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Photographer's Note

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Many TE friends asked me about Houston after RITA. I hope the following CNN’s transcript gives an idea:


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COSTELLO: Thousands of Texas evacuees are heading home. Officials have asked some to wait a little longer until it's safe. And in Houston, they're trying to stagger the return. That's in an effort to avoid a repeat of the gridlock we saw last week when people headed out of town.

FRANKEN: Well, the key word there was trying to stagger. I think the response was basically yes, right, I'm going home. And so there's been a steady stream. We took a little tour of Houston last night and it looked like it was coming back to normal.

What was coming back to normal was the presence of gasoline. The lines weren't all that long at service stations. We're just maybe 100 yards from one here and there are no cars there, even though there is gasoline.

People are coming back. They're coming back to a city that has some power problems. This is a city of, a metro area of over four million. About 300,000 homes and businesses are still without electricity and they're working feverishly to return things to normal there, because the temperatures are at the 100 degree mark. As a matter of fact, the heat index has been a little bit above that. So the absence of air conditioning is a real hardship.

Officials are still hoping that some people take their time. They've delayed the opening of schools a little bit. They've asked that all but essential personnel not be ordered back to work by their employers. But so far things have gone smoothly. There have been some traffic backups, but oftentimes they're associated with the usual kinds of things that you find on highways and streets, that is to say, somebody not driving properly or people rubbernecking, that kind of thing.

But, it's certainly nothing compared to that massive gridlock they had on the way out, the evacuation that has caused so much criticism. Although officials say while it was not needed, had it been needed, an awful lot of people who suffered on the highways at least would have been out of harm's way — Carol.

COSTELLO: You know, the biggest concern is people don't believe the government when they say we have a plan and we're going to stagger traffic, come back at these different times. They're just ignoring the order, which makes you think of the future and when will people ever trust their government again to get it right?

FRANKEN: Well, there was a lot of complaints on the way out. A lot of people said, you know what, next time I'm going to take my chances with the storm, because the plan that the government had did not actually kick in as quickly as possible.


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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