North of Jewfish Creek


Dear Friend & Subscriber,

The email below is from a reader of my website.

I don't know what's happened since it was originally written... but since part of it was written by someone right there in New Orleans before, during and after Hurricane Katrina hit... I think it's important to put it on my site.

If you haven't already made some type of humanitarian contribution... whether money, food, water, your time, whatever... it is not too late to do so. Hurricane Katrina's fury will take months and months, and in some instances, years to clean up.


Hii Mr. Halbert ....

I know you do not know me... but I've been reading and following you for some time.     

Anyway ....  a little while ago, I got an email from my dad from a doctor who is stuck in New Orleans at the Hyatt on Canal Street.  He was there to attend a medical conference.  He is a pathologist ...  and apparently my dad's friends checked him out thru a person they know, and I checked him out on  He seems to be the real thing.  I'm going to copy & paste the email for you --- you'll note at the VERY end of the email, he says that they need SUTURE PACKS, STERILE GLOVES & STETHOSCOPES as they turn the Ritz into a MASH.  It surely seems like that isn't asking for much, and that it's really needed.  Maybe you know someone who has access to these types of things - or even know a pharmaceutical "guru"?  I learned many years ago that one doesn't get what one doesn't ask for --- so just thought I'd throw the idea out to you.  AND, we would know that at least some of the help we provide is truly getting to those who need it.  The doctor also provides his email address at the end - but it's uncertain whether he will be able to retrieve the message -- he did get THIS message out, however, and expects to send more.  His original message is from Tuesday at 2:00 pm (not sure if New Orleans is EST?).

Also, have received a communication from Armand Morin. He was very upset about those who are "profiting" on this disaster.  One guy sent out an email looking for an "opt-in" to get our email address/names in return for info on how to help - geeze ... what next; and another sent out saying - buy this, and I'll donate - yeah right.  Anyway, Armand is a good man (and he BLASTED those jerks) -- and I was thinking - maybe he would do something WITH you whereby anyone attending would donate and all of the money would go to help the hurricane victims.  I sent an email to him telling him about your idea, and asking if he might join in with you ..... or perhaps do one separately - I love the idea!  I bet there are hotels who would donate the room too.  Anyway - just ideas. 

If you like anything I've said/sent - would love to hear back from you....... and thank you for reading.

Linda Rothenberger

Here's the copy from the doctor's email:

From: Gregory S. Henderson MD, PhD <>

Thanks to all of you who have sent your notes of concern and your prayers.  I am writing this note on Tuesday at 2PM .  I wanted to update all of you as to the situation here.  I don't know how much information you are getting but I am certain it is more than we are getting.  Be advised that almost everything I am telling you is from direct observation or rumor from reasonable sources.  They are allowing limited internet access, so I hope to send this dispatch today. 

Personally, my family and I are fine.  My family is safe in Jackson, MS, and I am now a temporary resident of the Ritz Carleton Hotel in New Orleans.  I figured if it was my time to go, I wanted to go in a place with a good wine list.  In addition, this hotel is in a very old building on Canal Street that could and did sustain little damage.  Many of the other hotels sustained significant loss of windows, and we expect that many of the guests may be evacuated here.

Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today.  Overnight the water arrived.  Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is indeed a canal.  The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater.  I have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to care for patients because of water.  Ochsner is the only hospital that remains fully functional. However, I spoke with them today and they too are on generator and losing food and water fast.  The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications.  Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods.  We are worried about a cholera epidemic.  Even the police are without effective communications.  We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel that are admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement.  This is tough because looting is now rampant.  Most of it  is not malicious looting.  These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families.  Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous.  We hear gunshots frequently.  Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons.  We hear gunshots frequently.  The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of  styrofoam to access.  We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.

The health care situation here has dramatically worsened overnight.  Many people in the hotel are elderly and small children.  There are ID physicians in at this hotel attending an HiV  confection.  We have commandered the world famous French Quarter Bar to turn into an makeshift clinic.  There is a team of about 7 doctors and PA and pharmacists.  We anticipate that this will be the major medical facility in the central business district and French Quarter.

Our biggest adventure today was raiding the Walgreens on Canal  under police escort.  The pharmacy was dark and fulll of water.  We basically scooped the entire drug sets into gargace bags and removed them.  All under police excort.  The looters had to be held back at gun point.   After a dose of prophylactic Cipro I hope to be fine. 

In all we are faring well.  We have set up  a hospital in the the French Qarter bar in the hotel, and will start admitting patients today.  Many with be from the hotel, but many with not.  We are anticipating to dealing with multiple medical problems, medications and and acute injuries.  Infection and perhaps even cholera are anticipated major problems.   Food and water shortages are iminent.

The biggest question to all of us is where is the national guard.  We hear jet fighters and helicopters, but no real armed presence, and hence the rampant looting.   There is no Red Cross and no Salvation Army.

In a sort of cliché way, this is an edifying experience.  Once is rapidly focused away from the transient and material to the bare necessities of life.  It has been challenging to me to learn how to be a primary care phyisican.  We are under martial law so return to our homes is impossible.   I don't know how long it will be and this is my greatest fear. Despite it all, this is a soul edify experience.  The greatest pain is to think about the loss.  And how long the rebuild will.   And the horror of so many  dead people .

PLEASE SEND THIS DISPATCH TO ALL YOU THING MAY BE INTERSTED IN A DISPATCH From the front.  I will send more according to your interest.  Hopefully their collective prayers will be answered.  By the way suture packs, sterile gloves and stethoscopes will be needed as the Ritz turns into a MASH

Greg  Henderson



If you're like so many other people and don't know what to do, please take a few minutes and read another issue of my newsletter. It's in the envelope with the title "Sewage Soup".

I'd like to thank each and every one of you from around the globe who've helped. 


Gary C. Halbert



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