June 2005, The New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FY 2006 budget is cut by $71.2 million dollars; the largest reduction to date.
"I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction", said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district.
August 1, 2005, In preparation for hurricane season, the Louisiana National Guard requests emergency equipment to be sent back from Iraq.
When members of the Louisiana National Guard left for Iraq in October, they took a lot equipment with them. Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem.
August 2, 2005, President Bush leaves Washington, taking a 5-week vacation in Crawford, Texas.
From the Washington Post:
The president departed Tuesday for his longest stretch yet away from the White House, arriving at his Crawford ranch in the evening for a stretch of clearing brush, visiting with family and friends, and tending to some outside-the-Beltway politics. By historical standards, it is the longest presidential retreat in at least 36 years.
The August getaway is Bush's 49th trip to his cherished ranch since taking office and the 319th day that Bush has spent, entirely or partially, in Crawford -- nearly 20 percent of his presidency to date, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS Radio reporter known for keeping better records of the president's travel than the White House itself. Weekends and holidays at Camp David or at his parents' compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, bump up the proportion of Bush's time away from Washington even further.
August 29,2005, Category 5 hurricane, Katrina, is expected to hit New Orleans. The city is evacuated and those with money and means to leave, do. The poor, elderly and infirmed are left to stay put and hope for the best or seek shelter at the New Orleans super-dome. It's predicted that the entire city could be washed away.
The last-minute scramble to evacuate the New Orleans area Sunday ahead of powerful Hurricane Katrina put strains on the state's contra-flow traffic system, especially for those heading west toward Baton Rouge.
August 30, 2005, Massive Hole in Levee is Major Challenge for Engineers
From the Palm Beach Post:
Army engineers worked feverishly late Tuesday to haul in rocks, sandbags and heavy equipment.
They need more.
We're attempting to contract for materials, such as rock, super sandbags, cranes, etc., and also for modes of transportation -- like barges and helicopters -- to close the gaps," said Walter Baumy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager overseeing the work.
August 30, 2005, Corps scrambling to plug levee breaches as New Orleans floods
August 30, 2005, The President travels to the San Diego, North Island Naval Air Station to celebrate the 60th anniversary of V-J day. He begins his 40-minute WWII/Iraq speech, with a one minute address to the devastation that has occurred in New Orleans. Then he goes golfing.
August 31, 2005, The un-repaired levees give way in New Orleans; city under water
From the Press:
Two levees broke and sent water coursing into the streets of the Big Easy a full day after New Orleans appeared to have escaped widespread destruction from Hurricane Katrina. An estimated 80 percent of the below-sea-level city was under water, up to 20 feet deep in places, with miles and miles of homes swamped.
August 31, 2005, Levee Pump Fails; a second flood in New Orleans.
From the Press:
New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin says a new wall of water is expected to flow into the east bank of the city beginning around 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m., causing floods of nine feet or more in some areas.
...Nagin had hoped to have Army Blackhawk helicopters drop 3,000-pound sandbags on the levee at Pumping Station No. 6 before it became too waterlogged to continue operating. That, he says, "Didnít happen" because there were too many chiefs calling the shots in responding to the disaster, he told WWL-TV.
"My heart is heavy," said Nagin, as he ticked off New Orleans' current problems: no electricity, for at least four to six more weeks; contaminated drinking water; gas leaks sending flames shooting up from beneath the water; bodies floating in the water; a leaking oil tanker which ran aground; two bridges gone; both airports flooded; and no clear path in or out of the city.
September 1, 2005, Bodies float through the streets of New Orleans, thousands are predicted dead, one million people are expected homeless, and we find this disaster was completely avoidable.
A business week has passed since hurricane Katrina demolished New Orleans, and STILL there has been no coordinated military action to provide relief to the victims. No water, no food, no airlifts, no medical assistance -- Bush has done nothing.
From Channel 4 News in New Orleans:
Where is the airlift? Where is the water? The food? Why has it taken nearly an entire week for our federal government to respond with help on the ground to the hundreds of thousands of Americans struggling to survive along the Gulf Coast? Tangible help. The kind you can drink and eat. Not words, fly-bys and news conferences. Food and water are needed. Today. Now. [read]
September 1, 2005, Condi Rice does some shopping and plays tennis with Monica Seles.
SECRETARY of State Condoleeza Rice, here on three days' vacation to shop and see the U.S. Open, hitting some balls with retired champ Monica Seles at the Indoor Tennis Club.
From the LA Times:
September 1, 2005 -- A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers.
The Louisiana Superdome, once a mighty testament to architecture and ingenuity, became the biggest storm shelter in New Orleans the day before Katrina's arrival Monday. About 16,000 people eventually settled in.
By Wednesday, it had degenerated into horror. A few hundred people were evacuated from the arena Wednesday, and buses will take away the vast majority of refugees today.
"We pee on the floor. We are like animals," said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. In her right hand she carried a half-full bottle of formula provided by rescuers. Baby supplies are running low; one mother said she was given two diapers and told to scrape them off when they got dirty and use them again.
At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for.
September 2, 2005, New Orleans Descends into Anarchy