Alone and Afraid

Sept. 2, 2005 9:28 a.m.
New Orleans, La.

The goal today is to get as close as possible to the convention center. That seems to be the worst spot. Hopefully we can find some dry land with the center in the background. If we get too close we could lose the boat.

We were able to power the videophone off the boat battery by splicing the inverter cable. A local guy I hired, Sean, cut the tips with a wire cutter from his shorts' pocket, put the tips of the wire in his mouth, pulled and spat. The black wire cover shot out of his mouth like a seed. I looked down on him from the roof of somebody's house, lying on my stomach, holding the boat with one hand. I could never strip a wire like that. It's like lighting a cigarette. Some people can do it, some people can't.

I was on the second floor roof of a nice house. It was flat, so we set up the videophone on the roof and ran the cables down to the boat battery. I could look in the guy's bedroom on the second floor. Just the tips of the fence around the yard poked up out of the water, which was anywhere from six to 15 feet deep. The tops of street signs just showed above the water level. A basketball net was visible, the pole hidden by water.

We took the boat back through a cemetery, which was also underwater. We drove the boat through a hallway cavern in a large mausoleum. I looked at some of the names on the wall, which were still above water. One of the guys was born the same year as I was. It smelled bad. Sean warned me to look out for coffins, which would foul the propeller.

Sept. 1, 2005 11:35 pm
New Orleans, La.

The old white man spread out the trash bag on the asphalt, but it didn't go far enough to cover his head. He lay down anyway with his head on the pavement.

A black man next to me brought back two empty boxes.... one to sit on, one for his friend.

I saw a white woman sitting on a circular cooler. She was about 60 and had a stunned look on her face like so many of the people sitting on Highway 10 outside New Orleans, waiting for a bus ride out to some sort of safety, or at least off the pavement. Her name was Doris and she was missing some teeth. I noticed a red rectangular pet cage next to her and asked her what was inside.

"That's my cat," Doris said, "I've had her for eleven years and I couldn't leave her behind."

I noticed Dora's T-shirt was wet. She was a diabetic. The stress and fear was not good for her. It was starting to get dark. Doris was alone, with her cat, and did not know where she was going, and she was afraid.

Sept. 1, 2005 5:50 a.m.
Baton Rouge, La.

Sitting in apartment of Producer Mike Amor's wife's friend. There are no hotel rooms, so you have to call who you know. They gave me a bed. They said we could come back the next day. We watched the coverage together. The guy was a Georgia fan and had a new big screen and had his chair set up for Saturday.

We found gas in Baton Rouge, an ATM and a Wal-Mart. I bought clothes, bug spray, foil packs of tuna and water. I also bought an ace in the hole: an anti-lice shampoo. If someone gets lice I will pull out the family size bottle of Rid. It is a very reassuring item, like Lotrimin for athlete's foot or Ciproflaxin for salmonella.

There is so much stuff I did not bring — an irridium phone, water purification tablets — because I thought I was going to a hurricane, not a war zone. The last time I needed water purification tablets was Afghanistan. I didn't think I'd need them in Louisiana.

There is a sweet cat in the apartment named Joujeh. In 10 minutes, I wake the team. The plan is to drive south and see how far we can get into New Orleans. I've heard at some point you can go only by boat. We'll find out soon.

[Editor's note: Join Team FOX coverage of aftermath rescue efforts and recovery in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.]

E-mail Harrigan


My family and I live in Lake Charles, La. We were at a gas station here last night and saw several caravans of 70+ vehicles headed to New Orleans. My 9-year-old grandson, Christian counted 10 Coast Guard boats on trailers, vehicles loaded with cots and blankets, and other vehicles. Also, our Civic center has been open since the hurricane. There are 6000+ refugees there. The Lake Charles has opened their hearts and purses to them. The local restaurants have been provided hot meals.

God bless you and all your FOX friends for the great reporting job ya’ll are doing. Stay safe.


Could the officials use banner planes to disseminate information to the people of New Orleans? Like the planes they use on the beaches in Destin FL.

Just a thought

Dear Mr. Harrigan:

Thank you for your brave and personal coverage of the devastation of Katrina. I haven't heard this addressed yet on the major networks. Why is the relief effort so embarringly unorganized? With the massive resources available I cannot understand why these people are dropped off on I-10 with no instructions, no plan, no water, no food. The looting, arson and armed thugs is a terrible embarrassment to the American sense of order and justice and must look terrible to the rest of the world. We are better than this. America is better than this in the face of tragedy.

All I can imagine is that there is a horrific rift in the State government and that the chain of command is waiting on the local officials to do something that they are not doing.

Thank God for the National Guard and the Red Cross when our local and state officials fall down on the job.

Lynette from Austin

Dear Mr. Harrigan,

All I can muster up to say to you is that I am proud of you and your colleagues. I have been watching FNC non-stop and all I see is professionalism and most of all, compassion. I will be watching for your reports. God speed, and may He keep you safe and healthy.

Mr. David M. and family


My husband and I were glued to Fox (as always) during your reporting of Katrina. Thank you for your daring, adventuresome nature without which we wouldn't have been able to truly understand the magnitude of this storm. We were concerned when we didn't see you today, but relieved when we found your blog on the FOX site. Stay safe and thank's again.

Chris and Leslie

I am very upset to see that our MILITARY has only just now been called in to help those poor people in the gulf. Why weren't they deployed sooner?
Why haven't air drops of water, food and tents been sent in before this?

Stillwater, NY

Steve - your reporting of the hurricane was amazing. FOX News reporting of Katrina has been the best on TV. No other channel has had the coverage that FOX has. The devastation down there is shocking. Please let all of the people know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Wendi (NYC)

Many thanks for any information that you can give us. Please keep all your folks safe...they are truly our only link to our loved ones and friends, for so many of us...please, please take care.


Steve, we think you are the best in delivering the news -- first hand. Man, you've got guts! And we don't mean just Katrina...we've watched you time and time again. Please stay safe.



Adjectives can't describe the way outsiders are seeing this storm. I have heard so many stories of people not being able to locate their loved ones. Can't FEMA or newspeople (local and national TV and radio) have people write their names on lists and get them to a central Web site?
Even an century-old telegraph system could work. This should be rudimentary enough to set up, and then transfer those names of missing, injured or found to that central Web site. I'm not missing anyone myself but am praying for everyone down there. I sure hope that Harvey Jackson finds his wife. His story breaks my heart.
You are the No. 1 newsperson on the No. 1 network. I always stop what I'm doing when you are on and listen to what you have to say. You have quite a following, and deserve a LONG vacation when this is over.
K. Dixon
Dayton OH