This photo was shot from atop the bridge known as "the Highrise," which crosses the Industrial Canal. An army detachment was stationed there to guard a communications tower. As I looked over the city, my attention was drawn to the helicopters as they scoured the flooded terrain below. My heart ached for those still stranded, but it also swelled with pride, for it was only the day before that I finally made contact with my oldest son, Chris. He is a U.S. Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter flight mechanic stationed in Mobile, Ala., and unbeknownst to me, he had been working the flood zone. By the time we talked, he had lifted 17 people from rooftops in this very area.
When Chris saw this photo, he shook his head in amazement that through it all, there were no mid-air collisions. Helicopters were as thick as swarms of bees. The constant sound of the "choppers" became the soundtrack of the city. Knowing that Chris was becoming a hero in his own hometown, that soundtrack became music to my ears. But New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had heard enough. "I'm tired of hearing these helicopters," he said. "I want to hear some jazz."