Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
August 28th, 2005


A punch in the mouth

Last September:

We’re going to get hit. We don’t know if it’s going to be a punch in the mouth or a kick in the knee. But we’re going to get hit.

This year, it’s going to be a punch in the mouth by the underdog Katrina. And as the unprecedented category 5 storm heads for the underwater City of New Orleans, my uncle and aunt are once again attempting to ride it out, this time with my grandmother, in New Orleans East – exactly where Katrina is headed. (It will then head directly for Cincinnati, according to the latest forecasts.)

Please keep them in your prayers.

This advisory from the National Weather Service doesn’t bode well. They’re talking about half of all conventionally-built homes in the New Orleans metro area completely destroyed, and a significant portion of high-rise buildings severely damaged:

Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. At least one half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed.

The majority of industrial buildings will become non-functional. Partial to complete wall and roof failure is expected. All wood-framed, low-rising apartment buildings will be destroyed. Concrete-block, low-rise apartments will sustain major damage, including some wall and roof failure.

High-rise office and apartment buildings will sway dangerously, a few to the point of total collapse. All windows will blow out.

Airborne debris will be widespread and may include heavy items such as household appliances and even light vehicles. Sport utility vehicles and light trucks will be moved. The blown debris will create additional destruction. Persons, pets, and livestock exposed to the windows will face certain death if struck.

Power outages will last for weeks, as most power poles will be down and transformers destroyed. Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.

The vast majority of native trees will be snapped or uprooted. Only the heartiest will remain standing, but be totally defoliated. …

Downtown hotels, apparently also vulnerable, are being used as shelters during the storm. I pray that the meteorologists at the NWS are merely exaggerating to urge residents to take adequate cover.


  1. Thank goodness, it looks like everyone in my extended family is accounted for now. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to take a little of your time to comment on the state of affairs in our nation now.