The Mercury News
Most of New Orleans flooded; Gulf Coast devastated
NEW ORLEANS - The second day somehow seemed worse than the first: Governors warned of mass casualties. Rescue crews acrobatically plucked thousands from the crests of roofs and the brink of death. Levees failed, and panic flared and spread and took hold.
New, terrifying floods swept through the heart of New Orleans. Water swamped 80 percent of the city. And yet fires raged, fed by leaking gas.
Medics transformed part of the Superdome into a triage center, but water lapped at the edges of the arena. Looters roamed. Martial law was declared and the governor worked on plans to shut New Orleans -- a place very close to ruin -- and remove everyone still there.
''We've lost our city,'' said Mark Morial, a former mayor of New Orleans, now serving as president of the National Urban League. ``I fear it's potentially like Pompeii.''