Reporting from Baton Rouge

Sep 8, 2005 by

Hi everyone and greetings from Baton Rouge. The situation here is quite unremarkable compared to what’s happening less than 60 miles away, but it still bears reporting. Here at LSU, we have over 700 displaced animals staying in the Ag Center – and they only accepted dogs and cats. Volunteers are needed to help. The situation downtown, while initially more than tense, is calming down. For people who want to move here (probably nobody), there is a phenomenal housing shortage. Pretty much every house for sale under $300,000 has been sold. Every apartment complex is full. Several of the hotels are letting people spend the night in the lobby. LSU has taken in UNO, Tulane, Loyola, Xavier, etc. students. The LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center has taken in 200 from Tulane and Loyola law schools for at least the semester, and perhaps for the year. The Tulane and LSU medical schools have been moved into the Pennington Research Facility here, and the word is that they will never return to New Orleans.

The Louisiana Supreme Court has moved into the already over-crowded 1st Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse. The 4th Circuit (Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines) and the 5th Circuit (Jefferson) are currently out of session. The alleged return date is October 1, but this is not possible according to anyone involved with any court to whom I’ve spoken. For information, go to which is the 1st Circuit’s webpage.

The Red Cross is still being denied entry into New Orleans by the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, as controlled by Gov. Kathleen Blanco. I have friends on the ground in Orleans and Jefferson, and the reports are grim. I’ll talk to some of them, to see what information they feel should be imparted.

The “Ray Nagin Memorial Bus Pool” that could and should have been used to get people OUT of the city of New Orleans is still under water and leaking oil and gas into the surrounding area. I’ll find the link to the image of the over-200 flooded busses mere blocks from the La. Superdome.

I do have the link to the City of New Orleans Emergency Preparedness Plan, which was NOT followed. Had it been followed, this situation would not be the crisis it is, and the tardy response of FEMA would not have the dire consequences it did and does.

Read it and weep.

The law school is having a meeting on Friday to talk about what we can do to help.

One of the big oil refineries in St. Bernard is leaking all over the place. It’s been reported that some areas of Chalmette will never again be habitable because of the amount of oil. I don’t have a link for that at this time, but I will later.

Oh, and another thing – when, very early into this fiasco, Blanco was offered as many National Guard soldiers as she wanted, she asked for 2000. ONLY 2000. I don’t know what world she’s living in, but it takes a lot more than 2000 people to control and give direction to over 100,000 scared, lost, desperate, hopeless individuals.

More to come later as time allows . . .

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