CBSN

Evacuation: House By House

Oregon National Guard Capt. Trent Klug takes down and folds a hurricane-tattered U.S. flag at the Port of New Orleans as cleanup from Hurricane Katrina continues on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005. (Photo: Thomas Patterson)
AP Photo/Statesman Journal
Police and soldiers are coaxing some of Hurricane Katrina's stubborn holdouts from their homes, a day after the mayor ordered all 10,000 or so residents still in this ruined city evacuated — by force, if necessary — because of the risk of fires and disease.

"I haven't left my house in my life. I don't want to leave," said a frail-looking 86-year-old Anthony Charbonnet, shaking his head as he locked his front door and walked slowly backwards down the steps of the house where he had lived since 1955.

The efforts to evacuate come as tragic reports of people who were unable to get out are starting to emerge. Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon says more than 100 people died in a dockside warehouse and CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan reports that 32 died at a flooded-out nursing home just outside New Orleans.

Cowan reports that long before the storm hit, a physician offered the owner of the nursing home two buses to help evacuate the residents. The owner declined, but two hours later, changed her mind and pleaded for help -- but the storm was moving in, and by then the buses were helping others.

Aaron Broussard, the president of nearby Jefferson Parish, had a colleague who's mother was in the nursing home, Cowan reports. He promised her over and over again help was on the way.

"Somebody is coming to get you on Tuesday, somebody's going to get you on Wednesday, somebody's going to get you on Thursday, somebody's coming to get you on Friday," Broussard said. "And she drowned Friday night."

As the putrid, bacteria-filled floodwaters began to slowly recede with the first of the city's pumps returning to operation, Mayor C. Ray Nagin instructed law enforcement officers and the U.S. military late Tuesday to evacuate all holdouts for their own safety. He warned that the fetid water could spread disease and that natural gas was leaking all over town.

As of midday Wednesday, there were no reports of anyone being removed by force.

"We have thousands of people who want to voluntarily evacuate at this time," Police Chief Eddie Compass said. "Once they all are out, then we'll concentrate our forces on mandatory evacuation."

CBS News Correspondent John Roberts reports that some residents are complaining about the aggressive tactics of some of state forces who've joined the evacuation effort.

"They came at gunpoint, told us, 'Come out of the house with a gun, we'll shoot you. Get in the boat now," said Rick Matthew.

Roberts reports that city officials – already stretched beyond limits – don't have the resources to look after people so isolated and they fear, with each passing day, health and safety becomes a greater concern.

"It's the whole sewer system. This city's like a big bowl and that sun is just baking a great big toilet every day," said D.J. Riley of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the health hazards from the water make it imperative that remaining residents get out.