Skip to comments.In Nursing Home, a Fight Lost to Rising Waters (Broussard less than truthful on Meet The Press)
Posted on 09/10/2005 7:25:02 AM PDT by jrusty101Edited on 09/11/2005 5:24:32 PM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
St. Bernard Parish officials say that 32 of the home's roughly 60 residents died on Aug. 29, more than a week ago.
"..And finally, on the question I raised a few days ago about Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussards tearful story about his emergency managers mother drowning in a St. Bernard nursing home, I think the evidence shows pretty clearly that Broussard was embellishing the story. Readers helpfully pointed me to the following news accounts:
New York Times: In nursing home, a fight lost to rising waters.
Newsday: Desperately seeking survivors.
MSNBC: This anger comes from watching death.
From the MSNBC item:
The man he was talking about is Thomas Rodrigue, who told Dateline that his 92-year-old mother was one of 32 elderly people found dead at the St. Ritas nursing home.
"..The man he was talking about is Thomas Rodrigue, who told Dateline that his 92-year-old mother was one of 32 elderly people found dead at the St. Ritas nursing home..."
But the 32 people who died at St. Ritas nursing home didnt die on Friday; they died earlier in the week, when the floodwaters first inundated the low-lying facility. Rather than being attributable to the federal authorities slow response (which was pretty much the point of Broussards version of the story), the death of those senior citizens was more the fault of local authorities (who failed to evacuate them) than of federal officials (who wouldnt have been there in time to rescue them under the best of circumstances).
So, assuming the MSNBC story is accurate, Broussards story was at least significantly embellished. The tear-jerking account of the repeated calls to momma were fictional (or at least were displaced from their actual time of occurrence, which would have to have been before or during the storm, not during the several days afterward when FEMA was MIA). And if that part was fiction, it would mean that Broussard, for all the apparent sincerity in his emotional on-air breakdown, was willing to lie in order to make his story work better as political theater, which in turn makes it harder for me to credit the rest of the slow-FEMA-response anecdotes he described .."
Rodrigue did make multiple calls to the nursing home to check on evacuation progress and to the local authorities to try to get the home evacuated prior to the storm.
Rodrigue is on record as saying he heard nothing about his mother and the nursing home until four days after Katrina, when his son found the names of those evacuated from St. Rita's listed on the Internet.
At the link above, he also describes in more detail his conversations with St. Rita's staff and local authorities. (registration is required, you can bybass at bugmenot.com)
All those who perished by drowning at St. Rita's died on the 29th in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, when waters rose precipitously in a very short period of time - and hour to a half-hour. Frantic evacuation efforts began when the water started to rise, but they were unable to get everyone out in time. A harrowing account of this evacuation was published by USA Today.
Thanks for posting this:
'They won't listen'
"..Rodrigue last saw his mother the Wednesday before Hurricane Katrina. He brought her tissues and cold cream and sat on her bed in Room 406B to talk.
He visited her at the nursing home once or twice a week. She preferred that he, instead of the staff, wash her clothes. He clipped her nails.
"When my dad passed away he made me make a promise I'd take care of my mother. And I lived up to that promise for almost 30 years."
After the last visit, Rodrigue left town on business but was called back for an urgent 6 a.m. meeting the Saturday before the hurricane. Katrina was tracking toward New Orleans.
Rodrigue, unable to leave his post at the emergency command center, broke away from his intense activities to call the nursing home, which is 35 miles away on the other side of New Orleans in St. Bernard Parish.
Here's how he recalls that first call.
Rodrigue: "When are y'all leaving?"
Staffer: "We're not going to evacuate."
Rodrigue: "You realize this could be a Category 5 hurricane?"
Staffer: "We've got a generator."
Rodrigue immediately called his counterpart, the emergency coordinator for St. Bernard Parish.
"I said, 'Larry, what's going on with St. Bernard?'
"He said, 'Don't worry. St. Bernard is going to call for a mandatory evacuation. They're going to have to leave.' "
Sunday was more hectic for Rodrigue at the emergency operations center, but he called the nursing home about 5:30 p.m. to be sure it evacuated.
"Some fella answered and I said, 'You mean to tell me you are still there?'
"He says, 'We were going to evacuate, but we decided if we did half the people are going to die.'
"I said, 'Do you understand how idiotic that statement is? You telling me the other half are going to die because you think half are going to die?' "
So Rodrigue called his counterpart in St. Bernard Parish again.
"I said, 'You realize St. Rita's has not evacuated.'
"He said, 'I told them to leave and they won't listen to me.'
"I said, 'Send the sheriff to make them leave.'
"He said, 'Man, nobody listens to me.'
"The last word he said to me was, 'Sue the -- out of them.' I just sat here with a hopeless feeling."
Rodrigue heard nothing about his mother and the nursing home until four days after Katrina, when his son found the names of those evacuated from St. Rita's listed on the Internet. Her name wasn't on it. .."
This, and all other accounts of Rodrigue's contacts with and about his mom, are at odds with what Broussard said on Meet the Press and FEMA had nothing to do with what happened to her.
MSM is not picking the Broussard angle up and I don't think they will, but what the disclosures have done is prevent exploiters of Broussard's lies to bring Broussard forward now as much as they would have. I expect they will wait a while. Expect to see Broussard at a Senate hearing.
The ORIGINAL Discussion from that day (with streaming video of it)
I'm Glad Drudge put up what he did, although the MSNBC piece is spin loaded, it should raise skepicism in all but the most gullible readers.
Also, the Chicago Tribune mentions the MSNBC piece that show the incident did not happen as Broussard described.
Rebroadcast of Meet the Press Coming up on MSNBC, 9:00 PM EST.
Correction 10:00 pm EST.