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'Get Off The Fucking Freeway': The Sinking State Loots its Own Survivors
by Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky Tuesday, Sep. 06, 2005 at 11:13 PM

Two paramedics stranded in New Orleans in the wake of hurricane Katrina give their account of self-organisation and abandonment in the disaster zone

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 been 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.



Links

Jamie King 'The Real War of the Worlds'
http://jamie.com/archives/20

Jordan Flaherty 'Notes From Inside New Orleans'
http://linkme2.net5e

Xeni Jardin 'Al-Cajun? Army Times calls NOLA Katrina victims "the insurgency"'
http://linkme2.net/5f

add your comments


What in the world?
by Tabia Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 6:04 AM

I can't breathe!

- and I'm all the way in New York!

add your comments


to the authors of this article
by Silent Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 9:07 AM
silent_112@.lycos.com

I just copied this article and emailed it to NPR and to "comments@whitehouse.gov" ...As if they'll care. I don't know who to send it to...everyone needs to know what happened. Maybe some other news orginizations. Keep telling your story until someone who cares listens. Contact the local new in San antonio if that's where you are now. Tell them. I wish I knew better how to help.

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Don't stop telling this story
by Steve Kahlich Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 9:56 AM

To Larry and Lorrie,

Thank you for taking the time to tell your story. Why do we keep thinking our government is of the people, for the people? Oh yeah, because it's SUIPPOSED to be! Your witness to these atrocities will go a long way toward holding the authorities accountable (The police, Gretna sheriff department, National Guard and FEMA) for the shameful way they have dealt with this catastrophe, and hopefully - we have to hope! - avoid this sort of thing happening the next time, in New Orleans or anywhere else.

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Correct URL for Flaherty link.
by Aaron Aarons Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 11:35 AM
EatTheRich@aarons.fastmail.XX where XX=fm

Here's a correct and direct URL for Jordan Flaherty's 'Notes From Inside New Orleans':

http://info.interactivist.net/article.pl?sid=05/09/05/0030207

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Keep speaking out!
by cecile Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 11:38 AM
cebou7@voila.fr

Thanks for your testimony,

I was looking for it actually, I am french and what I saw on the news is that apparently foreign press..is kept away, I also saw an old black man who was going to be taken away by the police who turned to the camera and said in french I don't want to go with them they are sudist! I I thought what if those racist bastards were just going to get all these people killed, aren't they giving a hand to Katrina!!! Then I found your testimony! I am horrified, I want testimonies like this one to be told around the world!!! I want an end to hypocisy and manipulation of the truth by media and government!!! Please speak out I don't want to take any more shit from american media showing nice rich white people on one side and nasty poor black people that can be nothing but gangsters deserving to die!!!! How can people rejoiced of the death of people, is that christian from a country that presents itself as christian to the core!!!!! I say that this disasters is revealing the real United states of America in a way it is never shown, it's sick morality (hate of poor people, poverty seen like a disaese and contagious...) hypocrisy...
Please people speak out so that we can hear your cry and mourn with you!! I wish I could do more!

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I can't beleive this can happen to people that were looking for help
by llandry Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 11:38 AM
llandry@dalladisd.org 817-4813071 1040 Meadowbrook Dallas texas

I can't think of anything worst that could have happen too you people,they all should be fired all the police.

add your comments


Katrina
by Katrina Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 1:34 PM

I'm no fan of THE MAN, but come on... How slanted can you get?

add your comments


Future Looks Bleak
by American Patriot Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 2:38 PM

Bush has 3 vacations left...Will you and your family survive?

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if you've ever been down to New Orleans
by Sandy Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 5:09 PM

...and you go a few blocks outside of the french quarter......than you can surely see the segregation and racism that every American should be aware of, if not ashamed of.
Wake up!!
Don't be surprised.......this is nothing new.
If you dont raise your voice or do anything,
One day.........
it will happen to you.

add your comments


Keep on exposing
by Derek Mortimer Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 5:26 PM
d.tmort@optusnet.com.au

Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky have told a remarkable story. It confirms what a lot of people have been thinking,but not seeing in the media, that ordinary American people do not have the dog eat dog philosophy of their leaders. They cooperate, they help each other. In Australia, as no doubt in the rest of the world, we see mainly images of helpless poor blacks, poor blacks looting, poor black turning on each other, poor blacks being rescued by smart whites in authority, even if authority has been slow to react. This story shows that from the federal government, all the way down the line of command, it has not been just a question of incompetence, but outright hostility, hatred and fear of the poor.
This is the form of "democracy" Mr Bush and his cronies want to impose on the rest of the world. The compassion of millions is with those who are suffering at the hands of the natural catastrophy and their own leaders.
I and others will spread this story far and wide.

add your comments


Inside a FEMA Detention Camp
by Escape from FEMA Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 6:48 PM

Firsthand account from a FEMA detention center:
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/fema.html

Not looking good folks.

Google "Rex84," "Operation Garden Plot" for more details.

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this article originally posted to...
by linkmeister Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 9:36 PM

note: Bradshaw and Slonsky are paramedics frorm California that were attending the EMS conference in New Orleans. Larry Bradsahw is the chief shop steward, Paramedic Chapter, SEIU Local 790; and Lorrie Beth Slonsky is steward, Paramedic Chapter, SEIU Local 790.[California]

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ONLY GOD KNOWS THE TRUTH AND IT WILL BE REVEALVED SOON
by IVEY Thursday, Sep. 08, 2005 at 7:17 AM

OVLY GOD KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED THOSE DAYS AND NIGHTS, THE GOD THAT I SERVE IS NOT TO HAPPY WITH OUR REACTION. DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL OF ALL OF THIS. READ MATTHEW THE 25 CHAPTER. WHEN I WAS HUNGRY YOU FED ME NOT , WHEN I WAS THRISTY YOU GAVE ME NO DRINK. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO WROTE THE ARTICLE IF YOU WERE WACTHING LAST WEEK ON TV , TRUST ME GOD IS NOT PLEASED WITH THE RESPONSE, THAT THEY GAVE HIS PEOPLE. JUDGEMENT DAY IS COMING AND I HOPE THAT BUSH AND ALL HIS PEOPLE ARE READY. BECAUSE THEY WILL SEE IT AGAIN.

add your comments


Now I Understand
by SeeU2 Thursday, Sep. 08, 2005 at 9:47 AM

I wish you had said these two were SIEU propagandists in the beginning and I wouldn't have wasted my time reading their fantasy.

add your comments


You don't like paramedics?
by Will Thursday, Sep. 08, 2005 at 2:32 PM

You don't like paramedics? You feel that someone loses their creds if they join a union? What?

If you feel like putting the kids back in the coal mines, giving up the 8 hour day, then cool, lets blow off the unions

add your comments


So what if they're SEIU?
by Brian C. Thursday, Sep. 08, 2005 at 10:03 PM

Oh you are a bright one... SO WHAT if they're SEIU (or from California)? Will you only believe first-hand experiences from non-union people? And when you do, do you believe these non-union people blindly, the same way you assume other people believe these SEIU people? This is called "projection". Here's a hint: we don't all do what you do.

add your comments


America Leaders are a disgRACE
by Ashamed Friday, Sep. 09, 2005 at 4:37 AM

The Leaders of this county should be replaced. How they could let something like this happend is unreal. If this would of been Texas things would never have gotten out of hand like New Orleans. The Leader is not for the people of this county he only for himself.

add your comments


Straight-talk...reader beware
by bipartisan Friday, Sep. 09, 2005 at 11:43 AM

A few comments:
I believe this story is a conglomeration of several stories. The timelines do not allow such a slurry of activity, and the number of people involved keeps changing from "several hundred" to "200" then to "90". Seems too inconsistent or inaccurate to be a single eyewitness account.

Secondly, I agree with the comment of these two authors being SEIU members and that discredits their story. My wife is a "forced" member of SEIU (by nature of her affiliation with a unionized hospital) and this union is anti-Bush all the way. I find it comical that they claim that everything is aimed against them, when the reality is that the world is just going on around them, doing what it has done for eons. The can warp any situation into a "look what they are doing to us now!" mentality. I am ashamed that our working class has become nothing more than a group of snibbling victims in life. Where is the pride and the ownership attitude of yesteryear? I suggest they, and other such groups, stop being antagonists of every administration in office and return to their real duty and purpose which is to be advocates of their constituents. What they have become is an organized group of anarchists.

Thirdly, the media is on a course of governmental hatred and witch-hunting. They are in control of what we see and hear and they have shrugged off their responsibility and completely abused their rights as journalists. The whole lot of them are nothing more than a bunch of sensationalist Jerry Springers lately.

Finally, the fact is, the national gaurd was in the city of New Orleans within 24 hours of the hurricane making landfall in the area. They weren't there in great numbers yet, but their presence was undeniably there. Same with the Coast Gaurd. The media does not mention this because it does not promote their agenda.

One more thing on the whole God thing: don't ever, ever try to pin ANY natural disaster and aftermath like this on any person on this earth. To do so would be blasphame. God created this hurricane and takes full responsibility for it and it's aftermath. To take that control and responsibility away from Him and assign it to a mere man or woman is simply foolish and immature to do.

add your comments


Mr.
by Philip Lindsey Friday, Sep. 09, 2005 at 1:47 PM
galloglas@pars.net 816-350-7685 16707 E. Larkspur Lane, Apt #1

Bipartisan?? Or "Buy Partisan"

You say "One more thing on the whole God thing: don't ever, ever try to pin ANY natural disaster and aftermath like this on any person on this earth. To do so would be blasphame."

I say "Great. Then God authored the great Holocaust in Germany then?"

Bush and Hitler are just the Diety's tools, huh?

add your comments


Miss
by Brenda Friday, Sep. 09, 2005 at 2:06 PM
bmeskunas@aol.com

I so love reading a good dose of hypocrisy, so there's nothing quite so amusing to me today as to see someone responding to this horrific article by whining, once again, it's all about Bush-bashing.

Memo to Bush fans: Is it inconceivable to you, utterly inconceivable, that this man and his administration are capable of making some pretty horrific mistakes? Or are you so fanatical you can't see the constant blundering that's been going on in New Orleans ever since the first hurricane warning was posted?

Makes my head spin to think how fast you'd be lynching our old buddy Bill if he were still running this show.

Face it. Incompetent government has been exposed at every level during this disaster, and who gets the blame? The one sitting atop the pyramid, friend. It's ALWAYS been that way. It's called "accountability." Comes with the job, the prestige and the paycheck.

So, on behalf of realists everywhere, knock off the whining. George has finally exposed himself to be something sixty million homophobic voters refused to see: a weak, clueless figurehead with no earthly idea what's happening up and down his chain of command. I just wonder how many more people have to die before we get this idiot out of office and hand the job over to someone who might be more qualified to make something resembling a good decision on behalf of our nation's security?

But then we'd have Cheney.

Woops. Never mind.

add your comments


Everybody Wake Up!
by Pam Friday, Sep. 09, 2005 at 6:27 PM

I don't know if this is all a true story, but it stirred up mixed emotions in me. One thing I do know is true.
We are living in a time that alot of people heard about as kids growing up"The End of Time". No one believes
this of course.There is going to be worse things to come,and we haven't seen the half of it yet.
God is pouring his wrath out on those who keep rejecting him. There's good people and bad people in every race,eveywhere no matter what color the skin or where your from, our blood runs red. Just remember
Jesus loves the little children red and yellow black and white, they are precious in his sight. He said,
he wouldn't put any more on us than what we could bare,
If these things did occurred God Knows.He'll take of it. Open your eyes look around where you live, wake up, God is watching everything.

add your comments


Sorry to tell you this, but...
by mary Friday, Sep. 09, 2005 at 8:32 PM

THERE IS NO GOD. "He" is just a comfortable idea that you cling to and plug in to any situation that you/society can't explain, or justify, or cope with so that you don't go crazy. (oh, and if you believe in him hard enough you don't have to think about the finality of your inevitable death- that's an added bonus)
Get over it!! You have a brain, right? Try using it once and a while, before it rots.

add your comments


Disgusting and inspiring
by Debbie Russell Friday, Sep. 09, 2005 at 11:20 PM
debmocracy@yahoo.com

This tale confirms our worst fears, while solidifying our greatest hopes: "cooperation, community, and creativity flowered."

Let's hear it for the people who default to humanity when authorities and bureacracy fall into chaos!

add your comments


Shane
by Shane Saturday, Sep. 10, 2005 at 4:04 AM
Australia

If this is how the American military and law enforcement treat its own people ---- now wonder we end up with Abu Ghraib. Suddenly, a whole lot of atrocity accounts from Iraq, Guantanamo, Afghanistan and elsewhere seem horribly plausible. Very Sad.

add your comments


Please stop with the "GOD" stuff
by silent Saturday, Sep. 10, 2005 at 8:06 AM


I try to think of these people who say "God was punishing New Orleans for her 'sins' and this country has to repent,etc. like they're stupid mean little children-But sometimes it's just too cruel to tolerate-
I'm not interested in any 'god' that would cause anything like this. Even I wouldn't do something like this to any one and I'm not better than God so I know God didn't do this...it was a huge accident,an act of nature-complicated by human indifference. God didn't like the people who lived better than he does the people who died in this disaster...That book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" should be required reading in these arrogant self rightous smug 'churches'. Things are just so very bad already...don't add to that with all the "God" stuff, please.(and, yes I know bush is one of them...the so very un-Christ-like 'Christians'...he's like' yahoo, just can't wait until the world ends' ....scary crazy people)

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sorry you did not realise!
by shanti Saturday, Sep. 10, 2005 at 12:38 PM
cebou7@voila.fr

You still doubted the good work of American army throughout history?!!! They did and carry on commiting atrocities using simplistic pretextes! Look communist rebellion we had to smash them!!! and so on...some wars or bombs sent just for the sake of testing them ie: Panama, Iroshima (stop the war, my ass the war was already ended but they could not wait to try the bomb and what better way to assert America's power in the world's face...)

add your comments


shocked
by A. de Vinck Saturday, Sep. 10, 2005 at 2:42 PM
Lille, France

I write to you from France. I think this article give a better idea of what happened (still happens ?) than any tv report. I must say that I am deeply shoked by the inhuman way the survivors have been treated (and probably "are still treated"). It sounds like a war situation ! Your are victims twice : from the hurricane and from members of diverse authorities who should be normally protecting people. I wish luck and consolation to all survivors and all people who help them. Your solidarity will help you to rebuild your lifes and your cities (this solidarity that the State fail to embody)

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exploitation and exaggeration
by quiet1 Saturday, Sep. 10, 2005 at 4:31 PM

The holocaust cannot be compared to a hurricane: one was man-made, the other nature-made.

Maybe God is going to toughen us up with this experience, make us look at things that are wrong with our part of the world and beyond, and change them for the better.

I was suspicious of this article as I read it. It doesn't reflect what I'm hearing from evacuees here in Baton Rouge. If there's one thing very apparent in this whole awful experience, it's the sensationalism and exaggeration of some who want to create even more dissension among the races and the parties.

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freedom is free from the need to be free
by anita durakovich Saturday, Sep. 10, 2005 at 8:42 PM
anitadh@charter.net 154 mary st, reno NV

enough has not been said about "cooperation, community, and flowering creativity". this catastrophic event has caused a small group in my town to organize for a next possible natural disaster. clearly we cannot rely on the government. which is the reason we believe in "for the people and by the people". underlying this article is a cry for people to unite and become self- sufficient.

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Where are the photos???
by bos Sunday, Sep. 11, 2005 at 4:54 AM

Where are the photos of police/troops shooting over the heads of people trying to get help? Where are the photos of the Superdome padlocked closed or the troops keeping people inside the Superdome and unable to leave? Where are the hardcore photos (not bodies, but of the police state tactics)???????

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"clearly we cannot rely on the government."
by organizing our own survival Sunday, Sep. 11, 2005 at 10:04 AM

See:

http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2005/09/1719139_comment.php#1719142

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You don't need Money - you need to Die .
by I'm down to my last bean , Sunday, Sep. 11, 2005 at 4:51 PM

There you go - if you can't buy it - then Fuck you .

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So your solution was to break the law...
by just a guy Monday, Sep. 12, 2005 at 3:16 AM

and you wonder why Law Enforcement didn't want to see you?

Do you think the people you STOLE water from didn't need it? Did you think the people you STOLE food from didn't need it?

There's a word for people like you...it's "Felon".

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National Public Radio (NPR) covered THIS story!!
by Silent Monday, Sep. 12, 2005 at 7:31 AM
silent_112@lycos.com

When I first read this article I was so angry I copied it and emailed it to the white house and to NPR....and on Sunday "This American Life" on NPR covered this very story....they were actually in touch with the people it happened to...more than one. Maybe it's possible to find the audio online at NPR still- I don't know. They talked to several survivors from New Orleans including these paramedics. I'm not saying it was because I sent it ..in fact I actually emailed it to a different program I think...but at least someone with real connections found the story and it ran on NPR so many, many more people have heard what happened-I'm so glad- I hope the Gretna police and FEMA and everyone responsible for this, high and low, suffer consequences personally,because of their actions during this event. And also maybe some of the writers here like 'bipartisan' ,'Brenda', 'Pam' and 'seeu2' can find the program to listen to and reconsider whether it's true or not.

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in retrospect
by Democrat Hard-liner Monday, Sep. 12, 2005 at 9:29 AM

I must confess, as a die-hard democrat all my life, that I am glad that Bush is in office. I honestly don't believe if John Kerry were in office right now, that he would be able to manage this ordeal any better than George W. I believe George has been more adequately prepared for events such as this with 9/11 and the Iraq war. He is handling the situation with a calm, "let's get this done" attitude. Kerry would be frantic and overstressed to the point of hopelessness by now.

While I don't like Bush or agree with all of his policies, he is presiding over some very difficult times indeed. He will likely go down in the history books with the likes of Lincoln, FDR, and Truman. Like them, he was forced to make unpopular decisions that the people by and large were either un-informed about or too naive to understand the full consequences of the decisions.

Hail to the Chief, until we get a new one!

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To Democrat Hard-liner
by Lesley Monday, Sep. 12, 2005 at 11:22 PM
grumples@gmail.com

Why don't you just admit what you are instead of transparently pretending that you're a democrat? Why misrepresent yourself...? Seems to me all you Bush lovers are wilfully misinformed (too LAZY to read a newspaper), frequently illiterate, inarticulate, and somewhat pathological (i.e. you think nothing of lying, and if you're Christian, what does your bible say about that?).

The Bush Whitehouse is about as friendly to the American people as the Taliban was to Afghanistans. Bush could be charged with treason for what he's done. I hope this sinks the jackass and prevents the rest of the Bush clan from running for office.

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Agreed
by John Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2005 at 6:59 AM

I agree with what Democrat said. I too am a democrat, and hate Bush for what he has done. But Kerry would not have been prepared to handle something like this. Personally, I think our party made a huge error in putting somebody like Sen John Kerry up for election. He is just as Left as Bush is Right. What would have made the election is someone who was a little more mainstream. The general public is more neutral and middle-of-the-road. A more neutral candidate would have taken votes from both sides. I'm just thankful that every four years we get a clean slate in the office.

But to stay on topic, I think this article is based in part on truth and represents more than one person's account. I smell a made-for-TV movie plot here, and I'll bet these two authors will claim the rights to it. Let me say this, any profiteering from this disaster by Hollywood and the like better be contributed to the victims 100%. But you know it won't be...

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To leslie/Grumples:
by just some guy Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2005 at 4:39 PM

Why do you hate America?

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Why do you hate America?
by born here Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2005 at 1:29 AM

It was built by slaves on stolen land.

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Katrina. Co-ordinated by General Dreedle and delivered by Milo Minderbinder?
by Dinlochavo Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2005 at 1:59 AM

There was only one catch - and that was Catch 22.

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Why do you hate America?
by anarchist Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2005 at 8:16 AM

It's a nation state. They *all* suck. Down with countries, up with people.

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It was built by slaves on stolen land
by Realist Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2005 at 10:00 AM

That statement is so generic it could apply to just about any great structure/culture in the world.

Listen here, go outside your nice cushy home right now and give the title of your property to the first Native American you come across. Take all the money you have in your checking account and donate it to the United Negro Fund. If you aren't willing to do this, pack up your hypocritical attitude and move out of this country.

I'm not defending the actions taken throughout history, but I am defending this country's greatness from the likes of you. You're like those stupid animal rights activists who write the propoganda crap all over the sidewalk with chalk containing animal byproducts! Hello?! Ever hear of understanding an issue before committing your mouth to it?

Why don't you shut up and let the smart people talk for a change?

By the way, my best friend is from the Ivory Coast. His family benefitted more from the sale of interior African slaves 200 years ago than any white American who bought them at the time. So I guess in your search for a suitable country to sit your self-righteous butt down, that rules out most of Africa! Why don't you try the moon?

Oh, and about the whole Native American thing, the Nation I claim 25% blood to damn near wiped out our nearest neighboring tribe. Not one of my proudest heritage moments, but you get the idea.

I'll leave you with one final thought: Ever been to Hawaii? Don't go. Weikiki was once occupied by native Oahu peoples. King Kamehameha came from another one of the islands to conquer them. He drove over 400 Oahu warriors up the side of the mountain and forced them off the cliffs on the other side. The survivors became slaves. Now Weikiki is the most popular vacation spot on the islands. But not for you. Your self-righteousness won't allow you to partake in the spoils of land theivery and slavery, right? And don't even consider going to see the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Babylonian gardens, the Aztec or Mayan ruins, or any historical features in Europe! All structures brought to you by slave labor. Probably stolen land at some point in history too I might add.

Stop punishing the present for acts in the distant past!!

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Down with nationalism
by anarchist Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2005 at 3:40 PM

>That statement is so generic it could apply to just about any great structure/culture in the world.

That doesn't make it right.



>Listen here, go outside your nice cushy home right now . . . (etc.)

You make unwarranted assumptions. My home is not cushy, far from it. I own title to no land. All the money in my checking account today wouldn't fill the tank of your car. Oh, and by the way, I don't own a car, either.

I don't live in New Orleans, but if I did, I'm exactly the kind of person whom the government would have left behind to die, because to America, my life is worth nothing.

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I'm sorry Anarchist
by Reality Bites Thursday, Sep. 15, 2005 at 7:33 AM

Friend, I'm sorry.
Sometimes things get carried away and tensions run high. I made some bad assumptions and ran with them.

I wish that everyone could just get along, have respect for each other, and love thy country and be proud to be Americans again. It seems that everything these days gets in the way of that. These are troubling times and everyone's got a beef.

Truth be told, my wife is part Cherokee. I'm whiter than a white-washed tomb! The Cherokee's did kick some real ass back in the day though...Unfortunately they have no casino money that we could cash in on...so I work for a living!

Getting back on topic, I'm not so concerned with exacting revenge on people who may be responsible for slow response in New Orleans and punishing them. I am more interested in getting things straightened out down there and then fixing the "system" so it can respond better next time. I see they have already deployed 500 Guardsmen (and women) to North Carolina for their Hurricane landfall. That is called progress and learning from one's mistakes. It is also an indicator that the fed has good intentions, not evil ones like alot of people here think.

People need to understand that just because they hate our current president, the newly elected president just brings along his cabinet. The rest of the government (military leaders, legislation, human services, etc.) are the same ones that have been in place sometimes for decades. If the ship sucks, it's not always the captain's fault in other words. True, the captain goes down with the ship, but I don't think things are quite that dire. Do you? I mean the economy is rebounding, unemployment is down, the terrorists are mostly contained (containment is really the only solution to terrorism, it can't be completely defeated), Iraq is free and re-building their society, nuclear proliferation is under control, China is being kept 'friendly' for the moment, the Germany's have reunited and haven't tried to take over the world yet, and we still have free elections. Life is good overall I'd say.

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apology accepted
by anarchist Thursday, Sep. 15, 2005 at 9:19 AM

I can't take pride in where I was born, just because I was born here. It was purely the luck of the draw. I could have just as easily have been born in Brazil, Sudan or the Maldives.

I'm not proud of the American way of life. I'm ashamed. We value property more than people. That's just plain wrong. We suck on the neck of the world. Six percent of the planet's population uses forty, some say sixty, percent of the available energy. We live in unspeakable luxury while thirty to forty thousand people a day die of starvation, almost all of them children. Even our poor live well by world standards. I'm only a couple notches up from the bottom, but I have running water that I can drink without getting sick. I eat every day. I have electricity 24/7. I have a telephone. I even have a computer. Who pays for all this luxury? The Third World. They live in wretched poverty so that we can live high off the hog on their resources and the fruits of their labor. They are only going to stand for it for so long. Then America's bill will come due. We're living on credit. It's simply not sustainable.

Our wealth is totally brittle. Most Americans are in debt up to their chins and two paychecks from bankruptcy. Our economy is a daisy chain of IOUs. Just wait till the economic ripple effects of Katrina spread out. We're in for a *big* shock.

I'm against America because I'm against all countries. I'm against the very idea of countries. There's plenty worse countries than America, but they're all a bad idea. Countries just glorified corrals. To the global elite, we are nothing but livestock. Capital knows no borders. Labor is locked into countries. Cui bono?

There are no national solutions for global problems. We need to unite as a species, and face our problems together. If we don't do it soon, it will be too late for all of us.

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in that case...
by just some guy Thursday, Sep. 15, 2005 at 10:17 AM

you should pick the third world hellhole of your choice, move there, and suffer in solidarity with the poor bastards that already live there. I'm sure you can find one of them to exchange places with you.

Your obvious self-loathing is a sign of mental illness, nothing more.

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"mental illness"
by debate coach Thursday, Sep. 15, 2005 at 5:01 PM

An ad hominem is not a rebuttal.

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it wasn't a rebuttal....
by just some guy Thursday, Sep. 15, 2005 at 10:05 PM

it was an ad hoc diagnosis.

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"it wasn't a rebuttal...."
by you got that right Thursday, Sep. 15, 2005 at 11:38 PM

It certainly was not. Does this mean you *have* no rebuttal?

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NPR hosts letter writers
by R Johnson - Mission KS Sunday, Sep. 18, 2005 at 7:52 PM
henrysbowl@hotmail.com

Glad that NPR picked up the story and aired it
Friday - 9-16-05
Obviously they do listen over there.

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mr
by me Friday, Dec. 02, 2005 at 10:34 AM
none@no.com 8888888888 none,al

If the West Bank didn't want to become New Orleans then a few of the Army's new sulfur bombs could have cleared the West Bank - kind of a Baghdad type place. I bet they would have spilled their martinias trying to avoid the bombs. We did have a use for our Army( Air Force) we just didn't think fast enough. Clear a path through whatever town was in the way and the "superdome " mess would never have happened. Lynching the cops on the bridge ( lynch is too harsh - summary execution sounds better ) would have been a start to a "NEW SOUTH".

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my story
by mal Friday, Dec. 09, 2005 at 8:37 AM
aol@jazz 281484 23425 back

that was mess up main let me tell you the real story .we were about to leave but the person left us .sowe were left to face katrina .so we went were any black person would go. to the projects the bricks. were we thought it was safe to go so.it stated out like any other day sunny and very hot the storm was post to come late that night but we did not care much cause every time it comes it misses us so we thought it was all right .so as the day went by it rain a very little bit and i mean a lil bit then i hear a boom that was the wind pushing on the windows.after a while the power went out the waterwas still on for a little while so it was the next day the storm was all most gone the water was not in the houses yet .the wind was blowing so hard that you could see it coming it was like a speeding bomarang .my friend thought it was a joke as all of us stand in the door as i look at them play and swim in it my best friend was lumping down the steps when here come a big blow of wind blow him off the steps then made him hit his ribs on a iron pole later he was all right so it was getting night the water was all in the houses and not stoping sowe had to swim to the other side cause we right by the buyou and the side had thrid floor to go on my mom and ant was to afirad cause of the kids so i got my sister and told them to go up the steps we went to see if a friend was home with third

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