Alan Chin, photographer
i left today. writing from dallas airport hotel. flying back to NY tomorrow. frankly, from my point of view the story is the FAILURE of government and security forces. now they are doing what they should have been doing in the first place. So I'm going back to NY to develop my film and get it out. Practical info: it's easy to get in to New Orleans at the moment. fly to baton rouge, rent car, get at least 20 or 30 gallons of extra gas in containers, food, and water. best western, marriot, and hyatt hotels in downtown are open. they have electricity and wi-fi internet but not reliable water, yet. I stayed in private house owned by Times-Picuyune reporter who had working landline telephone, and swimming pool next door to bathe in. If you have contacts you can find such a place, or across the river in Algiers. The southern bridges across the Mississippi River are open, as is the western approach on I-10 to Causeway Blvd, then switch to the river road that follows the left hand of the 'U' that is New Orleans. Magazine Street and Tciputolas Streets are the main arteries of movement. St. Charles and everything north is under water or mostly so. SUV will help you but not really that much, and they drink a lot more gas than the Ford Mustang we had. Security situation OK. Looting was over-rated. yes, it was bad for a day or two but there were very few deaths inflicted by looters. at night it's a bit sketchy to drive around because of trigger happy security forces. have your credentials ready and drive slowly with hazard lights blinking when you approach police or military. cellphone service spotty but do-able. Verizon and T-mobile pretty good. SMS pretty good. Sprint (which i have) just started to work again today. french quarter, downtown, uptown, garden district neighborhoods all OK. everything else under water. Good luck.Alan Chin's photographs of New Orleans can be seen at BAGnewsNotes: "Katrina Aftermath: And Then I Saw These."