Originally created 10/10/05

Across the southeast



Former President Bush sees hurricane damage

CAMERON, LA. - Former President George H.W. Bush wrapped up a tour of the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast on Sunday with a helicopter trip over parts of Texas and Louisiana, saying the damage reminded him of last year's Asian tsunami.

Mr. Bush's weekend tour of the region concluded with a visit to hard-hit Cameron, La., where, he said, the path of destruction resembled that left by the tsunami.

"The devastation is similar, but when you know a town, know the area, it's different," he said after riding in the open back of a large military cargo truck. "It's made a profound impact on me."

Mr. Bush got a briefing at the courthouse, about the only building still standing in the southwest Louisiana town, sitting in the jury box in a courtroom that has been converted into a command center. It's the only room in town that has power.

Military forces have had to bulldoze debris to clear roads in Cameron, which wound up in the northeast quadrant of Rita and got the worst of the Category 3 storm. Residents are allowed in only on weekends to salvage what they can.

People waited in line to shake Mr. Bush's hand. Some wiped away tears.

"That he would actually come and see people," said Wanda Trahan, 56, her voice breaking. "When he's standing next to you shaking your hand, I have hope. I never in all my life believed I would see the president."

Rain causes flooding in eastern N. Carolina

Up to 15 inches of rain since Wednesday poured into rivers and lakes in eastern North Carolina still swollen from rain dumped by Hurricane Ophelia last month, forcing residents to evacuate homes in canoes or heavy trucks and closing scores of roads through the weekend.

"They didn't predict this much rain," said Joan Kinney, the mayor of the Brunswick County town of Boiling Spring Lakes, which unofficially measured more than 15 inches of rain. "It took us all by surprise."

The soaking from remnants of Tropical Storm Tammy dumped 13.79 inches of rain on Wilmington from Wednesday to Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. On Saturday alone, 5.53 inches fell at the airport, more than 2 inches more than the 1996 record for that day.

Brunswick and Pender counties saw between 7 inches and 10 inches of rain during the four-day storm.

"This is worse than Ophelia," said Warren Lee, New Hanover County's emergency management director.

Officials said the region could see more flooding as creeks and rivers crest.

Report will be issued on 1898 race riots

WILMINGTON, N.C. - The public will soon learn more about the facts behind the 1898 Wilmington race riots, which left several people dead and changed what was then the state's largest city.

Members of the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission have unanimously approved a motion to release a draft report of its factual findings in December - weeks before the commission is set to expire after five years of work.

White mobs terrorized blacks in Wilmington on Nov. 10 and 11, 1898, killing anywhere from six to 11 people and running several out of town.