|Events have rapidly accelerated and stacked up; so I believe a brief summary report to the membership is
New Orleans is under a declaration of martial law and some 8,000 Guardsmen are on alert. A major
problem is the continued rise of water into the city.
In Louisiana and the Gulf Coast all attention is on the expanding impact of Hurricane Katrina. As I am
writing they are attempting to evacuate the VA Hospital and Regional Offices in New Orleans. Tulane
University Hospital and scores of other large care facilities in New Orleans—just blocks from the
Superdome—must also be evacuated. At this point there is little transport to carry out the evacuation and
just as few possible relocation facilities. [Makes one rethink base and VA closings.] Veterans care and
administration will definitely be affected in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Elsewhere in Louisiana, including the Alexandria and Shreveport areas, hurricane evacuees from the coast
are filling shelters—in fact there are evacuees from New Orleans spread up into Central Oklahoma, and in
Arkansas and Texas. These people are now being told that it may be months before they can return home.
Storm damage in Louisiana, aside from the flooding, seems to be concentrated in the area just east of New
Orleans and on eastward to Mississippi. Baton Rouge suffered some scattered wind damages and most of the
rest of the state did not even get any rain.
Barksdale AFB, Shreveport, has become the headquarters for the disaster operation and FEMA in Louisiana.
At this point we do not see an impact on the KWVA October Convention. We will keep you informed on this.
Members and chapters in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama with information are requested to provide it
to me at Dechert@bellsouth.net.
Meantime, life and activities continue. I want to tardily report some health and death concerns
confronting some of our members who are known at the national KWVA level. First, the mother of Mrs. Jim
Ferris [Director and President of the Department of NY] passed away some three weeks ago. Director and Mrs.
Ferris have appreciated your expressions of sympathy. Department of Florida President Edward (Ted) Magill, a
former Director and National Officer, had a heart attack at approximately that same time, was stabilized,
had a multi-bypass operation on August 26, but is still in ICU. And, Narda, the wife of Pat Sullivan,
appointed organizing commander of the Department of South Carolina, which is under development, had heart
failure, the same day as Ted Magill’s. Pat reports that she is at home but faces many medical tests to
resolve her health problems.
I share the concerns of our membership for all these who are experiencing problems, as well as the untold
thousands of veterans and their families whose lives have been uprooted in the hurricane disaster.