August 29, 2005
Video Interpretation

Spent the last hour or so watching video of the storm damage in the New Orleans area.

Near as I could tell from the unfamiliar angle of the aerial shots:

  • the Yacht Club was on fire -- it's pretty much a goner
  • Lakeside was under ten-plus feet of water
  • the Hyatt had lost a good portion of its glass facade
  • the shiny white membrane installed on the Superdome for the 2002 Super Bowl had largely peeled off, along with at least two of the vent hood thingies ringing the apex of the dome
  • Clearview Mall in Metairie got hammered, with the Veterans Blvd facade of the new Target store ripped apart and the parking lot a couple of feet deep in water
  • what I think was Esplanade Mall near the I-10/Williams Blvd. interchange was under water
  • there was a Fox reporter standing near what looked like the new pump heads along I-10 near the I-10/610 merge (which were, unfortunately, just barely breaking the surface due to being knocked out)
  • the main tourist area of the French Quarter appears to have held up and didn't appear to be flooded
  • the racetrack clubhouse appears to have lost a good chunk of its roof
  • MSNBC is really, really milking their inside footage of the Superdome leak
Strangely, despite ominous sounding descriptions of what CNN's Jeanne Meserve had seen on a filming trip from which she had just returned, there hasn't been any video coverage of New Orleans East, the 9th Ward, and St. Bernard Parish, the parts of the metro area which reportedly suffered the worst damage. Nor has there been any footage showing the Causeway or the Twin Span. From Meserve's report, we'll probably see new video tomorrow like that of the morning of September 12, when the smoke had cleared and the first clear footage of Ground Zero became available. She was convinced that there were hundreds of fatalities waiting to be uncovered, and reported seeing many bodies floating in the water.

As far as Michoud goes, reported this afternoon that MAF had suffered some roof damage and water intrusion, but that the facility was on onsite power and its pumps were up and running.

ADDENDUM (12:30am): Holy crap...apparently there is a two-block-long breach in the 17th Street Canal in Lakeside, allowing water from the lake to run down Canal Street with whitecaps. Unbelievable. Not good at all.

Water at Tulane University Hospital is rising at a rate of an inch every five minutes, They're currently working with FEMA to arrange evacuation by air.

None of the news services have been out to Metarie, where I used to live.

CNN is showing video of looters cleaning out stores. Yeah, color me surprised.

ADDENDUM: Fox reports this morning that the Twin Spans are "gone". Wow. But again, it's not all that surprising considering they're twenty feet above the water at the outlet (or in this case, sea entrance) of the lake. The older Highway 11 bridge and train bridge beside the Twin Spans are probably gone, too, as is the bridge at the Rigolets. I saw some video last night showing the High Rise and Downman lift bridge still standing. Something tells me the Causeway (if it is still intact) is going to be seeing a huge increase in traffic for the next year or two, as there is no other viable route from Slidell to New Orleans.

ADDENDUM: Then again, maybe there won't be enough of Slidell left for commuting to be a concern. CNN is reporting that there has been no word out of Slidell yet, and that it apparently took a direct hit by the storm surge.

Posted by T.L. James on August 29, 2005 10:32 PM