Remembrance Amid Recovery

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Sept. 12 2005 6:37 AM

Remembrance Amid Recovery

The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times lead with—and the Washington Post goes above the fold with—the president's visit to the Gulf Coast Sunday night, where he planned to spend the night on the Iwo Jima—the recovery command center—and tour New Orleans and surrounding parishes Monday in a military convoy. The papers note high up that federal efforts are still under fire; FEMA faces criticism for stalled plans to temporarily house some of the victims. USA Today leads with a hurricane aftermath roundup but hits a more optimistic note with its coverage. The Post leads with today's commencement of the Roberts hearings.

The papers try to emphasize the positive in New Orleans. "Hopes rise as water recedes in New Orleans," is the headline of USAT's lead. The LAT is more cautious: "New Orleans shows modest signs of life." The good news includes cargo flights being resumed at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and the imminent reopening of the city's wastewater-treatment plant.

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But as some of the water ebbed over the weekend, a clearer picture of the wreckage in New Orleans emerged, says the NYT. Viewing the remains of the Lower Ninth Ward from a helicopter, the city's head of homeland security said, "There's nothing out there that can be saved at all." (Distressingly, much of the damage will not be covered by insurance.)

The official death toll has risen to 197, says the WP. But according to the NYT, identifying the dead may be a difficult task—the loss of dental records, decomposition of bodies, and missing personal possessions will make positive identifications difficult or impossible. Strides made in forensic science in the aftermath of 9/11 aren't useful in these circumstances, officials say.

The Post fronts a look at New Orleans police officers, who have been taking flak after many abandoned the force in the face of the chaos. Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III tells the paper he has asked the federal government for some sort of temporary housing—maybe a cruise ship—for the officers and their families (many of whom are homeless). The WP doesn't say how the feds have responded.

The papers' coverage of the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks overlaps a bit with Katrina-related news. The NYT says "it was all but impossible to isolate one event from the other" during remembrances Sunday. Speakers at memorial services in Washington and New York devoted moments of silence to Katrina's victims, and the WP tops its front page with a feature on 9/11 rescue workers marking the anniversary in New Orleans. A Port Authority official told the New Orleans' emergency response officials that he felt a "kinship" with the city's people.

The 9/11 anniversary inspires papers to make other comparisons between the two calamities. The NYT says Mississippi is the Pentagon of this crisis—the place struck by tragedy eclipsed by the other place struck by tragedy. (TP wonders: Where does that leave Shanksville, Pa.?)

Fighting died down in the northwestern city of Tal Afar Sunday when American and Iraqi troops found that many insurgents had fled. *

Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi won a landslide re-election victory on Sunday, and some predict that the mandate could bring a new era in Japanese politics.

The NYT fronts a shocking report that, months before the FDA released a safety alert in June about problems with heart devices made by Guidant Corporation, the company had given the agency paperwork showing that some of the mechanisms were malfunctioning. The Times made the discovery after the FDA complied with the paper's Freedom of Information Act request.