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The latest on Katrina's aftermath



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Check here for the latest information from the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast region and other affected areas. Items are time-stamped when entered.

Wednesday, September 7

More than 30 bodies found in St. Bernard nursing home

Authorities have found more than 30 bodies in a flooded nursing home in St. Bernard Parish, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. The parish, southeast of downtown New Orleans, was heavily flooded when Katrina slammed ashore near the Mississippi state line Aug. 29. Sheriff's deputies reported Wednesday that floodwaters remained as high as 8 feet in some places.

DeLay: Onus for emergency response starts with locals

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House majority leader late Tuesday tried to deflect criticism of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina by saying "the emergency response system was set up to work from the bottom up," then announced a short time later that House hearings examining that response had been canceled.

Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said House Republican leaders instead want a joint House-Senate panel set up to conduct a "congressional review" of the issue. (Posted 1:05 a.m.)

Cholera-related bacteria kills 5

ATLANTA (CNN) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that five people have died in the area hit by Hurricane Katrina after becoming infected with Vibrio vulnificus, typically a more benign relative of the bacteria that cause cholera.

One of the fatalities occurred in Texas; the other four were in Mississippi, said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

Those who died were either elderly or had chronic health conditions. (Posted 12:36 a.m.)

Poll: Most Americans think New Orleans will not recover

(CNN) -- A majority of Americans believe the city of New Orleans will never completely recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and the resulting flooding, according to results of a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday.

Fifty-six percent of the respondents said they believe the hurricane devastated the city beyond repair. And 93 percent said they believe Katrina is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States in their lifetime.

But a majority of respondents -- 63 percent -- said they believe the city should rebuild. And 66 percent said they believe all New Orleans residents should evacuate. (Posted 12:24 a.m.)

Evacuee slits wrist on flight

(CNN) -- A passenger aboard a plane carrying evacuees from hard-hit Katrina areas apparently tried to commit suicide Tuesday, using a razor blade to slit his wrist, an airport official told CNN.

Tuesday, September 6

The plane, flying from Houston to Washington, D.C., made an emergency landing in Nashville. The passenger was taken off the plane and driven away by ambulance to a hospital, the official said. His condition was not immediately known.

Superdome may have to be torn down due to extensive damage

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- The Louisiana Superdome was so heavily damaged by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that it may have to be torn down, although the final determination of the dome's fate may be months or years away, a disaster official working with the governor's office told CNN.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the initial assessment of the famed dome indicated the damage is "more significant than initially thought."

Officials said damage includes potential biohazards such as mold and large quantities of human excrement inside the building from when tens of thousands of residents were housed there as a shelter of last resort without power or running water. (Posted 11:51 p.m.)

New Orleans mayor orders everyone out of Big Easy

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Mayor Ray Nagin ordered police and other law enforcement agencies Tuesday night to remove everyone from New Orleans who is not involved in cleaning up behind Hurricane Katrina, whether they want to go or not.

The expanded evacuation order authorizes state and local police, firefighters, National Guard troops and other military forces "to compel the evacuation of all persons from the City of New Orleans." (Posted 11:46 p.m.)

House hearings on Katrina next week abruptly canceled

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House hearings examining the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina were abruptly canceled by House Republican leaders who prefer an unspecified review by a joint House-Senate panel, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday.

Rep. Tom Davis, the chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, announced earlier in the day that his committee would begin holding hearings next week to get to the bottom of what went wrong in the aftermath of Katrina. (Posted 11:20 p.m.)

1,800 Marriott employees unaccounted for after Katrina

BATON ROUGE, La. (CNN) -- The Marriott hotel chain says it has about 1,800 workers from its New Orleans hotels that remain unaccounted for after Hurricane Katrina, and it is canvassing shelters across the region to find them, a company spokesman said Tuesday. (Posted 11:18 p.m.)

Crude oil closes at price below pre-Katrina levels

From CNN Correspondent Allan Chernoff
(CNN) -- The active futures contract for crude oil closed at $65.96 per barrel Tuesday, which is below the price at which crude was trading on the Friday before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. (Posted 4:34 p.m.)

Public health officials work to limit spread of disease in shelters

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Public health officials said Tuesday they are more concerned about possible toxic chemicals in the water in New Orleans than they are about an outbreak of cholera in the region, and were taking steps to limit the outbreak of disease in the overcrowded shelters whose residents could prove susceptible.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday that, more than a week after Hurricane Katrina hit the region, health officials still don't know if the water contains toxic chemicals.

"We don't know if chemical and petroleum industries in the region have survived," she told reporters in a conference call that included Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and Surgeon General Richard Carmona. "We have a comprehensive environmental health team there. We're just putting together picture now." (Posted 3:54 p.m.)

Chertoff, others expected to face tough questions in closed briefings

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Michael Chertoff, head of the Department of Homeland Security who has faced condemnation for the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, will be among the top officials facing questions from lawmakers in back-to-back closed-door briefings Tuesday evening.

He and heads of other departments will speak to members of the Senate at 6 p.m., followed by members of the House of Representatives at 7:30 p.m.

The list of speakers released by the House also includes Secretary Sam Bodman of the Department of Energy; Secretary Mike Leavitt of the Department of Health and Human Services; Secretary Alphonso Jackson of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Secretary Elaine Chao of the Department of Labor. (Posted: 2:40 p.m.)

New Orleans draining, but slowly

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Although two pumping stations were back online in New Orleans after engineers had completed patching the levee breaches that had let the water flow into the city, the process will be anything but fast. "Fortunately, the downtown area that has been so much focused, we think that's going to be one of the less challenging areas," Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, told CNN's American Morning. "We bracketed this on the outside about 24 days to drain, and we'll work to make that even quicker. "However, there are areas that may take up to 80 days," he said. (Posted: 2:20 p.m.)

New Orleans flood waters contaminated with e. coli

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Water that has been standing in New Orleans since the city's brush with Hurricane Katrina is contaminated with E. coli bacteria, an official in the office of Mayor Ray Nagin, who declined to be identified, told CNN Tuesday.

The presence of E. coli bacteria can be an indication of contamination by raw sewage. Drinking water contaminated with E. coli can lead to serious illness and death if not properly treated. (Posted: 1:23 p.m. ET)

Military officials: Chertoff sees disastrous conditions at Superdome firsthand

From CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr:
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff got a first-hand look at the dire conditions inside New Orleans' Superdome on Monday night, military officials said.

Chertoff was escorted by Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, the head of Task Force Katrina.

City officials told New Orleans residents who could not evacuate the city to seek shelter at the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina.

As the city flooded, thousands were stranded inside without food, water or electricity. Several died -- some of them, according to reports, at the hands of armed gangs.

The Superdome is now under military control. (Posted: 1:09 p.m.)

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