“Ritz-Carlton was surrounded by three to five feet of water and Canal Street was flooding.”
It’s interesting how even in this day and age simple documented facts can be denied by the ignorant and the unprincipled. It’s a proven fact that Canal Street in front of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New Orleans was flooded during Katrina. There can be no debate on this.
In addition to this there is this:
A Failure of Initiative. The Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, Washington DC, 2006.
Dr. Gregory Henderson is a Tulane University and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine graduate. He lives in New Orleans and is the Associate Chairman of the Ochsner Clinic Foundation Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. He was set to begin his new job at Ochsner on September 1.
Henderson happened to be attending a physician leader retreat for Ochsner staff on Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27, at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Canal Street when the meeting was cut short because of the impending landfall of Hurricane Katrina. He evacuated his family to Jackson, Mississippi and chose to stay at the hotel so he could remain close to their home.
By the morning of Tuesday, August 30, the Ritz-Carlton was surrounded by three to five feet of water and Canal Street was flooding.
Looking outside and talking to the police, he realized looting was occurring outside the hotel, and it appeared the looters were armed. Henderson, along with a family practice physician, pharmacist, and two officers from the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), waded across Canal Street through waist-high water to the Walgreens pharmacy across the street. They were able to break into the pharmacy and began stuffing insulin, drugs, and medical supplies into plastic garbage bags. There was a confrontation with the looters, who were held back at gunpoint by the officers. Henderson was able to carry three bags of supplies back to the hotel.
So yes, there was flooding and there were gangs of looters (which some now try to deny too). Period.
Henderson supplied similar descriptions right during the disaster:
My family is safe in Jackson, Miss., and I am now a temporary resident of the Ritz Carleton Hotel in New Orleans. I figured if it was my time to go, I wanted to go in a place with a good wine list. In addition, this hotel is in a very old building on Canal Street that could and did sustain little damage. Many of the other hotels sustained significant loss of windows, and we expect that many of the guests may be evacuated here.
Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today. Overnight the water arrived. Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is indeed a canal. The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater. I have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to care for patients because of water.
We also happen to have a contemporary photo of that Walgreens pharmacy (that is just across the Ritz-Carlton hotel). It’s on page 222 of Laborde & Magill’s Canal Street: New Orleans’ Great Wide Way (2006), and you can look at it here and at the photographer’s site here. Yep, it is flooded. (Note that the level would have obviously varied with time.)
There is another photo of looting going on at the flooded Canal St. in the above House report on p. 241. It was also printed here with the following commentary:
Partly out of desperation and partly out of opportunity, hundreds of people on Tuesday looted shops along Canal Street and in the French Quarter, transforming the tourist area into an almost war-like battle for supplies and merchandise.
Standing in metre-high water and amid the sound of wailing burglar alarms, they hurled bricks, storm debris and anything they could find to break inside shops as police stood by.
Similarly this article (also with a photo) confirms:
On New Orleans’ Canal Street, which actually resembled a canal, dozens of looters ripped open the steel gates on clothing and jewelry stores, some packing plastic garbage cans with loot to float down the street.
And of course the hotel itself had to be repaired after the flooding:
The Katrina troofers should be ashamed.