Skip to comments.New Orleans' sudden return to order
Posted on 09/06/2005 9:50:31 AM PDT by Graybeard58
After a week of lawlessness in the city, National Guard and police arrive in force, outnumbering remaining residents 10 to 1.
NEW ORLEANS - It wasn't exactly the cavalry that finally arrived. But for stranded French Quarter resident Joe Campiere, it was close enough.
After seven lawless days and nights following hurricane Katrina's punch to the nation's Gulf Coast, a time when exclusive Rue Dauphin in the French Quarter turned into an outlaw camp, Mr. Campiere called 911 - and finally got through.
Soon after, three Texas lawmen rode down Rue Dauphin on horseback to inspect a reported break-in, a sight that couldn't have been more welcome to Campiere, and one that signified the sudden, and perhaps belated, return of order to the Big Easy.
"I tell you, I've been terrified," he says, packing a holstered gun and wearing a Harley T-shirt. "I'm actually not a tough guy."
Days after officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said they had "turned the corner" in New Orleans, the Texas lawmen were the first Campiere had seen, even in this high-end corner of Louisiana's grande dame area. But they were not the last. Throughout the day, the city saw a second inundation: a steady stream of federal agents and troops from the 82nd Airborne rolled down Rue Dauphin, and soldiers and police from all over the country commenced block-by-block patrols.
As a crescent moon rose over the Crescent City Monday, New Orleans changed almost overnight from a lawless city to an occupied one, where police from New York City and Charleston, S.C., patrolled past broken-down and looted New Orleans police cruisers, and law officers outnumbered the remaining residents by 10 to 1.
It was clear that the rescue operation had taken precedence, but as more evacuees left their beloved city behind, the nature of the operation changed from the search for survivors to the first baby steps toward a return to normalcy for a darkened city.
"The greatness of our country is that we rebuild after tragedy, and we're here to make sure that can now start to happen," says Sgt. Leo Boeche, a member of a San Diego National Guard contingent that secured a section of Magazine Street on Monday.
Along Magazine Street, National Guardsmen picked through an already looted hardware store for supplies, after arriving in town "with only our backpacks," says Capt. Robert Atkinson. But even the requisitioning of goods from a private store by the Army is a sign of the change in the city, he says, noting the operation is inventoried and a check will be cut to the owner. "You're not going to see our soldiers coming out with big-screen TVs on their shoulders," Captain Atkinson says.
Spreading out into the city's densely vegetated and historic neighborhoods - from the Irish Channel to the Garden District, from the 9th Ward to the 17th, some underwater, some dry - perhaps as many as 20,000 law-enforcement officials patrolled the city by foot, van, boat, and horse. It was a far cry from just a few days earlier, when embattled and weary New Orleans police officers failed to control their city, often letting looters go, and becoming victims themselves, as communications systems failed and the command structure appeared to crumble.
Over the weekend, two New Orleans emergency officials committed suicide and a significant number turned in their resignations. So citizens who had weathered the storm had to weather a wave of looting and gunplay that hampered rescue efforts and put a further pall on an already unprecedented evacuation of a major American city.
But, under the command of Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, described by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin as a "John Wayne dude," New Orleans has now quickly become a city occupied by strangers, most of whom had no idea how to navigate the confusing geography. But they were learning fast.
If it was overkill, it was overdue, says air-conditioner repairman Patrick McCarthy.
On Magazine Street, in the Irish Channel part of town, Mr. McCarthy patrolled his street with a shopping cart full of hardware supplies, hammering shop doors shut. "I've got the wrong nails for the wrong job," he complained as he shuttered an open shop.
As he waited for backup, McCarthy chased away younger looters, but had to stand back when older ones, many armed, came through. They wrecked antiques stores and convenience stores, not just taking, but breaking.
"There are more people without a conscience than you like to think about," he says.
Only a moment after saying he had yet to see whether law-enforcement officials had taken control of the city, six black SUVs careened up the street, and a dozen stern FBI agents descended on three men on bicycles, securing the corner like a patrol in Baghdad. (The men were quickly let go, after one insisted, "I'm an accountant, not a looter!")
"OK, it seems they've arrived," McCarthy said.
In downtown New Orleans, at the LeDale Hotel, several men sat on the stoop, one of them making aluminum-can airplanes to sell at $5 a piece to the only tourists in town: cops and journalists.
With the absence of police, Vernell Lockett, a burly preacher, became the leader as he confronted looters and safeguarded the eight elderly men inside the hotel. "When you're happy and peaceful, you're OK," he says. "But I am glad the police are here to ship these [looters] to the zoo."
FEMA official Erik Larsen, commander of the airlift, says he had seen that New Orleanians had persevered, even as their city fell to unbound forces. "I'm amazed there weren't more sick and injured considering what hit this city," says Dr. Larsen.
Since last Monday, Campiere has sat up, gun by his side, listening to gunshots popping on his street, and the yelps and hollers of looters, all the while praying they would leave him and his wife, Lorri, alone.
But he says the patrols will have to keep up before he puts his gun aside and, for the first time since Katrina struck, tries to sleep through the night.
Can someone explain this to me....WHERE WERE THE LOOTERS TAKING STUFF TO? I mean, they were taking big screen TVs, right? BUT WHERE were they intending to put them? There was water all around....I'm confused...help me out!
I can't stand the President of Jackson Parish. Let's get on him. What exactly is the job of a "President" of a Parish? When the mandatory evacuation order came down, what did he do for his people. I wanna sock that guy in the mouth.
"So, the NOPD is made up of glorified bouncers?"
Bouncers with guns, yup.
A police force in name only. Better described and a syndicate operation.
Then, many lost their homes, some their families.
I am surprised they all didn't leave.
Without being able to pick up protection money, they had no real income beyond the puny policeman's pay.
True character is unmasked by adversity.
I understand they had a black flea market operation going on.
They were also stopping vehicles at lights and robbing the occupants.
Robbing your customers is not usually good for business.
The majority of N.O. are already in Texas.
But where were they even putting things down? I mean, you can't just carry a 200 pound tv around with you? What am I missing?
Watching this debacle in New Orleans and the decades of corruption and incompetence by Democrats may be the reason Bill Clinton did not criticize GW Bush. He knew New Orleans Croneyism, and corruption was a disaster waiting to happen. That the dependency culture and preoccupation that the Government would take care of you contributed to this tragedy as much as the levees giving way.
Destruction of the Family, removal of Fathers,a culture of entitlement and excuse of criminal misconduct and the thug culture has brought us the shame so evident in the Superdome and Convention Center. Extreme Poverty is no excuse as we have not seen this kind of behavior in Indonesia or Sri Lanka after the Tsunami last December 26th.
How dare the prejorative liar and corrupt incompetent Mayor Nagin blame his failures and that of his city on President Bush. FEMA was too slow to act. But you cannot tell me that the State of Louisana cannot have a Bond Election to raise the money to make the needed repairs or reenforcement? Sorry no pass from me. If the Feds will not do it stopping blaming them and take some ADULT RESPONSIBILITY for a change.
Democratic Liberal policy Laboratory for failure Detroit Michigan, 12000 abandoned homes and 45% Adult Illiteracy. Democratic Liberal policy Lab for failure in a Natural Disaster New Orleans. Were criminals are turned loose on the unarmed public by the Gun Control crowd. And 1000 out of 1500 of the Police are AWOL. Contrast the NYPD and FDNY with their counterparts in New Orleans. No Emergency plan implemented. After 911 no upgrade in communications.
No prepositioned emergency,rescue supplies, water filitration, fuel, or generators. No Fire Reserves, No Emergency Response plan practiced, command and control failure. No evacuation planning implemented. Failure, Failure, and more Failure by State and Local Officials.
Governor Blanco in a daze, crying, totally out to lunch and clueless on how to go forward. Next Door Gov. Hailey Barbour implemented his plans called up the guard, requested mutual aid, requested immediate Federal Assistance. Minimal looting.
So you have the usual Race Pimps, and Race Guilt Manipulators demanding more Government programs that created this mess in the first place. Brain Dead idiots without a clue playing the same broken record. Its Whitey's Fault. Who was in charge in New Orleans? My words to the Black Congressional Cacus STFU until you idiots can contribute something constructive to change the mess you helped to create in the first place.
Order has returned because the affirmative-acted-upon Mayor walked off the job and now outsiders are running the show.
Merge it with Mississippi. Problem solved.
Well, at least they can sleep in the boxes. :)
Another failed loser. And boy howdy, does he have some 'splainin' to do to the man upstairs!
Louisiana is our Quebec.
Excellent and correct summary!
No ... it's worse!
I have noted that we are not seeing NOPD hats and t-shirts like we used to se NYPD and NYFD items.
Coincidence? I think not.
Well, at least they do speak English in Louisiana.
LOL, good point.