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slow progress if it can be called progress at all

2005-10-07 - 10:23 a.m.

I looked out the back window this morning to see a Northern Mockingbird try to chase a Grey Catbird into the bird porch. The Catbird escaped and later perched on what remains of the fence so I could get a better look. They're a rare visitor to this yard during migration. The Mockers just won't tolerate them.

I guess the air-conditioner is fixed now. It didn't seem to be cooling enough, but I think the thermostat was set a little high. It seems to be working OK now.

In the News--

Information on deaths slow to come out

After days in water, bodies hard to identify
Only 32 names of bodies have been released

By John Pope

Almost six weeks after Katrina struck, and as the Louisiana death toll from the storm nears 1,000, only 32 names have been released to the public. And of those, no ages or identifying factors were released....

By contrast, 52 evacuees from New Orleans who died have been identified in Houston by name and hometown. Most of the 167 people confirmed to have died because of the hurricane in south Mississippi have been identified and released to families. But there was a difference that worked in favor of Harris County, Texas, said Stacey Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the county's Medical Examiners Office: Many of the people who died there were surrounded by family members who could identify them quickly.

In Louisiana, Mitchell said, many people were found in water or discovered after days or weeks in their homes.

Those factors, as well as short staffing, could draw out the task of identifying the bodies to a year, Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard said Thursday....

On Thursday, the state Department of Health and Hospitals did release some data: Of 747 victims, 41 percent were African-American and 35 were percent white. Nearly 23 percent could not be identified by race.

They were also broken down by age. Aside from nearly 62 percent whose ages could not be determined, the biggest group, 14 percent, was made up of men and women older than 75.

And many of those, Henry said, are the ones that people are calling his funeral home about.

"There are lots of 80- and 90-year-olds in Lakeview," Henry said. "People don't know if they were evacuated."

Lots of older folk in Gentilly too. It's a sad reality that because of the lack of professional jobs, the population is heavily skewed toward retirees because a lot of bright, educated, professional people have no choice but to move elsewhere.

Still, it just seems they could be doing a lot better than this. They don't even seem to be looking at the names of the missing. I can't imagine that such a pace would have been tolerated on 9-11. If anything, you had people complaining about the speed at which the remains were removed and about the cost of doing DNA studies on every fragment. Has DNA science slipped backward since 2001? I don't think so. Let people who are missing family members donate DNA so that the comparisons can begin. Maybe they're already doing that, but it sure doesn't sound like it.

In another article I read this morning, Minyard goes on to say that one of his friends killed himself by drinking Freon after he returned and saw the storm damage to his house. Can you imagine?

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