Katrina survivors march for aid

Hundreds of New Orleans evacuees from Hurricane Katrina have marched on the US capital Washington, demanding more aid for displaced families.

"We are here so our voices can be heard, so our lives and our levees can be rebuilt, so we can go home," march organiser Dorothy Stukes said.

The Katrina Survivors Association said progress in rebuilding after the hurricane was unacceptably slow.

A further rally, attended by Senate Democrats is planned for Thursday.  [Read list of Demands - BBC News]

Study Will Follow Katrina Survivors

The struggles and stories of some 2,000 Hurricane Katrina survivors across the country will be documented regularly over the next two years in a project that aims to track their recovery. Their tales will be published and their advice sought for government policy makers, researchers said Thursday.

The first results are expected to be posted online by the end of February, said Ronald Kessler of Harvard Medical School, director of the project.

Participants will be interviewed every three months about such topics as their mental and physical health, hardships in getting treatment and how good it is, their financial and housing situations and practical problems they face like getting a child into a new school. [Read more - AP ]

Day 107 – 12/6/05, Victims: Racism was factor in slow Katrina response

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Black survivors of Hurricane Katrina said Tuesday that racism contributed to the slow disaster response, at times likening themselves in emotional congressional testimony to victims of genocide and the Holocaust.

The comparison is inappropriate, according to Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida.

"Not a single person was marched into a gas chamber and killed," Miller told the survivors.

"They died from abject neglect," retorted community activist Leah Hodges. "We left body bags behind." [Read more - CNN]

Katrina evacuee hits jackpot

(CNN) -- Jacquelyn Sherman had not had much luck since Hurricane Katrina sent her fleeing from her New Orleans home.

That changed on Tuesday, when the money flooded in.

The 57-year-old retired librarian won $1.6 million playing the slot machine at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, Louisiana.

When asked how she'd spend the money, Sherman replied, "First of all, I would like to find somewhere to live because my house was destroyed in Katrina." [Read more - CNN]

Deamonte Love, 6-year-old Becomes a Hero to Band of Toddlers, Rescuers

As a parent of a 8-year-old boy I find this story to be the most in creditable story of the YEAR. Because of this story I've added a new Hero Category for this blog.


Deamonte Love, 6, right, clings to Big Buddy program volunteer Derrick Robertson outside a local shelter in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, while volunteers say goodbye to seven children who were separated from their parents during Hurricane Katrina rescues.

BATON ROUGE, LA. - In the chaos that was Causeway Boulevard, this group of evacuees stood out: a 6-year-old boy walking down the road, holding a 5-month-old, surrounded by five toddlers who followed him around as if he were their leader.

They were holding hands. Three of the children were about 2 years old, and one was wearing only diapers. A 3-year-old girl had her 14-month-old brother in tow. The 6-year-old spoke for all of them, and he said his name was Deamonte Love.

After their rescue Thursday, paramedics in the Baton Rouge rescue operations headquarters tried to coax their names out of them.

Transporting the children alone was "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, knowing that their parents are either dead" or that they had been abandoned, said Pat Coveney, a Houston emergency medical technician who put them into the back of his ambulance and drove them out of New Orleans.

"It goes back to the same thing," he said. "How did a 6-year-old end up being in charge of six babies?" [Pease read this in creditable Story]

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New Orleans Residents Rely on Primitive Skills to Stay Alive

NEW ORLEANS - The 21st century was swept away here. The winds and the floods and the disasters that followed took it.

Some strange, more primitive time took its place, amid the useless computers and cars of the modern world. Those stranded were left behind to forage for food and water, share what little they have with neighbors, and find somewhere safe before night falls.

“Say goodbye to the Jetsons,” Aaron Broussard, president of next-door Jefferson Parish, told residents on the all-night radio station and news lifeline. “We’re back to the Flintstones.” [Read more - MSNBC]

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Day 16 – 9/7/05, The Amazing Story of Bill Harris of Slidell, LA

Bill_harrisonHarris, 59, who suffers from a chronic kidney disorder, said he went to sleep Sunday night in the condominium he shares with his cat, Miss Kitty, which was approximately a mile from Lake Pontchartrain alongside a canal. When he awoke, the gray and brown cat was on top of the China cabinet meowing piteously.

Audio: Listen to Harris describe getting hit by a 30-foot storm surge, and how God and his bible saved his life.

Harris found out why when he sat up to get out of bed.

“There was no floor there,” he says of the bizarre sight that greeted him as his bed floated in six feet of water toward a newly broken bay window in his bedroom.

Harris fell off the bed and remembers praying each of the four times he went under, fighting to avoid being pulled out the window by the roiling current. The fourth time, though, he saw Miss Kitty hurl herself across the room to a table that was still above water and struggled to follow her. He wasn’t able to climb onto the table, but he found a chair that had miraculously stayed upright nearby and managed to stand on it, soon to be joined by Miss Kitty.

Harris says he tried to get out, but found his front door blocked by a 30-foot fishing boat that had been deposited on his porch. So with no other way out, he spent the better part of three days standing on the chair and clutching Miss Kitty to his chest.

A boater eventually heard Harris’ shouts and a second boat soon arrived to pull him to safety out the window. Despite his pleas, though, the rescuers were not willing to re-enter the condo to grab Miss Kitty.

Harris remains disconsolate over the loss of the cat he calls his “guardian angel,” though he is still holding out hope of a reunion. And he is very worried about his mother, Jane B. Harris, who he believes was moved out of the Trinity Nursing Home before the flood for parts unknown.

A lifelong citizen’s band radio buff known by the handle “Wild Bill,” Harris also is grieving the loss of his old faithful radio and is hoping all the friends he made over the airwaves can pitch in with a spare to help him through this very tough time.

Day 10 – 9/1/05, Fats Domino Apparently Rescued by Boat

NEW YORK — Fats Domino apparently rode out the hurricane in his New Orleans home and was rescued by boat from his flooded neighborhood, his daughter Karen Domino White said Thursday.

FatsThe 77-year-old R&B legend had been reported missing Thursday by his longtime agent, Al Embry, and his niece, Checquoline Davis.

White said late Thursday that she saw a photograph of her father that had been taken Monday by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The photo showed Domino, whose real name is Antoine Domino, in jeans and a blue-striped shirt being helped off a boat by rescuers.

"We're very relieved," White said in a telephone interview. [Read more - Dayton Daily News]

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Day 9 - 8/31/05, Up a tree: A Hurricane Katrina Survivor's Story

The stories sounded remarkably similar, as survivors who tried to ride out Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday recounted their desperate attempts to climb higher and higher as the storm’s floodwaters rose inexorably to their eaves and beyond.

“I anticipated it being bad, but not nearly as severe as it turned out,” Gulfport, Miss., resident Mike Spencer said on NBC’s “Today” show. “The house just filled up with water. It forced me into the attic and then I ended up kicking out the wall and climbing out to a tree.”  [Video]

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Day 8 - 8/30/05, 'I Can't Find My Wife's Body'

Witnesses have been speaking of scenes of devastation after Hurricane Katrina tore through the US Gulf coast - in one case sweeping away a woman sheltering with her husband at their family home. One of the worst affected areas appears to be Mississippi's coastal town of Biloxi, where some 30 people were reported to have died at a beachfront apartment complex.

Lostwife Biloxi resident Harvey Jackson said his wife, Tonette, was missing after surging waters hit their house.

"The house just split in half. We got up the roof and the water came and just opened up, divided," still visibly shaken Mr Jackson told America's ABC television.

"My wife, I can't find her body, she gone."

"I held her hand tight as I could and she told me 'you can't hold me'. She said, 'take care of the kids and the grandkids'," Mr Jackson said.

"We have nowhere to go. I'm lost, that's all I had, that's all I had. I don't know what I'm going to do."

'In rescue mode'

Emergency crews have been working frantically in the affected states to save hundreds of people trapped by floodwaters.

Bryan Vernon spent three hours on his roof after a levee along a canal on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain gave way.

"I've never encountered anything like it in my life. [The water] just kept rising and rising and rising," Mr Vernon said.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said his worst fear was "that there are a lot of dead people out there".

Biloxi Mayor AJ Holloway described the hurricane as "our tsunami".

"We are still in the search and rescue mode," Mr Holloway told the Biloxi Sun Herald newspaper.

Local rescue crews awaited reinforcements from the federal government and other states to shore up assistance, officials said.

They said it would take days if not weeks before the full impact of the hurricane on the region would be known.

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