BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - With conditions in the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans rapidly deteriorating, Governor Kathleen Blanco said Tuesday afternoon that people now huddled in the Superdome and other rescue centers need to be evacuated. She called the situation heartbreaking.
Because of two levees that broke Tuesday, the governor says the city is rapidly filling with water and the prospect of having power is a long time off. She also said the storm severed a major water main, leaving the city without drinkable water.
Blanco says that at midnight, all the boat operators trying to rescue people from rooftops were told to take a break, but they refused.
Officials Search for the Living, Bypass the Dead
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin outlined to FEMA director Mike Brown this afternoon that hundreds, if not thousands, of people may still be stuck in rooftops and attics and need rescuing. He says rescue boats are bypassing the dead.
Major General Bennett C. Landreneau, adjutant general for the Louisiana National Guard says national Guardsmen search and rescue teams are still picking up people throughout the city. They are being dropped on island-like highway overpasses and on the Mississippi River levee to wait until they can be moved again. They will eventually end up in the Superdome.
Nagin says 75 to 80 percent of the New Orleans area is flooded. He says there are two major breaks in levees -- one at Florida Avenue in eastern New Orleans and another on the 17th Street Canal, where two or three blocks of concrete levee blew out.
Because of the 17th Street Canal break, Lake Pontchartrain water is pouring down into the city. The canal runs along the Orleans and Jefferson parish line.
Nagin says the pumps which normally protect the city are working, but since they send water into the lake it does no good. The Corps of Engineers is trying to sandbag the break, but he had no timeline for their efforts. He says the levees seem to be holding every where else.
Water on the Rise in Downtown New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Rescuers in boats and helicopters are furiously searched Tuesday for survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
In New Orleans, residents who had ridden out the brunt of Katrina faces another, delayed threat: rising water. Failed pumps and levees are sending water from Lake Pontchartrain coursing through the streets today in the Big Easy, which sits mostly below sea level.
Rising water forced one New Orleans hospital to move patients to the Louisiana Superdome, where some 10,000 people had taken shelter.
In downtown New Orleans, streets that were relatively clear in the hours after the storm now are filled with one to one-and-a-half feet of water. Canal Street is literally a canal and officials say water is lapping at the edge of the French Quarter.
Crews hope to plug a broken levee in New Orleans with 3,000-pound sand bags dropped from helicopters. The city is below sea level, and the network of pumps, canals and levees isn't keeping up with the rising water. Many pumps weren't working Tuesday morning.
Rising water has sent patients from one hospital to the Louisiana Superdome. A knee-deep moat surrounds the stadium and downtown streets are swamped. The water is fouled with gasoline, debris and floating islands of red ants.
The top homeland security official in New Orleans says bodies have been spotted drifting in the floodwaters. Governor Kathleen Blanco says the devastation being seen this morning "is greater than our worst fears." She describes it as "totally overwhelming."
Blanco says there are no casualty figures yet, but that "many lives have been lost." She says 700 people were rescued overnight from flooded areas.
N.O. Man Tells of Death at Flooded Boarding House