Katrina Disaster Blog Sept. 16

Members of a clean-up crew wear protective gear as they clean the outside a restaurant in the French Quarter September 15, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Rescue efforts and clean up continue in the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina eighteen days after the deadly storm hit. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This is a running list compiled by CBSNews.com staffers of the latest developments in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.


Sept. 16, 2005

11:27 a.m.
GRETNA, La. (AP) — An elderly New Orleans woman arrested for allegedly looting, has been released after spending more than two-weeks in jail.

Merlene Maten, who is 73 and diabetic, had been held on 50-thousand dollars bail. Police allege she took 63-dollars worth of stolen goods from a deli that had been smashed open by looters. The church elder had no arrest record.

10:13 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Law enforcement officials say people in Louisiana rushed to buy guns in the days following Hurricane Katrina. FBI officials say more than 13,000 criminal background checks were requested on prospective gun buyers in the first 12 days of September. That's as many as were requested for the entire month a year ago.

Several gun merchants interviewed by The Associated Press said televised reports of looting in New Orleans fed the spike in gun purchases. Law enforcement officials are still trying to track down thousands of weapons that were lost or stolen.

9:08 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The nearly 200,000 New Orleans residents being allowed to re-enter their city next week will face a lack of clean water, curfews and military checkpoints.

New Orleans' homeland security director says the city will assess the situation in the French Quarter from "day to day." He says the repopulation of the city will done "in a progressive manner" to ensure the safety and health of residents.

The bars and restaurants from Uptown to the French Quarter will have to have ice delivered. That is, if they decide to open during daylight hours.

Three weeks after the massive flooding, about 40 percent of the Big Easy remains under water.

7:20 p.m.
WHITE HOUSE (AP) — He hasn't named any, but President Bush says the Gulf Coast recovery will be offset by budget cuts, not financed with tax increases.

At a White House news conference with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bush said the recovery effort is "going to cost whatever it's going to cost." But he says, "We're going to be wise about the money we spend."

Last night, during a visit to New Orleans, Bush spelled out an expensive plan for rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, but he didn't specify how he'd pay for it.

Aides estimate the cost could total $200 billion.

4:11 p.m.
WHITE HOUSE (AP) — You can toss out the deficit numbers that have been offered up to now. The White House says the federal deficit will swell, as the federal government picks up the tab for much of the Hurricane Katrina cleanup.

An economic adviser says those costs, of perhaps $200 billion or more, are "coming from the American taxpayer." The president's domestic policy adviser, Claude Allen, says the administration has not identified any budget cuts to offset the disaster expense.

2:55 p.m.
(CBS/AP) — First lady Laura Bush says all American families should be prepared for major disasters. Hurricane Katrina shows how important it is for young children to learn their full names, addresses and parents' names, she said during a visit to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children today.

There, Mrs. Bush recounted the story of a 5-year-old found walking on a highway in New Orleans. He knew his name, address, mother's name and name of his church. Bush says children need to learn such information "as soon as they can talk."

2:48 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — They're traveling together and pledging a bipartisan recovery effort. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada are touring New Orleans along with Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle.

Frist said they'll be making sure that "further resources" are made available to rebuild the region. But he says that will be done in a "fiscally responsible way." Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama is with their delegation, and he says he's been going to New Orleans since he was 18. He also says he plans to keep going there for another 50 years.

12:21 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush said Friday that the Gulf Coast must be rebuilt with an eye toward wiping out the persistent poverty and racial injustice plain to all in the suffering of the black and the poor in Hurricane Katrina's wake.

"As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also clear away the legacy of inequality," Mr. Bush said during a national prayer service with other political leaders and religious figures from the affected region at the National Cathedral.

10:57 a.m.
(CBS) — The president of Jefferson Parish said President Bush's nationally broadcast speech was his best outside of wartime. "He said it all. He was compassionate," and he "gave hope" to hurricane-ravaged Louisiana, Aaron Broussard tells The Early Show's Hannah Storm.

Broussard said he is eager to "get rebuilding" and not linger on the government's sluggish response to the disaster.

"Man has to learn to interface with mother nature," Broussard said. "Because sometimes mother nature can be a b---h."

8:05 a.m.
(CBS/AP) — As the mayor of New Orleans announces a phased return of businesses starting Saturday and an influx of residents starting next week, CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports for The Early Show that in the historic French Quarter, wealthy entrepreneurs welcomed the news that up to 180,000 residents could return to the city in the next seven to 10 days.

7:12 a.m.
ABOARD THE NANCY FOSTER (AP) — Scientists harvested fish off the Mississippi coast as part of the latest effort to assess environmental damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina's monstrous storm surge and toxic floodwaters. Researchers hope to determine whether the hurricane caused any contamination from chemical spills, sewer overflows or other poisons that washed into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Nancy Foster, a research vessel operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, began gathering fish Monday off the Florida Panhandle. By Thursday, the vessel was near Horn Island, off the coast from Biloxi, Miss., dipping its net for samples.

6:25 a.m.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Hurricane Katrina's impact is still being felt by OPEC, whose oil ministers meet in Vienna beginning this weekend and are expected to increase production by 500,000 barrels a day. Analysts have said that wouldn't be enough to make a big difference in oil prices, which are about 50 percent higher than a year ago.

Production outages caused by Hurricane Katrina, continued instability in Iraq and the upcoming winter season have put pressure on prices, with crude reaching over US$70 a barrel in the aftermath of the storm.

6:10 a.m.
WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — Today is the National Day of Prayer declared by President Bush for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. While many houses of worship planned to participate, some say they had already held such services and will not join the president. Some say they are so angry over the government's sluggish response to blacks and poor people in New Orleans, who waited days for rescue, that they will heed Mr. Bush's request. "Not to be critical, but the president is a little late," said the Rev. Reginald Jackson, president of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey.

President Bush will attend a service with other religious and political leaders at the National Cathedral in Washington. Interdenominational services were set for state Capitols around the country, and in Roman Catholic churches. Catholics have a strong presence in the Gulf Coast, and many dioceses have suffered extensive damage.

6 a.m.
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — The human survivors of Katrina are not the only ones finding refuge hundreds of miles away. A Michigan woman now has a furry survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Silvia Farlow, who lives in the Upper Peninsula area, has adopted a kitten left homeless by the killer hurricane. She's named it Katrina. The kitty is about two months old. It wound up in Texas with other evacuated animals. Farlow found the kitten on the Internet, through an animal welfare group in Houston. Her sister-in-law, who lives in the Houston area, put Katrina on a flight to Michigan.

Read previous Katrina Disaster Blogs:
Sept. 15, Sept. 14, Sept. 13, Sept. 12, Sept. 11, Sept. 10, Sept. 9,Sept. 8, Sept. 7, Sept. 6, Sept. 5, Sept. 4, Sept. 3, Sept. 2, Sept. 1, Aug. 31
  • Joel Roberts

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