"This is a Desperate S.O.S."

New Orleans is slipping toward anarchy, and the mayor is appealing for help.

As the mayor puts it, ``This is a desperate S-O-S.'' In a statement to CNN, Mayor Ray Nagin said resources at the Convention Center, where thousands of refugees have gathered, are nearly depleted.

Nagin said the facility is unsanitary and unsafe. Fights and fires have erupted, and corpses are openly scattered throughout the city. Rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers have been targeted by gunfire.

Anger is mounting across New Orleans, especially at the convention center, where at least 15,000 people have taken shelter. Those thousands of storm victims are increasingly hungry, desperate and tired of waiting for buses to return them to the fresh air of civilization.

As the mayor asks for buses, he's also making an apparent effort to defuse what could be an explosive situation. The mayor says people will be allowed to march across a bridge to the city's unflooded west bank, for whatever relief they can find.