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Police station shrubbery lent its roots to the task

WAVELAND, Miss. -- For five hours, 14 members of Waveland's police department held on desperately to a spindly bush as they watched the town they had sworn to protect being torn apart by Hurricane Katrina.

Three days later, the anemic-looking, red-tipped bush in front of the Police Department has become a shrine to Waveland's men and women in blue. There's now a hand-carved wooden cross placed in the bush to highlight its role in a remarkable story of survival -- a sign of hope as police go about the grim duty of recovering bodies and trying to help shocked survivors in the town of 7,000 about 35 miles east of New Orleans.

When a surge of ocean water rose through the police station, about a mile from the beach, those inside punched through a window that had been covered by plywood and climbed outside. There they found water pouring through their parking lot.

They formed a human chain through the swirling waters and howling winds. But the sea surge was too strong, and they were separated.

While 14 of the officers, dispatchers, and other personnel held onto the bush, the rest were swept away, though all were able to climb to safety on the roof or onto vehicles where they waited for the water to recede.

''There was a family with two children that was trapped in the waters," said Patrolman John Saltarelli. ''And we couldn't help them."

That family was able to cling to a tall motel sign, and walked away when the waters receded.

All 26 members of the police department survived Katrina. Police are already making plans to transplant the bush for a permanent memorial when a new station can be built.


Fats Domino reportedly rescued in New Orleans

LOS ANGELES -- Rock 'n' roll legend Fats Domino, briefly among the tens of thousands of New Orleans residents unaccounted for, was believed last night to have been rescued, CNN reported.

The daughter of the 76-year-old musician, beloved for his boogie-woogie piano style and such hits as ''Ain't That a Shame" and ''Blueberry Hill," told the news network she had spotted her father in a newspaper photo of a man being helped out of a boat by authorities.

After quoting the remarks by Karen Domino White, who lives in New Jersey, CNN said her father's whereabouts since his apparent rescue were unknown.

Domino had told his manager, Al Embry, on Monday that he planned to ''ride out" Hurricane Katrina at his home in New Orleans, the Fox website said.

Fox News columnist Roger Friedman said that the Nashville-based Embry last spoke to Domino on Monday afternoon, and that the musician has not been heard from since.

Friedman also reported that another Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee from New Orleans, singer- songwriter Allen Toussaint, 66, was at the Superdome.


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