While thousands of people waited to be evacuated from the squalor of flood-stricken New Orleans, two major fires raged along the waterfront on Saturday.
Without water, firefighters were helpless. They were forced to abandon efforts to fight a blaze that threatened to consume an upscale riverfront mall, where looters had been seen earlier.
Fifty-foot flames also engulfed an industrial district along the Mississippi River and threatened to spread from warehouse to warehouse.
Black smoke covered the skyline of a city where firefighting resources are stretched thin.
Although much of the city is covered with fouled waters, the hydrants are dry. Firefighters told CNN the mall fire started about 9:30 a.m. "under suspicious circumstances."
Police watched the Shops at Canal Place building, attached to the Wyndham Hotel, as it burned.
Earlier, a CNN crew saw looters leave the shops carrying filled Gucci and Brooks Brothers bags.
In a rare live radio address Saturday, President Bush said more than 7,000 additional troops will be sent over the next 24 to 72 hours to areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.
"Where our response is not working, we will make it right," he said.
On Friday, a bus carrying 50 evacuees overturned north of Lafayette, Louisiana, killing a man and injuring 12 people, a Louisiana State Police spokesman said.
Thousands of people remained Saturday at the Superdome and Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans after a day that saw one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history.
At New Orleans' Louis Armstrong International Airport on Saturday, babies slept on flattened cardboard boxes as hundreds of evacuees waited to be airlifted.
The last 200 patients, who had waited in primitive conditions, were evacuated from Charity Hospital on Saturday, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported.
The hospital has no power, no water and no food. The bodies of patients who have died had been stored in stairwells because the hospital's morgue is flooded.
Although bodies have been spotted for days throughout the city, New Orleans officials have no death toll, instead focusing on rescuing the living.
Many Americans were outraged by what they perceived to be a slow response from the federal government. Some questioned whether race was a factor in treatment of the largely black evacuee population.
For five days, tens of thousands languished inside New Orleans' Superdome, with no food and water. Some died as rampant violence was reported.
"Certainly I think the issue of race as a factor will not go away from this equation," the Rev. Jesse Jackson told CNN on Friday.
"We have great tolerance for black suffering and black marginalization," he added. "And today those who are suffering the most, in fact, in New Orleans certainly are black people."
Jackson, who was in New Orleans helping with the relief effort, described appalling conditions: "Today I saw 5,000 African-Americans on the I-10 causeway desperate, perishing, dehydrated, babies dying," he said. "It looked like Africans in the hull of a slave ship. It was so ugly and so obvious."
Earlier Friday, members of the Congressional Black Caucus criticized the pace of relief efforts, saying response was slow because those most affected are poor.
At an NBC benefit for hurricane victims, rapper Kanye West said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
About 15,000 people have been evacuated to Houston's Astrodome, which officials say is filled to capacity. Two other shelters were opened nearby that can hold an estimated 26,000 people.
President Bush visited Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana on Friday, and then returned to Washington and signed a $10.5 billion disaster relief bill. The amount includes $10 billion in supplemental funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $500 million for the Pentagon for its hurricane relief work.
After first calling relief efforts "not acceptable" the president later said he was satisfied with them.
In his radio address on Saturday, the president acknowledged that people are "not getting the help they need, especially in New Orleans -- and that is unacceptable."
Officials involved in relief efforts are dealing with a multitude of issues: