American Scene: Days after Isaac struck, outages and flooding remain

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NEW ORLEANS — Much of Plaquemines Parish was still covered with floodwater Sunday and more than 200,000 people across Louisiana still didn’t have any power, five days after Isaac ravaged the state. Thousands of evacuees remained at shelters or bunked with friends or relatives.

“My family is split up,” said Angela Serpas, from severely flooded Braithwaite. Mrs. Serpas and her daughter were staying with her in-laws while her husband and son were staying in Belle Chasse, a suburban area of the parish. “This is the second time we’ve lost our home. We lost it in Katrina.”

At least seven people were killed in the storm in the U.S. — five in Louisiana and two in Mississippi.

President Obama was to visit Louisiana on Monday, a day ahead of the Democratic convention. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney visited the state Friday.

Progress was evident in many places as electricity came on for hundreds of thousands of people. But as workers continued to deal with toppled trees and downed power lines, driving remained hazardous in areas without working traffic lights, and New Orleans opened two cooling shelters so those with no electricity could escape the heat.

NEW YORK

Fatal accident provides warning about teen partying on buses

NEW YORK — It’s a familiar scene on city streets and in movies: dressed-up teenagers packed into a stretch limo, celebrating something important by jubilantly sticking their heads through the roof.

A bigger version of that is the rented party bus, which can pack in more guests. Renting such buses — some two levels high, offering such amenities as strobe lights and satellite TV — “is what kids call fun nowadays,” said Emily DaRocha of the Silver Star Limo company. “We’re talking about kids in the 21st century; that’s how it is.”

But such trips also carry more risk, as in the case this weekend of a New York teenager who poked his head through a hatch that had been opened on a double-decker bus loaded with dozens of dancing teens on their way to a party. Daniel Fernandez, 16, hit his head and died when the bus went under an overpass, according to authorities.

“No matter how many times you tell clients this is an emergency exit — it’s written on the glass — they still open it,” Ms. DaRocha said. “It happens all the time.” Her company in suburban Westchester County only offers single-level buses that rent for up to $500 an hour.

Safety precautions must be part of the package too. For a group of 40 guests, Silver Star requires two adults be aboard if the group is made up of teens or children 18 or younger.

Champion eater sets record of 191 wings in 12 minutes

BUFFALO — Organizers of the National Buffalo Wing Festival say competitive eater Joey Chestnut devoured a record 191 chicken wings in 12 minutes Sunday.

Mr. Chestnut set the record during a wing-eating contest at the annual festival in Buffalo. He beat the old record of 183 wings, set last year by Sonya Thomas, the Black Widow.

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