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Chaos rules in New Orleans; fire hits rail yards

MarketWatch | September 2, 2005

The desperate situation in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina on Friday was marked by rampant violence and looting as the cost of repairing the damage grew to $100 bilion.

President Bush, speaking at the White House before setting out to tour the Gulf Coast area, said the results of evacuation and relief efforts "are not acceptable."

Consulting firm RMS quadrupled its economic cost estimate for the damage to $100 billion, up from its earlier estimate of $25 billion made prior to the levee failure and flooding in New Orleans on Tuesday.

The latest developments in the area included an explosion and resulting fire in an area in a southwest district of New Orleans where railcars are housed.

Additionally, roughly 300 National Guardsmen who had been serving in Iraq reportedly arrived to help restore order.

Also, Congress continued work to pass a $10.5 billion aid package, which the Senate approved overnight. See full story.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin expressed frustration with the response from the federal government thus far, telling a local radio station that: "They don't have a clue what's going on down there," the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, gasoline futures and crude prices pulled back slightly in early action. Members of the International Energy Agency are reportedly ready to send emergency stockpiles of gasoline to the United States. See full story.

Retail gas prices across the U.S. have risen sharply in the past four days due to production and pipeline problems. AAA said the average U.S. retail price of regular unleaded gasoline rose 52% from a year ago to a record of $2.815 a gallon.

The automobile association said the average price of diesel fuel also rose to a record Friday at $2.771 a gallon. Thursday's average price for regular unleaded was $2.707, and the average price one month ago was $2.285.

 


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