Houston -- The Bush administration's pledge to provide $2000 debit cards to victims of Hurricane Katrina reportedly "quadrupled" the population of the Astrodome in a matter of hours. Said one box-seat level official, "Individuals were climbing over concertina-wire fences to get in. They had ladders, tree-trimming trucks parked next to the entrances, pole vaults, wire cutters, you name it. It looked like the [Mexican] border."
"As soon as they announced it on the radio, we had people start flooding in here" said the FEMA official in charge of the Astrodome. "The parking lot was littered with id's and wallets people had thrown away, so they could claim they'd "lost everything in the Hurricane. And every public Internet terminal within 50 miles had a line of people teen deep looking up phoney New Orleans addresses of somebody with the same last name."
Non-Washingtonians are still puzzled over the "strange" relief effort. "Until we see the paperwork victims are required to sign, and read the fine print, all I can say is "beware" said attorney David "Dewey" Cheatem of Dewey Cheatem & Howe. "Undoubtedly there wil be some sort of "hold harmless" clause in there preventing victims from suing FEMA and other agencies which bungled the relief efforts so badly.
Officials scrambled for ways to prevent the government-issued cards from being used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics, although a pair of spanking new red-tag Levi's is reportedly still good for a "fix" in the remains of New Orleans. Said Scott McClellan, "Hey, if victims decide to party with these cards down at TGIFridays, or trade Levi's for drugs, there's nothing we can do about it. Food and clothing ARE allowed."
New Orleans mayor Roy Nagin was reportedly pleased with the plan. "Those holdouts that don't want to go, I tell them about the credit card plan, and it's like "When's the next bus leaving?" In terms of getting people out of here, those cards are priceless.
Traffic on the Interstate 10, adjacent to the Astrodome came to a complete standstill as illegal aliens abandoned their lawnmowing and construction trucks to cross the median and climb the fence. Some vehicles contained as many as seventeed passengers, according to witnesses. As of 7p.m. officials had towed over 375 abandoned vehicles, mostly "clunkers" off the interstate, with hundreds more still blocking all five lanes of traffic.
An NBC cameraman and two FEMA officials were reportedly caught trying to sneak into the debit card line. The FEMA officials were identified after plumbers unclogging an Astrodome toilet recovered two FEMA photo identification badges.