A Mississippi man who first lost his home, then rode out Hurricane Katrina clinging to a tree for more than four hours said he just underestimated the magnitude of the approaching storm. He lost his now-destroyed home but still has a good attitude about the rest of life.

Michael Spencer, interviewed on a network news program Tuesday, remarked about the beautiful sunrise and his desire to rebuild. He was among the fortunate ones. The death toll will easily top 100 today as rescue workers began the task of searching for more of the storm's victims Tuesday.

That tally may approach the level of Camille, the devastating hurricane that took 259 lives in 1969. It could have been much higher had residents not heeded the mandatory evacuation order.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said once the evacuation was ordered it went smoothly. The problem over the next few days will be one of cleanup and damage assessment.

The governor of Louisiana asked for patience on the part of storm victims. Residents may not be able to return to assess the damage to their property for several days. In New Orleans alone, a failed levee has sent Lake Pontchartrain water back into the streets which had started to clear late Monday.

President Bush has assured the storm victims that the government is prepared to help in the rebuilding process. The Red Cross has mobilized thousands of volunteers with at least one headed south from our local chapter.

"We're in place, we've got equipment in place, supplies in place and once we're able to assess the damage we'll be able to move in and help those good folks in the affected areas," President Bush told the Associated Press.

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