Elsewhere, the damage is done; what's gone is gone, what survived has survived. But the reports from New Orleans increasingly sound as though they are speaking of a mortally wounded patient. The photos show a city gradually slipping back into the lake. (more such) Reports vary, but levees weakened by the storm seem to have burst in at least three places.
The city had no power, no drinking water, dwindling food supplies, widespread looting, water rising in the streets, smoke rising on the horizon and even the sounds of gunfire. At least one large building was ablaze Tuesday.
I was watching the video dispatches from CNN -- a tricky proposition, since their website doesn't believe that my Linux system can play them. And, because I'm just that sort of fellow with no respect for the rule of law, I took screenshots. That's how I know, for instance, that I-10 has been destroyed east of New Orleans.
The New York Times has also been useful; the front-page article has been continually updated all day. It was clear that New Orleans was doing badly when the announcement came that the emergency shelters are being evacuated (by air or boat, I'd have to assume at this point). But when the municipal government throws in the towel and leaves town, things are definitely grim. Here at DailyKos I even ran across a list of the increasingly grim pronouncements from the place's mayor. And a link to the Flickr photo category for Katrina, incidentally.
There's still hope for saving the city, of course. In particular the old structures in the French Quarter have been through pretty bad before, and their survival will guarantee that the city goes on in spirit, even if the modern metropolis is a total loss. Which possibility must be recognized; the components of modern cities, the metal buildings and machines that maintain them, the distribution systems for water and power and sewage, the sheetrock and plywood of the residential house -- these do not take well to extended immersion.
For the first time in a while, the United States has a major regional refugee problem on its hands.