The Water Down There

I don’t watch TV, so I haven’t seen many images of the flooding in New Orleans until I found these. Amazingly, The Times Picayune is publishing PDF editions during disaster. The hurricane and flood damage are truly scary, but the worst news is on page five, which tells of widespread looting:

Law enforcement efforts to contain the emergency left by Katrina slipped into chaos in parts of New Orleans Tuesday. [...]

At the Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street, an initial effort to hand out provisions to stranded citizens quickly disintegrated into mass looting. Authorities at the scene said bedlam erupted after the giveaway was announced over the radio.

[...]

Inside the store, the scene alternated between celebration and frightening bedlam. A shirtless man straddled a broken jewelry case, yelling, “Free samples, free samples over here.”

Another man rolled a mechanized pallet, stacked six feet high with cases of vodka and whiskey. Perched atop the stack was a bewildered toddler.

Then Tulane University’s Scott Cowen reports:

It is difficult to describe what this situation feels like for those involved. It is surreal and unfathomable; yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our focus is on the light and not the darkness.

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