"Rescuers awed by ruin revealed as water recedes" isn't as in-depth as it could be, but:
... Flying over St. Bernard's Parish, the flight crew surveyed empty streets covered knee-deep in mud. Piles of destroyed cars were scattered all over the unidentifiable streets. While some homes were down to their foundations, others somehow had withstood Katrina's 145 mph winds.
The amount of water damage and mold, however, will eventually consume the homes, which might have to be leveled anyway, said Chief Warrant Officer Michael J. Knuppel...
...Continuing northwest into New Orleans proper, the amount of devastation did not decrease. Highways into the downtown area once jam-packed were completely desolate.
The Superdome, where thousands of residents crammed in to seek shelter, was left abandoned, with huge portions of its dome destroyed by wind and smoke...
That's odd. I don't recall a fire there...
The smell from residential areas submerged in water continued into the downtown area of New Orleans...
Some of these may be dupes or 404s, so please provide titles and summaries in the comments:
The Dispossessed of New Orleans Tell of Their Medieval Nightmare
New Orleans a 'ghost town' as rescue efforts kick in
Superdome exodus: boats, ambulances, deuce-and-a-half trucks
Rapes, killings hit Katrina refugees in New Orleans
From "The Steady Buildup to a City's Chaos" comes this Sunday, August 28 news that should give some slight pause to the race-baiters:
Minutes earlier, Blanco had been pulled out to take a call from the president, pressed into service by FEMA's Brown to urge a mandatory evacuation. Blanco told him that's just what the mayor would order.
Nagin also announced that the city had set up 10 refuges of last resort, and promised that public buses would pick up stragglers in a dozen locations to take them to the Superdome and other shelters.
But he never mentioned the numbers that had haunted experts for years, the estimated 100,000 city residents without their own transportation. And he never mentioned that the state's comprehensive disaster plan, written in 2000 and posted on a state Web site, called for buses to take people out of the city once the governor declared a state of emergency.
In reality, Nagin's advisers never intended to follow that plan -- and knew many residents would stay behind. "We always knew we did not have the means to evacuate the city," said Terry Ebbert, the sharp-tongued city director of emergency management...
From "The Steady Buildup to a City's Chaos" comes this Sunday, August 28 news:
At the Superdome, city officials reckoned that 9,000 people had arrived by evening to ride out the storm. FEMA had sent seven trailers full of food and water -- enough, it estimated, to supply two days of food for as many as 22,000 people and three days of water for 30,000. Ebbert said he knew conditions in the Superdome would be "horrible," but Hurricane Pam had predicted a massive federal response within two days, and Ebbert said the city's plan was to "hang in there for 48 hours and wait for the cavalry."
Followed by this from Tuesday, August 30:
FEMA managed to deliver 65,000 meals to the Superdome, but by the end of the day, water was rising so fast that the agency was unable to unload five more truckloads of food and water.
The AP story "Monstrous Hurricane Heads for New Orleans" has a date of Monday, August 29, 2005; 2:50 AM, although what timezone and whether that's accurate is not known. It's also available here under the title "New Orleans flees as Katrina approaches Gulf Coast" and with a date of 8/28/2005 8:02 AM, although I'm pretty sure that's either a mistake or it refers to what used to be at that URL. But, if someone can find exactly when the article was written that would be helpful.
I'm going to try to split it into categories, with the most important item first:
Terry Ebbert, New Orleans director of homeland security, said more than 4,000 National Guardsmen were mobilizing in Memphis and will help police New Orleans streets.
So, what happened to those troops? Under whose command were they? Presumably the state of Tennessee, but you never know.
The head of Jefferson Parish, which includes major suburbs and juts all the way to the storm-vulnerable coast, said some residents who stayed would be fortunate to survive. "I'm expecting that some people who are die-hards will die hard," said parish council President Aaron Broussard.
Mayor Ray Nagin said he believed 80 percent of the city's 480,000 residents had heeded an unprecedented mandatory evacuation as Katrina threatened to become the most powerful storm ever to slam the city... Nagin said he expected the pumping system to fail during the height of the storm. The mayor said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was standing by to get the system running, but water levels must fall first. "We are facing a storm that most of us have long feared," he said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime event."
The Louisiana Superdome, normally home of professional football's Saints, became the shelter of last resort Sunday for thousands of the area's poor, homeless and frail. Among those who lined up for blocks as National Guardsmen searched them for guns, knives and drugs were residents who hobbled to safety on crutches, canes and stretchers.
(Remember when the "liberals" were complaining about those searches? Oh, those were the days.)
Holding their breath:
By early Monday, there was little more anyone could do but hope. City streets were empty and bars were closed as gusts up to 55 mph were felt. Landfall of the eye was expected around 8 a.m. at Grand Isle, about 60 miles south of New Orleans.
The first devastating effects of the storm were felt in New Orleans around 8AM CDT.
What might happen:
By 1 a.m. EDT, Katrina's eye was 170 miles south-southeast of New Orleans. A hurricane warning was in effect for the north-central Gulf Coast from Morgan City, La., to the Alabama-Florida line. The storm held a potential surge of 18 to 28 feet that would easily top New Orleans' hurricane protection levees, as well as bigger waves and as much as 15 inches of rain... For years, forecasters have warned of the nightmare scenario a big storm could bring to New Orleans, a bowl of a city that's up to 10 feet below sea level in spots and dependent on a network of levees, canals and pumps to keep dry from the Mississippi River on one side, Lake Pontchartrain on the other. ...The fear is that flooding could overrun the levees and turn New Orleans into a toxic lake filled with chemicals and petroleum from refineries, as well as waste from ruined septic systems.
Major highways in New Orleans cleared out late Sunday after more than 24 hours of jammed traffic as people headed inland. At the peak of the evacuation, 18,000 people an hour were streaming out of southeastern Louisiana, state police said... On inland highways in Louisiana and Mississippi, heavy traffic remained the rule into the night as the last evacuees tried to reach safety. In Orange, Texas, Janie Johnson of the American Red Cross described it as a "river of headlights."
In Washington, D.C., the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it has been advised that the Waterford nuclear plant about 20 miles west of New Orleans has been shut down as a precautionary measure.
Evacuation orders also were posted all along the Mississippi coast, and the area's casinos, built on barges, were closed early Saturday. Bands of wind-whipped rain increased Sunday night and roads in some low areas were beginning to flood... Alabama officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for low-lying coastal areas. Mobile Mayor Michael C. Dow said flooding could be worse than the 9-foot surge that soaked downtown during Hurricane Georges in 1998. Residents of several barrier islands in the western Florida Panhandle were also urged to evacuate.
From Hugh Hewitt:
The Fox News Channel's Major Garrett was just on my show extending the story he had just reported on Brit Hume's show: The Red Cross is confirming to Garrett that it had prepositioned water, food, blankets and hygiene products for delivery to the Superdome and the Convention Center in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, but were blocked from delivering those supplies by orders of the Louisiana state government, which did not want to attract people to the Superdome and/or Convention Center. Garrett has no paper trail yet, but will follow up on his verbal confirmation from sources at the highest levels of the Red Cross.
UPDATE: A transcript is here. Apparently the Red Cross had a "literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items". On Monday or Tuesday ("immediately after the storm passed"), at an as yet unknown time, the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security explicitly told them they couldn't come to the Superdome to distribute those goods.
From the transcript:
HH: Any doubt in the Red Cross' mind that they were ready to go, but they were blocked?
MG: No. Absolutely none. They are absolutely unequivocal on that point.
HH: And are they eager to get this story out there, because they are chagrined by the coverage that's been emanating from New Orleans?
MG: I think they are. I mean, and look. Every agency that is in the private sector, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Feed The Children, all the ones we typically see are aggrieved by all the crap that's being thrown around about the response to this hurricane, because they work hand and glove with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When FEMA is tarred and feathered, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are tarred and feathered, because they work on a cooperative basis. They feel they are being sullied by this reaction...
The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.
See also the Sep. 3 article "Homeland Security won't let Red Cross deliver food".
The Guardian asks whether some of the horror stories coming out of the Superdome are fact or fiction.
Unfortunately, "Mayor says Katrina may have claimed more than 10,000 lives. Bodies found piled in freezer at Convention Center" has confirmation of some of these incidents:
Arkansas National Guardsman Mikel Brooks stepped through the food service entrance of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Monday, flipped on the light at the end of his machine gun, and started pointing out bodies.
"Don't step in that blood - it's contaminated," he said. "That one with his arm sticking up in the air, he's an old man."
Then he shined the light on the smaller human figure under the white sheet next to the elderly man.
"That's a kid," he said. "There's another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut."
He moved on, walking quickly through the darkness, pulling his camouflage shirt to his face to screen out the overwhelming odor.
"There's an old woman," he said, pointing to a wheelchair covered by a sheet. "I escorted her in myself. And that old man got bludgeoned to death," he said of the body lying on the floor next to the wheelchair...
UPDATE: See also the quite-possibly-true report "Superdome, Convention Center death toll exaggerated".
Nine Australian tourists were among those in the Superdome; one of them says it was "like being in a Third World country, in a maximum security prison":
Women among their group had been harassed and grabbed by marauding men. Faeces lined the toilet walls. There had been suicides, rapes and murders. It was "like being in a Third World country, in a maximum security prison", Ms Cullington said.
After two days she spoke to her consulate and they were seemingly unaware of the situation, then after another few days:
Their escape from the Superdome had to be clandestine. The tourists left in dribs and drabs, heading for a basketball arena nearby, with the help of an American sergeant.
Some survivors, angry that they were not going too, tried to pull the tourists back inside. "The last people who were walking out the door were grabbed, were screamed at," she said.
A place of refuge became a terrifying trap, where knives and guns, crack cocaine use, threats of violence and racial abuse were rife.
Jamie Trout, 22, who kept a record of his four days there, said: "It was like something out of Lord of the Flies - one minute everything is calm and civil, the next it descends into chaos."
In one diary entry, he said: "A man has been arrested for raping a seven-year-old in the toilet, this place is hell, I feel sick. The smell is horrendous, there are toilets overflowing and people everywhere."
...He said of his eventual Superdome refuge: "There was a lot of heat from the people in there, people shouting racial abuse about us being white.
"The army warned us to keep our bags close to us and to grip them tight."
Jamie, an economics student from Sunderland, said he saw crack cocaine being used in the filthy toilets, youngsters breaking into soft drink machines and men brawling. Urine and excrement spilled into corridors where they were sleeping.
At one point, up to 30 British students gathered in the dome were so terrified of attack when the power went down that they set up a makeshift security cordon...
...Coast Guard Lt Cmdr Cheri Ben-Iesan said at emergency HQ: "Hospitals are trying to evacuate. At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them, telling them, 'You better come get my family'. City leader Mitch Landrieu toured stricken areas and was besieged by rescued people begging him to pass information to their families...
Good news came as eventually many of the students were moved to the nearby basketball arena, thanks to Sgt Garland Ogden, a full-timer with the National Guard...
"He went against a lot of rules to get us moved," she said. Then as soon as she was able, she called her family.
When Jane phoned on Thursday, she had been moved to a Marriott hotel where there was no power - but there was food and water. "It is being used as a Red Cross shelter with the army there too..."