On August 31, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA public affairs officer Marty Bahamonde emailed his boss, then-FEMA chief Michael Brown, to make sure he understood how dire the situation had become in the Superdome, the New Orleans football stadium that was housing thousands of evacuees. "[T]he situation is past critical," he wrote in one of several emails he'd sent colleagues outlining the emergency. "We are out of food and running out of water." The stadium was overcrowded and undersupplied; there had already been three deaths, and Bahamonde expected more to die "within hours."
New Orleans is preparing to be hit by another massive storm, which, if projections hold, will make landfall exactly seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina. Projections for Tropical Strom Issac, which is expected to grow into at least a Category 2 hurricane, show the storm making direct landfall in the gulf coast early Wednesday morning. Earlier today, both Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared states of emergencies.
Jindal lied about a dead hero too, so it's extra fun! Sheriff Harry Lee of Jefferson Parish organized volunteers during Katrina to rescue residents trapped on rooftops. This was supposedly against some of that damned bureaucratic red tape or something, and in Jindal's telling he marched into Lee's office and said if the rowboats didn't go out NOW they could just arrest the governor, or something. Well, this was a lie, because Jindal wasn't even in Jefferson Parish when the flood waters were that high. His office admitted that the story was bullshit, then tried to cover for Bobby by claiming that they meant that the dramatic phone conversation happened days later.
A tipster has sent us five photos of brand new works by semi-secret superfamous street artist Banksy. All five were just put up in New Orleans, to commemorate the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 29. Some of the pieces relate directly the hurricane and its disastrous aftermath; others are targeted at the legacy of Fred Radtke, an infamous N.O. anti-graffiti crusader known as the "Gray Ghost" for his practice of painting over graffiti in gray paint—regardless of the color of the underlying wall. They're all pretty great. Five [UPDATE: Now six!] pieces, after the jump:
• Jane magazine continues its quest to lower lowest common denominator. [Jane]
• Heidi Klum is African, too? With Seal? Who actually is kind of African, or like African-British or something? Now we're just confused. Insert apartheid joke here. [Flickr]
• Tom Cruise cuts deal with third most likeable owner in professional sports. If you're working from a list that only also includes Mark Cuban and Al Davis. [LAT]
• World's oldest person dies at 116. World's youngest people continue never to call, never to write. [CNN]
• Bush to commemorate one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with three minutes of silently not paying attention. [Yahoo]
• Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Debbie going to fuck East Coast's brains out. [The Bad Pitch Blog]
• FHM lays off five staffers, forced to return company badges, bathroom keys, and mysoginistic concepts of women as objects solely for the sexual gratification of illiterate men. [FishbowlNY]
• Here is a picture of Rachel Sklar's dad. Whatever, Garfield's not the only one who hates Mondays. [HuffPo]
Editor & Publisher points us to a choice Barbara ("The Old One") Bush quote from public radio's Marketplace over the weekend, about the New Orleans evacuees at Hoston's Astrodome: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this — this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."