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This is 3rd hand from a listserve I'm on.

A couple of choice quotes:

We have yet to see any of the TV coverage or look at a newspaper. We are willing to guess that there were no video images or front-page pictures of European or affluent white tourists looting the Walgreen's in the French Quarter.

All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot. Meanwhile, the only two City shelters sank further into squalor and disrepair.

We were hiding from possible criminal elements but equally and definitely, we were hiding from the police and sheriffs with their martial law, curfew and shoot-to-kill policies.

and finally...

Throughout, the official relief effort was callous, inept, and racist. There was more suffering than need be. Lives were lost that did not need to be lost.


Hurricane Katrina-Our Experiences

Larry Bradshaw, Lorrie Beth Slonsky

Two days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Walgreen's store at the corner of Royal and Iberville streets remained locked. The dairy display case was clearly visible through the widows. It was now 48 hours without electricity, running water, plumbing. The milk, yogurt, and cheeses were beginning to spoil in the 90-degree heat. The owners and managers had locked up the food, water, pampers, and prescriptions and fled the City. Outside Walgreen's windows, residents and tourists grew increasingly thirsty and hungry.

The much-promised federal, state and local aid never materialized and the windows at Walgreen's gave way to the looters. There was an alternative. The cops could have broken one small window and distributed the nuts, fruit juices, and bottle water in an organized and systematic manner. But they did not. Instead they spent hours playing cat and mouse, temporarily chasing away the looters.

We were finally airlifted out of New Orleans two days ago and arrived home yesterday (Saturday). We have yet to see any of the TV coverage or look at a newspaper. We are willing to guess that there were no video images or front-page pictures of European or affluent white tourists looting the Walgreen's in the French Quarter.

We also suspect the media will have been inundated with "hero" images of the National Guard, the troops and the police struggling to help the "victims" of the Hurricane. What you will not see, but what we witnessed,were the real heroes and sheroes of the hurricane relief effort: the working class of New Orleans. The maintenance workers who used a fork lift to carry the sick and disabled. The engineers, who rigged, nurtured and kept the generators running. The electricians who improvised thick extension cords stretching over blocks to share the little electricity we had in order to free cars stuck on rooftop parking lots. Nurses who took over for mechanical ventilators and spent many hours on end manually forcing air into the lungs of unconscious patients to keep them alive. Doormen who rescued folks stuck in elevators. Refinery workers who broke into boat yards, "stealing" boats to rescue their neighbors clinging to their roofs in flood waters. Mechanics who helped hot-wire any car that could be found to ferry people out of the City. And the food service workers who scoured the commercial kitchens improvising communal meals for hundreds of those stranded.

Most of these workers had lost their homes, and had not heard from members of their families, yet they stayed and provided the only infrastructure for the 20% of New Orleans that was not under water.

On Day 2, there were approximately 500 of us left in the hotels in the French Quarter. We were a mix of foreign tourists, conference attendees like ourselves, and locals who had checked into hotels for safety and shelter from Katrina. Some of us had cell phone contact with family and friends outside of New Orleans. We were repeatedly told that all sorts of resources including the National Guard and scores of buses were pouring in to the City. The buses and the other resources must have been invisible because none of us had seen them.

We decided we had to save ourselves. So we pooled our money and came up with $25,000 to have ten buses come and take us out of the City. Those who did not have the requisite $45.00 for a ticket were subsidized by those who did have extra money. We waited for 48 hours for the buses, spending the last 12 hours standing outside, sharing the limited water, food, and clothes we had. We created a priority boarding area for the sick, elderly and new born babies. We waited late into the night for the "imminent" arrival of the buses. The buses never arrived. We later learned that the minute the arrived to the City limits, they were commandeered by the military.

By day 4 our hotels had run out of fuel and water. Sanitation was dangerously abysmal. As the desperation and despair increased, street crime as well as water levels began to rise. The hotels turned us out and locked their doors, telling us that the "officials" told us to report to the convention center to wait for more buses. As we entered the center of the City, we finally encountered the National Guard. The Guards told us we would not be allowed into the Superdome as the City's primary shelter had descended into a humanitarian and health hellhole. The guards further told us that the City's only other shelter, the Convention Center, was also descending into chaos and squalor and that the police were not allowing anyone else in. Quite naturally, we asked, "If we can't go to the only 2 shelters in the City, what was our alternative?" The guards told us that that was our problem, and no they did not have extra water to give to us. This would be the start of our numerous encounters with callous and hostile "law enforcement".

We walked to the police command center at Harrah's on Canal Street and were told the same thing, that we were on our own, and no they did not have water to give us. We now numbered several hundred. We held a mass meeting to decide a course of action. We agreed to camp outside the police command post. We would be plainly visible to the media and would constitute a highly visible embarrassment to the City officials. The police told us that we could not stay. Regardless, we began to settle in and set up camp. In short order, the police commander came across the street to address our group. He told us he had a solution: we should walk to the Pontchartrain Expressway and cross the greater New Orleans Bridge where the police had buses lined up to take us out of the City. The crowed cheered and began to move. We called everyone back and explained to the commander that there had been lots of misinformation and wrong information and was he sure that there were buses waiting for us. The commander turned to the crowd and stated emphatically, "I swear to you that the buses are there."

We organized ourselves and the 200 of us set off for the bridge with great excitement and hope. As we marched pasted the convention center, many locals saw our determined and optimistic group and asked where we were headed. We told them about the great news. Families immediately grabbed their few belongings and quickly our numbers doubled and then doubled again. Babies in strollers now joined us, people using crutches, elderly clasping walkers and others people in wheelchairs. We marched the 2-3 miles to the freeway and up the steep incline to the Bridge. It now began to pour down rain, but it did not dampen our enthusiasm.

As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began
firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander's assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.

We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.

Our small group retreated back down Highway 90 to seek shelter from the rain under an overpass. We debated our options and in the end decided to build an encampment in the middle of the Ponchartrain Expressway on the center divide, between the O'Keefe and Tchoupitoulas exits. We reasoned we would be visible to everyone, we would have some security being on an elevated freeway and we could wait and watch for the arrival of the yet to be seen buses.

All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot. Meanwhile, the only two City shelters sank further into squalor and disrepair. The only way across the bridge was by vehicle. We saw workers stealing trucks, buses, moving vans, semi-trucks and any car that could be hotwired. All were packed with people trying to escape the misery New Orleans had become.

Our little encampment began to blossom. Someone stole a water delivery truck and brought it up to us. Let's hear it for looting! A mile or so down the freeway, an army truck lost a couple of pallets of C-rations on a tight turn. We ferried the food back to our camp in shopping carts. Now secure with the two necessities, food and water; cooperation, community, and creativity flowered. We organized a clean up and hung garbage bags from the rebar poles. We made beds from wood pallets and cardboard. We designated a storm drain as the bathroom and the kids built an elaborate enclosure for privacy out of plastic, broken umbrellas, and other scraps. We even organized a food recycling system where individuals could swap out parts of C-rations (applesauce for babies and candies for kids!).

This was a process we saw repeatedly in the aftermath of Katrina.  When individuals had to fight to find food or water, it meant looking out for yourself only. You had to do whatever it took to find water for your kids or food for your parents. When these basic needs were met, people began to look out for each other, working together and constructing a community.

If the relief organizations had saturated the City with food and water in the first 2 or 3 days, the desperation, the frustration and the ugliness would not have set in.

Flush with the necessities, we offered food and water to passing families and individuals. Many decided to stay and join us. Our encampment grew to 80 or 90 people.

From a woman with a battery powered radio we learned that the media was talking about us. Up in full view on the freeway, every relief and news organizations saw us on their way into the City. Officials were being asked what they were going to do about all those families living up on the freeway? The officials responded they were going to take care of us. Some of us got a sinking feeling. "Taking care of us" had an ominous tone to it.

Unfortunately, our sinking feeling (along with the sinking City) was correct. Just as dusk set in, a Gretna Sheriff showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun at our faces, screaming, "Get off the fucking freeway". A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water.

Once again, at gunpoint, we were forced off the freeway. All the law enforcement agencies appeared threatened when we congregated or congealed into groups of 20 or more. In every congregation of "victims" they saw "mob" or "riot". We felt safety in numbers. Our "we must stay together" was impossible because the agencies would force us into small atomized groups.

In the pandemonium of having our camp raided and destroyed, we scattered once again. Reduced to a small group of 8 people, in the dark, we sought refuge in an abandoned school bus, under the freeway on Cilo Street. We were hiding from possible criminal elements but equally and definitely, we were hiding from the police and sheriffs with their martial law, curfew and shoot-to-kill policies.

The next days, our group of 8 walked most of the day, made contact with New Orleans Fire Department and were eventually airlifted out by an urban search and rescue team. We were dropped off near the airport and managed to catch a ride with the National Guard. The two young guardsmen apologized for the limited response of the Louisiana guards. They explained that a large section of their unit was in Iraq and that meant they were shorthanded and were unable to complete all the tasks they were assigned.

We arrived at the airport on the day a massive airlift had begun. The airport had become another Superdome. We 8 were caught in a press of humanity as flights were delayed for several hours while George Bush landed briefly at the airport for a photo op. After being evacuated on a coast guard cargo plane, we arrived in San Antonio, Texas.

There the humiliation and dehumanization of the official relief effort continued. We were placed on buses and driven to a large field where we were forced to sit for hours and hours. Some of the buses did not have air-conditioners. In the dark, hundreds if us were forced to share two filthy overflowing porta-potties. Those who managed to make it out with any possessions (often a few belongings in tattered plastic bags) we were subjected to two different dog-sniffing searches.

Most of us had not eaten all day because our C-rations had been confiscated at the airport because the rations set off the metal detectors. Yet, no food had been provided to the men, women, children, elderly, disabled as they sat for hours waiting to be "medically screened" to make sure we were not carrying any communicable diseases.

This official treatment was in sharp contrast to the warm, heart-felt reception given to us by the ordinary Texans. We saw one airline worker give her shoes to someone who was barefoot. Strangers on the street offered us money and toiletries with words of welcome. Throughout, the official relief effort was callous, inept, and racist. There was more suffering than need be. Lives were lost that did not need to be lost.

If true, needs to be spread.

Originally posted to bribri on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:27 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Isn't dKosopedia collecting stories? (4.00)
    I couldn't find the page.  Can someone send the link? Thanks.

    America began begins with freedom from King George's empire.

    by bribri on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:24:35 AM PDT

  •  Recommend, recommend (n/t) (none)

    "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

    by Cream City on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:30:18 AM PDT

    •  THIS STORY IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE. (none)
      Check out the clip of Rivera & Shep Smith from Friday night, at www.crooksandliars.com .

      The Fox News reporters were both complaining that people weren't being allowed to simply walk out of the hell that New Orleans had become.

      Rivera in tears, "Why won't they let people walk out of here!?!"

      Police WERE turning people back at the bridge. Wouldn't let them leave.

      Insane.

      New Orleans-- 72 hours later no communications, no drinking water, not enough police/troops. Bottomline, we're not prepared for another 9/11.

      by DeanFan84 on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:10:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bush told them not to leave (4.00)
    and that the feds would be in control and be there -- for most who still had tv on Monday (crossposted from Open Thread):

    Bush's speech on MONDAY, delivered at 10 am, as Katrina was lashing the Gulf Coast --
    http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050829/dcm039.html?.v=19

    In the speech, which is focused on many other things (which shows he was focused on other things, not on Katrina), note the two (total, two) paragraphs on Katrina and what he says, specifically:

    "I know my fellow citizens here in Arizona and across the country are saying our prayers for those affected by the -- Hurricane Katrina. Our Gulf Coast is getting hit and hit hard. I want the folks there on the Gulf Coast to know that the federal government is prepared to help you when the storm passes. I want to thank the governors of the affected regions for mobilizing assets prior to the arrival of the storm to help citizens avoid this devastating storm.

    "I urge the citizens there in the region to continue to listen to the local authorities. Don't abandon your shelters until you're given clearance by the local authorities. Take precautions because this is a dangerous storm. When the storm passes, the federal government has got assets and resources that we'll be deploying to help you. In the meantime, America will pray -- pray for the health and safety of all our citizens.

    Hmmm... don't leave the shelters?    And the Feds will have the assets?  

    Now they are singing a different tune.  Now the spin is -- why didn't the locals get them out of there?  And now they are saying it wasn't the Feds job to have the resources there for these folks.

    Yeah, right.

    "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

    by Cream City on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:34:40 AM PDT

  •  Great diary (none)
    Everyone should recommend.
  •  Link? (4.00)
    This sounds true.  But could we have a link?  I would love to recommend it if you update with a more verifiable source.
  •  one can only hope that (none)
    all of these stories of the survivors will be told and retold.
    for one brief moment, we should be able to empathize with people driven from their homes everywhere: by war, famine, flood and human greed.

    many american immigrants have suffered through very similar experiences, but those memories, like any memory of pain, have receded and somewhat forgotten.

    unfortunately, this has been the defining experience of humankind forever.

    hard to put a happy ending to this, as my heart breaks again...

  •  So glad you posted this!!! (none)
    I just read this myself.  I can't believe it.  And these people were EMS WORKERS, for God's sake!!!  If I were in this situation, I would have had a total and complete breakdown.  This is just heartbreaking.

    And my tombstone will read: "It Made Sense At The Time."

    by AmyVVV on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:08:08 AM PDT

  •  I hope this story lives (none)
    to be told and retold for generations.  It needs to be in the history books in 50 years.  The lessons here are many but they are not difficult.  Even children understand.  Why is it that Bushco does not?

    The Axis of Evil runs somewhere between K Street and Constitution Avenue.

    by DanielMN on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:13:08 AM PDT

    •  BushCo does understand (4.00)
      but BushCo is playing by different rules.

      Want to know why they do what they do?  I explain the Republican mindset in Republicans to NOLA: Let them die to teach them obedience.

      It's all about power and control for them.  Lives lost and destroyed are irrelevant so long as they maintain absolute control.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:20:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I's sorry but I don't buy it (none)
        The motivation you ascribe to them is pathological.  I can believe that there are people like this.  I can't believe that there are thousands of people like this that have ascended to power simultaneously.  For one thing, they'd be fighting each other.  For another, they'd have serious personality flaws that would be obvious to everyone right from the beginning.  They'd have been in jails or hospitals long before they could ever get elected to anything.

        I can buy that certain of the Republican majority government have some sort of personality dichotomy that leaves some of their empathy split off from the rest of their personality.  I can buy that some people want their own success above the safety of others.  I can't buy power madness as the single, overarching reason for all of the madness.

        The Axis of Evil runs somewhere between K Street and Constitution Avenue.

        by DanielMN on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 12:01:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did you ever hear (none)
          about a thing called the Third Reich? How about the Khmer Rouge?

          I have come to the conclusion that really, there is not much difference between the current administration and those past nightmare governments.  Do you think that Rove, Bush et al would not have targeted Jewish people if that had been a convenient stepping stone to power?  Do you think that if America was more willing to accept murder by the government that they would not openly commit those murders?

          Don't be naive. They are willing to sacrifice American soldiers to their goals, they are also willing to sacrifice civilians.

          Rereading this comment it sounds paranoid and crazy, but what can you think when all the evidence points this way?

  •  This is insane (none)
    How can these so-called public servants live with themselves?

    New Orleans Police Commanders putting people's lives in danger with their self-serving lies.  Armed Gretna Sheriffs threatening displaced citizens with guns, acting like outright thugs.

    This isn't the only such story I've heard about Louisiana's Finest.  It is shameful that those entrusted with public safety should be among the first to regress to a lord of the flies mentality.  After this is all over, these crimes will probably be forgotten, untraceable, and covered up.

    •  I don't know about the NO cop (none)
      He may have been told that the buses were there.  Lack of communication - and miscommunication when there was communication - looms large in the New Orleans debacle.  I'd cut him slack until we hear otherwise.

      The Gretna sheriff, on the other hand, was obviously way out of line.  What the hell is the problem with people being on the freeway?  Where else are they supposed to go?

      Shameful indeed.  I hope this story goes national.

      New Orleans will never die

      by hrh on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:37:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  From a Doctor at Charity Hospital (4.00)
    He posts on one of my message boards and has said after a few more nights and a couple more bourbons (he's been evacuated to San Antonio) he'll have more to share:

    "oops. Been on the board for more than an hour and totally missed this one.

    Thanks so much guys. I don't know that I deserve all the kudos I've gotten on the boards the past few days -- it's pretty embarrassing b/c I know all the ways in which I unequivocally suck. I just happened to be on call when it happened. Nothing was more painful than when we were on the roof trying to get a lady onto the helicopter on the last day and she went into a cardiac arrest on the stretcher. We intubated her, administered CPR, put in central venous lines and gave her adrenaline and other meds, found an extension cord that went up 4 flights of stairs (from our only generator) so we could put her on the monitor. When we called the code b/c we couldn't revive her, I just remember seeing her sister and daughter crying uncontrollably as we put them on the helicopter to evacuate them. We didn't even have room in the chopper to put her on it, and ended up evacuating the hospital w/ her corpse still lying on the roof. As long as I live, I think her family's faces will be the thing I remember most."

  •  Thee Gretna Sheriff... (none)
    life in prison, or summary execution?

    No-one who voted against the USAPATRIOT Act has lost an election. I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or Yours.

    by ben masel on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:26:24 AM PDT

  •  Good Christ (none)
    that is the most harrowing story, like something out of Escape from New York. Goddamn those racist idiots, I hope they all caught cholera.
  •  This was what Mayour Nagi was talking about- (4.00)
    "As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began
    firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander's assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.

    We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans

    This is very tragic and ugly.  Instead of helping neighboring white areas are protecting themselves from the "poor and black".

    Stop Corporate Influence; buy DEMOCRACY BONDS!!! http://www.democrats.org/democracybonds.html

    by timber on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:37:15 AM PDT

  •  Someone better pay for that Bridge bullshit. (4.00)
    We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.

    OK - what the fuck is going on with this specific incident?

    This deserves to be investigated, and I hope that it is not forgotten. Someone better pay for this bullshit with their CAREER.

    People probably died because of this specific decision to exercise no charity.

    "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton

    by jbeach on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:39:20 AM PDT

    •  Some possibly useful info (none)
      Jefferson Parish
      Sheriff's Office
      100 Huey P Long Ave
      Gretna, Louisiana 70053
      (504) 363-5701
    •  Jefferson Parish (none)
      Here is a story about the aftermath in Jefferson Parish, FYI.
    •  Aaron Broussard (none)
      Is the president of Jefferson Parish. These deputies were under his control, I believe. Fixing the responsibility for this crime is important. Just from reading all the news reports, it seems to me that the man who broke down on Meet The Press, crying about a co-worker's mother drowning, also is responsible for the deaths of all those at the Convention Center who were not allowed to cross that bridge.

      We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC)

      by AWhitneyBrown on Wed Sep 07, 2005 at 06:30:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's another story (4.00)
    cross-posted at The Christian Dem Home Journal

    I was getting ready to post a long raft of my thoughts on the Keystone Kops-like travesty that is our relief effort in New Orleans, but just got an IM that says everything you need to know.

    A friend of mine who lives in St. Bernard Parish, a suburb of New Orleans, just told me that a friend of hers has been stuck on the roof of her trailer since Wednesday. With a baby, no less. And nobody has come to rescue her.

    It's a safe bet she'd probably have been rescued sooner, but FEMA has, for reasons that defy explanation, turned back several aid efforts. Heck, she may have not been forced on the roof--except FEMA refused to allow a busload of volunteer firemen from the Houston area into town. There are dozens more people over there stuck on roofs--St. Bernard's parish president actually broke down and cried on TV Sunday because nobody is coming to rescue them.

    She also told me that people are getting raped and beaten up in the shelters over there.

    It's a miracle I can type right now, because I'm so outraged. The incompetence of this administration is no longer borderline criminal. It is criminal. And it didn't even have to happen in the first place--had the president fully funded the efforts to repair levees and control flooding, it's a safe bet this tragedy would have never happened.

    The president owes Louisiana an apology. And if he doesn't, he should resign. Anyone who agrees, sign this petition.

  •  Perhaps this is an insensitve analogy... (none)
    But I wonder how many innocent Iraqis have been treated like this?

    This whole thing smacks of self-righteous machismo gone amock, like the kind we are (not) seeing in Iraq.  

    Here our violent style of dealing with "undesirables" got played out on t.v.  If we are treating American citizens like this, can you imagine what king of treatment our "occupied Islamic refugees" get, regardless of whether they cooperate or not?

    •  Spot on - this admin doesn't know how to build (none)
      only to kill.

      What's the saying?
      Any jackass can knock down a barn.
      It takes a carpenter to build one.

      Guess which one we've got?

      America began begins with freedom from King George's empire.

      by bribri on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 12:15:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not insensitive - True (none)
      I personally think that is a very apt and important analogy.

      What shocks me -- though I suppose it shouldn't -- is this: apparently many people have to see this taking place on their own shores before their empathy is activated.

      Many of us here at Daily Kos were equally upset about what has been happening since 2003 to Iraqis at Abu Ghraib as well as in their own bombed, water-starved, electricity-deprived homes.

      I hope the conscience of the nation is awakened by this horror in New Orleans.

      I'm just not very confident that anything will really change.

      God help us, I hope I'm wrong.

  •  Hotels (none)
    I'd like to see the names of these hotels who turned out their guests onto the streets should be widely publicized.  It is despicable (but all too typical) corporate behavior to put property over human lives and these companies should be held accountable.
    •  On an earlier post... (none)
      people told the story of the hotel guests getting their own buses and people being mad at them for this.  The busses were commandeered by FEMA and folks said- good.

      So some people responded the rich hotel guests deserved this.  I pointed out that we should beware of judging people as rich just 'cause they were at a NOLA convention.  

      Now we find out, the hotel guests weren't rich but socialist EMT union leaders at a convention.  I am glad that the story has been fleshed out and for once, my eternal optimism in people is born out by facts.  If we aren't going to judge people by race or class, we should be careful of judging ANYONE too quickly.  Rather, judge people by their actions.

      That is why BUSH and company are failing America.  They looked at these folks fleeing chaos and saw looters, not people.
      Sermon over.    

      "Let the city of New Orleans Rise Again"

      by murrayewv on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:31:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My hair is on fire over this. (none)
    If this is a true story, it is time that Democratic office holders start SCREAMING into the faces of Republicans, if not spitting.
    •  Screaming (none)
      Yes, where the hell are the Dem leaders?  I'm as disgusted with their lack of voice as I am with BushCo, maybe more as they are coming off as less than leaders.  Write to them all and call them all and ask them where the hell are they?
  •  Fear of a black planet (none)
    The thing that ermeges in these accounts, and in the character of the official response, is the fearful and racist attitude that seems to go right up the official chain of command. From the start, the white officials seemed to view the whole thing as a law-and-order problem more than a rescue operation.  There seems to be much more concern about keeping everyone "in line" than concern about actually helping people.
    •  Yes - apparently the reason FEMA refused help (none)
      was that they needed to "secure" or "control" NO first.   It's horrible that the elites in power put this forth as policy, but I find it equally disturbing that the folks on the ground would actually obey these orders/policies.  

      America began begins with freedom from King George's empire.

      by bribri on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 12:27:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's right (none)
        this is a government that wants to control, not help.  And the way they dupe people into going along with it is by convincing them that great masses of poor (brown-skinned) people are getting free handouts everywhere, all the time.
      •  and since when (none)
        do military or national guard planes retreat because they are being SHOT AT???

        That's what happens!

        And I talk to people and they're like, "well they were being shot at, what do you expect?"

        OhMiGosh.

        I don't want to see anybody do any more goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. - Mayor Ray Nagin

        by missreporter on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:45:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  HOW INFURIATING WAS LITTLE SOMALIA? (none)
    Of all the things to call New Orleans, the idiot military guy who said that ought to be dunked in the bayou.
  •  Fox News (4.00)
    Isn't this exactly what set off Geraldo Rivera on Fox News? He was screaming and crying into the camera about people who were forbidden from crossing the bridge. He never mentioned who forbade them from crossing, though.
    •  I saw that too. (none)
      never thought Geraldo could be so moving to hear.  He was crying, let them out, why don't they let them out of here?

      Hannity had trouble processing.  

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:26:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  same question i was asking (none)
      i thought it was shep smith, though.  screaming at the suits back in the studio about the people on the overpass.

      would be a good thing to confirm.  if they were the same people, that would make it a powerful testimony to the faux-watchers"  "remember those folks on the overpass?  here's the rest of the story..."

      we'd better decide now if we are going to be fearless men or scared boys.
      — e.d. nixon, montgomery improvement association

      by zeke L on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 02:34:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's True..I was in Houston this weekend.... (4.00)
    My husband and I flew to Houston from San Francisco to help the people from New Orleans and I can tell you first hand I heard stories just like this first hand.  Large families were INTENTIONALLY separated and thousands of family members are searching for each other.  I talked to people who said buses were lined up several days but they were kept from boarding them, sometimes at gun point.  When they did start boarding, whites were boarded first and then blacks were allowed to get on.  Some Blacks had to stand for the 6 hour drive to Houston because the whites were seated.  The story of the "crazy" crimminal that took over the bus that crashed resulted because of them not being allowed to make a bathroom stop.  They were told to just go on themselves because there would be no stops.  The poor man just couldn't take it anymore is my guess.  I saw only black people at the astrodoom and downtown convention center.  The white "refugees" were sent directly to temporary housing or hotels.  I could go on and on and it's all sickening...We plan to return in a few weeks and I'll be taking a recorder with me to get the stories verbatim...This is a national disgrace.  If anyone thinks racism and classism isn't alive and well in the usa they're kidding themselves.
    •  it's important to document this (none)
      The Smithsonian should be out there interviewing.  As the worst disaster in U.S. since the Civil War, this is as important as oral accounts of slavery and the Holocaust.  Let's not let 20-plus years go by before getting these stories down.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:45:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  PLEASE email NPR with these stories (none)
        Please pass this along to reporters/editors at National Public Radio.

        Trust me, they DO NOT know these stories and they need to know them.

        Reporters John Burnett (who's been doing amazing work on the ground), also David Schaper (who's been incredible in Mississippi).

        They WANT to know these stories, and they have the microphones to get them.

        The reporters contact emails are usually first name initial plus last name at npr.org (i.e. jburnett at npr.org)

        Plus this link gets you to NPR's comment page where you can leave them notes as well (not as effective as contacting reporters individually, but it's a one stop shopping web page).

    •  Sounds like... (none)
      the same thing done to the American Indians.

      Making judgements without intellectual justification is prejudice. We do not act rightly because have virture, we have virtue because we act rightly.

      by NeoLotus on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 11:42:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Camp Casey III n/t (none)

    If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 12:58:56 PM PDT

  •  OMG Oprah Must see (none)
    I was channel surfing and happened across it.  OMG.  All about New Orleans - stuff not seen, stories not yet told.  A must see.

    Use American taxpayers' money to rebuild our country - not Iraq.

    by Sharon Jumper on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:07:33 PM PDT

  •  If this is true (none)
    This is a Dateline episode in of itself.  I would need independent verification though... in the form of some other accounts of the "hundreds" in their group.  

    If true, this is truly sickening.

    If Rove concealed the fact that he was a leaker from the President, why hasn't the President fired him?

    by wintersnowman on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:10:34 PM PDT

    •  It is exactly (none)
      the kind of story the republicans in office want to be spread.  Stop it!  They want everyone to stop relying on the government, to stop expecting the government to acutally do its job instead of filling the coffers of giant corporations.  Stories like this just illustrate that point.  The private sector stepped up (with the tax breaks they get, they damn well better have!) and the government didn't let them in.

      All this talk of the internet and private charities and private citizens doing a better job than the government is exactly what they set out to prove.  I'm really starting to believe they botched this on purpose.  How else can you explain what happened??

      Y'all need to get a clue.  We have already paid for protection of our citizens - it is THE most basic function of government.  We should not have to pay for them again!

      •  That is rather incoherent (none)
        PsychoSavannah,

        You may have some sort of point here, but it's pretty hard to understand from your comment.

        I'd like to know what you're saying. Can you write it more clearly?

        •  I think I understand (none)
          her to mean feds sabotaged the effort to create mistrust in federal intervention/programs. I've considered this & all the malice theories, but it's looking like they're really that incompetent. They don't even notice the non-gazillionaires in this country. It was not urgent. And they think they can spin they're way out of anything, & (scarily) up 'til now that's been kinda true. They're still holding on to their nasty, psychotic base, I notice, though it appears that for now they've lost the middle. Remember all those undecided voters? They changed their minds, I guess.
          •  Yes (none)
            Botch the job and make people realize your larger idiological (spelling purposeful) point...don't rely on the federal government.  It is the most basic belief of the republican party.  Smaller government, privatize everything.

            Problem is, we have paid taxes to be used for protection of the citizens of this country.  Those tax dollars are not being used in that capacity.  They are being handed over to a few corporations to do the work of the government, and only the shareholders benefit from that spent money, not you and I.

            The stories listed above CLEARLY state how the private sector is doing more and better than the government.  We've known it to be true for a long time.  But, instead of hiring the best and brightest into our government in order to harness that innovation and creativity for the public good, this administration (in particular)continues to hire friends and cronies and inter-connected companies with less-than-stellar credentials.  

            They used this disaster to prove that we need to do everything ourselves, completely abdicating their sole reason for being - protection of the citizens of the United States of America. The stories above almost prove them to be true.  So, stop it or we will lose every protection we pay for!
            Do you see now?

            •  I know (none)
              It's hard to believe anyone could fuck up this bad by accident, but the combination of greed, indifference, self serving old boys network, & all their past incompetence due to relentless tunnelvision driven by ideology are pretty persuasive to me right now. Plus it's looking like they're managing to push their failure out of the headlines with cash cards & denial now. I'm listening to Air america & Stephanie Miller, but reading things about the talking points being picked up on cable news again. And that Nancy Pelosi story!!!! Frickin scaring me. They can't get away with this.
  •  A partial report of these people's experience (none)
    came out when one cable news on scene reporter was interviewing some people from this group and getting their emotional reactions  while they were still in NO at their hotels, just after they learned that their hired coachs had been commandeered by authorities.  

    They were in tears and completely outraged by the chaos and lack of response. Being a bunch of paramedics, I guess they would be in a position to know.

    •  some of the French Quarter people (none)
      were having a grand ole time, and when I first heard about these hotel people, I thought they wanted special treatment over the needs of the locals stranded at the superdome and convention center.  But hearing the rest of the story...and as horrible as it is, I think it's true because of the level of detail...I am stunned and outraged.

      I keep thinking about people with babies and children, trying to take care of their kids with no water, food or bathrooms.  How can some racist bastard steal food and water from babies?  

      this whole thing sounds like something out of WWII.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 01:31:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I sent this to a 'personal responsibility' (none)
    conservative.  I didn't use the dKos link though.  This conservative person was shrieking on about the looting and why weren't they prepared and why didn't they get out.

    I think this account answers a lot of those questions.  People were looting to survive, they could have been better prepared and they did try very hard to get out.

  •  jesus-fing-christ (none)
    unbelievable
  •  Donations (none)
    I don't mean to the Red Cross, I mean to the Republican party.  These poor people have not contributed to anyones agenda or party and therefore are of no use to the powers that be.
    the hotel guests were probably Republicans.
  •  This story should be e-mailed to columnists (none)
    around the country. i'm going to send this to Eric Zorn at the Chicago Tribune, who did a great column a day or two ago about how the government's inteptitude after Katrina has terrorized people much as 9/11 did (no link; Trib is registration only). If this story doesn't put to the lie to the "we are safer under Bush" meme, I don't know what will.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mohandas Gandhi

    by trueblue illinois on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 02:22:19 PM PDT

  •  oh oh oh (none)
    ...sobbing....
  •  E-Mail This to Friends/Family? (none)
    Do you guys see any harm in e-mailing this story to friends and family in hopes that the meme stays alive for months and years?
  •  This story should be confirmed (none)
    before being taken as true. What happened in N.O. is completely horrible but I'm not buying some of this until multiply sourced.

    Darkness washed over the Dude...darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonlight prairie night...there was no bottom

    by moon in the house of moe on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 03:44:14 PM PDT

    •  IT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE! (none)
      Check out the clip of Rivera & Shep Smith from Friday night, at www.crooksandliars.com .

      The Fox News reporters were both complaining that people weren't being allowed to simply walk out of the hell that New Orleans had become.

      Rivera in tears, "Why won't they let people walk out of here!?!"

      Police WERE turning people back at the bridge.

      Insane.

      New Orleans-- 72 hours later no communications, no drinking water, not enough police/troops. Bottomline, we're not prepared for another 9/11.

      by DeanFan84 on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:09:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  six degrees of separation (none)
      I just received this very same account today from someone I trust, who knows someone who knows someone who knows the authors.  He did not know I had already seen it.

      Still third (fourth?  fifth?) hand information, but not from a listserv--from friends passing it around to friends.

      As far as confirmation goes that's good enough for me personally.  And these guys should be able to give official testimony to the right people once the  time comes.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 03:26:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This should stay in the rec list. (none)
    This needs to be confirmed...

    ...and then this needs to be told to the world.

  •  I knew I shouldn't read this (none)
    I may never stop crying.  I hate to sound racist but if the author of this story is a white person, or especially if the author is a white person this needs massive distribution after verification.  It will be much harder to spin and that breaks my heart.  I am so ashamed of my country.....
  •  The authors (none)
    at the original site it says this about the authors
    "LARRY BRADSHAW and LORRIE BETH SLONSKY are emergency medical services (EMS) workers from San Francisco and contributors to Socialist Worker. They were attending an EMS conference in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. They spent most of the next week trapped by the flooding--and the martial law cordon around the city."

    So their socialists, guess that makes them as unreliable as democrats eh?

  •  This (none)
    and stories like it need to be shared with Olympia Snowe and/or Hillary Clinton and the people who wrote them need to be encouraged to send letters to these Senators so that, when the "Katrina Commission" is established, they can give testimony.  I want the final report on this humanitarian disaster to include these examples of disrespect, threats, and outright violence.

    This is just ridiculous.  There can be no whitewash.

    "...with liberty and justice for al[most everybody]."

    by PeteyP on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:08:37 PM PDT

    •  They need to be testifying (none)
      before Congress, with the Gretna sheriff's department right after them.   And the management of the hotel that threw them out.

      "I came to see that news is what people want to keep hidden, and everything else is publicity". ...Bill Moyers, 5/15/05

      by revsue on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:41:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another story from the inside appeared (none)
    in this excellent diary that fell by the wayside today.

    I'm hoping that there will be more reports by timatkins about how it is in the Atlanta shelter.

    "Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me" - Jesus

    by SisTwo on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 05:32:24 PM PDT

  •  C&L has picked up on a friends story from NOLA (none)
    I was suprised to find this at C&L (direct link to mp3).  It's a phone call from my wife's friend who was caught in the Hurricane.  In it, he describes the what the living conditions are like at one of the shelters.

    He did make it out and is now in TN, but has been left with nothing.  I wrote a diary about how people can help if they want.

    "Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by sgilman on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 06:36:20 PM PDT

  •  No doubt about racism in relief effort now (none)
    We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.

    I was wondering why they wouldn't allow the people to walk out. Racist Suburbs - sickening

    Thoughts from Connecticut -

    by ctsteve on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 09:21:50 PM PDT

  •  I want to know if this is true (none)
    Because if it is true, then this is mass murder.
      Letting only people with cars out of N.O. is nothing but official, state-sponsored bigotry against poor people. And in doing it to the point of causing people to die from lack of water and food, that's just as bad as anything that happened in South Africa. Or the West Bank.

    "The sun is not yellow, it's chicken." -Dylan

    by gjohnsit on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 10:04:27 PM PDT

  •  Groups of more then 8 = a riotous mob (none)
    in police terms... true, funny how she uses that phrase a couple of times
  •  NO is a test case (none)
    There's a news story on one of the cable networks (MSNBC??) about a town being used for a morgue. There will be tons of pathologists and medical examiners brought in to process the dead.

    I get feelings of what happened at Chernobyl when the safeties kept getting overridden as the system began to meltdown.

    What Katrina did was to provide a test case for FEMA under Homeland Security to shake out the bugs in the militarization of America. It took Nazi Germany quite a few years to become a total fascist state. We are clearly into the second stage now.

    Just remember the words of Martin Niemoller:

    First they came for the Communists,
      and I didn't speak up,
        because I wasn't a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
      and I didn't speak up,
        because I wasn't a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
      and I didn't speak up,
        because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me,
      and by that time there was no one
        left to speak up for me.

    by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945  

    NeoLotus
    ---

    Making judgements without intellectual justification is prejudice. We do not act rightly because have virture, we have virtue because we act rightly.

    by NeoLotus on Wed Sep 07, 2005 at 12:15:20 AM PDT

  •  Aaron Broussard (none)
    This is damning. Those Gretna sheriffs who shot at the crowd were under his control. I know people have been painting him as a hero for slamming the feds, but someone needs to ask him about this. He was the one who sent those guards to prevent thousands from self-evacuating New Orleans. Bastard.

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC)

    by AWhitneyBrown on Wed Sep 07, 2005 at 06:26:51 AM PDT

  •  Please Help Bring Hope to Hurricane Survivors (none)
    We can hear more stories like this if we support indy radio efforts at the ASTRODOME------PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/9/7/91343/45834

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

    by jenhoward on Wed Sep 07, 2005 at 07:15:52 AM PDT

  •  These (none)
    people were rounded-up without any provisions made to either save or sustain life. They were taken to the Convention Center, where no facilities of any kind were available to them. No medical teams, no food, no water, no facilities for toilets, nothing for shock or trauma. What the devil went on here?
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