Anorak News | The Big Uneasy

The Big Uneasy

by | 1st, September 2005

‘YESTERDAY we wrote that a vibrant city like New Orleans will surely rise again. But today we’re less sure. The city resembles Atlantis, immersed under flood waters, a non-place to be talked about in stories.

Where do they go from here?

Looking at the Telegraph’s lead shot of coast guard officer Shawn Beatty peering out of his helicopter, scanning a watery landscape for signs of life, it’s hard to think the city will ever be what it was. It’s hard to think there was ever a city down there.

And news in the Times is that the place is to be abandoned. Dispensing with cheap puns in favour of reporting (see yesterday’s Water Land), the Times hears that the city could be uninhabitable for months.

The Times gives over a part of its ever-shrinking front page to Ray Nairn, the mayor of New Orleans. He says that it’s likely thousands have died. “There are dead bodies floating in the water. The rescuers were basically pushing them aside as they rescued people.”

So much for the gripping sensation of death, and the paper’s oh-so-clever word play as it talks of a “sea of humanity”. What else does the Times have to say?

It quotes Kathleen Blanco, the Louisiana state governor, who for reasons that the Times can best explain gives the paper the exact same quote she gave the Telegraph yesterday.

While the Times reuses yesterday’s news and looks once more to the internet for freely available copy with which it can pad out its coverage of the disaster, the Telegraph shows how things can be handled.

The stories of people who have lost loved ones are heartbreaking. The tales of looters show the baser side of human nature. But it’s the universal struggle to cope with the disaster that’s the real story.

The Independent recognises this and shows pictures of the “toxic soup” that has engulfed New Orleans and large areas of the region’s coast.

It says that residents could be at risk from all manner of disease. E.coli, salmonella are possibilities, as is everything from diarrhoea and malaria to dengue fever and West Nile disease.

It is clear that the trauma is far from over. The Guardian’s leader is right in saying, “The storm has gone, but the crisis keeps rolling along.”

What the city will look like when it stops is horribly unclear…’

Posted: 1st, September 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink