We've avoided the worst, a situation in which there would have been destruction of an entirely different order of magnitude, but this really is awful mess. Huge parts of the city are up to their rooves in water. The stories of people downtown trapped in their attics or on their rooftops crying for help through the night are horrible. Major bridges and highways into and out of the city are damaged or knocked out. Power may be out for a month or more. This morning there are reports of additional levee breaks, and water in many parts of the city is rising, not receding (for anyone looking for detailed, neighborhood by neighborhood information, the Times-Picayune's breaking newsfeed, http://www.nola.com/newslogs/breakingtp/, is the best source I've found so far). Our neighborhood, Uptown, has, thus far, faired better than most. Of course, we still don't know how this will all play out.
The dining area of our motel is full of anxious refugees worrying about their homes, swapping bits of information, and trying to figure out when they'll get home and what they'll find. At this point, it's impossible to plan the next step. We're just holding tight, gathering information, keeping busy, and waiting.