Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 20-26

By: Patrap , 10:47 PM GMT on May 13, 2007

"Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy."
- BILL PROENZA, DIRECTOR
NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

This year Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 20-26, 2007 History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Link

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HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS TIPS



Hurricane hazards come in many forms: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. This means it is important for your family to have a plan that includes all of these hazards. Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly. But remember this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.

You should be able to answer the following questions before a hurricane threatens:

*
What are the Hurricane Hazards?
*
What does it mean to you?
*
What actions should you take to be prepared?

Hurricanes and Your Health and Safety


* The great majority of injuries during a hurricane are cuts caused by flying glass or other debris. Other injuries include puncture wounds resulting from exposed nails, metal, or glass, and bone fractures.
* State and local health departments may issue health advisories or recommendations particular to local conditions. If in doubt, contact your local or state health department.
* Make sure to include all essential medications -- both prescription and over the counter -- in your family's emergency disaster kit.


* Hurricanes, especially if accompanied by a tidal surge or flooding, can contaminate the public water supply. Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. You cannot assume that the water in the hurricane-affected area is safe to drink.
* In the area hit by a hurricane, water treatment plants may not be operating; even if they are, storm damage and flooding can contaminate water lines. Listen for public announcements about the safety of the municipal water supply.
* If your well has been flooded, it needs to be tested and disinfected after the storm passes and the floodwaters recede. Questions about testing should be directed to your local or state health department.

Water Safety

* Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
* If you don't have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
* If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
* If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.

Food Safety

* Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
* Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
* Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling; leakage; punctures; holes; fractures; extensive deep rusting; or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
* Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:
o Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
o Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
o Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
o Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
o Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:
+ place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
+ place in a freshly-made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.
* Air dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
* If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if available), with a marker.
* Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.
* Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.
* Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available).
* Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available). Allow to air dry.

Frozen and Refrigerated Foods

* If you will be without power for a long period:
o ask friends to store your frozen foods in their freezers if they have electricity;
o see if freezer space is available in a store, church, school, or commercial freezer that has electrical service; or
o use dry ice, if available. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a ten-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use care when handling dry ice, and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
* Your refrigerator will keep foods cool for about four hours without power if it is unopened. Add block or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity will be off longer than four hours.
* Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still "refrigerator cold," or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals.
* To be safe, remember, "When in doubt, throw it out." Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

Sanitation and Hygiene

It is critical for you to remember to practice basic hygiene during the emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected:

* before preparing or eating
* after toilet use
* after participating in cleanup activities; and
* after handling articles contaminated with floodwater or sewage.

If there is flooding along with a hurricane, the waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater.

If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.

Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas. Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with floodwater-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water.

Immunizations

Outbreaks of communicable diseases after hurricanes are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a hurricane may increase because of a lack of sanitation or overcrowding in shelters. Increases in infectious diseases that were not present before the hurricane are not a problem, so mass vaccination programs are unnecessary.

If you have wounds, you should be evaluated for a tetanus immunization, just as you would at any other time of injury. If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a doctor or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records.

Specific recommendations for vaccinations should be made on a case-by-case basis, or as determined by local and state health departments.

Mosquitoes

Rain and flooding in a hurricane area may lead to an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset. In most cases, the mosquitoes will be pests but will not carry communicable diseases. It is unlikely that diseases which were not present in the area prior to the hurricane would be of concern. Local, state, and federal public health authorities will be actively working to control the spread of any mosquito-borne diseases.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings, and wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants. Insect repellents that contain DEET are very effective. Be sure to read all instructions before using DEET. Care must be taken when using DEET on small children. Products containing DEET are available from stores and through local and state health departments.

To control mosquito populations, drain all standing water left in open containers outside your home.

Mental Health

The days and weeks after a hurricane are going to be rough. In addition to your physical health, you need to take some time to consider your mental health as well. Remember that some sleeplessness, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression, or lethargy are normal, and may go away with time. If you feel any of these symptoms acutely, seek counseling. Remember that children need extra care and attention before, during, and after the storm. Be sure to locate a favorite toy or game for your child before the storm arrives to help maintain his/her sense of security. Your state and local health departments will help you find the local resources, including hospitals or health care providers, that you may need.

Seeking Assistance after a Hurricane

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a “Major Disaster” for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.

Coping after a Hurricane Everyone who sees or experiences a hurricane is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster “second hand” through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Minimize this emotional and traumatic experience by being prepared, not scared and therefore you and your family will stay in control and survive a major hurricane.

SIGNS OF HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Difficulty communicating thoughts.
* Difficulty sleeping.
* Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives.
* Low threshold of frustration.
* Increased use of drugs/alcohol.
* Limited attention span.
* Poor work performance.
* Headaches/stomach problems.
* Tunnel vision/muffled hearing.
* Colds or flu-like symptoms.
* Disorientation or confusion.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Reluctance to leave home.
* Depression, sadness.
* Feelings of hopelessness.
* Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying.
* Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt.
* Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone.

EASING HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Talk with someone about your feelings - anger, sorrow, and other emotions - even though it may be difficult.
* Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
* Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
* Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
* Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
* Spend time with family and friends.
* Participate in memorials.
* Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
* Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plans

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119. Patrap
12:31 PM GMT on May 18, 2007
OKAY ..Loddie Freaking La time iz Over!. Ive scheduled this intervention ..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
118. Patrap
11:25 AM GMT on May 18, 2007
Hurricane sheltering capacity falls short
State's capacity is 140,000 beds below worst-case-scenario needs

Thursday, May 17, 2007
By Bill Barrow

BATON ROUGE -- The state's shelter capacity for hurricane season is more than 140,000 beds short of the estimated needs for the worst-case scenario: a Category 5 storm that forces the mandatory evacuation of the New Orleans area and the entire Louisiana coast.

The Department of Social Services, the agency responsible for shelters under Louisiana's emergency operations plan, confirmed this week that by the June 1 start of hurricane season, the state expects to have provisions for 109,080 evacuees, with beds distributed among general-population and special-needs shelters in Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama.

State and federal officials first set the worst-case-scenario need at 250,000 beds last year, the first storm season after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 displaced hundreds of thousands of residents in a matter of weeks.






Though expressing guarded optimism that adequate provisions are in place to handle most situations, authorities at all levels of government this week said they are continuing work on contingency plans to absorb greater numbers, from either prestorm evacuees or residents displaced by catastrophic flooding or other damage.

Individual planning urged

Nonetheless, one state sheltering coordinator offered some stark advice: Fend for yourself if you can.

"We want to make sure to keep the public's expectation of shelters reasonable," said Terri Ricks, undersecretary of the Department of Social Services. Shelters "should be thought of as a last resort. Citizens should plan for themselves and their loved ones to be at a more comfortable, familiar place, such as with other loved ones, family or friends."

Particularly regarding the special-needs shelters for people with health problems and disabilities, Ricks said, "There are human and facility resource limitations, but plans are in place to address the excess need."

The state plan assumes 67,000 spaces in general-population shelters -- those for evacuees who have their own transportation and do not require medical assistance -- to be run either by parishes or the American Red Cross. There will be 10,000 spaces in critical transportation-needs shelters, which are reserved for evacuees who depend on government-provided transportation out of storm zones. The Department of Health and Hospitals will coordinate seven medical-needs shelters with a combined capacity of 2,800.

A shelter for registered sex offenders, who are barred by law from entering other shelters, will offer 280 beds in East Baton Rouge Parish. And agreements with Arkansas and Alabama provide for 29,000 more evacuees, particularly overflow from transportation-needs shelters in Louisiana. The state has contracts in place to provide meals for three days, a window that Ricks said would provide time to plan more meals if shelters are open longer.

If all else fails, the state would lean on other states for assistance through the national Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

FEMA working with state






A top sheltering manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been in Baton Rouge this week to meet with state officials to finalize the plans, with a public announcement scheduled for Friday.

David Passey, a spokesman for FEMA's regional office in Houston, said federal officials think this year's numbers are "in the range that is appropriate." But that assessment stems from the state "doing the best that it can," he said. At the state level, Social Services Department spokeswoman Cleo Allen confirmed that the planned capacity has more to do with logistical capabilities than with needs.

State and federal officials wrangled for weeks last year before setting a target capacity of 150,000. Passey said that number was "deliberately high" in the wake of Katrina and Rita. Ricks said it also included shelters that could not be staffed. This year's plan, she said, more accurately reflects "resourced space."

Passey said federal planners, based on previous experience, assume that 5 percent to 10 percent of prestorm evacuees will seek out public shelters in a Category 1 or 2 storm. That percentage can climb as high as 15 percent to 20 percent, he said, if a more powerful storm threatens a wider swath of the coast.

Using the evacuation pattern for Katrina, when about 80 percent of the city's population left before the storm, and a recent New Orleans population estimate of 255,000, the federal assumptions yield a maximum prestorm need of about 40,000 in the city alone. For the metropolitan area, which New Orleans demographer Greg Rigamer said numbers 1.2 million, the needed capacity climbs to 192,000. If the assumed evacuation rate of St. Tammany, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes were dropped to 50 percent, the need would be 138,000.

Extending a 50 percent evacuation rate westward across the remaining coastal parishes -- and again assuming that a maximum 20 percent of evacuees would seek public shelter -- would add about 40,000 prospective shelter occupants, using the most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Each additional percentage point increase of the evacuation rate in those six parishes would drive up the needed shelter capacity by about 800 people.

Special-needs concerns Perhaps the most difficult prestorm problems to forecast center on the special-needs shelters.

Jefferson Parish and New Orleans have requested state assistance in evacuating as many as 37,000 residents without transportation. Buses, which have yet to be contracted by the state Department of Transportation and Development, would be used to bring those residents first to the critical-needs shelters in state, then to the out-of-state shelters in Alabama and Arkansas. Those planned shelters combine for 39,000 beds.

The potential wild card occurs when a massive storm like a Katrina threatens multiple states at once, leading to mandatory evacuations in multiple states well before a precise landfall can be identified.







As for medical-needs shelters, Dr. Bob Guidry, Louisiana's state health officer, said plans hinge on as many residents as possible making their own plans.

The standard for admission also will be high. For example, a diabetic patient who can manage symptoms would be directed to general-population shelters, as would patients with any other condition easily controlled with medicine. The seven sites will not be disclosed publicly, Guidry said. Instead, a hotline will be open for people to call. Those who qualify will be directed to one of the sites.

Hospitals, nursing homes and other health centers must make their own evacuation plans.

"We're just serving as a safety net for people who don't have those resources," Guidry said.

If state shelters fill up, Passey and state officials said the national compact is the first option, allowing other states or the Red Cross to provide staffing for unopened shelter sites in Louisiana. The Red Cross has 44,000 shelters lined up nationwide and has developed a database to streamline its participation in national and state emergency operations plans.

Other states also could open shelters for Louisiana evacuees. A third option, Passey said, is to get FEMA-contracted shelter staff for unopened sites in Louisiana. In that arrangement, used under standing federal contracts and FEMA's Public Assistance Program, the federal government would bear at least 75 percent of the cost.

Two other avenues are available to expand post-storm capacity: shelter sites in south Louisiana that cannot open before a storm but can accommodate displaced residents after the bad weather has passed; and FEMA's individual assistance in placing evacuees in motels. Contracts and a database are in place to expedite the latter program, Passey said.

In the meantime, FEMA and state officials will continue to find ways to ensure that evacuees are not left without a place to go, Passey said: "June 1 may come, but the planning process won't end."

. . . . . . .

Bill Barrow can be reached at bbarrow@timespicayune.com or (225) 342-5590
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
117. Raysfan70
10:11 AM GMT on May 18, 2007
{{Pat and Family}}


Myspace Graphics
Member Since: July 28, 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
116. Barefootontherocks
5:14 AM GMT on May 18, 2007
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 21737
115. AllyBama
3:26 AM GMT on May 18, 2007
myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics
Happy Friday Pat!...
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20669
114. Patrap
2:47 AM GMT on May 18, 2007
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
113. Patrap
2:46 AM GMT on May 18, 2007
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
112. Patrap
11:43 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
Not double-secret probation..again! 2
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
111. Patrap
11:25 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
For all the Bloggers in the hood...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
109. Patrap
4:58 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
For information concerning the effects hurricanes have on the Loop Current, read Dr. Nan Walker's recent work on cold-core cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
108. Patrap
4:40 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
107. sandcrab39565
2:48 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
Morning Pat nice weather
Member Since: June 25, 2006 Posts: 36 Comments: 9972
105. Patrap
2:00 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
Good Morning folks..GAtorxgrrl,NOLAinNC..Its like Beautiful here behind the front . Like LAte WInter..early spring.Cool & dry.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
104. Gatorxgrrrl
1:56 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
NOLA bump:)
Member Since: May 10, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 15609
103. NOLAinNC
12:54 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
Pat,
I'm not going to NOLA.com anymore because you do a better job of posting the TP's articles.
Thanks!
NOLA
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 900
102. Patrap
12:51 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
Arena to be evacuation processing center
Posted by The Times-Picayune May 16, 2007 8:00PM


By Mark Schleifstein
Staff writer

The city will use the New Orleans Arena as the city's main evacuation processing center for residents with no way of leaving in advance of a major hurricane this year, city Homeland Security Director Terry Ebbert said Wednesday.

Last year, the city planned to use the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, as the transition point for city-assisted evacuees.

This year, the convention center will be used as a staging area for emergency personnel, including National Guard, police and firefighters. Using the Arena also will make it easier to move elderly or special needs evacuees to trains at the nearby Union Passenger Station. The change was required by the resumption of booking large conferences at the convention center, which would have required space set aside for emergency operations to be divvied up in halls that were not connected to each other, he said.

In addition to using the arena, the city's evacuation plan lays out a new system to alert tourists and residents of evacuations by text messaging, shutting down the airport to anyone without a pre-purchased ticket, and a new plan for evacuating the pets of people without transportation to shelters at state prisons, where inmates will feed and care for them.

Both tourists and residents will be able to sign up for a new cell phone-based emergency text messaging alert system, which will notify them when an evacuation is necessary. Tourists will be given information about the system at Louis Armstrong International Airport and city hotels. Like a similar messaging plan in Jefferson Parish, the service should be able to let people in individual neighborhoods know of emergency situations that might affect them, in addition to its use as a hurricane evacuation notification system.

Neither tourists nor residents, however, will be able to flee the city by airplane unless they have purchased a ticket before arriving at the airport. Armstrong airport will set up roadblocks that will turn away all others, airport officials said. Individuals with electronic tickets but no printout will be escorted to a separate parking lot and then will have to obtain proof of their ticketing from an airline in the terminal, said New Orleans Emergency Prepardness Director Jerry Sneed.

The city will ask people who flew into the city to find their own transportation back to the airport, if available. Tourists without a way to the airport will be directed to one of several hotels that will be pickup points for buses to the airport. At the pickup points, they'll be divided by whether their flights are scheduled before the storm or on or after the storm's expected arrival, Sneed said.

The new plan for pet evacuations -- required under a state law passed following Hurricane Katrina -- will allow city-assisted evacuees to arrange for the evacuation of their animals when they arrive at the Arena. There, the animals will be tagged and entered into the computer system, and then put in portable kennels and transported in air-conditioned trucks to animal shelters outside the area.

If possible, officials will attempt to arrange for pets to be sent to shelters near their owners. The animal shelters are expected to be located at state prison facilities, with inmates assigned care for the pets, Ebbert said.

The plan includes other procedures similar to those used last year. In addition to the convention center, Ebbert said officials still are working to designate four additional areas -- in Algiers, eastern New Orleans, the lakefront and another, not-yet-named section of the city -- to shelter emergency workers during a hurricane.

People without transportation -- or whose vehicles might not survive long journeys -- will be picked up from at least 13 bus stops and senior centers by Regional Transit Authority buses and taken to the arena.

There, their names will be entered into a computerized tracking system, and they'll be placed on motor coaches for the trip to a shelter outside the New Orleans area. Evacuees will be allowed to take only one small bag with them.

The city is considering placing storage containers at the RTA bus stops to store excess baggage, Ebbert said.

The city has set up a separate evacuation system for elderly residents, Ebbert said. It calls for registering in advance by calling 311, and then going to nearby senior centers. There, buses will take them to the Union Passenger Station, where they'll board railcars supplied by Amtrak for the trip to shelters.

Special needs patients, such as residents requiring dialysis or oxygen, may also use the Amtrak railcars.

Under the city plan, officials will begin mobilizing about 84 hours before tropical storm-force winds are expected to hit the Louisiana coastline. At 60 hours, the assisted evacuation plan would be launched, meaning those wanting to use the buses would have to be prepared to leave 2 1/2 days before a storm hit.

Ebbert said his office has received assurances from a number of local large businesses that they will not penalize employees without transportation for choosing to evacuate that far in advance of a storm.

Indeed, a part of the city plan calls for schools to shut down at the 84-hour mark to allow people to evacuate early.

The plan incorporates the state system for staging evacuations in southeastern Louisiana, with coastal parishes evacuating at 50 hours and the West Bank suburbs at 40 hours. At 30 hours, the state contraflow plan begins, which routes traffic onto both east and westbound lanes of Interstate 10 leading out of the area.

By that time, the RTA will have stopped picking up city-assisted evacuees and the last buses will be leaving the Arena.

Ebbert said its important for families to make their evacuation plans now that take into account when they will leave. The plan is based on a steady stream of evacuees entering and exiting the arena, with each person spending no more than an hour before boarding a bus for a shelter.

Keeping the buses out of the expected jam of traffic when the contraflow plan begins is also important, he said.

The last Amtrak train will leave much later, about 12 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected to arrive, which is the same time that floodgates, including those that would block access to train tracks, will be closed. The airport will be closed at the same time.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
101. Patrap
12:25 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
Its a good idea to save dollars.But I will have to find somewhere rural to place it. They not allowed for living in . ..within the Parish. Only if one buys it and still need its for a Home while main home is renovated.Im on a friends property.Thanks for the concern. ..Im waiting for a letter from FEMA to see the details.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
100. ricderr
12:23 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
hey pat...congrats on being able to buy the trailer..i think the government charging for them is a waste..but it's another positive step towards recovery
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 688 Comments: 23995
99. Patrap
12:19 PM GMT on May 17, 2007
Corps tests out gates, pumps at pair of canals
Lessons learned can be applied to the real thing

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
By Mark Schleifstein

Huge gates designed to block hurricane storm surge from entering the Orleans Avenue Canal slowly fell into place Tuesday morning, and after a 2 1/2-hour wait for enough water to build up behind them in the canal, five pumps emptied it into Lake Pontchartrain.

The closure and pump test were part of an Army Corps of Engineers hurricane preparedness exercise aimed at spotting flaws in the complex closure process before the June 1 beginning of hurricane season, said Col. Richard Wagenaar, commander of the corps' New Orleans District office.

Gates at the London Avenue Canal also were successfully closed.






"We have a very thorough living checklist, and some of the things we learned today will be added to that list," Wagenaar said after discussing the exercise results with about 20 corps staff members Tuesday afternoon.

"We had lots of lessons-learned, from minor things like making sure we do the proper pre-inspections to making sure the right equipment is on hand at the outfall canals, to the very complicated lessons learned about the timing of closing the gates," Wagenaar said.

The exercise included representatives of the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board and Jefferson Parish public works department.

In a real hurricane, rising water in Lake Pontchartrain and the location of the storm will be monitored to determine when to close the gates and begin pumping water behind them into the lake, Wagenaar said.

The process begins at about 120 hours before a storm is forecast to hit the area. As water rises at the mouth of the canals, a decision is made to close the gates.

The amount of water differs for each canal, based on both the amount of time it takes to close all the gates in each canal and on water height limits for each canal. Those height limits are based on the ability of the levee walls to withstand water pressure.

At Orleans Avenue, the water level trigger is between 7 and 7.5 feet, which would make its gates the last to close. On Tuesday, it took only 45 minutes to close the gates, though the plan provides an hour and a half, Wagenaar saidThat's slower than the time it took to close gates last year because the hydraulic closure mechanism has now been installed. Last year, the gates were dropped into place with work cranes, which were subject to high winds after the gates were closed.

At London Avenue, the water level is 4 feet, while at the 17th Street Canal, the level is just above 5 feet.

The 17th Street Canal gates were not closed Tuesday because of ongoing construction adjacent to the gates and pumps there, but they will be when the next drill takes place on May 31.






While divers will be available to clear obstructions from gates, none were needed Tuesday, Wagenaar said.

Corps staff to take shelter

If a real hurricane hits, the corps team captain for each gate will move to the Sewerage & Water Board pump station upstream to help determine whether its pumps need to be turned off because of too much water in the canal. The S&WB pumps have a greater capacity than the floodgate pumps, so when the gates are closed the larger interior drainage pumps have to be regulated to avoid overfilling the canals.

The other three members of each corps gate team will stay at the gate for storms up to Category 2 hurricane strength. For Category 3 storms, they'll relocate to a safer structure nearby. For Category 4 and 5 storms, considered worst-case hurricanes, one three-man team will retreat to a bunker at the corps headquarters complex on Leake Avenue at Prytania Street, while the other two teams will evacuate the area until the storm passes, Wagenaar said.

Ten additional employees will be monitoring the gates and pumps from the corps' emergency operations base on its Leake Avenue campus.

The corps also will have a representative at the New Orleans Emergency Operations Center in City Hall.

Another five pumps are scheduled to be installed at the end of the Orleans Avenue Canal by June 1, the last major pumps to be installed at all the gates. Installation of several smaller temporary pumps at the 17th Street Canal to boost the amount of water able to be drained there is expected to be completed by the end of July. Redundant communications

One focus of Tuesday's drill was communications. Wagenaar said crews from the corps, the water board and Jefferson Parish's Drainage Department tested several redundant telephone and messaging systems designed to back up each other during a storm.

"We did not have communications problems," Wagenaar said, though he added that the exercise revealed several small glitches. For instance, speakers using a S&WB two-way radio system now will identify their location; otherwise, Wagenaar said, listeners cannot tell what pump station their dispatches are coming from.






Marcia St. Martin, the water board's executive director, said her team was "very pleased with the results of the exercise."

"We feel as though the communications protocol is in place," she said.

Michael Lowe, director of emergency operations for the corps' New Orleans office, said the exercise employed at least five repetitive means of communication: land lines, cellular phones, Blackberry devices with instant messaging capabilities, satellite phones linked through an antennae at the corps' New Orleans office, and the 700 megahertz radio system used by State Police.

In addition, the S&WB has its own 800 megahertz radio system, St. Martin said.

Jefferson representatives

Jefferson Parish had three top drainage and emergency operations officials participating in the exercise. Wagenaar said that in keeping with protocol, he also phoned Parish President Aaron Broussard, who was out of town, as the morning's test kicked off.

Though the gate closures most directly impact water board facilities in New Orleans, parts of Old Metairie and the Jefferson community also would be affected because they are drained though Pump Station No. 6 on the 17th Street Canal. As a result, suburban pumps will have to power down when gates shut at the mouth of the 17th Street Canal.

"If the Sewerage & Water Board has to reduce capacity, then (Jefferson Parish) has to take some steps for the protection of their area," Wagenaar said.

Wagenaar said the three agencies will enact another practice session May 31.
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98. Raysfan70
10:02 AM GMT on May 17, 2007
Good Morning {{Pat and Family}}.


Congrats. on being able to purchase Your Home.
Member Since: July 28, 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
97. LakeWorthFinn
5:17 AM GMT on May 17, 2007
I hope all will be well soon!
Member Since: October 6, 2005 Posts: 69 Comments: 7942
96. Patrap
7:22 PM GMT on May 16, 2007
FEMA trailers up for sale
Posted by The Times Picayune May 15, 2007 11:15AM

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today it will give residents currently living in trailers opportunity to buy their travel trailer or mobile home.

The sales offer will apply to the temporary housing unit in which the resident currently resides, according to a news release from the federal agency. No substitutions or exchanges will be allowed. Units will be sold "as is" with no stated or implied warranties. Once occupants purchase the unit, they will no longer be eligible for temporary housing assistance from FEMA.

To date, FEMA has housed more than 90,000 families displaced by Katrina and Rita in travel trailers and mobile homes in Louisiana. Currently, under FEMA's Individual Household Program, more than 49,000 families continue to live in those units.

In the case of housing units that were new when delivered, and used for 12 months since delivery, typical sales prices would be $650 for a travel trailer, $13,000 for a mobile home and $2,500 for a "park model" small mobile home, officials said.

Sales of the FEMA housing units may be limited by strict restrictions local governments are placing on continued use of trailers, and by zoning restrictions that do not allow permanent use of mobile homes in many residential zones. However, some residents may put the units to use at rural camps where there are few such restrictions.

The sales program is being launched simultaneously in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, and follows a trailer sales program in Florida, used after widespread destruction from other gulf storms. FEMA officials in Louisiana previously said "not at this time" when asked if there would be a process that residents could use to buy a trailer or mobile home.

Sidney Melton, chief of FEMA's Individual Assistance Section in Mississippi and Louisiana, held an afternoon press conference in Algiers to announce details of the mobile home and trailer sales program. He stressed that the program is designed for individual families, not for investors who want to buy and resell more than one of the housing units. He also said that the safety of the lightly-built travel trailers over a long period of time will depend on how well they are maintained.

FEMA has begun mailing out a "Notice of Interest" to occupants. After receiving the packet of information, applicants with questions may call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY: 1-800-462-7585).

Once FEMA receives the signed Notice of Interest from trailer occupants, they will be notified about their eligibility to participate in the sales program. A FEMA sales manager will contact residents to begin the sales program or inform ineligible occupants of their status. All sales will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

The sales prices will vary based on several factors including the type of unit, whether the unit was originally new or used and the number of months the occupant lived in the unit. Occupants purchasing their unit must also:

-- Pay all applicable state sales taxes and any other applicable costs;

-- Accept all responsibility and liability. Occupants in group sites will be responsible for moving the unit to a location within 30 days of completion of the sale;

-- Obtain local permits or inspections and provide copies to FEMA, as required;

-- Comply with local floodplain management codes if the selected site is located within the 100-year floodplain or a designated Special Flood Hazard Area;

-- Agree to obtain hazard insurance for mobile homes, including flood insurance, if the units are or will be located in a designated Special Flood Hazard Area.

Applicants who do not wish to buy their trailers may stay in the units as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for temporary housing assistance while that assistance is provided.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
95. bigtrucker
5:23 PM GMT on May 16, 2007
Hi Pat
Only had time to look at the signs some of them are a hoot, espesially the cat selling one,and the huge sign on the ghetto house.Looks like a good articale and will read later. we are dealing with severe weather today the air feels like N.O. very humid,and warm, and a big ole cold front off to our west moving towards us.
we are also in the spotlight with hollywood, with the new steven segal movie being shot in Bridgeport, CT. They will be here the next few weeks. than another movie being filmed in New Haven.
Member Since: January 9, 2006 Posts: 80 Comments: 6119
94. Patrap
4:53 PM GMT on May 16, 2007
Sign Language..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
93. Barefootontherocks
3:51 PM GMT on May 16, 2007
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 21737
92. EmmyRose
2:01 PM GMT on May 16, 2007
Good Morning Dear Pat and T
hope its a good day for ya!
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91. sandcrab39565
10:06 AM GMT on May 16, 2007
GREAT lightning pics Pat.
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90. Raysfan70
9:58 AM GMT on May 16, 2007
{{Pat nd Family}}
myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics
Member Since: July 28, 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
89. Patrap
12:09 AM GMT on May 16, 2007
Television
Lights, camera, 'K-Ville' action
Fox to film police series in N.O.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
By Dave Walker

"K-Ville," a cop drama series set in post-Katrina New Orleans, has been picked up for the Fox network's 2007-08 prime-time schedule, according to sources in Hollywood, a move that could pump millions of dollars of location production money into the local economy.

Officials at Fox, which announces its fall program lineup in New York City on Thursday, were not available to comment on the network's upcoming schedule. But a source affiliated with 20th Century Fox Television, the TV production studio aligned with the network, confirmed the pickup, which was first reported over the weekend in the Hollywood trade publications Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter.

Fox has said previously that "K-Ville" will shoot on location in New Orleans, a potential bonanza for the local TV and film production community, which includes actors, extras, behind-the-camera technicians and caterers. The show's pilot, or introductory episode, was filmed in New Orleans in March and April.






"A TV series is the closest thing to a full-time job that a film crew and cast members locally would have," said Stephanie Dupuy, director of the New Orleans Film Commission. "I've been trying to get a series here for the entire time I've been doing this."

The overall economic impact of a locally shot TV series would also be sizable.

According to one published report, the CW network series "Veronica Mars," produced in San Diego, employs 120 to 160 crew members a day and pumps $1 million per episode into the local economy.

Each episode of NBC's "Friday Night Lights" -- shot in Austin, Texas, and recently renewed for a new season -- reportedly drops $1.5 million per episode on local wages, hotel bills and bar tabs.

Most network dramas shoot 22 episodes in a season. "K-Ville's" likely initial episode order is just 13, with the "back nine" episodes to be ordered should the series prove popular with viewers.

Graffiti becomes title

The idea for "K-Ville" was suggested to writer-producer Jonathan Lisco in September by Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori. Lisco, a former lawyer whose writing credits include the dramas "The District" and "NYPD Blue," did several ride-alongs with the New Orleans Police Department before writing a script for the pilot. It was during one such ride-along that he spotted some graffiti sporting the shorthand for "Katrinaville" that became the show's title.

The series will star Anthony Anderson ("The Shield," "The Departed") and Cole Hauser ("The Cave," "Paparazzi") as its lead cops.

One character, played by Anderson, is a native who is trying to rebuild his personal life as well as his hometown. The other, played by Hauser, is a military veteran from out of town who is motivated by post-Katrina altruism to join the police force.






Other principal cast members are John Carroll Lynch ("Zodiac," "The Drew Carey Show"), Blake Shields ("Sleeper Cell") and Tawny Cypress ("Heroes").

Lisco, who was unavailable for comment, faces a delicate creative and commercial balancing act. To paint the current state of law enforcement in New Orleans as sound -- and its workers as uniformly heroic and proficient -- would contradict documentable fact. On the other hand, setting a TV series amid the rubble of a ruined city while populating that bleak terrain with broken souls would be both inaccurate and likely ratings suicide.

One indication that "K-Ville" will lean toward the light is that its pilot script was vetted by Deputy Chief Marlon Defillo, who heads the NOPD's public integrity bureau, who granted the production use of departmental logos on sets, vehicles and uniforms.

Defillo did not return calls for comment Monday, but he said of "K-ville" in March, "The most important component of this whole process, in particular post-Katrina, is the tremendous amount of good work that the men and the women of the Police Department performed, which was not portrayed by much of the media. And that's one of the things this production emphasizes."

The recovery continues

The "K-ville" pickup should accelerate an already robust recovery for "Hollywood South" location spending. According to Chris Stelly, executive director of film and TV for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, an estimated $550 million was spent in the state in 2006, down from $750 million in 2005 but up from $430 million in 2004.

Several high-profile films have shot in New Orleans since Katrina, including "Déjà Vu," starring Denzel Washington, and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, and scheduled for a 2008 release.

"Thief," a short-run series for the FX cable network, shot its pilot in New Orleans pre-Katrina but completed its order of episodes in Shreveport after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made production here unwieldy. The pilot for FX's "The Riches" was shot here, but series production shifted to California.

"Cast and crew levels are back to pre-Katrina levels," Dupuy said. "We've been working on getting training programs off the ground, but the best sort of training in the film industry is learning by doing.

"We would have no problems filling that cast and crew."

Networks notoriously tinker with their fall schedule announcements until the last minute. But "K-Ville," should Fox's green light shine as expected, would represent "solid work for a long time," Stelly said. "It really raises the prominence of an area in the television industry."

. . . . . . .

TV columnist Dave Walker can be reached at dwalker@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3429
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
88. Patrap
7:59 PM GMT on May 15, 2007
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
87. Patrap
11:23 AM GMT on May 15, 2007
Thunderstorm over New Orleans Yesterday..7
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
86. Raysfan70
9:57 AM GMT on May 15, 2007
{{Pat and Family}}
Member Since: July 28, 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
85. Patrap
2:44 AM GMT on May 15, 2007
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
84. Patrap
1:22 AM GMT on May 15, 2007
Rain on Bourbon Street Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
83. Patrap
12:54 AM GMT on May 15, 2007
The 10 day GFSx Link
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82. Patrap
11:02 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
The link came from Dan BAums article.
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80. EmmyRose
8:19 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
Pat what a great idea for getting the NO bloggers list together
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79. Patrap
7:57 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
List of New Orleans Bloggers Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
78. Patrap
7:56 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
Dan Baum "New Orleans Journal" newyorker.com

May 14, 2007
Feedback


Among the many pleasures of writing this column is hearing immediately from readers. Most are very kind. Many are displaced New Orleanians who enjoy reading dispatches from home. And quite a few are instructive. Bridget Lehane adds a good point to my observations about New Orleanians’ affection for the song “When the Saints Go Marching In.” “I think you might have captured some of the story, but not all,” she wrote. Once the Saints football team started on a winning streak several years ago, she continued,


you couldn’t go to any live show . . . trad jazz, rock, zydeco—without the song being played, as an encouragement to the team, and as an emblem of the spirit of the people of New Orleans. Even before the criminal levee breaks of 2005, we’ve always been a city that needed a lost cause to believe in, and the Saints always did that for us.



The Saints came within a game of going to the Super Bowl last year, only intensifying New Orleanians’ attachment to the song, she explained. It figures that Margaret and I missed this; the football fan in the family, our fourteen-year-old daughter, Rosa, who was the starting fullback and defensive end (and the only girl) on her middle-school team, is in Costa Rica for the semester. Apologies to all Saints fans everywhere.


Another reader, Stephanie McShane, has a more serious complaint:


Your “short-timer” status gives a certain tone to your writing. It’s missing that edge that the rest of us get from the knowledge that this is our home for good. It’s missing the tone we inherited when we lost everything, but somehow lived to tell about it. We watched our children lose everything with grace and courage, and it broke our hearts. We have helped neighbors, friends, and strangers with everything from a hot shower, a shared lawnmower, and shoulder to cry on to an introduction to a prized contractor. . . . That gives our words a certain emotion yours are missing.



Guilty as charged. My history in New Orleans goes back only as far as what another reader aptly calls “the federal flood.” I barely knew the city before Katrina, and I have a safe and dry home elsewhere. When I started this column, in January, a local blogger who calls himself Swampytad unleashed so many paragraphs of personal vitriol at my out-of-towner perspective that I finally wrote to tell him that he was hurting my feelings. His response was pure New Orleans, warmhearted and emotionally honest. “You know what, Dan?” he wrote. “You’re absolutely right. And I mean that sincerely, no sarcasm in my tone. What’s happened is that we’ve been bullied and prodded raw, and I’m taking it out on you. And you’re right that there is undue disrespect in my tone in my posts. That will stop.” Swampytad has since found plenty of things to dislike in my column, but he stopped making ad-hominem attacks and deleted the old ones from his LiveJournal.


New Orleans is bedevilled by a sense of having been doubly wronged by the national media. The media’s first sin is failing to cover the continuing crisis. This is the only place I’ve ever been where, when I take my reporter’s notebook from my back pocket, people thank me just for showing up. At the same time, I’m often asked, “How are you slanting your story” or “Is your work here helping the community?” New Orleanians revile national stories on the latest scandal, ineptitude, mendacity, or foolish mayoral speech, which tend to reinforce a widely held belief that Louisianans can’t be trusted with federal taxpayer dollars. When, in February, Shaila Dewan of the New York Times published a balanced and well-researched article about people making the painful decision to leave New Orleans, a lot of otherwise reasonable people reacted as though she had slandered their city out of malice. “There is no reason to write such a story,” a friend of mine said furiously. When I pointed out that some people were, in fact, deciding that New Orleans was too difficult a place to live, my friend said, “But why is it necessary to report that?” “Prodded raw,” as Swampytad put it, does not begin to describe how New Orleanians feel a year and a half into this disaster.


“I only wish,” Stephanie McShane wrote, that “there was more of an available national outlet for the more tainted voices from which we speak, for I think those are the voices the rest of the country needs to hear.” I don’t know what her definition of a “national outlet” is, but the Web is full of the voices of New Orleanians. This list includes links to nearly a hundred and eighty local bloggers who can be read around the country.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
77. Patrap
7:50 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
List of New Orleans Bloggers Link
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75. NRAamy
6:07 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
amy

Just stoppin' by to say hi!!

;)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 320 Comments: 31970
74. NRAamy
3:50 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
amy


Mornin' Pat!! Some pastries, courtesy of GS, for you and yours!!

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 320 Comments: 31970
73. Patrap
1:45 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
OMG..Its a Depression and its heading WEST! 0
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
72. Patrap
12:09 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
Nutrias bad in the canals here. They have to pop um constantly just to keep the numbers at bay.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141868
71. sandcrab39565
12:08 PM GMT on May 14, 2007
Morning Pat same problems here as well just not as critical dams.
Member Since: June 25, 2006 Posts: 36 Comments: 9972
70. Patrap
11:53 AM GMT on May 14, 2007
Jeff marksmen still targeting nutria
Posted by By Michelle Hunter, East Jefferson bureau May 13, 2007 8:54PM


For almost a dozen years now, SWAT team snipers have been hunting the hordes of nutria that have made their home in Jefferson Parish's drainage canals.
It's an ongoing struggle of man versus varmint that bears some resemblance to a Looney Tunes tale: the never-ending duel between Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny.
But Jefferson authorities, unlike Fudd, aren't squeamish in the least about their killing task.

7

The pesky nutria lack Bugs' "wascally" charm. And because their orange chompers have cut such a costly swath through the parish's canal banks -- not to mention Louisiana's valuable wetlands -- fewer people than ever bat an eyelash when the bullets fly at the rodent, imported here from South America.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee and his marksmen have been taking aim at nutria since the early summer of 1995. But since no one keeps a Jefferson-specific nutria census, officials can't definitively say whether the numbers are down. Families of nutria can still be seen frolicking at dusk near the craters they've dug into walls of the West Esplanade Avenue canal. It seems the animals are nowhere near the endangered species list. And it looks as if they never will be.
So all these years later, did the Jefferson Parish Council choose wisely when it accepted what seemed like a zany offer from Lee to institute Night Out Against Nutria?
Experts on the furry menace, parish officials, SWAT team members and even some animal rights activists -- albeit begrudgingly -- say yes.
"The only viable solution was the sheriff's suggestion to shoot them," said William Duplaisir, a superintendent with the Jefferson Parish Department of Drainage.

Noticeable damage

Jefferson Parish's nutria extermination squad gathered two Thursdays ago about 10:30 p.m. in the parking lot next door to the Dunkin' Donuts on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie, despite a slightly chilly breeze that marked the start of what would become the first major rain event in the New Orleans area this year.
Determined to pop a few nutria before the rain began to fall, SWAT team members climbed into the back of a Jefferson Parish drainage department pickup and started their first pass on West Esplanade at Lake Villa Drive. They drove at a deliberate pace that allowed Sgts. Benny Griffin and Scott Wildey to look for telltale signs of nutria along the nearly pitch-black banks.
Griffin said it takes an experienced eye to find them: small ripples in the water made by the swimmers, the barely visible tops of nutria heads bobbing near burrows and the tiny pinpricks of red reflected when light hits their eyes.
What is easily discernible is the damage they've done to the canals. Nutria use their clawed forepaws to excavate what can be complex systems of burrows into the banks. The tunnels disturb the ground supporting drainage pipes, cracking them, according to Duplaisir. They also weaken the bank face, causing it to disintegrate in some places.
When dug deeply enough, nutria holes can destabilize roadways. And their penchant for munching on canal bank vegetation has left many spots vulnerable to erosion.
In 2006, nutria destroyed approximately 12,000 feet of canal bank, leaving Jefferson Parish with a $500,000 repair bill, Duplaisir said.

Fast multipliers

"That's a condominium," shouted Sgt. Kenny Latour, the designated spotlight man, as he pointed to multiple holes bunched together in the side of one crumbling bank.
That kind of destruction caused just as much of a panic in early 1994 when Jefferson Parish officials first sounded the alarm on the nutria menace. At the time, they put canal damage estimates at $6 million to $8 million.
Nutria, largely thought to have been imported into Louisiana for their fur during the 1930s, have a prolific reproduction ethic.
Males can reach sexual maturity as early as 4 months old, females at 3 months, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. For them, it's always breeding season. They can produce two litters of as many as 13 young and be pregnant with a third in one year's time.
After a study put the Jefferson Parish nutria population at about 9,200 in 1995, officials were desperate to annihilate their furry hides. The solutions varied from zinc phosphide-poisoned sweet potatoes, tiny nooses set to drown the rodents when they emerged from their burrows and traps to humanely euthanize them, Duplaisir said. Suggestions of the odder sort included releasing alligators, the nutria's only natural predator. Duplaisir also recalled another man who wanted officials to trap, sterilize and release them all.
The problem then, as now, was the efficacy of the other options, according to Duplaisir and Edmond Mouton, a biologist and program manager for Wildlife and Fisheries' nutria-control program. There were obvious problems with letting alligators have the run of the canal system.
Poisons had to be administered by an expert certified in the job, and that wasn't cheap. Duplaisir said it would have run the parish about $510,000 the first year. Plus, many residents were leery of having those chemicals so close to their homes, children and pets.
Animal rights activists also balked at the plan, saying it posed dangers to the rest of the area's wildlife.
Though there were trappers willing to go to work in Jefferson Parish, the thought of puppies and kittens getting caught in nutria traps gave the public pause, Duplaisir said. The $60-an-hour price tag for trappers also may have caused some hesitation.
All of the potential solutions had their drawbacks, and in some way seemed inefficient in the urban setting, Mouton said. "It takes a lot of work, especially when you're dealing with large populations."

Seeing the effects

And so it came to pass that when Sheriff Harry Lee stood before the Parish Council and offered up his cheap, but unorthodox, suggestion to simply shoot their way out of the nutria nuisance, officials eventually approved the idea -- once they finished laughing. SWAT team snipers took a few test-round hunts in Lafreniere Park in Metairie and along a few canals. They then picked up a special permit that allowed them to circumvent state laws forbidding nighttime nutria shooting. Then, the hunt was on.
In the early days, Sheriff's Office sharpshooters were making weekly patrols of the canal, tagging as many as 400 nutria a shift, according to Maj. Kerry Najolia. The SWAT team commander handled traffic duty that Thursday night a few weeks ago, trailing the slow-moving nutria death squad in his patrol car with his blue lights flashing.
The first nutria bagged that night was a medium-sized fellow spotted swimming in the middle of the canal almost immediately after the truck turned onto West Esplanade. Easy pickings. A quick pop from the .22-caliber rifle, a glimmer of hot flying brass and a bit of thrashing in the water, and it was all over.
Still, things seemed slow to the deputies who remember the way it used to be. "When we went out, you'd see 30 to 40 of them just sitting on the bank," Najolia said.
But no more. Snipers Griffin and Wildey, both Sheriff's Office nutria hunters since 1999, said they now average about 100 to 140 of the rat-like pests a shift. And that's how they know they've cut down the parish's nutria population. "We believe that without a doubt, it truly helps," Griffin said.
The Sheriff's Office has eradicated 14,437 nutria since the snipers picked up their rifles, including about 412 this year, according to statistics provided by the department. The shoots, which range all over the east bank and West Bank of Jefferson Parish, are now scheduled according to complaints. They usually occur once or twice a month, with the only hiccup being a six-month hiatus after Hurricane Katrina because of staffing shortages at the Sheriff's Office. And they do so free of charge -- well, for the cost of a .22-caliber round, which Najolia said was only pennies.
Mouton regulates the folks who trap and kill the rodents in other parts of the state for a $5-a-tail bounty through Louisiana's nutria-control program. But he said the sheriff is addressing the problem within his capacity as a lawman. "The shooting that Harry Lee is conducting is probably one of the better methods as far as efficiency," he said.
Jeff Dorson, executive director of the Louisiana Humane Society isn't crazy about the Sheriff's Office nutria hunts, but he understands what's at stake. "I wish I had a nonlethal method," he said. "Nobody in 12 years of them doing this has come up with a better plan than that."

Job is never done

Though they can make for easy prey once they're in the cross hairs, nutria are definitely no dodos. Unlike the now-extinct species of bird that earned its name by standing there fearlessly as hunters stalked right up to them, nutria have learned a thing or too about the art of evasion. Most hit the water at the slightest sound during the hunt a few weeks ago, making a beeline for their burrows. They scattered quickly instead of sticking around for a handout of food from a friendly human, as they once did, according to Najolia.
"As long as we've been doing this, I haven't figured them out," Griffin said.
The name Nutria Eradication Program notwithstanding, Duplaisir said parish officials no longer think they can simple kill off their rodent problems. The animals multiply so fast, they've come to accept that unless nutria make a mass migration to some other state, the Sheriff's Office SWAT team will continue to play a part-time role in the parish's pest-control plans.
"We're out here to do a job," Griffin said.
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69. EmmyRose
11:40 AM GMT on May 14, 2007

COOL MySpace Comments


Morning bro
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