Built in 1839, Olivier House in the French Quarter survived Hurricane Katrina relatively unscathed. The hotel's manager, Bobby Danner, 37, describes how it became a sanctuary for stranded tourists and how they got out of the waterlogged city. He also describes seeing the best and worst of human nature at work SUNDAY, preparing for the worst after the mayor orders mandatory evacuations The day before the storm hit the mayor called for mandatory evacuations. I think it's just terminology to get the point across to people that the situation was very serious. When they say mandatory evacuations I don't think they mean forced evacuations. They don't go from house to house to try to get people to leave town. We were all watching the weather reports and can see the storm coming ... everyone knows this is going to be a particularly bad one for us. We try to get everyone to go before the storm. When they called for the voluntary evacuations most tourists left. Some decide to ride it out, I guess, probably for the experience of it and some have logistical problems getting out of town because so many people are leaving they can't get transportation out of town so they are kind of stuck. MONDAY, still uneasy, but optimistic that we haven't suffered too badly We do a lot of shopping and get provisions. There are several hotels closing and they are sending people to shelters. We take in several people. We're a small hotel, but have the room. We end up with probably 25 people or so. We have plenty of food so we can do meals for people and we have gas. We start working on ways to get people out and ask friends to meet here. They bring all of their provisions, emptied from cupboards and refrigerators. Most of the city doesn't have phone services. We are extremely fortunate in that we have an operating phone. That's kind of a fluke I think ... no one else seems to have any services. We are trying to let this be a kind of communications hub. We take numbers and messages and let people phone relatives out of state to let them know they are OK. My parents are usually here and my dad has a handgun. The first night of looting we didn't know how bad things were going to be. I have guests here so I stay up most of the night making rounds. I hear some glass breaking and I think it might be in our building. So I get the gun, thinking there might be a gang breaking in. But I get to thinking, 'you know I've got this gun and I don't even now how to use it'. I know how to shoot a gun. So I get it out and try to work out how the safety works. I end up shooting a hole in the floor and of course wake everyone in the building up. I just tell them I dropped something, I don't want to tell them I have a gun. Feeling isolated as situation deteriorates We think we'll just ride it out for a few days. In the French Quarter there aren't that many buildings down, there's damage to probably every building but it's not like the French Quarter's been wiped out. There's a lot of roof damage and trees down, power lines collapsed. A couple of buildings have collapsed, but I wouldn't say the quarter structurally is devastated ... it is devastated in terms of infrastructure. We think the worst has passed. It will be a few days and the power will be back on. But of course we don't realise how bad it is. Because we don't have power and TVs we don't realise what is going on with the levees. Then the water starts slowly rising and there are radio announcements that people can gather at the Superdome and a couple of different places around town. As the lake slowly starts filling up the city, the people in the flooded areas start making their way to the Superdome. TUESDAY, a hard lesson, confronting the looters I see people walking down the street with arms full of groceries and we think maybe a store is open, so we ask where they got the stuff and they say a few blocks away there's a large supermarket open. It is pretty obvious what is going on, so a couple of us wander up to take a look. It is just a three-ring circus. I find it really disgusting to see. Maybe you can understand people taking food and something to drink, but when I see people trying to take huge freezers and coolers full of beer and that kind of stuff I have to make a comment. I tell them they should be ashamed of themselves. One of them, in particular, gets pretty irate with me and I end up having to make a pretty quick escape. We've seen quite a bit after that; we've seen a lot of small shops looted. They're taking anything. Today, I heard a shopping centre was looted and burned to the ground. It's just absolute chaos. A small part of the reason that I'm staying in town is to stay here just to know what's going on with the property. WEDNESDAY, finally, we get all the guests and our friends out of the city We've got all of the guests out now and we are down to three. We ended up getting some cars. We had to make some forays into some flooded areas and did some fancy driving down a railway track at one point. There is one route out of town that is open - it's across the Greater New Orleans bridge which is probably 15 to 20 blocks from us, but it's dry between us and the bridge. If you cross that bridge there's a particular way you can go to avoid the floodwaters. Essentially there's one driveable route out of the city. THURSDAY, we take to a canoe to get food and water to stranded people There's three of us that stayed, the night clerk Zac and a friend of mine, Mike Costa. During the last few days, one of us has been staying at the hotel and the other two have been going out to neighbourhoods. Since we had so much water we were able to deliver a lot of water to people who don't have any and we have far more food than most places. A lot of friends have left town so we said 'can we go to your house and empty the cupboards' and they said 'of course', so we are able to get quite a bit of food together. We got a canoe, and went through a neighbourhood called Midcity. It's close to us and we've made a couple of trips up there. There's a nursing home where the folks are stranded. There are about 47 patients and 10 staff . They had no food or water, they had very little. We were able to get them food and water. You always wish there is more you can do, but we figure as long as we can help people to a small degree we should do it. We made several trips to the Convention Centre today to take up water and stuff to that group. My friend Mike is a little bit of a cook, not much, so he made some rice and beans to pass around. It's such a drop in the bucket. When you pull up and see there's 4,000 people there and you have a couple of pots it's very heartbreaking that you have so little to offer. FRIDAY, What next? Waiting for the National Guard and remaining positive about the city We've heard there's going to be a forced evacuation, but we don't know. I'd like to be here until the National Guard or the army is sent in. I don't really know ... I guess some military force is going to come in and hold the city in some form from the looters and gangs that have gone wild. It will be a long road to recovery, for sure. The city is not devastated. It will bounce back but it will take a while. Floodwaters recede and houses can be fixed. There's going to be a horrible loss of life, which is horrendous. But as far as the city itself, it's still standing. It's just that it's standing in water with a lot of downed trees and power lines.