May 17th, 2009

Hurricane Katrina Overview


I'm writing a story about Hurricane Katrina, and while I've been trying to get all the facts right by using The New York Times archive and Anderson Cooper's book "Dispatches from the Edge", it's difficult to get the big picture. So I'd like to ask a few questions:

1. Would it be feasible for a character to stay in a hotel in Baton Rouge the night Katrina hit?
2. How easy would it be for an individual to get into New Orleans after the hurricane?
3. What were the conditions like in the Superdome the second day?
4. What sort of rescue teams were in place? (I know the National Guard didn't get there for a while, but...)

Thank you very much! I've Googled "conditions of hurricane katrina in superdome", "effect of katrina on baton rouge" and "rescue teams in new orleans after hurricane katrina". I've read the Wikipedia timeline, but of course I'd like to fact check :)

Social status in London?

What? Harry Potter-fanfiction, novella length
When? Late 1970’s
Where? London
Who? Miscellaneous characters, both canon and original

As you can see in the short form above, I’m currently writing a HP fanfic. However, I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock when it comes to the “filling” details. Seeing that I’m an ignorant foreigner who hasn’t even set foot in England, I’m somewhat clueless when it comes to the things you can’t look up in a book.

The main characters – all about 18 - 19 years old – have left school and are trying to adapt themselves to the adult life. Now, the plot is neither important nor interesting here. What I need to know is the different social statuses in the different parts of London — like, which areas are considered seedy and which areas are considered smart? Are there any “labels” I should watch out for, like, district X is generally associated with junkies, or whatever. Things like that. I’ve looked at Wikipedia and tried Google, but I can’t find any information about it.
If it helps, three of the characters are living alone in flats and the one couple is living together. Two of the bachelors are living in rather dodgy and cheap places, while the other one and the couple have family fortunes and are living in great style.
Also, on a scale from one to ten, where one is a garbage can and ten is Buckingham Palace, where would you place Dulwich?

Thanks in advance! ♥

French procedure for a death in hospital/adoption

Setting: Chinon, France, but the exact location can be flexible if necessary.
Time Period: 1970s (1976 to be exact).

I have quite a complicated situation to write about and would really appreciate some advice from any experts.

I have a well-dressed woman in her thirties who wanders into a small French hospital in the 1970s. She is disorientated and clearly pregnant, but she has gone quite mad and cannot give the doctors any information about herself (similar to Anna Anderson in the 1920s: However, unlike Anna this woman gives birth to a daughter and then dies. Since they do not know who the mother is, the authorities find it impossible to trace any next of kin so the child eventually gets adopted.

I have many questions about this situation: firstly, what exactly would happen to the child? Would she go to an orphanage? The foster system? Who would name her? What is the most realistic age at which she would be adopted? I want her to be taken in by an English family and raised with English as her first language.

Secondly: what would happen to the mother after she died? Where would she buried? And could the authorities realistically trace any information about her? She had a child out of wedlock with a rather shady character who is not from the area and would not be easy to locate. She has also moved from the United States to the continent and has been a recluse up until this point (similar to the women portrayed in Grey Gardens: My story basically centres on the daughter’s search for her mother’s identity as an adult but I wonder if/how she would obtain any useful information to do this, even after she hires a private investigator.

I would also really appreciate any information/knowledge people have about hospital chapels. What kind of people would one find in there? Would nurses/doctors perhaps go in there to pray as well as patients and visitors? Ages ago I found a webpage mentioning a hospital in Chinon called Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt and liked the name so much I wanted to use this exact one in my story. However, I am now finding it hard to dig it up information about it again.

Google terms: french procedure death at hospital, death procedure hospital france, death procedure hospital, french adoption, saint benoit la foret hospital.

This article I found also has some useful information about the basic procedure after death, but it assumes next of kin are available and is UK-specific:

Thanks everyone! (And I apologise for the amount of questions D:)