Skip to comments.New Orleans in Anarchy With Fights, Rapes
Posted on 09/01/2005 5:57:30 PM PDT by Uncle Joe Cannon
New Orleans in Anarchy With Fights, Rapes
Friday September 2, 2005 12:46 AM
AP Photo MSDP112
By ALLEN G. BREED
Associated Press Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday, as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out and storm survivors battled for seats on the buses that would carry them away from the chaos. The tired and hungry seethed, saying they had been forsaken. ``This is a desperate SOS,'' mayor Ray Nagin said.
``We are out here like pure animals,'' the Rev. Issac Clark said outside the New Orleans Convention Center, where he and other evacuees had been waiting for buses for days amid the filth and the dead.
``I'm not sure I'm going to get out of here alive,'' said tourist Larry Mitzel of Saskatoon, Canada, who handed a reporter his business card in case he goes missing. ``I'm scared of riots. I'm scared of the locals. We might get caught in the crossfire.''
Four days after Hurricane Katrina roared in with a devastating blow that inflicted potentially thousands of deaths, the frustration, fear and anger mounted, despite the promise of 1,400 National Guardsmen a day to stop the looting, plans for a $10 billion recovery bill in Congress and a government relief effort President Bush called the biggest in U.S. history.
New Orleans' top emergency management official called that effort a ``national disgrace'' and questioned when reinforcements would actually reach the increasingly lawless city.
About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at New Orleans convention center grew increasingly hostile after waiting for buses for days amid the filth and the dead. Police Chief Eddie Compass said he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly driven back by an angry mob.
``We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten,'' Compass said. ``Tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon.''
A military helicopter tried to land at the convention center several times to drop off food and water. But the rushing crowd forced the choppers to back off. Troopers then tossed the supplies to the crowd from 10 feet off the ground and flew away.
In hopes of defusing the situation at the convention center, Mayor Ray Nagin gave the refugees permission to march across a bridge to the city's unflooded west bank for whatever relief they could find. But the bedlam made that difficult.
``This is a desperate SOS,'' Nagin said in a statement. ``Right now we are out of resources at the convention center and don't anticipate enough buses.''
At least seven bodies were scattered outside the convention center, a makeshift staging area for those rescued from rooftops, attics and highways. The sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement.
An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.
``I don't treat my dog like that,'' 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair.
``You can do everything for other countries, but you can't do nothing for your own people,'' he added. ``You can go overseas with the military, but you can't get them down here.''
The street outside the center, above the floodwaters, smelled of urine and feces, and was choked with dirty diapers, old bottles and garbage.
``They've been teasing us with buses for four days,'' Edwards said. ``They're telling us they're going to come get us one day, and then they don't show up.''
Every so often, an armored state police vehicle cruised in front of the convention center with four or five officers in riot gear with automatic weapons. But there was no sign of help from the National Guard.
At one point the crowd began to chant ``We want help! We want help!'' Later, a woman, screaming, went on the front steps of the convention center and led the crowd in reciting the 23rd Psalm, ``The Lord is my shepherd ...''
``We are out here like pure animals,'' the Issac Clark said.
``We've got people dying out here - two babies have died, a woman died, a man died,'' said Helen Cheek. ``We haven't had no food, we haven't had no water, we haven't had nothing. They just brought us here and dropped us.''
Tourist Debbie Durso of Washington, Mich., said she asked a police officer for assistance and his response was, ``'Go to hell - it's every man for himself.'''
``This is just insanity,'' she said. ``We have no food, no water ... all these trucks and buses go by and they do nothing but wave.''
At the hot and stinking Superdome, where 30,000 were being evacuated by bus to the Houston Astrodome, fistfights and fires erupted amid a seething sea of tense, suffering people who waited in a lines that stretched a half-mile to board yellow school buses.
After a traffic jam kept buses from arriving for nearly four hours, a near-riot broke out in the scramble to get on the buses that finally did show up, with a group of refugees breaking through a line of heavily armed National Guardsmen.
One military policeman was shot in the leg as he and a man scuffled for the MP's rifle, police Capt. Ernie Demmo said. The man was arrested.
Some of those among the mostly poor crowd had been in the dome for four days without air conditioning, working toilets or a place to bathe. An ambulance service airlifting the sick and injured out of the Superdome suspended flights as too dangerous after it was reported that a bullet was fired at a military helicopter.
``If they're just taking us anywhere, just anywhere, I say praise God,'' said refugee John Phillip. ``Nothing could be worse than what we've been through.''
By Thursday evening, 11 hours after the military began evacuating the Superdome, the arena held 10,000 more people than it did at dawn. National Guard Capt. John Pollard said evacuees from around the city poured into the Superdome and swelled the crowd to about 30,000 because they believed the arena was the best place to get a ride out of town.
As he watched a line snaking for blocks through ankle-deep waters, New Orleans' emergency operations chief Terry Ebbert blamed the inadequate response on the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
``This is not a FEMA operation. I haven't seen a single FEMA guy,'' he said. He added: ``We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans.''
FEMA officials said some operations had to be suspended in areas where gunfire has broken out.
A day after Nagin took 1,500 police officers off search-and-rescue duty to try to restore order in the streets, there were continued reports of looting, shootings, gunfire and carjackings - and not all the crimes were driven by greed.
When some hospitals try to airlift patients, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan said, ``there are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, `You better come get my family.'''
Outside a looted Rite-Aid drugstore, some people were anxious to show they needed what they were taking. A gray-haired man who would not give his name pulled up his T-shirt to show a surgery scar and explained that he needs pads for incontinence.
``I'm a Christian. I feel bad going in there,'' he said.
Earl Baker carried toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant. ``Look, I'm only getting necessities,'' he said. ``All of this is personal hygiene. I ain't getting nothing to get drunk or high with.''
While floodwaters in the city appeared to stabilize, efforts continued to plug three breaches that had opened up in the levee system that protects this below-sea-level city.
Helicopters dropped sandbags into the breach and pilings were being pounded into the mouth of the canal Thursday to close its connection to Lake Pontchartrain, state Transportation Secretary Johnny Bradberry said. He said contractors had completed building a rock road to let heavy equipment roll to the area by midnight.
The next step called for using about 250 concrete road barriers to seal the gap.
In Washington, the White House said Bush will tour the devastated Gulf Coast region on Friday and has asked his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Clinton to lead a private fund-raising campaign for victims.
The president urged a crackdown on the lawlessness.
``I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this - whether it be looting, or price gouging at the gasoline pump, or taking advantage of charitable giving or insurance fraud,'' Bush said. ``And I've made that clear to our attorney general. The citizens ought to be working together.''
Donald Dudley, a 55-year-old New Orleans seafood merchant, complained that when he and other hungry refugees broke into the kitchen of the convention center and tried to prepare food, the National Guard chased them away.
``They pulled guns and told us we had to leave that kitchen or they would blow our damn brains out,'' he said. ``We don't want their help. Give us some vehicles and we'll get ourselves out of here!''
I agree. Never rebuild this place.
LOL Well I can have it. They have already declared Marshall Law so it would be legal. These scum have forced what emergency personnel is available to pull of of search and rescue to attempt to provide security in what amounts to a swamp with buildings in it. Next the Nat. Guard will be pulled off of search and rescue and the levee repair missions to deal with it. There's no place to detain the goblins, not enough LEOs to chase them down and catch them if they did and darned scarce resources like boats, choppers etc. to chase them with. They have created anarchy they should pay the consesquences. I have no tears for them.
Could be time to declare NO an independent country with Jesse as Mystic Knight of the Sea for Life.
And Jesse Jackson says its being blown out of proportion...you have to understand these people haven't had any food or water, he says.
Which government did we topple in a "matter of days?"
Of course there are 365 days in a year ...
I'm disappointed that leaders have not publicly ordered "shoot to kill." I want to see the bodies of these animals in the streets of NO.
I'm sick of these "animal" references.
Do these people not have any dignity?
People go through fires, tragedies all the time and survive...are these people any different?
What am I not understanding here?
Also, do they not realize how to maintain order? Get that mayor into the "zone" and have him lead his people out. Someone needs to show a spine from within that victim camp and snap these people back to reality.
Maybe I've finally snapped?
QUESTION: Does anyone know if there's a reason that they haven'y sent in helicopters to the Superdome, if nothing else, just to drop food? I'm not understanding why they aren't sending stuff in. The tsunami victims were helped, so what's going on?
Its from London.
It still just breaks my heart. I've cried more in the last 24 hours (since my electricity came back) than since my mother died last year. I don't have any sympathy for the thugs, but there are so many helpless people there, too, and they are nothing but prey. I wish I could drive down there and help them get out.
W needs to impact like a hot kiss at the end of a wet fist.
This begs the question:
HOW MANY OF THE LOOTERS AND SHOOTERS AND RAPIST LEFT IN NEW ORLEANS ARE PEACELOVING MUSLIMS?
>>>Which government did we topple in a "matter of days?"
Uhhh, did you sleep through the Iraq war?
Where is Cindy Sheehan when they need her?
A gray-haired man who would not give his name pulled up his T-shirt to show a surgery scar and explained that he needs pads for incontinence. ``I'm a Christian. I feel bad going in there,'' he said.
Now that is heartbreaking. It's the people with consciences who are suffering.
OOOOOOOOoooooooohhh....I'm getting tingly!!
"all the familiar sounds and smells of Pig Night came rushing back like a ...."
In this case, as any other, the duty of protection falls to the individual. Always has, always will. The LEO's are only there for the reports and donuts. I have a great deal of respect for most LEO's, but self protection/preservation has always been a personal responsibility.
No sympathy at all for the tourists. New Orleans is NOT a nice place in the best of times but going there with a hurricaine on the way was the act of fools and fools suffer.
you can't rely on fema or the government or your neighbors or anybody else --- you've got to look out for number one --- waiting three days for a storm and not gathering at least a few days of water or saltines is silly --- while this is horrible, the lesson is clear --- there will be no cavalry coming to the rescue when tshtf....it's up to us
They should send Al $harpton there-his bulk could feed those folks for weeks if needed.
Probably only the prison variety
Islam is not to blame for those domestic animals.
Firesign Theater Artemis, old funny stuff, look it up.
I gotta say, I had the same reaction. Words mean NOTHING in such a situation. Where's the beef, so to speak?
I have sympathy for the victims. I have no sympathy for the perps. The latter should all die in that city.
I think he meant SOL (Sht Out of Luck).
First the storm. Now the aftermath. If we didn't have the media to overblow it all we wouldn't have any news. The help and cleanup will not come through media or government, but through citizens near and far who still know the difference between right and wrong.
Oh Lord. I knew it. As soon as today when it became to be a racial issue in the minds of some, you knew this would happen.
lived all over the world in hot spots
i was already a believer
i am abit surprised at the depravity in NOLA but not much
Nice neat summary, amen.
I was flamed on another thread for suggesting that the "leaders" should face summary execution for their dereliction of duties, Saying that was over the top and I apologize for that but they should be relieved of command immediately By not cracking down early when there was still hope to control it they have condemned thousands to vile violent deaths and a lot of good men will die trying to restore order.
my wife cried at that very old mulatto woman last nite in baton Rouge who was so happy to get a bed
and the little black girl with the dangerously ill 5 day old baby
or the old black man in Biloxi who lost his wife
it goes on and on.
there are tissues on our coffe table
I just try to stare ahead and be a man....it ain't easy.
The police need to deal with essential order of the evacuation. The Nat. Guard is doing great with search and rescue and emergency repairs. Security, which would allow the other emergency personnel to do their jobs unhindered, should be handled by the Marines. They can use air cover with Cobras (and C10's if they need them) and put some Marine boots on the ground in those areas where violence is occurring. Apart from securing food and water or another essential for survival looters and resisters should be treated like Al Queda. Drop 'em.
I don't know how people can read this and see this and say we're ready for a terrorist attack.
Someone needs to shake the cornstarch off their mukluks.
Think Bush isn't manly? What's he supposed to do? Shoot them himself? Try putting the blame where it belongs, noob, on the DEM mayor and govenor.
probably very similar to this.
Maybe thats so, but it was a local disgrace first. The first person to be called to account should be this ass-covering clown.
Looks like we're all bozo's on this bus
This is Mainstream Media Mass Murder pure and simple.
They know what is going on in New Orleans, they have hundreds of people in New Orleans, they are communicating better then the police and even know more of what is going on then the police do.
and yet they sit back and allow these stories to unfold for the sake of a good story.....
And they could save these people easily just tell them to walk west on I-10.
WALK WEST ON I-10
If they had started after the hurricane, most would be in Baton Rouge or on Buses to elsewhere, by now.
They could be taken care off along the route the further they get from New Orleans the safe they would be.
All they would have to do is walk west on I-10.
Instead the media is refusing to tell them what to do,
the media is living off their misery,
feeding off their suffering,
cashing in on their deaths
and exploiting their agony.
and It doesn't have to be that way.
Tell them to walk west on I-10 until they reach safety.
It will be there.
There is no reason for these people to stay in New Orleans,
the city needs to be fixed,
to be saved,
to be healed,
to be rebuilt,
The people of New Orleans need to save themselves first,
by walking west on I-10.
Leave the city that care forgot
behind for now.
Well gosh, after the NO Mayor, the LA Govenor, and at least one of the LA Sentors says that a little looting is ok or nothing to worry about, who could have seen this coming?
No. He should order it. But not personally, that's the job of the attorney general. The area is under marshall law now, as of yesterday I think, so the Gov. and mayor are about as important as Jesse Jackson now. They're out by default of having lost control.
""New Orleans' emergency operations chief Terry Ebbert"" is in Google from a couple of years ago when he got the job.
A few of the comments,
"Mr. Ebbert is responsible for all matters related to public safety," the mayor said.
"He is a true gentleman, extremely intelligent and probably one of the most perceptive individuals I know," local U.S. Attorney Jim Letten says. "I can't think of anybody who is more on the cutting edge of issues like crime enforcement and prevention -- and also national security."
Looks like he is in charge, not FEMA.
These people deserve help and if I could I'd be there in a minute to help them but they need to help themselves, if only by buoying their own spirits while they wait. All this incessant whining wins them no sympathy. I would even feel more if they begged and cried but this angry blame game just turns me off.
After 9/11 I was shocked and hurt but there has been no way to fathom the depth of this tragedy because of the news media. Its like they want us to despise the people or surely they could find someone who did or said something to touch your heart instead of that one last raw nerve.