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    Post: New Orleans - Surviving the Chaos

    Posted by Ozarks Lawyer on 9/03/05

    The legals listserves to which I subscribe to have
    exploded with commentary and whatnot about the hurricane
    and New Orleans. What follows is one from the National
    Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's listserve:

    CJ Experience: Still in New Orleans
    One man, holed up in his flooded house, describes the
    scene and storm
    By Donald A. "Donny" Sauviac, Jr.
    Updated: 5:08 p.m. ET Sept. 1, 2005

    I am Donald A. Sauviac, Jr. a criminal defense attorney.
    As of Thursday Sept 1, 2005 at 7:49 a.m., I am holed up
    in a third generation family home located at Weiblen and
    Vicksburg Streets in the Lakeview area of New Orleans. My
    wife and four daughters left just before the storm and
    managed to make it to Memphis, Tenn. where they have
    three rooms with friends who left Metairie. I have two
    collie dogs and a bird here with me. The dogs are holding
    up on the second story flat roof with the generator. I am
    on the second story of the house a converted double. I
    have a 22 ft. pontoon boat tied up on the side street. I
    have plenty of food and water. I keep using the generator
    to charge up my phone and listen to the radio to figure
    out what is going on around me. I just moved into this
    house from a house in Metairie, which is known for
    flooding. As fate would have it the Metairie house that
    was up for sale is high and dry with no apparent damage.

    The house I'm in had calf high water up to the second
    step of the inside stairwell. The water has subsided in
    the last day it only covers the firststep. (the house is
    up on piers and from the sidewalk it comes up to my chest
    standing -- I guess the total depth was about 5 ft. Until
    yesterday I had clear running water in the upstairs sink,
    toilet and tub -- probably ok for washing off but not to
    drink. In a two block are there seems to be about a dozen
    people who are staying at this time. We check in on each
    other and talk by wading down and/or from windows or

    For the past few days I was charging on neighbors cell
    phone with the generator and used that phone occasionally
    to get a call out. At this time I have cell service in
    the very early a.m. and late p.m. I even have wireless
    Internet service which just started working. My wife and
    children are frantic they want me to leave but I won't.
    This was my maternal grandparents' house that I as a child
    evacuated to during hurricane Betsy when my parents home
    in Gentily went underwater and we were evacuated by boat.

    This is a very strong house, I laid on a mattress on the
    second floor during this hurricane with a rosary in one
    hand and the other hand uplifted praying the Hail Mary
    over and over probably 10,000 plus times. I am Catholic
    but no ultra religious -- until now. I promised never to
    not evacuate in the future when told to do so if I just
    made it through this one. I kept hearing the 140 mph, wind
    hitting the house a nearly 100-year-old wood framed shot
    gun. I kept waiting for something to give. It never did. A
    tree fell on the back added on portion but seems to have
    done little damage and quite a bit of the seal tab roofing
    has blown off in certain places from what I can see.

    As I stand now, I have 5 gallons of gas for the generator
    (So far I have used 5 gals since the storm) I have I have
    16 gals of water (I have used 3 on me and 5 for my dogs)
    have two 101 qt ice chests that still have some ice (the 5
    day story is probably true) and I have food for about a
    week I have been trying to eat the things that will
    probably spoil and my dogs have been eating better than
    normal -- they won't touch the dog food since they are
    getting the extra table food so to say.

    My fan and radio batteries have held out very well. I call
    in a list of things to my brother in Baton Rouge and he is
    gonna try and get them to me if he can find a friend with
    a flat boat. I have a lot of furniture and clothing on the
    second, floor, which is fine. I have a lot of things
    downstairs, which are either ruined, or about to be
    ruined in the dark cold water that came inside. Everything
    in my two garages is probably ruined. My N.O. law office
    is a few blocks away on Canal Blvd.

    Historically I never got water at Weiblen or at Canal
    Blvd. I went there by boat two days ago and have about 5
    feet of water in the office, which is on a hill with a
    deep underpass. I parked a 1983 El Camino that I was
    restoring there and it is either completely under water or
    gone. I had a second small boat there, which has sunk. My
    daughter's car was in the shop and I would bet money it is
    under water. Also my car sunk when I tried to get in from
    my house two blocks down when I noticed the storm was over
    and the water was surprisingly starting to rise.

    The water is from a breech in the 17th Street Canal levee
    which separates Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. I believe
    the extra water in N.O. is from the pumping efforts in
    Jefferson. Jefferson pumped into Lake Pontchartrain, which
    went into the 17th street canal which went into Lakeview.

    I did assist in one rescue while surveying my office from
    a distance I was summoned to help get an old lady off the
    roof of her house. My boat a party (fishing) barge was too
    large to go in the back way and a small flat boat got to
    her first.

    Again, my wife and kids want me to leave but I really
    can't risk that for the past few days I have had numerous
    offers from police, fire and volunteers in here in boats
    but there are too many things I am attempting to save by
    carrying out when the chaos settles for now I'm fine. My
    boat does not allow me to get over railroad tracks or
    under the flooded underpasses. If I left now I would have
    to abandon the boat and contents. I am searching for an
    alternate route, probably going to mid city, Gentilly or
    further then getting into Lake Pontchartrain and then
    going to the Bonnable Boat launch in Metairie.

    Unfortunately I would be on ground level without all of
    the items I have here and would still be without car,
    electric, running water and probably few neighbors to
    assist. I might also be precluded from returning to my
    N.O. home. Right now I don't have the looting etc., which
    has made the news, I am sitting here with a 5 ft moat and
    armed to the hilt. If I get out I will be at the mercy of
    maybe being picked up after days of waiting without
    necessities and without any say so where I may be
    relocated -- probably in the opposite direction of my wife
    and kids and certainly away from the multiple properties I
    am trying to protect.

    Therefore I am waiting and planning to survey, pack and
    remove what I can, so my family will have some clothes and
    items other than what they left town a few days ago with.
    I have to survey my new satellite office in Houma as a
    possible temporary office relocation site. I think the
    damage there is also bad but my wife thinks otherwise I
    have had no contact there to make that determination at
    this time.

    I have no idea of how long I can hold out but know it
    won't be more than 1 1/2 - 2 weeks more. My family will
    be in desperate need of assistance, which I am trying to
    coordinate from here by passing on info through my wife
    and brother. I love this house and neighborhood. ... I
    would like to get some info out to my friends nationwide
    that I am alive and holding up well.

    Posts on this thread, including this one
  • New Orleans - Surviving the Chaos, 9/03/05, by Ozarks Lawyer.

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