Residents Grapple With Aftermath of Storm - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

08/30/05 – From the Associated Press

Residents Grapple With Aftermath of Storm

Cullman, Ala. (AP) - Donyelle Jean Jacques left New Orleans on Saturday morning, one of 49 members of her family trying to flee Hurricane Katrina.

When the family is finally able to return, there will be 50.

As the family drove north in an eight-car caravan in Alabama, Jacques, who was pregnant and past her due date, started having labor pains.

Her boyfriend, Wilbert Joseph, said he kept turning on the car's caution lights to try to let other family members know what was going on.

At 4:07 p.m. Monday, Jacques gave birth to an 8 pound, 10 ounce girl named Jade Leshelle Joseph at Cullman Regional Medical Center.

Family members said among the belongings likely destroyed by the flood waters back home was a new set of baby furniture covered with Looney Tunes characters, bought in anticipation of Jade's birth.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Dozens of looters ripped open the steel gates on clothing and jewelry stores in New Orleans, some packing plastic garbage cans with loot to float down the street.

One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store.

"No," the man shouted, "that's EVERYBODY'S store!"

Looters at a Wal-Mart brazenly loaded up shopping carts with items including microwaves, coolers and knife sets.

Others walked out of a sporting goods store on Canal Street with armfuls of shoes and football jerseys.

Officials said that looting wasn't the primary concern, acknowledging some residents simply were searching for food.

"We found people are taking food because people are hungry," said New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass. "We'll deal with the looting afterward. Human life is our top priority."

Katrina appeared to hit eastern New Orleans and neighboring St. Bernard Parish especially hard, submerging homes in water that topped 10 feet in some areas.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, viewing the damage in a helicopter, quietly traced the sign of the cross across her head and chest as she looked out at St. Bernard Parish, where only roofs peaked out from the water.

The whole parish is gone," Landrieu said.

"It's completely gone," she repeated later, in disbelief.

Trees uprooted by their stumps were tossed about like twigs, some onto houses and others across streets, dragging stoplights and power lines down with them.

HOUSTON (AP) - Some hotels are relaxing their policies, allowing Hurricane Katrina evacuees to keep their pets with them, while resorts and kennels have made extra room for cat and canine refugees.

A Great Dane, a poodle and a hound dog all roamed the lobby of the downtown Hilton Americas hotel in Houston on Monday.

"They were barking this morning," said hotel spokeswoman Anna Drake, who estimated more than 100 animals, including birds, hamsters and rabbits, were now guests at the hotel. "There are dogs throughout our lobby kind of hanging out with their owners. It's a zoo here."

At the Prestonwood Kennels Pet Resort in Houston, owner Guinnette Peebles turned her two-car, air-conditioned garage into expanded kennel space for about 20 dogs kept in crates. If space runs out there, Peebles says she'll start stacking crates in her kitchen.

"These people are devastated; they have no place to go. We're seeing a lot of people in a bind coming up this way," she said. "You just have to be able to help these people. They're handing you their well-loved pet. You can't turn them away."

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - When Evelyn Turner couldn't find anyone to take her and her partner of 16 years out of New Orleans, she decided to stay home and hope the storm would spare them.

Xavier Bowie had advanced lung cancer and could not be easily moved. On Tuesday, with no phone and only a small tank of oxygen left, Turner slogged out into the streets for help.

By the time she got back, Bowie was dead.

Turner and others wrapped his body in sheet, lay him on a makeshift bier of two-by-fours and plywood, and floated him down to the main road.

For more than an hour, Evelyn Turner waited, her Bowie's body resting on the grassy median as car after car passed, their wakes threatening to wash over the corpse.

Finally, about three hours after Bowie died, a passing flatbed truck driver agreed to take the body to a hospital.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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