Skip to comments.A TOTAL LOSS (former St. Bernard's parish official)
Posted on 08/31/2005 1:37:03 PM PDT by madfly
Editor's Note: An additional article by Mike Bayham, Katrina's Wrath, can be found here.
For 90% of the day I have been furiously calling anyone in New Orleans-St. Bernard for information, without much success.
By midnight New Orleans time, the cell phone transmitters in the area were mostly operational (with the exception of Verizon) and I was finally able to reach a member of the sheriff's office for an update. What he said sent chills down my back.
Almost all of St. Bernard was destroyed by the hurricane. The crevasse in the levee system led to the flooding as did the failure of several pumps in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Thanks to the Industrial Canal, the bane of St. Bernard commuters for almost a century because of its traffic interuptions when ships are traveling back and forth from the Mississippi River and the Intercoastal Waterway, the water had only one way to go: west to St. Bernard.
The Industrial Canal and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, the legacy of the city fathers connected to the shipping interests- hearltess plutocrats who have toyed with the lives and property of St. Bernard and the lower Ninth Ward like the Duke Brothers in Trading Places...the same people who ordered the levees blown in 1927 to show the world that they had the power to amputate entire communities in order to protect their investments in New Orleans, paved the way for the total destruction of the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans and my home parish.
Ironically, the Federal government is in the midst of a feasibility study on the outlet, commonly known as the MRGO, to determine its future. It was through the MRGO that the flood waters that drowned these unfavored parts of the New Orleans area rushed through in 1965. History repeated itself in 2005. If the government needs more items to study, I suggest a visit to St. Bernard, now a virtual lake where almost all of its 72,000 residents are now homeless and have lost their almost all of their worldly possessions.
I was informed by a sheriff's deputy that the water reached ten feet in all of St. Bernard and that very little was spared. The more affluent and those on the lower end of the economic scale lost their homes with the rushing tide coming from the levee breach.
I was also told that there were huricane related deaths in St. Bernard as one person reported seeing the corpse of his neighbor float past him. That ghastly story will likely be followed up with others to come.
All that I now own is what I was able to stuff in my suitcases and place in my car, barring looters swooping upon my modest conveyance like vultures on carrion.
Watching Fox News I was able to make out sights from their aerial footage of the worst disaster to strike New Orleans in its history. The historic Southern Yacht Club, the second oldest in America, was aflame. The Clearview Shopping Mall in Metairie looked as if it had been bombed. The Oakwood Shopping Mall on the Westbank was totally surrounded by water.
The eastern part of New Orleans was submerged as well. The Chevron where I had filled my car's gas tank up en route to a Louisiana Republican State Committee meeting on Saturday that state GOP leaders refused to cancel, was almost totally under water.
As mentioned previously, it could be a month before power will be restored in south Louisiana. Weather permitting, the waters in St. Bernard should leave within a week's time but the scars inflicted on the parish's psyche will last forever.
(author's bio info)
In 1996, Mike Bayham became one of the youngest parish (county) party chairmen in Louisiana history. That same year, Bayham was elected to the St. Bernard Republican Parish Executive Committee and was re-elected to the committee in March of 2000. In 1999, Mike Bayham became chairman of the St. Bernard GOP PEC.
In 1996, Mike Bayham was elected to the Republican State Central Committee, becoming its youngest member. In another tightly contested race, Bayham was re-elected to the RSCC, where he remains as the committee's youngest member.
Bayham is a professional political consultant in south Louisiana. He is author of the book, Right From The Bayou: The Opinions of a Conservative Cajun, which is available at www.iuniverse.com.
For future reference: Live above sea-level, have good insurance. Thank you, that is all.
I'm at 3000 feet. Now if I could just figure out how to get rid of that pesky Yellowstone caldera...
And the looters through the disaster areas - what animals. Shows that if disaster strikes in this country, we need protection from our own people.
You already have it. All Americans have it. It's called the 2nd Amendment. We just need, as law abiding citizens, to use it.
Still looking for photos of lower Plaquemines Parish.