Air Mobile makes it to one of the ground zeros - downtown New Orleans!
Report submitted by Joe Hurston - President Air Mobile - On I-10 in Baton Rouge, LA Sept. 5, 2005, 9:14am (Central time - U.S.)
Everywhere we look on I-10 in Baton Rouge, we see military convoys of equipment, supplies and personnel heading to New Orleans. It's so cool driving down and updating the website at 70 mph. Thank God for wireless internet.
Yesterday, we made it all the way to City Hall in Downtown New Orleans. Actually set up a Vortex Voyager TM in the shadow of the Superdome and purified street water and drank it.
New Orleans is by and large evacuated. We met residents who have opted to stay, but their immediate situation was stable. The New Orleans Police and military and Red Cross and other support agencies are keeping a real close eye on them and their needs. It was announced that one of the adjoining parishes (county)was allowing residents back in. People just want to get home (if they have one) and try deperately to get on with their life.
We saw the evidence of the wind destruction. As we all know, Katrina made the last second jog and New Orleans was spared the brunt of the blow. It was the broken levee that devastated the city. There is still much water in downtown.
There are pockets of trouble throughout the city, but....the military and police are really getting a handle on the situation. As a matter of fact, 5 looter/thugs were shot after firing on the police very close to where we were. All medical facilities in New Orleans are cleared out and shut down. Just across the river there is a large medical operation going. Of course, all surrounding areas, such has Baton Rouge are completely filled and in max operation.
Bill Dunklee and Mike Cardinale landed in the Aztec right on schedule with 12 more Vortex Voyagers TM. These units are ready for immediate deployment. Again, Bill and Mike represent "So many, so willing to help"! We have additional aircraft and pilots on stand-by for immediate dispatch as needed. We have truly stepped out by faith by bringing these Vortex Voyagers TM into this area, as only 3 of the 72 have been funded. We need your help with this. Call 404-488-5970 to sponsor a Vortex Voyager TM.
Our two journalist, John Torres and Wayne Price flew back to Florida late last night with Doug Rodante and Collin Sugars in Doug's Cessna 401. Just spoke with Bill and Mike Cardinale and they too arrived back in Florida at midnight in the Piper Aztec.
This morning we met with Doug Vincent, Chief Engineer of Office of Public Health - Department of Health and Hospitals for Louisiana. This man is busy, yet....he took the time to meet with us and give us excellent data and direction. Tom Flaim had arranged the meeting. This is exactly the kind of contacts and direction that we need to strategically deploy the Vortex Voyager TM to the areas that really need what this amazing machine can do.
Today, we're going to drive toward Eastern Louisiana on the northside of Lake Ponchatrain and continue into the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi. We have several church contacts and I personally have family there. Their siutation is very bad. Some need oxygen, all need fuel. The needs are immediate and great. Of course we have the ability to pump very pure water immediately! Praise God, it's good to be able to GO and actually do some good! You, standing with us make this possible! THANK YOU!!!
I just want to say again, you've all seen the negative press about this disaster. There is SO MUCH GOOD GOING ON! Unfortunately, often the press does not report on that. Well, we're here at ground zero and can tell you with confidence, that though there are staggering needs, there are heroic and excellent efforts being made to relieve the suffering as quickly as possible.
Now that our computer is wireless, we may be able to slip in a few more reports as we go. Better close this one out and load for Mississippi and see what we can do to help the folks over there.
Joe and the Air Mobile Team
PS - Just heard from Cindy in Bangkok. She's boarding the first of 4 flights to get home. It will take her almost 40 hours to get back to the U.S. We have really missed her. Please pray that she has great traveling mercy and grace!! Thanks!!