Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Report from the Field
High above the ghost town of New Orleans, encased in a helicopter, Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, could smell it. The stench from Katrina’s rot, corrosion and mud is putrid and powerful.
“The whole place stinks,” he said Tuesday after returning from a daylong tour of New Orleans and Mississippi that he said was “the greatest devastation I’ve ever seen times some kind of algebraic geometric. … It leaves you in a state of shock.”
“No matter how much you see on the news, it’s staggering the size and scale” of the destruction, he said. “It’s like from the Michigan (state) line to Bloomington is wiped out.”
Souder was part of a congressional delegation sent to the Gulf Coast region on Sunday by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. Souder said he returned with a clearer sense of the devastation, the massive cleanup and rebuilding tasks ahead, and the dilemma of how to reclaim whole towns where concrete slabs are all that remain of homes, groceries, banks, churches, schools and government buildings.