door search.

Naturally, the Big News Media is beginning to lose control as the day wears on. MSNBC is covering the Plaquemines situation even though their entire crew is having difficulty pronouncing simple words like Plaquemines and Jindal. Add to this the fact that MSNBC has no cameras in Braithwaite and is illustrating the story with shots of the Industrial Canal at the height of the storm surge.

CNN had Nungesser on the phone live when they cut him off in to show Laura Bush's heartfelt call for prayer at the Republican National Convention. Upon returning to the line, Wolf Blitzer seemed confused five minutes later when Nungesser was no longer on the line. So Wolf called back. And Nungesser answered. And Nungesser was put on hold again in order to feature Vampirella McCain in her Hillary-orange pantsuit with Transylvanian collar as she spoke at the RNC.

FOX "News" and CNN have crews on the scene as parish workers and volunteers try to stem the rising tide with sandbags, but the water seems to be coming in faster than the bags are going down. What they need are the big army choppers and sandbags used to fill the breaches during Katrina.

David Vitter has surfaced in Baton Rouge, explaining that he was unable to leave the building due to high winds and didn't know the actual situation, but that he had heard there were some trees down in the State Capitol. He then went on to congratulate everyone for a job well done. Exactly what job was done well and who did it is still unclear, as is how Vitter found out about it considering he just explained that he didn't know what was going on.

Not surprisingly, the most on-the-ball broadcaster I've heard from yet is NBC's Brian Williams. After a brief recap of how the city fared in the last twenty-four hours, Williams asked the question, "Does this mean that New Orleans is ready for the 'Big One?'" He answered it, too, saying "No, It means that New Orleans was ready for this storm." And he's damn right about that.


Anonymous said...

Why is Katrina such a big issue? Karina did not do that much damage to New Orleans... the levees did. Now there is so much commotion about a category 2 storm? Whatever happened to Punta Gorda that was hit by a category 5 storm? I guess there weren't enoughg voters there.

M Styborski said...

Well sir, (or madam,) you're half right there. The failure of the levees did cause much of the destruction in New Orleans, but that wouldn't have happened had it not been for Hurricane Katrina, so you see, Katrina did indeed cause the damage after all.

I agree with you wholeheartedly about the commotion, but with all the Sarah Palin dirt being dished out today I'm guessing the Big News Media needed a distraction. Plus, keep in mind that Katrina literally made previously unknown talking heads into household names so every reporter in the country is going to jump at the chance to be the Next Big Thing. Even Geraldo Rivera came to town in a vainglorious attempt to revive his fading career.

As for Punta Gorda, one only needs to compare statistics. Charley took the lives of 10 people in the United States and caused an estimated 15 billion dollars in damage. Katrina killed over 1800, (over 1500 from Louisiana alone,) and racked up over 80 billion in damage. Punta Gorda's population remains relatively constant at around 16,000 while New Orleans numbers dropped from half a million to just over 120,000. Only recently has the Crescent City gotten back to over 250,000. (Or 300,000 depending on which political party you prefer to listen to.) I'm certain that the population difference between PG and NO had a definite effect on the news coverage, but there are other factors involved as well.

Although Charley was a more powerful Category 4 storm as opposed to Katrina's Cat 3 status at landfall, Charley was a faster moving storm with a much smaller footprint. Katrina covered half the Louisiana coast, part of Florida and all of Mississippi and Alabama.

And don't forget that FEMA and the feds managed to bungle almost every aspect of rescue and recovery after Katrina. That alone will cause comparisons to be drawn.

Lastly, Katrina is arguably the worst storm to hit the US and definitely the costliest. Remember the days before Katrina? Every storm to make landfall was compared to Andrew which held the Mother of All Storms title since 1992. Before that, no storm was spoken of without referring to Betsy or Camille as a reference point. You might as well face it, Katrina is going to be the measuring stick for every storm until something bigger and badder glides into the Gulf and even though I'm sick of hearing about that bitch, I shudder to think of the storm that could be worse.