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City a woeful scene

Tuesday, 10:14 p.m.By Brian Thevenot, Gordon Russell, Keith Spera and Doug MacCashStaff writers

Sitting on a black barrel amid the muck and stench near the St. Claude Avenue bridge, 52-year-old Daniel Weber broke into a sob, his voice cracking as he recounted how he had watched his wife drown and spent the next 14 hours floating in the polluted flood waters, his only life line a piece of driftwood.”My hands were all cut up from breaking through the window, and I was standing on the fence. I said, ‘I’ll get on the roof and pull you up,” he said.

“And then we just went under.”Weber sat among hundreds of refugees rescued Tuesday from rooftops, attics and floating debris in the 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish by an armada of more than 100 boats. Officials from the Coast Guard estimated they pulled thousands of people off of rooftops and attics, many with stories as grim as Weber’s. Officials believed hundreds and maybe thousands more remained in peril. They declined to estimate the number of dead. That will come later.

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