"It's Like Looking at a Murder"

     “The first time is bad. After that, you numb up.”

Katrina refugees from the Lower Ninth Ward are housed at the Progressive Baptist church in Lafayette. They are watching the TV news as the canal levee in their neighborhood was breached again, flooding their homes once more.

Just as authorities are gaining ground on moving water out of New Orleans, Hurricane Rita’s rainfall is causing problems for these newly patched levee systems.

Hurricane Rita’s steady rains sent water pouring through breaches in a patched levee Friday, cascading into one of the city’s lowest-lying neighborhoods in a devastating repeat of New Orleans’ flooding nightmare.

“Our worst fears came true,” said Maj. Barry Guidry of the Georgia National Guard.

“We have three significant breaches in the levee and the water is rising rapidly,” he said. “At daybreak I found substantial breaks and they’ve grown larger.”

A spokeswoman for Mayor Ray Nagin said officials believed the neighborhood had been cleared of residents. But throughout Friday, water began rising again onto what remained — buckled homes, piles of rubble and mud-caked cars that Katrina had covered with up to 20 feet of water.

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