Leaving New Orleans Behind

Though the floodwaters are receding, standing water is seen Thursday, Sept. 8, 2005 along Canal Street in the French Quarter section of New Orleans. (AP Photo/The Shreveport Times, Shane Bevel) AP

Soldiers and police confiscated guns from homeowners as they went house to house, trying to clear the shattered city of New Orleans of holdouts because of the danger of disease and fire. Police on Friday also marked homes with corpses inside, with plans to return later.

As many as 10,000 people were believed to be stubbornly staying put in the city, despite orders from Mayor Ray Nagin earlier this week to leave or be removed by force. By midmorning, though, there were no immediate reports of anyone being taken out forcibly, police said.

"We will take a minimal amount of force. We understand this is a traumatized community," said New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.

Now the greatest danger is the threat of disease, and possibly epidemics, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann.

"Some areas where the water is it's just black. And it's not just dirty, it's toxic," said Dr. James Moises of Tulane Hospital.

In other developments:

  • President Bush, linking hurricane recovery and the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks four years ago, declared Friday that the United States was ready to "overcome any challenge," adding "America is a strong and resilient nation." He is scheduled to make his third trip to the region this weekend.

  • The death toll in Louisiana now stands at 118, although officials expect that to rise dramatically once all the floodwaters are pumped out, reports CBS News Correspondent Cami McCormick. Crews continue working to repair the levees, but some say wild dogs have become a problem.

  • Thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees will not get those $2,000 debit cards that are being distributed by FEMA. An agency officials says the cards will only be available to those that are temporarily staying at the Astrodome in Houston.

  • Ten days after Hurricane Katrina flooded the Gulf Coast, the administration is still knee-deep in damage control, reports CBS News Correspondent Gloria Borger.

  • From little kids and their lemonade stands to Corporate America's deep pockets, people just can't seem to give enough, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod. So far, Americans have given $587 million to victims of Katrina. In the 10 days after Sept. 11, Americans donated $239 million. In the nine days following the tsunami, $163 million. The response to Katrina dwarfs it all.

    Between 5,000 and 10,000 residents are believed left in New Orleans, where toxic floodwaters have started to slowly recede but the task of collecting rotting corpses and clearing debris is likely to take months.

    On patrol Thursday, some Albuquerque police officers heard a whistle and a plea for help, reports Strassmann, and followed the sound to the home of Michael Phillapello. He definitely wanted out, off the roof of his house, to safety somewhere away from his destroyed neighborhood.

    Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Jason Rule said his crew pulled 18 people from their homes Thursday. He said some of the holdouts did not want to leave unless they could take their pets.
    • Scott Benjamin

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