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DirectNIC Crisis Manager Braves the Chaos of New Orleans 911

Aleks Clark writes "The Interdictor, a DirectNIC crisis manager, is currently braving the madness of post-Katrina New Orleans. Server rescues, OC4 repairs and live video and audio feeds abound as he and his crew battle the odds with what seems like the entire internet at his back. 1700+ People are tracking his blog, and IRC channels are full to capacity."
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DirectNIC Crisis Manager Braves the Chaos of New Orleans

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  • by Incongruity ( 70416 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @10:52PM (#13460788)
    These guys set the bar for uptime and connectivity... I've been continually impressed. Bravo!
    • by Krioni ( 180167 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @12:15AM (#13461316) Homepage
      I've started to put together a customized Google Map of interdictor's area:
      interdictor map [].

      I've only got a little on there now, but will add more (like other flood lines, etc) if people send me email with coordinates to gmap AT

      I've got a simple click-to-find-coordinates map at:
      Test Map Coords []

    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @01:59AM (#13461836) Homepage Journal
      Also for understatement [].
  • Seems trivial... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TimTheFoolMan ( 656432 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @10:52PM (#13460793) Homepage Journal
    ...until you realize how many people are using blogs and other internet services as their only means of communication.

  • by BitGeek ( 19506 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @10:56PM (#13460818) Homepage

    It was interesting to see in that blog that what I've heard elsewhere is confirmed: Police are doing much of the looting.

    Its unfortunate that government sweeps in during disasters and starts making mandates that make things worse. Like prohibitions against price "gauging". What, they htink things get cheaper when the infrastructure is destroyed?

    Gauging actually helps-- it brings in more supply to service that demand, and ultimately prices go down FASTER when the free market is allowed.

    Here's an economists take on the issue:
    Price Gauging saves lives: []
    And another: []
    • by FireballX301 ( 766274 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:06PM (#13460882) Journal
      Except that as far as I know from friends that were able to contact me, the cops are looting stuff like gun shops and food shops. Unlike the other looters that steal money (wtf is the point of money in New Orleans right now, eh), and non-critical supplies.

      Also, you described the economic side of price gouging - fair enough. Now, IN THE MEANTIME, whilst the supplies are being shipped in, nobody can pay for their foodstuffs. They die. Congratulations.
      • by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 ) <> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:23PM (#13461002)
        He's not talking about food. Or maybe he is. In any event, here is an example:

        A hurricane comes through. Houses are destroyed. People come in to rebuild knowing that they will get rich. Governor sets a price cap. Builders know that they can go elsewhere and get better profits with less hastle, so they leave.

        The people who come into an area to rebuild need an economic incentive. If you want to remove that incentive, fine. But then you have to mandate that people rebuild regardless of their wishes.

        Unless you are going to have government contracts to rebuild things, you can't remove free market incentives.

        Now, things like food, clothing, tents should be provided, free of charge, by the government. No if's ands or buts. We spend millions to provide MREs to Africa/Asia; spending billions on our own people shouldn't be a problem.
        • by randyest ( 589159 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @01:55AM (#13461822) Homepage
          We spend millions to provide MREs to Africa/Asia; spending billions on our own people shouldn't be a problem.

          I don't know that gouging is necessary to ensure a healthy profit and encourage rebuilding. I'm quite sure "getting rich" instantly is not necessary for construction projects to be worthwhile.

          But I must emphasize your 1000x underestimation of US aid to Africa. Please note that we spend Billions [] in Africa (with a 'B') just to fight AIDS and that's not enough []!: There remains today a huge gap between the estimated annual needs of $3-4 billion for HIV/AIDS and current annual expenditures.

          Bush has refused to endorse Blair's plan to double aid to Africa from rich nations to $25 billion annually now and $50 billion each year starting in 2015.

          The White House has not decided how much more direct assistance to Africa it will offer at the G8 summit. The United States provides $3.2 billion in aid and much more through Bush's AIDS program, which calls for $3 billion a year to be spent combating the deadly disease, of which about 80 percent is expected to go to Africa. About half of the $5 billion Bush has promised from the Millennium Fund, which provides financial assistance to governments that commit to democratic and economic reforms, will go to Africa.
    • It was interesting to see in that blog that what I've heard elsewhere is confirmed: Police are doing much of the looting.

      Ok, let's be clear about this, because both your and the blog's statements are pretty inflammatory and not accurate.

      In a declared emergency, the police are allowed and in fact in some cases even required to commandeer what they see fit to maintain order and public safety. That does include guns and food. This is not "looting". The store owners are all reimbursed by the city and state later.

      This happens all the time, but the one instance I can remember that was pretty heavily publicized was during that bank robbery and shootout in Los Angeles a while back, where the police were so outgunned that they went to a gun store during the gunfight and picked it clean. This is part of their duty; they have the authority and responsibility to commandeer items required to do their job during a public emergency.

      It's really no different than a firefighter breaking somebody's door down during a fire. I mean, are they breaking and entering? Do you have them arrested for tresspassing? Obviously not - they're doing what they need to do to get the job done, and they're legally allowed to do it.

      I think it's actually pretty tasteless for this guy to write something like "who knows what their real motives are?"... I mean, these are the guys out there in the direct line of fire trying to protect and feed a whole lot of innocent people who haven't eaten or drunk anything in 3 or 4 days. They're getting shot at (and hit) by street thugs for no reason, and they're doing their best to restore order in a clear vacuum of leadership and without nearly enough manpower.
  • by rahlquist ( 558509 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @10:57PM (#13460831) Homepage
    They keep em up through a hurricane, flooding, riots and the /. editors decide to take the servers down themselves...
  • Data Link Source (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nerd Systems ( 912027 ) <{moc.smetsysdren} {ta} {neb}> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @10:59PM (#13460837) Homepage
    Just curious, where is the power for his net connection coming from? He has an OC4 up and running... yet nobody else has phone service or internet service... I understand he has generator power... what I do not understand is what is powering the data lines running to his location... are they all on major generators also?
    • Re:Data Link Source (Score:3, Informative)

      by arootbeer ( 808234 )
      He's got at least a couple of OC3s coming from Bell South(?) It's listed farther down in today's entries.
    • Re:Data Link Source (Score:5, Informative)

      by thogard ( 43403 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:28PM (#13461032) Homepage
      The OC4 will be fiber all the way to a major exchange building and most of that sort of stuff is way up top. If its a typical telco, they have lots of batteries for the OC4 gear because they tend to build battery packs as if they were for the exchange gear which takes far more power. The result is there is a very expensive fiber switch thats has a direct fiber connection from very far away (maybe as far Dallas or Atlanta) and it has power. The risk to that type of connection is that sometimes the water will cause noise in the fiber splices or the generator will die or someone will break the upstream link while trying to fix something far away.
  • by Petrox ( 525639 ) <pp502@n y u .edu> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @10:59PM (#13460838) Homepage
    ...were so diligent. Seriously, the madness and 'Lord of the Flies' atmosphere that has taken place in my home city of New Orleans with no food, no water, no communication, and no signs of help are heartbreaking and a true tragedy. The loss is immense and our government has failed us--this is the United States and we needed to do better for our own.
    • They failed even before it happened []:

      "..In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

      On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq,
    • no food, no water, no communication, and no signs of help are heartbreaking and a true tragedy

      That would be "no food or water" other than the tons and tons that are being flown and driven in every hour? I'm watching an interview right now with people sitting on top of an overpass eating military MREs (meals-ready-to-eat, as consumed in the thousands by our troops every day) that were just dropped off by a Navy chopper. Their response? That the food is "impossible to eat" since it's cold. Incredible.

      • You deserve a real big smack man..

        1. These people, if they were able, probably DID put aside food and water. Which is now trapped under 9-20 feet of water in their houses.

        2. There is only 1 road out of New orleans right now, and it's DANGEROUS to walk around. It's also on the opposite side of the most affected parts of the city. Put another way.. would you stroll through this with your kids? I'd wait for an escort with guns, thank you.

        3. It is essential to get people moved out within 48-72 hours of a disaster. After that, the shock of loosing everything you own wears out and you go into survival mode.

        3. These buses are driving right past thousands of people. Today was the first day that any serious evacuation was happening.

        I'm not excusing the behaviour of NOLA people - but I understand it. There's looting, rape and murder happening - at the shelters. 60% of the NOLA police force quite because there's no command/control.

        Most people got clean WATER for the first time since Monday. Even at the Superdome.

        If I were FEMA last Tuesday:
        1. Get school busses and get accessible people out now. Sort them somewhere else and reduce the need to ship in food. There should be armed escorts getting these people out. They should be swathing the city eastward so they can make effective use of the manpower instead of diluting it.

        2. Evacuate all hospitals. Call in every ambulance you can and fly them out of Baton Rouge.

        3. Air-drop food and water all over the city. Hell, have the coast guard drop food around as they're going to rescue survivors. It took 4 days to get those "tons and tons" into the city.

        They didn't do that. Instead they:
        1. Advised everyone to gather at central locations.. and instantly had supply issues because there's only one friggin road into town.

        2. They thought they could fix a 500' levee of MOVING water in 24 hours. Huh?

        3. The advised people to evacuate, but didn't coordinate escorts with the National Guard they had.

        4. The police were overwhelmed. Many of them didn't even hear that they were under martial law! The city government left town leaving people with no knowledge of the city to coordinate the effort.

        It's just totally wrong. Even an 8 year old could figure it out. If you've got limited access you're not going to be able to provide needed services.

        FEMA gets billions of dollars to figure this out and completely botched it. Now they're complaining that people are shooting at them, which is wrong, but these people are mentally in survivor mode and if you don't have food or water then you don't matter.
        • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @04:52AM (#13462443)
          They got people to gather in centralized locations so that they could more effectively distribute aid. You want aid dropped randomly around the city so that these tired, half-drowned people have to swim a few blocks to get it?

          It was not a perfect plan, obviously things could have been done much better. Before the hurricane, the city should have been more forceful in getting people to leave, as that was their best opportunity to get people out of the city. In hindsight there's always improvements to be made. Why don't we criticize the founders of the city for putting it in a place with restricted land access and a vulnerability to flooding?

          It's rediculous to suggest that shooting at doctors and police during such an emergency is in any way justified. Just two years removed from being consumed in riots, Los Angeles somehow managed NOT to erupt in violence after the Northridge earthquake. I don't remember any shooting in San Diego when it was on fire last summer.

          You deserve a good smack yourself for suggesting that these people who are risking their lives to try and help somehow deserve the violence they're facing.

          Not enough people are helping, and those that do help are to blame for the problems? Absurd!
        • I'll go one further. WTF is up with the government? Weren't all their efforts in the past four years supposed to prepare for a national tragedy /exactly like this/? Wasn't DHS set up to promote cooperation with all the agencies?

          True, I rather suspect they where expecting to deal with a city nuked by terrorists or something of the like, but wouldn't the consequences be exactly what we are seeing in NO today? So WTF have the agencies been doing the past years?
        • by praecantator ( 102628 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @05:45AM (#13462562)
          Just as a bit of fairness to the people at FEMA, people should take a look at this article []; FEMA hasn't really existed as an independent agency for a while, and to quote the article for those too lazy to read it,
          This year it was announced that FEMA is to "officially" lose the disaster preparedness function that it has had since its creation. The move is a death blow to an agency that was already on life support. In fact, FEMA employees have been directed not to become involved in disaster preparedness functions, since a new directorate (yet to be established) will have that mission.

          The problem with FEMA preparedness and intervention goes a bit higher up.
  • we are busy.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by joeldg ( 518249 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:00PM (#13460847) Homepage
    as a directnic employee working remotely from Manhattan I have been working round the clock to aid these guys any way I can.
    we are on freenode in #interdictor

    we have had a lot of support, thank you guys.

    as far as directnic employees, we have made contact with most, we are still missing our entire accounting/HR department and many of our support people are MIA, we can only assume they got out.

    as a company, the majority of our employees are currently homeless and are regrouping in Florida currently.

    They are pretty hardcore there, not sure they can even get out now..
  • by Lothar+0 ( 444996 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:02PM (#13460859) Homepage
    If anyone enters, looks threatening and asks, just reply, "MASTER BLASTER RUNS BARTERTOWN!" Works like a charm.
  • DONATE (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:03PM (#13460863)
    Red Cross: 1-800-HELP-NOW or [] [] []
    Site offering a service for the New Orleans homeless, free of charge.

    Baton Rouge Area Foundation(BRAF): 877.387.6126 or []

    Episcopal Relief & Development: 1-800-334-7626 or []

    United Methodist Committee on Relief: 1-800-554-8583 or []

    Salvation Army: 1-800-SAL-ARMY or []

    Catholic Charities: 1-800-919-9338 or []

    FEMA Charity tips: []

    National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster: []

    Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: []

    Operation Blessing: 1-800-436-6348 or []

    America's Second Harvest: 1-800-344-8070 or []

    Adventist Community Services: 1-800-381-7171 or []

    Christian Disaster Response: 1-941-956-5183 or 1-941-551-9554 or []

    Christian Reformed World Relief Committee: 1-800-848-5818 or []

    Church World Service: 1-800-297-1516 or []

    Convoy of Hope: 1-417-823-8998 or []

    Lutheran Disaster Response: 1-800-638-3522 or []

    Mennonite Disaster Service: 1-717-859-2210 or []

    Nazarene Disaster Response: 1-888-256-5886 or []

    Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: 1-800-872-3283 or []

    Southern Baptist Convention - Disaster Relief: 1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440 or []

  • Just remember (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mnemonic_ ( 164550 ) <> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:07PM (#13460890) Homepage Journal
    Your worst team meeting, software development project or vacation gone wrong is 1/1,000,000 as complex as what the relief personnel are handling. You may have been thwarted by snow on the road, delayed flights, crashing computers, lost data, wrong cellphone numbers or ill coworkers; these guys are dealing with non-existant roads, riots, gun shots, power loss and starvation. This is spread across 50,000 square miles of cities turned lakes. None of us can possibly fathom the details evacuating 60,000 people must be, tending to their transportation and health through an almost literal warzone.

    We may know it's complex, but unless we're intimitely involved we cannot accurately critique the relief efforts. It'd be comparable to Brian Williams analyzing the Linux kernel structure, or attempting to explain fighter tactics. Without first-hand knowledge, opinions on sophisticated matters are worthless. As slashdotters who regularly tear apart the mass media on technical inaccuracies, we all should know this well
  • IRC is NOT FULL (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Kow ( 184414 ) <> on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:08PM (#13460900)
    We are NOT full to capacity, please feel free to participate. #interdictor

    There are several sub-channels, such as #interdictor-chat for discussion/dialogue, #interdictor-scanner for a transcript of the radio scanner, etc.

    We are also trying to track any news and information we can find to provide a summarized glimpse of the events as they happen. We're avoiding things that are already available through major news outlets, but any first-hand accounts, independent news sources, eye-witness information, international news, etc. (anything you couldn't find through, say, Fox News or MSNBC), please don't hesitate to help out.
  • Re-unification site (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EMIce ( 30092 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:10PM (#13460909) Homepage
    How about some slashdotters set up a database driven site where people can register to be found and find others? They could list their employer, address, any significant information. I don't have the resources to do this but would be glad to help in throwing together some php and sql if given some server space.
  • by Helpadingoatemybaby ( 629248 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:14PM (#13460937)
    Here is what Bush did right after his grave speech about how difficult this time would be. This was just yesterday when people were dying. You can see the Presidential Seal on the guitar he's smiling and playing, which apparently was supplied by the US Department of Irony: itar-710427.jpg []

    Pictures of bodies floating by are currently on the front page of the New York Times.

    I posted the following quote on the previous article, with no conclusions, but it was modded down by people who dislike facts they disagree with. Additionally there's more information now and I am posting a link to the original article from editor and publisher:

    "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us." June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, in the Times-Picayune le_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001051313 [] The above article also details what cuts were done by Bush to the SELA grants (for levees in New Orleans), which, by the way, were started and funded in 1995.

    Additionally it appears that Louisiana should have been "high on the list of FEMA's biggest disaster mitigation grant program" but received nothing. Here's the article that states this: 8/cover_story2.html [] Now, as before, mod this post into oblivion so that you don't have to see Bush smiling and playing the guitar yesterday while bodies float around. I'm not sure what disgusts me more -- him doing that, or people closing their eyes to truth.

    • by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:52PM (#13461174) Journal
      Additionally it appears that Louisiana should have been "high on the list of FEMA's biggest disaster mitigation grant program" but received nothing. Here's the article that states this: [] 8/cover_story2.html

      The article states that the reason Jefferson Parish' potentially high ranking was because it has a disproportionate number of "repetitive loss structures." Those are structures that have suffered flood damage two or more times over a 10-year period and the cost to repair the structure equals or exceeds 25 percent of its market value. This means that the issue being discussed in the article was general flooding due to rain and rising rivers, not levee breaks. Specifically they are talking about areas that have been flooded 2 or more times... which indicates a flood prone area (no surprise considering it's on the delta and below sea level in some places). My point is this article has nothing to do with the levee disaster.

      At the end of the article we find this statement:

      One possible reason for the non-selection, Rodrigue hypothesizes, was that early in 2004, FEMA auditors discovered that a private consultant hired by the state to administer FEMA money had misallocated funds in Slidell, Mandeville and other places in St. Tammany Parish. "I think it was connected to the fact that there was an ongoing investigation," Rodrigue says, although he noted that other parishes, including Jefferson, were audited by both FEMA and the state during the investigation and came out clean.

      So the alleged city government corruption that we've heard about seems to have caused some problems w/ New Orleans getting money. Which it should have... if the local government was improperly allocating the funds we should not continue to give them money until the issue can be properly investigated and we can ensure they are using the funds correctly. Point is, the local government seemed to contribute to their own inability to get the funds... again this is irrelevent because the agument for them to get the money in first place had to do w/ basic flooding, not levee breaks.

      The first article... is troubling. I read it and I'm left wondering if money would have solved the problem or not. What would the impact of the proposed projects truly have been? Do we know (considering they wanted to do a 4 year study to even determine how to protect New Orleans)? When would the projects have been completed? Does raising levees really solve the problem. I'm not a structural engineer but I would expect that the point of raising levees is to withstand higher water levels... not keep the levees from breaking Why did we know about this since the 1960s, and then only start acting when 6 people died in a flood in 1995? It is troubling though.

      It makes me wonder about why we even let the federal government pay for this kind of stuff? I mean... why shouldn't we reduce federal taxes in order to allow states to raise their taxes as needed to fund the projects that are important to the states? People would have far more control over how the money was spent b/c it would be their local politicians they were dealing with and corruption may be held in check better than it is now because people would care if every dollar wasted was a dollar they paid out in taxes (as opposed to the current system where taxes are paid by all 50 states and dispersed out in projects to the various states).

      Anyways, the articles are interesting, the picture is a lame argument (too easily forged, show me real dated proof, and a presidential schedule... and at best all it is says is the President is disengenous... doesn't mean he's doing a bad job).
    • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <<roystgnr> <at> <>> on Friday September 02, 2005 @12:24AM (#13461369) Homepage
      Do you know how hard it is to find a fiddle on such short notice?
  • by Boap ( 559344 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:21PM (#13460993)
    You can hear more streams and check out more info here []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:33PM (#13461062)
    About the fact that this was a relatively minor disaster that was experienced and this was how an entire country, the (arguably) richest in the world both in terms of economy and innovation was able to deal with it?

    What if we had a larger disaster on our hands such as price/rarity of gas skyrocketing to the point where farmed goods can no longer be delivered in quantity to major metropolitain areas?

    As far as the crime situation goes, I can "understand" the looting and mugging, but why the raping? What racial/moral justification is there for that?

    I dropped my donation off at the Red Cross for a lack of anything better to do in order to help. My respect goes out to the people risking their ass to get aid to that place.

    Maybe I sound tin foil hattish but prior to this hurricane footage, all i was really expecting to see post-hurricane was generic flood photos and cheesy clips of people grabbing TVs from shop windows, not stories of cops siphoning gas from cars for their patrol vehicles and stealing ammo from stores before other people do while "rape gangs" walk around.

    Truly a sad day for the human race. Maybe we'll look back on how *we* behaved when we look at other countries and remark about how "uncivilized" they are in the future.
    • Is anyone else here concerned About the fact that this was a relatively minor disaster that was experienced

      You consider a Category 5 Hurricane with levees breaking in a city that is below sea level a "minor disaster"? What would you consider a medium sized disaster? Asteroid impact that takes out an entire city or WW3?
  • I am disapointed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Thursday September 01, 2005 @11:45PM (#13461132)
    As an American, I am disappointed and ashamed by what Katrina has exposed. Katrina has shown that America is no different or is even worse than a banana republic when it comes to disasters. One can hardly believe that the scenes exposed in New Orleans are on American soil.

    This is why I think we need to take a deeper look at ourselves:

    1: We knew Katrina was coming...

    2: We knew it was big...really huge and as such, the damage would be enormous...

    3: We knew that some residents would not beat the time required to vacate Louisiana, may be because of complacency or the traffic mess...

    4: We had numbers of those who had managed to escape. We even knew where they were to be found...

    5: We even knew the geography of New Orleans, so we could know where to go and how to get there...

    6: We knew much more via satellites...since we take ourselves as being the most advanced country on earth...!


    1: There was 100% chaos in Louisiana...

    2: ...because we seem to have been caught off guard...!

    3: Dead bodies lying on the streets?

    4: Desperate people walking in s**t?

    5: Looting as if this is Somalia?

    6: Despite all this, we have politicians ranting up their rhetoric...heck...folks are dying...all you hear is "we are doing all we can..." And this is AMERICA the great? Can some one tell me how a similar catastrophe would be any different in a third world country?

  • Survivor Registry (Score:4, Informative)

    by el-spectre ( 668104 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @12:17AM (#13461324) Journal
    If you lost touch with family due to Katrina, please visit: []

    Katrina survivors can leave messages for family, plus we link to several other lost and found sites.
  • by rm3friskerFTN ( 34339 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @12:32AM (#13461412) Journal

    Some historical background - "everyone" knew the hurricane with New Orleans written on it was coming:

    October 2004 National Geographic Article [] about New Orleans getting whacked ... btw this site has been Drudged as opposed to Slashdot'd

    October 2001 Scientific American article [] about New Orleans getting whacked

    Informed discussion over at Belmont Club Blog []

    An obscure blog [] describes the hurricane's impact on YOU in Anywhere USA before the hurrican ever made landfall:

    Most people have never heard of Port Fourchon, but it is the nation's premiere oil and gas support services facility--and right now it lies within 12 miles of Hurricane Katrina's CAT-3 or CAT-4 bullseye. Over 600 platforms and 75% of the Gulf's deepwater projects lie within a 40-mile radius of Port Fourchon. Unfortunately, Port Fourchon is a Louisiana island. An island that is connected to the mainland by a single two lane old, single two lane bridge. This bridge is the only means of getting cargo and supplies to the Port. More than 1,000 cargo trucks go across this bridge each day, delivering materials to the Port for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling rigs. If there's no bridge, there're no drilling parts and supplies.
    Perhaps this all means we can look forward to the next MikeMoore film [] proving that the "Bush Hitler Haliburton Rove Puppet Yale C Student Same As John Kerry" caused the hurricane.
    • Some social perspective on New Orleans over at City Journal [] ... perhaps America's "Almost Third World" City got whacked and we are watching Somila occur???

      The truth is that even on a normal day, New Orleans is a sad city. Sure, tourists think New Orleans is fun: you can drink and hop from strip club to strip club all night on Bourbon Street, and gamble all your money away at Harrah's.

      But the city's decline over the past three decades has left it impoverished and lacking the resources to build its economy

  • by kingradar ( 643534 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @12:40AM (#13461464) Homepage
    Several hundred megabytes of pictures from, taken in the disaster zone by Mike and his team at DirectNIC have been mirrored to: []

    /. away. Sits atop four GigE, and a load balanced www cluster. If anyone else needs a mirror of Katrina content, let us know.
  • by ZosX ( 517789 ) <> on Friday September 02, 2005 @12:45AM (#13461497) Homepage
    The president take time off of vacation to play guitar [] in a jovial mood while the nation faces the worst natural disaster in history? Congress talks about ending their recess early? Glad that the feds are looking out for the thousands dead and dying in the big easy!

    Check out some sad reports I've read today.



    FEMA chief: Victims bear some responsibility
    Brown pleased with effort: 'Things are going relatively well'

    Friday, September 2, 2005 Posted: 0341 GMT (1141 HKT)

    (CNN) -- The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday those New Orleans residents who chose not to heed warnings to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina bear some responsibility for their fates.

    Michael Brown also agreed with other public officials that the death toll in the city could reach into the thousands.

    "Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings," Brown told CNN.

    "I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans," he said.

    "And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there.

    "So, we've got to figure out some way to convince people that whenever warnings go out it's for their own good," Brown said. "Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them."

    Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin have both predicted the death toll could be in the thousands.

    Nagin issued a "desperate SOS" Thursday as violence disrupted efforts to rescue people still trapped in the flooded city and evacuate thousands of displaced residents living amid corpses and human waste. (Full story)

    Residents expressed growing frustration with the disorder evident on the streets, raising questions about the coordination and timeliness of relief efforts. (See video on the desperate conditions -- 4:36 )

    Sniper fire prevented Charity Hospital from evacuating its patients Thursday. The hospital has no electricity or water, food consists of a few cans of vegetables, and the patients had to be moved to upper floors because of looters. (Full story) (See video of a city sinking in chaos -- 2:54)

    Brown was upbeat in his assessment of the relief effort so far, ticking off a list of accomplishments: more than 30,000 National Guard troops will be in the city within three days, the hospitals are being evacuated and search and rescue missions are continuing. (See video of National Guard efforts to rein in violence -- 3:14)

    "Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans -- virtually a city that has been destroyed -- that things are going relatively well," Brown said.

    Nevertheless, he said he could "empathize with those in miserable conditions."

    Asked later on CNN how he could blame the victims, many of whom could not flee the storm because they had no transportation or were too frail to evacuate on their own, Brown said he was not blaming anyone.

    "Now is not the time to be blaming," Brown said. "Now is the time to recognize that whether they chose to evacuate or chose not to evacuate, we have to help them."

    Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, whose father was a longtime New Orleans mayor, said there was "plenty of blame to go around," citing underinvestement by federal authorities over many years "despite pleas and warnings by officials."

    Earlier on CNN, Brown was asked why authorities had not prepared for just such a catastrophe -- given that the levees were designed to withstand only a Category 3 hurricane and Katrina was stronger than that.

    "Government officials and engineers will debate that and figure that out," he replied. "Right now, I'm trying to focus on saving lives. I think we should have that debate
    • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @01:03AM (#13461589) Homepage
      This is the first big test for the Department of Homeland Security. They flunked. With $80 billion a year going into "homeland security", it turns out that, three days after the event, DHS can't even get enough security troops into New Orleans to secure the hospitals, the convention center, and the Superdome. DHS secretary Chertoff has no clue; when interviewed, it was clear he knew less than the average CNN viewer.

      Disaster stockpiles don't seem to have been in place in New Orleans, even for the cheap stuff. A shipping container of water purification tablets would have been a huge help. Nobody seems to have thought to equip the Superdome, the designated disaster assembly point, with some basic water purification gear.

      Congress and the voters need to ask some hard questions about where all that money goes and whether it's being spent properly.

      • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @12:41PM (#13464637)
        Mmm. DHS was set up to, what, deal with the 'terrorist threat'?

        OK. Let's suppose the worst nightmare comes true, the one the neocons keep telling us is such a realistic threat, the terrorists detonate a real live nuke in a city.

        Well, then, we're stuffed, aren't we? Clearly they can't handle a flooded city even when given several days' warning. So if some sod manages to cause comparable damage with a bomb, with no warning...

        I'm feeling really safe, aren't you?

  • by KidSock ( 150684 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @01:46AM (#13461787)
    This is a little OT but I don't understand why officials are trying to send aid INTO the city as opposed to getting PEOPLE OUT. The whole place is a biohazard and must be completely evacuated minus engineers and health officials. If they do not do this perfectly healthy people are going to start dying in droves. They should be putting people on anything with wheels and sending them tent cities 20 miles out of town. I've heard nothing along these lines in the media. Can someone exaplain that to me?
  • "The Real News" (Score:5, Informative)

    by cyranoVR ( 518628 ) * <> on Friday September 02, 2005 @02:47AM (#13462024) Homepage Journal
    This is the entry that made my jaw hit the floor:

    The following is the result of an interview I just conducted via cell phone with a New Orleans citizen stranded at the Convention Center. I don't know what you're hearing in the mainstream media or in the press conferences from the city and state officials, but here is the truth:

    "Bigfoot" is a bar manager and DJ on Bourbon Street, and is a local personality and icon in the city. He is a lifelong resident of the city, born and raised. He rode out the storm itself in the Iberville Projects because he knew he would be above any flood waters. Here is his story as told to me moments ago. I took notes while he talked and then I asked some questions:

    Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.

    It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.

    Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

    There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.

    Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

    The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

    The buses never stop.

    Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.

    He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."

    He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.

  • by Hosiah ( 849792 ) on Friday September 02, 2005 @05:48AM (#13462568)
    The hurricane or the United States' response to it?

    I can't make up my mind. First I hear about National Guardsmen given "shoot to kill" orders, Bush asking for a paltry 10 billion in aid (as opposed to 80 billion for Iraq this year - I guess a New Orleans citizen is worth 1/8th of an Iraqi citizen?), helicopters dropping sandbags instead of food, and Bush and congress were all on vacation when this went down. And now I come on Slashdot and read people saying, in effect, that because they didn't clear out of town when they were told, it's all their own damn fault?

    Remember, 1 out of 3 New Orleans citizens live at or below poverty level. What can you do when you have no car? How can you hear a warning if you don't have a TV set or radio? How can you evacuate when you're told to go to a convention center and wait for a bus that never shows up?

    The storm was devestating. The response and aftermath are sickening.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake