From the Washington Post:
"These people want off these roofs," said rescuer Scott Rady, 34, of Clearwater, Fla. "When they hear the helicopters coming, they are almost like gophers hopping through the roofs."[...]
One or two people on a roof can often mean large families huddling out of view in the attic. In New Orleans, the rescues unfold almost organically, defying clear plans or territories to search because the need for help is everywhere. "They just say, 'Go fishing,' " Rady said.
To grab the pilot's attention, residents wave wildly and craft makeshift signs of cardboard, plywood or words scraped onto rooftops, with messages such as, "Two Kids, One Sick," or "Four People Need Help," crew members said.
At night, the stranded shine flashlights that make it easier for Coast Guard crews to spot them. One desperate mother of a 4-month-old infant stood on her apartment roof holding a full-length closet mirror, startling a Coast Guard team with the bright flashes created by the reflections of the helicopter spotlight.[...]
For [Dustin] Skarra, flying at night over the city of New Orleans presents an image as surreal as it is daunting. "Everyone is shining their flashlights," he said, "so as you're flying over, it's kind of like you see a sky full of sparkling stars. So which star do you pick?"