Stephen Hunter's Sept. 3 Style paean to New Orleans in the movies was wonderful, except for one glaring error: Bette Davis did not say "What a dump" in "Jezebel." She said it in 1949's "Beyond the Forest," in which she played the naughty and nasty Rosa Moline.

Hunter may have confused the phrase with one she did say in "Jezebel," to explain to her aunt why she wanted to wear that red dress to the ball: "This is 1852, dumplin', not the Dark Ages."

-- Robert J. Murawski



After all the tragedy with the Hurricane Katrina disaster in the Gulf Coast, how can The Post have the gall to publish an article attributing some sort of "divine retribution" to this storm [news story, Sept. 4]? I find it sickening, and it is not the sort of journalism I expect from your paper.

Quoting an antiabortionist who compares a photo of Hurricane Katrina to a fetus and says that the storm is retribution for abortionists? Quoting an evangelist who claims that the storm was an act of God to keep a major gay and lesbian event from happening in the French Quarter? Are we really to think that most religious people believe this? You must expect us to, since I see no commentary in the article from people of faith who find this extremist position ludicrous.

My fiance and his family lived in Biloxi, Miss., for several years while his father was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base. We're scouring news reports to see whether his friends still living there are safe. Articles such as this are an insult to anyone who has weathered this tragedy, and anyone still looking for friends, relatives and other loved ones.

-- Karen Mitchell



Your paper published a correction of a Sept. 4 article, which had quoted a "senior Bush official" as saying that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco had not yet declared a state of emergency as of Sept. 3. The correction acknowledges that Blanco actually declared the state of emergency on Aug. 26.

Why did The Post allow this disinformation to be planted in its pages by a member of the administration who would not let his or her name be used?

Whether the governor of a state did or did not call a state of emergency is a matter of record, and factual issues on matters of record should be answered by reference to the record. Your editors must not allow unnamed administration officials to usurp the newspaper. The source's insistence on remaining anonymous should have alerted your editors, if nothing else did, that The Post was being set up.

Once your editors are satisfied that they were deceived and exploited by this official, The Post should publish his or her name at the next appropriate opportunity. The public's right to know includes the right to know who is lying about the response to Hurricane Katrina.

-- Dwight Martin



Among the nightmare stories coming out of New Orleans, James Nolan's myopically self-satisfied account of how he weathered Katrina with a three-course dinner in his unscathed home and then escaped to Baton Rouge by bartering with a pocketful of cash stood out for its sheer flippancy ["Our Hell in High Water," Outlook, Sept. 4]. Tens of thousands of his fellow residents did not -- and could not -- exit the city with such suave aplomb.

They remain (and will for months) utterly destitute, defenseless casualties of both the hurricane and the sluggish government response he so comfortably excoriates. Nolan would do well to save his gloating until they all are luxuriating as happily as he is in hot baths and security.

-- Marion Maendel



I read with amazement Albert Crenshaw's Sept. 4 Cash Flow column, " 'Under-Bought' Flood Insurance Proves Its Value." Crenshaw is under the impression that if you buy flood insurance, and your property is flooded, you will receive a payment of up to $250,000 (or the limits of your policy) from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) -- no problem.

Crenshaw may want to check with colleague and Post reporter Josh Partlow, who has written several articles on the victims of Hurricane Isabel who have yet to receive payments from NFIP to cover their losses, who have been subject to verbal abuse and red-tape nightmares from NFIP officials, and who are still living in FEMA trailers almost two years after the disaster. Our home was lost to Hurricane Isabel (condemned by Talbot County after the flood), and to date we have received $57,500.

So, perhaps Crenshaw should check the reality versus the spin from NFIP before he encourages your readers to buy flood insurance. And perhaps The Post should press NFIP for answers. Now more than ever, given the extensive damage in the wake of Katrina, NFIP needs to come clean and make good on its promise to pay.

-- Sandra T. Frey

Oxford, Md.


As an amateur radio operator in San Diego, I applaud Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Krim for mentioning my colleagues' efforts to help provide emergency communications in the Gulf Coast states ["Communications Networks Fail Disaster Area Residents," Business, Sept. 1].

But in the last two paragraphs of the article, former Federal Communications Commission chairman Reed E. Hundt was quoted as saying that the scale of the damage would make repair difficult, adding that they "always discover the same thing. We need a national emergency communications network and we don't have one."

There is a national emergency communications network in place and it works very well. It is also licensed by the FCC. It's called the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, and the American Radio Relay League in Newington, Conn., can provide much information to anyone about this free, 24-hour service.

-- Dennis Vernacchia

San Diego


"Things have spiraled so out of control that the [mayor of New Orleans] has ordered police officers to focus on looters and give up search-and-rescue efforts" ["In New Orleans, a Desperate Exodus," front page, Sept. 1]. Yet your paper's politically correct photo caption of looters on the front of the same day's Style section said, "People remove items from a New Orleans shoe store."

Disgusted Americans can only hope to see photos of the looters being "removed" to involuntary "work crews" cleaning up the city they are trashing.

-- Elizabeth and George Vary