UPDATE: Pumps Disperse Some Water; New Orleans Mayor Pleads with Residents to Leave

September 7, 2005

While some good news arose from the devasation that is New Orleans on Wednesday, the city’s mayor, Ray Nagin, pleaded with those left in the Big Easy to get out before their lives become even more in danger.

But while Nagin reportedly wanted the city totally evacuated, even if it meant using force, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco reportedly was not ready to sign off on an order for the mandatory evacuation of those still left behind. City officials and others are concerned that many more people may die than the reported 60 casualties to date, with the standing water serving as a haven for toxic chemicals and dead bodies. Some officials have said the final death toll may run into the thousands once all is said and done.

In a good piece of news, according to the Army Corps of Enginners, a pair of the city’s nearly 150 drainage pumps were online Wednesday, aided by a number of smaller pumps that were brought in to remove the water that flooded nearly 80 percent of the city in the last week.

Meantime, with nearly 40,000 military personnel in and around the city, looting and sniper fire was reportedly on the decline Wednesday. Several isolated shootings were still being reported, including rescue teams still being targeted.

Power was slowly returning to parts of the city, with some hotels getting back to somewhat normal business, mostly housing many people in town to help assist city residents.

Work crews will reportedly start repairing the Interstate 10 bridges between New Orleans and Slidell early next week.

A number of residents have been allowed to return to certain parishes to view firsthand the damage and destruction and to see if they can salvage any items from their homes.

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