Friday, August 31, 2012

Local farmers contend with flooding

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Braithwaite citrus
  • Ian McNulty
  • Local citrus last season at the farmers market.

Hurricane Isaac may well have put Braithwaite on the map for many people around the country watching the harrowing news reports of flooding there. But regular shoppers at the Crescent City Farmers Market likely already have a strong association between the tiny Plaquemines Parish town and fresh citrus. That’s because Braithwaite is home to two market vendors and citrus-growing families — Lester and Linda L'Hoste of L’Hoste Family Farm and Kenneth and Aloma Savastano of A&K Citrus.

Farmers market director Emery Van Hook says she has heard from both families, and reports that they are safe and are now waiting for flood waters to recede before taking stock of their homes and farms.

While the city of New Orleans is now largely in clean-up mode, many of the farmers, fishermen and fresh food vendors who supply our kitchens and restaurants live and work in areas that have been devastated by Isaac, from low-lying coastal areas to communities in the River Parishes, on the northshore and in Mississippi that are now grappling with severe inland flooding.

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LA/SPCA #Isaac update: closed until power returns

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 5:00 PM


In anticipation of Hurricane Isaac, the Louisiana SPCA (which serves as the city's animal shelter and animal control) moved 87 cats and 56 dogs to shelters in Texas, and 35 dogs (and one cat) were transported to St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey.

The SPCA of Texas posted a photo gallery of Isaac-affected animals arriving at its shelter, and the national SPCA has kept a blog with updates about Gulf Coast pets (the Texas shelters reported dozens of adoptions following the arrival of the LA/SPCA animals).

The staff on-site at the Algiers shelter is caring for 100 animals, but the shelter is closed to the public until power is restored. LA/SPCA officials will announce when it can reopen — it currently only is responding to emergencies. If you see an animal-related emergency, call animal control at 504-368-5191 ext. 100 and leave a detailed message including name, address, contact information and details of the situation. A dispatcher is on duty manning calls. SPCA communications director Jennifer Albrecht says they're hoping to be up and running as early as next week, much like the rest of the city.

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Press release: Boil water advisory for Venetian Isles

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 4:39 PM

From the city of New Orleans Emergency Joint Information Center

NEW ORLEANS, LA — A precautionary boil water advisory is in effect for all of Venetian Isles from the flood protection levee and HWY 90 (Chef Menteur Hwy) to the Chef Pass Bridge. This area includes the entire Venetian Isles subdivision. The Sewerage and Water Board, in consultation with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), is issuing a precautionary boil water advisory that will be in effect until further notice.

The Board is recommending that customers disinfect their water by boiling it for one minute and letting it cool down prior to consumption (including drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, bathing or preparing food).

The New Orleans Fire Department will be providing water for personal use beginning this evening. NOFD will distribute water by truck on a block by block basis. [Note for clarification: In Venetian Isles only.]

The boil water advisory will remain in effect until further notice for customers in the affected area. The Sewerage and Water Board will notify residents when the advisory is lifted. If you have any questions, please call 52WATER (504-529-2837).


Boil water for one full minute in a clean container. The one-minute boil time begins after the water has been brought to a rolling boil. (If there is a flat taste, it can be eliminated by shaking the water in a bottle or pouring it from one container to another.)

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Federal Judge denies all motions to intervene in NOPD Consent Decree

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 3:55 PM

U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan today ruled against all four entities seeking full party status in litigation leading to the final approval of the proposed consent between the U.S. Department of Justice and the New Orleans Police Department.

The four parties requesting to intervene in the consent decree were the Office of the Independent Police Monitor (IPM), officers' associations the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) and the citizens' group Community United for Change.

PANO and FOP argued that the proposed consent decree impaired their employment rights guaranteed by city civil service rules. Sections of the 492-point document requires changes to policies on promotions, evaluations and recruitment, many of which, the associations believe, would require changing civil service rules.

But those changes are still unspecified, Morgan found, and the associations could not identify how they may affect their property rights.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Press release: National Guard opens three emergency supply sites

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 5:07 PM

NEW ORLEANS, LA— This afternoon, the City of New Orleans provided a status update on the ground conditions as Tropical Storm Isaac moves out of south Louisiana. Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged residents to remain patient and continue to be on guard as hazardous conditions remain outside and on the roadways. The City also announced that the National Guard has opened three Point of Distribution (POD) sites where citizens can pick up critical supplies including ice, water, and MREs. The Mayor also announced that the dusk-to-dawn curfew has been lifted.

“Tropical Storm Isaac is moving out of our area and the worst of the storm is behind us,” Mayor Landrieu said. “However, there are still dangerous conditions outside. Our city remains under a tornado watch and flash flood watch and there are many downed trees and power lines. Conditions on the roadways are hazardous. I urge you to stay off them as much as possible. And when you move around the city, please stop at every intersection. Please drive with extreme caution.”

The National Guard is now opening three emergency POD sites where citizens can pick up critical supplies including ice, water, and MREs in New Orleans East, Bywater, and on the West Bank. POD sites will be open from 6am until approximately 8pm or until daylight allows. Those locations include:

5501 Read Blvd in New Orleans East near the intersection of Read and Lake Forrest Blvd;
2730 Vespasian Blvd on the West Bank; and
700 Poland Avenue in the Bywater.
The dusk-to-dawn curfew for New Orleans has been lifted. However, residents are urged to use caution. Crews are working to clear debris from the streets and repair traffic signals throughout the city. Residents are asked to stop at every intersection out of an abundance of caution. The NOPD will be out in full force tonight enforcing the law.

The City of New Orleans has deployed approximately 2,900 emergency personnel that are on the ground maintaining order and assisting with recovery. At day break today, more than 1,500 responders have fanned out across the city to begin clearing debris, fixing traffic signals and street lights, placing temporary stop signs, and restoring power.

More than 250 Parks and Parkways and Sanitation workers and contractors are clearing debris and downed trees. They are clearing major corridors, problem areas called into 311 and 911 and others identified during assessment.

Dozens of Public Works employees and contractors are restoring stop signs and street signals at intersections.

Property Management is assessing the condition of City buildings and moving to repair damage from the storm.

The most impacted areas of the city were outside the levee protection system. The City has dispatched crews to Lake Catherine, Irish Bayou, Fort Pike, and Venetian Isles to provide assistance and supplies as the water subsides. Mayor Landrieu visited the area earlier today.

The City’s Emergency Operations Center, which has operated around the clock since Monday, is continuing to coordinate damage assessments and cleanup efforts. The City’s 311 hotline is also operating around the clock for residents seeking information and for residents to report street flooding, malfunctioning traffic signals or other issues of concern. The 311 hotline has received over 16,000 calls since Monday.

An emergency declaration has been declared that includes Orleans Parish for public assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures. FEMA is not reimbursing individual home owners. For home insurance purposes, the City encourages citizens to closely track their recovery costs and activities by taking pictures and keeping all receipts and other documents.

(Continued after the jump)

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Tonight's Saints game broadcast on Bayou 95.7 FM

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 4:20 PM

And a great hooting and hollering just went up from the streets of my little neighborhood in Mid-City, because THE POWER'S BACK UP, at least for now! (Thank you, Entergy!)

If you're not that fortunate, and you're looking to listen to tonight's New Orleans Saints game on the radio, the Saints just tweeted that it will be broadcast on Bayou 95.7 FM. Kickoff is at 6 pm NOLA time. Tell your friends!

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Landrieu lifts dusk-to-dawn curfew in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 2:46 PM

This just in:

NEW ORLEANS, LA— Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the dusk to dawn curfew for New Orleans residents has been lifted. However, residents are urged to use caution. Crews are working to clear debris from the streets and repair traffic signals throughout the city. Residents are asked to stop at every intersection out of an abundance of caution. The NOPD will be out in full force tonight enforcing the law.

A curfew's also been lifted for most of Jefferson Parish, The Times-Picayune reports.

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Isaac: City begins recovery work

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM

City Hall press conference this morning:

Major points:

Entergy has about 450 people out on the street as of this moment. 1,100 expected by the end of the day. First priority is hospitals, then essential public buildings. The majority of the city is still without power.

The city has sent out 300 workers to assess debris damage to roads and public buildings. Crews will clear major corridors with RTA bus or streetcar service first.

City and state recovery and rescue workers have been deployed to parts of the city, such as Venetian Isles, that are beyond levee protections and, according to Landrieu, have taken on about three feet of water.

The New Orleans Police Department reports 16 looting incidents in the past 36 hours. "In 13 of those events, we've made arrests on the scene," said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

NOPD will let us know this afternoon if the 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew will remain in effect tonight. Officers arrested three people and issued three summonses on curfew violations last night.

The RTA is asking that all vehicles be moved off neutral grounds by Friday, August 31, at noon.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Messages on boarded-up windows

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Sarouk Shop Oriental Rugs
  • Sarouk Shop Oriental Rugs

While Isaac was a lingering tropical storm this morning, all was relatively quiet Uptown. People were running along the streetcar route, walking their dogs, stopping into pharmacies and grocery stores, and eating breakfast at several still-open restaurants.

But the hurricane prep was underway — the hanging coffee cup sign outside Oak Street Cafe came down, shutters were pulled down at Superior Seafood and Jazmine Cafe, and boards were going up in shop windows, many with spray-painted messages, a now-standard "last word" before the storm ahead.

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Verizon releases hurricane tips for consumers

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Image provided by Verizon
  • Image provided by Verizon

With just a few more hours before New Orleans starts to feel the effects of Isaac, you'll find no shortage of tips to make it through the storm safely. Really, hurricanes are one of the few times where information overload is a good thing. Now that you've already heard from the City of New Orleans and know that you can keep track of the emergency announcements through Google, Verizon has issued a press release to remind consumers of a few tips to be able to keep in touch with loved ones during the storm.

The full list of tips are after the jump and, along with the common-sense tips like making sure to stock up on batteries and that you have all emergency phone numbers stored in your phone, there are some other less-remembered tips like storing a contact as ICE (In Case of Emergency) in your mobile device should, heaven forbid, something happen to you and authorities find your phone.

Again, though this may be the one millionth hurricane checklist you've seen today, seasoned hurricane veterans know to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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