Update from Brother in MS
Edited from an e-mail from my mother. Brother Dan is a physician at the VA hospital in Biloxi, where they took shelter. Jake is my nephew, Joyce is my sister-in-law. They live in Pass Christian, a community closer to NO (and more directly in the path of Katrina) than Biloxi. All ital comments mine
Dan just called again from Biloxi VA Hospital. They've found one cell phone that works. No one else's phone does. (Wonder which brand it is.) He will try to call daily.
Send nothing now. Later, he may want books for Jake, etc. No school. He'd like all the Harry Potter books. Anyone got any? He's read all six, but likes rereading them; he's 15 and really into it.
They took cash with them and don't need money yet. They have insurance, State Farm, who will call me.
They were very, very lucky. At the VA hospital, they have toilets, hot water, even ice, food, all the stuff the people in the Sports Arena don't have. Dan is "essential" and can't leave, but Jake and Joyce must. They are first in line for an apt only 5 miles away, but Dan is not counting on it. Several friends have offered to take them in.
The coast is flattened. In other places, Dan said it was like Oz, with houses pulled up whole and landing many yards away. Their garden lifted up, flowers, veggies, in a top soil mat, and is now across the street on a neighbor's lawn.
Their house is a few miles in and the frame and roof are standing. Some windows gone, all stuff smashed against walls. No staircase, so they don't know about the second floor. Or whether it must be rebuilt. Dan had not boarded it up. Recently, it had anchors put in at the corners, like earthquake construction. The neighbors' houses seem to be in similar shape. Many of their neighbors houses were on stilts. His was on a slight rise, higher than any previous high water mark (he checked).
They have their 2 cars--Danny had moved them to the highest ground he could find at the hospital. They are both full of gas, but no other gas is available. I'm glad about the cars; first report was that they lost both, but I wondered how they got to the hospital.