Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina Photos

Alvaro R. Morales Villa, a Nicaraguan guy who worked in the Chateau Sonesta hotel in the French Quarter of New Orleans, has published his private pictures of the hurricane and flooding in his photo album, "Five Days With Katrina". This photo shows a street in the French Quarter immediately after Katrina passed but before the flood walls burst and inundated the town. It doesn't look so bad here, bits of buildings broken off but everything essentially intact. New Orleans would have still been alive if this had been the extent of the damage. But the worst was still to come.

What surprised me, and what I didn't understand from the media coverage, was that New Orleans had a dry day between Katrina's departure and the floodwater's arrival, as pictured here. Perhaps that's part of the reason that New Orleans did not call for help immediately after Katrina: It just wasn't that bad.

Villa did take a photo of a car bashed in by a man who was blown out of his fourth floor hotel room by Katrina to land on its roof and walk away with only a few broken bones.

Villa found floodwater, looters, and indifferent police the next day. As conditions degenerated he and his pals packed and scrammed to the Superdome to escape by bus. The enormous black crowd there ahead of them made it an exercise in futility and were none too welcoming to his group of white guys. They went to Plan B, which was to steal a truck and escape to Houston.

Now I normally disapprove of grand theft auto, but I also disapprove of starving to death in a drowning city full of armed looters. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. So, hey, Alvaro, make sure to return that truck with a full tank, OK?

Thanks to Ingrid at Me and Ophelia.


Blogger Ingrid said...

Clever you Tantor for writing such a good post on Alvaro's great collection of photos and captions. His eyewitness account must be the best piece of citizen journalism documenting what happened to New Orleans. It's worthy of an exhibition and being archived as a historic document, especially re the French Quarter.

I too was surprised by the gaps in days between Katrina hitting and the flooding. I'd read hundreds of reports and blog posts but was not aware of the sequence that Alvaro proves happened. Even a reporter for the BBC said the French Quarter had disappeared, which going by Alvaro's account is not true. I think this is an important point that ought to get much wider coverage in fairness to the emergency services.

But, having said that, it still does not explain why emergency rations were not in place at the SuperDome after the authorities made clear a day or two before Katrina hit, it was the official central place for everyone who could not leave, to shelter. It was interesting to note from Alvaro's photos how many properties were neatly boarded up which goes to prove how much advance warning had been given.

Sun Sep 11, 05:41:00 PM 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The album has been moved to a new site:

Thu Sep 15, 09:45:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Tantor said...

Thanks! I have updated the link to the photos.


Fri Sep 16, 09:42:00 AM 2005  

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