kvining - 9/8/2005 8:42 PM
Rumors now say 40,000 dead.
Rumors will say anything. The truth is that nobody can possibly know.
I spent several long days in boats in Midtown and saw "only" 4-5 bodies per day floating and another couple washed-up on porches or lying in houses when I helped folks evacuate from those homes.
We systematically covered a substantial portion of the neighborhood coaxing survivors out. I'd guess about 1/2 the people chose to stay for whatever reason. I figure a significant portion of those people will be sick unto death in another week if they don't leave.
Also, I now understand why people speak of the 'stink of death.' Human bodies have a unique aroma that will make you turn your head like a dog. I caught that smell in a number of houses as we slowly motored up and down streets.
If I had to guess, I believe that the mayor's estimate (10k) is going to be pretty close, +/- 50%. That would be between 5,000 and 15,000 in NOLA. St Bernard Parish is practically wiped clean, as are portions of Plaquimines. Perhaps another 2,000 to 6,000.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast to Jackson sustained far more structural damage than NOLA, but little flooding. I'll bet the combined death toll over there will be over 1,000 and maybe up to 3,000.
Mandeville to Slidell, give it another hundred or so.
By my upper estimate that is still a hideous 25k or so. By the lower estimate would be an historically disastrous 10,000.
It will take several weeks to get to the 95% recovery range.