Skip to comments.Raped and Murdered Child In Superdome: What Other Lies Did The Media Tell?
Posted on 08/27/2006 1:18:19 PM PDT by Doctor Raoul
Since the media has planned an orgy of finger pointed for the anniversary of Katrina, let's make sure they get a finger in the eye they so richly deserve for their performance. Here's a few I recall, and I'm sure there are more: Photo captions had white survivors foraging for supplies, while black people were captioned as looting. Helicopters were being fired at, which led to a stand down till it became clear that it was untrue. All those lives lost during that interval are due to media neglagence and the blood of those victims is on the media's hands. Please feel free to forward the results to local or national talk radio so their sorry reporting is not white washed.
The media told us of a little girl who had been rapoed and then her throat slit in the Superdome.
Here's a few I recall, and I'm sure there are more:
Photo captions had white survivors foraging for supplies, while black people were captioned as looting.
Helicopters were being fired at, which led to a stand down till it became clear that it was untrue. All those lives lost during that interval are due to media neglagence and the blood of those victims is on the media's hands.
Please feel free to forward the results to local or national talk radio so their sorry reporting is not white washed.
LoL.. Barber said "I don't know, Lousiana has been given twice as much money by the feds as Miss. has"... Was waiting for him to say "Where has all that money gone?"... LoL..
Schieffer would have spiked the comment anyway... What a nefarious character Schieffer is..
We were hit twice in three weeks and the Rita impact area is recovering quite nicely. People seem to forget that.
That one was particularly hilarious.
I remember a TV interview within the first week with some NOLA people sitting in a parking lot in Houston (maybe the Astrodome?). The reporter was attempting to lead them into slamming Bush, and they jumped in on slamming Nagin and Blanco, mentioning the non-use of the NOLA buses, and then talked about the Fed help they had gotten.
It was great!
the buses is what I remember. watching as the NORTA vehicles sat mostly unused, discussing with KJ off-site about how long it would take to evacuate that many people with just the NORTA vehicles, and usmcobra and i looking at over-head pics, trying to find where the buses were kept during the storm.
contrast that with the Galveston evacuation with schoolbuses, there is a picture out there of the line of buses, where you can see the last schoolbus is empty and what looks to be the shoptruck is following along, in case one of the vehicles breaks down.
Let dem touch dose tings for once.
I am SICK of all the media and the Katrina crap I'm hearing this yr. I AM NOT INTERESTED IN HEARING ANOTHER THING ABOUT IT...WHO CARES!!!!
That is the first time I ever heard that. I never did hear the Mayor say why he did not use the buses.
I never said Houston was crime free, but it certainly wasnt as bad.
Say hello!to the Houston crimes spike threads, my guess is you dont live there so you can easily afford denial.
What bothers me more is that some FReepers, because some of the media stories were false, tend to think they all were.
I think its somewhere in the middle of both extremes, and wont forget how human nature can go real good or real bad fast in such situations. Katrina had both kinds.
Some of the good people in LA cant take comments about their criminals without realizing they arent being talked about, their criminals are.
The main probalem I have looking back is that Texas got dumped on, my state was preyed on by criminals
who we tried to help.
When they should have never been alowed to cross the state line without verifying they arent thugs.
Texas had enough of its own criminals.
Some werent criminals or welfare leeches, to them I say welcome to Texas.
To the others, I say go %&$#*&# home.
There was some story about missing Cadillacs also.
Statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals suggest that fewer than half of the victims of Hurricane Katrina were black, and that whites died at the highest rate of all races in New Orleans.
Damu Smith, founder of the National Black Environmental Justice Network, in September said that the federal government "ignored us, they forgot about us ... because we look like we look."
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in October said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency wasn't fit to help the storm's victims because "there are not enough blacks high up in FEMA" and added that, "certainly the Red Cross is the same."
Rapper Kanye West used his time on NBC's telethon for the hurricane victims to charge that, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
When I saw this thread I remembered that I still had this compilation of news stories sitting in my Outlook Express drafts, dated 09/27/2005. These are all taken from online news sites. I haven't checked to see if any of the links included are still valid, and only post now as a historical record of what the US and international media was actually reporting at the time.
In a brief telephone call, John told his father, businessman Peter McNeil, of chaos and lawlessness in the Superdome, where more than 20,000 refugees sought shelter after the hurricane.
"He saw murders, stabbings and rapes in there," Mr McNeil said.
Mr McNeil said about 100 military personnel and police in the dome were struggling to cope with the huge crowd.
"It was just getting worse by the hour and there were gangs in there who were killing each other," he said.
"One New Orleans police officer wept as he described seeing bodies riddled with bullets, and the top of one man's head shot off.
He said some looters were armed with AK-47 rifles, and compared the situation with Somalia, with police outnumbered and outgunned by gangs in trucks . . .
"An effort to remove patients and staff from Charity Hospital, in the city centre, was suspended after it came under sniper fire . . .
"'It's a war-zone, and they're not treating it like one,' he said, referring to the federal government . . .
Gunmen continued to fire on troops and rescue helicopters, and police officials said that many officers had stopped reporting for duty, cutting manpower by 20 per cent."
Geraldo also said there are couple of dead bodies lying outside the convention center. One man shot in the head for trying to attack another person with scissors, and another stopped from trying to rape a 13 year old girl. (from FR thread)
AUSTRALIANS trapped in flood-ravaged New Orleans are in fear of their lives as the city descends into lawlessness. Violence and racist behaviour had forced the group, including about 10 Australians, to take refuge in a hotel lobby after seeing people raped and murdered, he said.
"The violence there is escalating. There are shootings they've now got three dead bodies at the bottom of the stairwell where they are," their daughter Kelly-Rae Smith told ABC radio.
Survivors' fury at relief efforts
NEWS.com.au, Australia -
... through tears. "Another child, a seven-year-old boy, was found raped and murdered in the kitchen freezer last night.". Residents said ...
Post-Katrina: People recall horrific tales of murder and rape
Murder and mayhem in New Orleans' miserable shelter
The commander of the troops promised to restore order as survivors recounted horrific cases of sexual assault and murder.
At the city's convention centre where thousands had sought refuge, Trolkyn Joseph, 37, said men had wandered around raping and murdering children.
She said she found a dead 14-year-old girl at 5am yesterday, four hours after she went missing inside the convention centre.
"She was raped for four hours until she was dead," Ms Joseph said through tears.
"Another child, a seven-year-old boy, was found raped and murdered in the kitchen freezer last night."
Residents said babies, the frail and the elderly had died waiting for food.
Racial tensions were inflamed in the chaos. The bulk of those who were unable to flee the storm came from poor, black neighbourhoods and said they felt abandoned by the Government.
Selma Valenti and her husband, two of the few white people in the refugee camps, said she and other whites were threatened with murder.
"They hated us. Four young black men told us the buses were going to come last night and pick up the elderly so they were going to kill us," she said, sobbing.
__Arkansas National Guardsman Mikel Brooks stepped through the food service entrance of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Monday, flipped on the light at the end of his machine gun, and started pointing out bodies.
"Don't step in that blood - it's contaminated," he said. "That one with his arm sticking up in the air, he's an old man." Then he shined the light on the smaller human figure under the white sheet next to the elderly man.
"That's a kid," he said. "There's another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut."
He moved on, walking quickly through the darkness, pulling his camouflage shirt to his face to screen out the overwhelming odor. "There's an old woman," he said, pointing to a wheelchair covered by a sheet. "I escorted her in myself. And that old man got bludgeoned to death," he said of the body lying on the floor next to the wheelchair.
Brooks and several other Guardsmen said they had seen between 30 and 40 more bodies in the Convention Center's freezer. "It's not on, but at least you can shut the door," said fellow Guardsman Phillip Thompson.
The scene of rotting bodies inside the Convention Center reflected those in thousands of businesses, schools, homes and shelters across the metropolitan area. The official death count from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana was 71 as of Monday evening, but that included only those bodies that had been brought to a make-shift morgue in St. Gabriel.
American Journalism Review (Excerpt)
Apocalypse in New Orleans
A firsthand account of how a small band of Times-Picayune journalists covered devastation and misery in their shattered home
By Brian Thevenot
The Saturday after Hurricane Katrina drowned my city, I sat alone in a rented Jeep in front of the latest headquarters of the Times-Picayune's "New Orleans bureau" - our fifth in as many days - pounding furiously on a laptop, taking belts of Johnnie Walker Red to beat back tears. I was locked out of the staff's Uptown house, awaiting the return of the tiny team of colleagues that now represented the entirety of the paper's presence in the city we once dominated. On the advice of cops who warned us they couldn't patrol the area - and to forget 911 - we'd arranged for a shotgun and two .357 revolvers that would arrive before nightfall.
As I typed, I struggled desperately to do justice to the scene I'd witnessed that morning, amid a mass of refugees at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, one that had laid bare the beauty and the horror of mankind and reduced me to a sobbing wreck.
My crying bout that morning had been hardly unique, for myself or for the rest of the New Orleans-based crew. I had watched a woman die on the street. Arkansas National Guardsmen had carted her body away to put with the others inside the food service entrance at the rear of the Convention Center. They'd been murdered, or they'd perished, like the woman in front of me, from simple lack of food, water and medicine - here in America, here in my hometown.
One of my first stops was the Convention Center. I tried to walk through the food service entrance near the back when two Arkansas National Guardsmen stopped me.
"You don't want to go in there," one of them said.
"There's bodies," said Arkansas Guardsman Mikel Brooks.
"That's actually kind of what I'm writing about," I told him, a bit sheepishly.
"Fine. You want to be a hoss? We'll escort you," Brooks said.
Just inside the door lay a man under a blanket, his decomposing arm sticking up in the air. Next to him, a child. A few yards away, an old woman in a wheelchair Brooks had carted in himself. Next to her lay an old man with his head bashed in.
They wouldn't take me to the freezer in the next room, which they said contained 30 or 40 bodies, a figure still unconfirmed amid a swirl of urban myths churned up by the storm. "I ain't got the stomach for it, even after what I saw in Iraq," Brooks told me.
I didn't particularly need or want to see more bodies, either. I'd seen quite enough.
I could tell Brooks had, too. I'd seen his type of agitated mannerisms before in Iraq, the soldier's mind just clicking, clicking, clicking, the mouth spewing out details of death and anarchy. The scenes of bodies would live in his head for some time. I know they'll live in mine.
I told them I'd been to Iraq, too, as a reporter in January, in some of the same areas of Western Baghdad they had patrolled for a year, where many of their comrades perished in roadside bomb attacks. Back outside in the sunshine, away from the stench of bodies, we chatted awhile with a group of four or five other guardsmen. All of us agreed: The horrors of Katrina trumped anything we'd seen overseas. Death in war makes sense. Death on Convention Center Boulevard makes none. (Sept. 22, 2005)
Children slept in pools of urine. Crack vials littered the bathrooms. Bloodstains smeared the walls near vending machines that had been pried open. Gunfire has ricocheted down the corridors.
There were two reports of rape, one involving a child. Three people died one a distraught man who jumped to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for.
Mike Leavitt, the Health Secretary, acknowledging that thousands of people were living among excrement, without food or water, said: We have a recipe for disease.
Alan Gould, waiting to be evacuated, said: Weve got small children and sick and elderly people dying every day, small children being raped and killed, people running around with guns. Im scared for my life, my wife and my five-year-old daughters life.
They're raping babies in there," sobbed a haunted escapee to a television camera as she begged President George W. Bush to send help.
"They are raping women. They are stabbing. There were riots."
New Orleans has descended from tourist icon to something terrifying. A week after the first storm warnings and there are few signs of the sad order that was established after the South-East Asian tsunami.
There is only one small field hospital, a handle of water trucks and no central co-ordination of the evacuation.
Survivors have turned on each other. The tales from inside the Superdome verge on incredible.
Inside was a mass of stinking, hungry, frightened humanity without water, sewerage, food or air. Strangers were crammed against others who robbed them, beat them and raped them while armed guards stood oblivious.
"The stench was unbearable. We were treated like animals," Baron Duncan said.
"There was shooting," she said. "Our lives were in danger. A seven-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy got raped."
"One man couldn't take it. He jumped over the railing and died," claimed Audrey Jordan.
Keshia Gray, a 28-year-old resident said "people were dying off".
"There were people shooting, fights broke out, the bathrooms were all clogged up and there was no water. Then the police started shooting. I couldn't stay in there."
British students report the horror of death and rape.
THE EARLY MORNING BLASTS were a few miles south of the French Quarter and
jolted residents awake. The extent of any possible damage was not
The explosions came as British students caught up in the horror of Hurricane
Katrina spoke of their four days of "hell" at the New Orleans Superdome.
They described how their place of refuge descended into a scene of terror as
people ran wild with knives and guns, used crack cocaine and hurled racial
Tourists, meanwhile, were turned out of hotels to face terror on the
streets. Debbie Durso of Washington, Michigan, said she asked a police
officer for assistance and his response was, "Go to hell - it's every man
Up to 30 British students huddled among the thousands in the Superdome were
forced to set up a makeshift security cordon to fend off abusive locals.
Jamie Trout, 22, an economics student from Sunderland, kept a record of his
terrifying ordeal. He wrote: "It was like something out of Lord of the
Flies - one minute everything is calm and civil, the next it descends into
chaos. A man has been arrested for raping a seven-year-old in the toilet,
this place is hell."
Jamie, who had been coaching football to disabled children as part of the
Camp America scheme, said people were shouting racial abuse at the Britons
because they were white.
Zoe Smith, 21, from Hull, told how students set up a security cordon when
the power briefly went down in the Superdome amid fears they were going to
be attacked. "All us girls sat in the middle while the boys sat on the
outside, with chairs as protection," she said.
Hurricane?s trail of anarchy
From: By David Nason and Geoff Elliott
September 03, 2005
Explosion ? fire on the east side of New Orleans: THOUSANDS of US National
Guardsmen were heading for New Orleans last night with orders to shoot to
kill as armed African-American gangs terrorized the city devastated by
By David Nason and Geoff Elliott?
Police escorted a group of white tourists, including Australian Anthony
Hopes, 30, away from the Superdome after they were subjected to race
threats. The tourists are now under armed guard in the foyer of the Hilton
THOUSANDS STILL STRANDED AS CHAOS REIGNS
By DAVE DAVIES & CATHERINE LUCY
Police Chief Eddie Compass said there was such a crush around a squad of 88
officers that they retreated when they went in to check out reports of
?We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are
getting beaten,? Compass said. ?Tourists [read White] are walking in that
direction and they are getting preyed upon.? Col. Henry Whitehorn, chief of
the Louisiana State Police, said he heard of numerous instances of New
Orleans police officers ? many of whom are from flooded areas ? turning in
Here are some quotes compiled by ABC News
Chaos in New Orleans
New Orleans has descended into chaos in the wake of the devastating
Hurricane Katrina. Following are quotes about the situation on the ground.
Baron Duncan, describing the time he spent inside the Superdome:
The last few days were utter hell. The stench was unbearable. We were
treated like animals. ?There was shooting, our lives were in danger. A
seven-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy got raped.?
Audrey Jordan who sought refuge in the Superdome
?We are lost. We are tourists [read White]. We don?t know how to get around,
how to protect ourselves. It is like being in a jungle. ?People were
staring at us, waving clubs [when we walked through one inner-city
neighborhood]. ?I was scared. For the first time in my life I thought I
Australian woman Kelly-Rae Smith, whose parents are hiding on a road
overpass with 40 other tourists after their hotel was flooded:
?The violence is escalating. There are shootings. They have three dead
bodies at the bottom of the stairwell where they are.
?They have a pay phone but have to strategically plan when they go.
?There?s so much violence going on even the SWAT team has locked themselves
in their building.?
CNN reporter Chris Lawrence, who is holed up with a group on the roof of a
police station in the middle of New Orleans:
Right now it?s the only safe place to be in the city. We were on the street
earlier but the police said under no circumstances would you be safe on the
?They said anybody walking in the streets of New Orleans is basically taking
their life in their hands. ?As they hustled us off the street some of the
officers told us that groups of young men had been looting the city,
shooting at people, attempting to rape young women. ?They directed some of
the young women to get off the street immediately.?
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco:
?Three hundred of the Arkansas National Guard have landed in the city of New
Orleans. ?These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well trained, experienced,
battle-tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets. ?They
have M-16s and they are locked and loaded. ?These troops know how to shoot
and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect
A New Orleans police officer, who asked not to be identified:
?"People were raped in [the Superdome, where refugees were living]. People
were killed in there. We had multiple riots.
Dr Andrew Sandler, working at a hospital in New Orleans:
?It?s very easy to get from our point to the bridge that can get us out of
here. The problem is that the buses that have been ordered ? that were
supposed to come here today ? two were commandeered by FEMA and the other
four, they were told that it wasn?t safe for them to evacuate us because of
?With 60 residents, the average aged 87, that have not had air-conditioning
in five days, three have died and another eight - no matter how much water
we give them, could expire because it?s too hot for them.
?The variable I never, that I hadn?t planned for, are the snipers - in fact
that nobody would give the buses, they won?t let the buses get us out.?
And here is an piece from the NY Daily Post
The guardians of the public order in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, where mobs
of gunmen openly loot and rape and car jack and bus jack and peg shots at
police officers and soldiers at will - and where anarchy, Mogadishu-style,
is just around the corner if they?re not stopped hard and fast - must
regain control immediately. They must do whatever it takes to curb the
hard-core, armed, violent felons who are making it impossible to save the
city. These are a very different breed from desperate citizens who are
trying to get food and water.
?Who?s in charge? Random lawlessness went un-addressed in the early hours of
Katrina?s aftermath, search and rescue clearly being more pressing a
concern. That was then. Today, New Orleans is spinning wildly out of
control, as armed-to-the-teeth killers carve out post-apocalypse gangdoms
with little fear of consequences. The critically ill are under siege in
hospital beds. The elderly are driven from nursing homes. Snipers fire at
evacuation points. These are budding warlords. The city must be taken back
from them. The members of this lawless army need to know their own lives
are in danger.
From the Independent newspaper in UK
The potential for racial conflict has been quietly side-stepped in much of
the US media coverage to date, but it is also impossible to ignore.
Thu, Sep. 08, 2005
BRADENTON - Detective Bill Waldron went to New Orleans to testify in a murder trial. He wound up spending more than 50 hours trapped in a cauldron of chaos inside the New Orleans Convention Center.
Trained to help people in need, Waldron became an involuntary witness to the deaths of infants and the elderly who couldn't survive until assistance arrived.
A policeman unarmed and alone in a boiling sea of frustration, Waldron spent three days hiding the fact that he was a cop because he feared for his own personal safety.
Sitting shaken but safe in his west Bradenton home Wednesday afternoon, Waldron said he has heard wild rumors in the media about what happened at the convention center in the desperate days following the killer storm.
He said he knows what went on. He was an eyewitness.
A six-year veteran of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, Waldron traveled to New Orleans on Sunday, Aug. 21, to testify in a murder trial he's been working on for more than a year. Waldron helped arrest the suspects in Bradenton after they were charged with murder in New Orleans.
Prosecutors thought the trial might last until Saturday, Aug. 27, so Waldron made flight reservations to return to Manatee County on Sunday, Aug. 28.
While he was in New Orleans that week, Waldron started keeping a distant eye on Katrina's development.
"I knew that there was a storm off the east coast of Florida and had kept up with that, calling back home and checking on things here," Waldron said.
The trial Waldron was called to testify in wrapped up Friday evening. By that time, Katrina was intensifying rapidly and moving toward New Orleans.
"Basically at that time, there was a lot of panic, a lot of chaos," Waldron said. "There were a lot of people leaving the city. From my hotel you could see the line of cars on (Interstate 10) backed up."
With the help of law enforcement officials in New Orleans, Waldron searched Saturday for a way to flee the city and return home.
"By that time, the airport was being evacuated, very few airlines were flying and the ones that were, were booked," Waldron said. "I tried to get a rental car, but the places that were open had no rental cars available and a lot of the other ones had started closing down and boarding up."
While Waldron could see streams of traffic leaving the city, he also noticed a lot of people who couldn't or wouldn't leave.
"There was a lot of people stranded due to not having vehicles to get out of the city, not having the financial means; and there was still a large amount of tourists," Waldron said. "Even Saturday night and Sunday morning they were walking around the French Quarter as if there was nothing going on."
Staying on the 10th floor of a Holiday Inn in the French Quarter, two blocks from world-famous Bourbon Street, Waldron filled his room's bathtub with water and hunkered down.
"I just figured I'd ride it out and be OK," Waldron said.
Sunday night and Monday
"I remember waking up around 2 a.m. and the winds were pretty significant then, but still not too bad," Waldron said. "I turned on the TV and saw the storm was still making its track toward New Orleans. The power went out around 3:30 a.m."
Waldron woke up about 8 a.m. Monday. By midafternoon, he said the heavy winds and rain had stopped and the sky began to clear. He left his hotel and bought the only food he could find - a can of Pringles - and some water.
It would be the last meal he would have for three days.
Waldron walked around to check out the damage. Some old buildings had collapsed and windows in some buildings were blown out. His hotel had no noticeable damage.
"My initial opinion was it wasn't too bad, that it might take a couple of days for the National Guard to get into the city and start food and water distribution points," Waldron said. "A lot of people were still walking around. Some of the bars opened up and were carrying on as if nothing happened. A lot of people were walking around talking to each other."
Waldron couldn't help but notice something else.
"There was literally no law enforcement presence," Waldron said.
Monday night, sleeping with his hotel window pried open, Waldron heard the first sounds of looming trouble.
"Throughout the night, I could hear breaking glass," Waldron said. "I would look out and see some law enforcement vehicles. That's when some of the looting had started."
Tuesday morning the management at his hotel told guests they had to leave because the water on nearby Canal Street was getting higher.
"From my hotel window I could see a little bit of water in the streets along the gutters where it was slowly rising," Waldron said.
Without power or contact with the world outside, Waldron did not know the levees protecting New Orleans had given way, flooding the city.
Told to go to the nearby convention center, Waldron gathered his two suitcases and started walking. As he walked he saw groups of police officers standing in the streets next to their cars.
"It seemed as if they were just as much in shock as everyone else there," Waldron said. "Talking to a couple of them, they couldn't get gas, so they were staying stationary because they didn't want to run out of gas."
When Waldron arrived at the convention center about 2 p.m. Tuesday, there were about 1,000 people milling about.
"We were being told by law enforcement that the convention center was not a shelter, that we needed to go to the Superdome," Waldron said. "We said, 'We can't get to the Superdome because the water is rising.' They said, 'Well, we don't know what to tell you.' "
Waldron said the people flocking to the convention center were confused and frustrated because they had been told there was food and water there.
"The National Guard was bringing people to the convention center and then they were being turned away," Waldron said. "When people heard that the convention center wasn't going to be open, people started walking away."
While he was waiting with other people outside the convention center, Waldron spotted stores with food and water inside being guarded by National Guardsmen.
"I saw the trucks come and I could see through some of the open doors that they had MRE's (Meal Ready to Eat) and water," Waldron said. "The National Guardsmen were walking past eating their food and drinking their water. People would walk up to them to try to ask questions and they would be ignored."
About 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, law enforcement officials opened the doors of the convention center to the crowd, which continued to swell with people who had been rescued from rooftops or homes by boats or helicopters.
Tales of mass destruction circulated, according to Waldron.
"There were rampant rumors that the water was rising and that it was going to flood the convention center," Waldron said. "Some people left during the night in an attempt to find higher ground."
Surrounded by thousands of stranded strangers, Waldron spent Tuesday night sitting in a folded chair inside the powerless, sweltering convention center.
Although food and water was scarce, what people inside the center wanted most, according to Waldron, was someone to tell them what was going on.
"There was no one of any authority," Waldron said. "No one was telling anyone what was going on and what could be expected."
Despite the spartan conditions, Waldron said the crowd at the convention center Tuesday was well-behaved.
"There were no problems," Waldron said. "People were helping each other out. People who did have some food and water were trying to get that to some of the elderly people. People were just in shock and exhausted."
People continued to pour into the convention center and the surrounding area Tuesday night and into Wednesday. As many as 25,000 evacuees eventually found their way to the site, according to reports from The Associated Press.
Tension inside the convention center mounted as stories of escalating violence throughout the city swept through the crowd. People were saying police officers were being shot and killed and were in turn shooting and killing civilians.
"Wednesday morning is when the looting really got out of control," Waldron said. "There was a Wal-Mart nearby and people were going to the Wal-Mart and bringing back food, but it was mostly just junk, potato chips and water. Then the alcohol started flowing in."
With circumstances deteriorating and anger with police and other absent authorities growing, Waldron decided to keep his identity as a cop to himself.
"I definitely wasn't going to announce to anyone that I was a law enforcement officer," Waldron said. "When people would ask what I was doing there, I just said I was a tourist that came to visit friends and got trapped."
Waldron said a lot of people at the convention center still pegged him as a police officer.
"A lot of people would ask, 'Are you a cop?' " Waldron said.
Waldron said a contingent of about 100 National Guardsmen were on hand but they offered little to no assistance to the restless throng.
"I think they were scared the people might lash out at them because communication had broken down and the rumors were getting more and more outrageous all the time," Waldron said.
Worn down by the withering heat and lack of water, the situation at the convention center became deadly by Wednesday afternoon.
"By this time people were getting very dehydrated," Waldron said. "I stayed busy trying to help people out. I'd see people collapse and would get assistance from other people to move them inside. We'd try to beg water from other people to get these people water. It just wasn't enough. At that point is when people I was trying to help began dying."
Although 12 buses arrived late Wednesday afternoon to take some of the elderly and sick to safety, it was too late for others. Waldron said he saw at least 10 people die at the convention center.
One was an elderly woman who apparently died of dehydration.
"She just kept saying over and over again, 'Jesus' and 'Angels,' " Waldron said. "We tried to cool her off with dirty water. We went to the National Guard to get something cold, and we didn't get anything. Eventually she just stopped breathing and that was it. I was very frustrated."
Waldron said he also saw two deceased infants.
"The babies were in the bathroom laying on sink counters just wrapped up in paper towels," Waldron said.
All the while the crowd grew more restless. While people heard reports on transistor radios of assistance at the nearby Superdome, no mention was made of the mass of people waiting at the convention center.
Although there were media reports of murders and other crimes at the convention center, Waldron insists he saw nothing like that occur.
However, at some point Wednesday night, Waldron said, police officers came by the center. When they were accosted by the angry and frustrated crowd, they fired guns in the air, causing the crowd to stampede back into the center.
"People got hurt in that," Waldron said. "I was more afraid of being accidently shot by police or National Guard than I was with anybody I was in the convention center with."
Thursday morning the national media began to show up, according to Waldron. He said he spoke to a reporter who told him that the media had been unaware of the crowd at the convention center.
Using a pay phone inside the convention center, Waldron had periodically been able to reach his son, Nicholas, and mother, Judy Heston, with whom he lives in Bradenton. He had kept them abreast of his situation.
At the same time, he had established contact with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and was aware that they were working to rescue him.
"He was up there on sheriff's office business so we felt obligated to get him out," sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow told The Herald on Wednesday. "We felt helpless back here because we had little communication with him."
The sheriff's office dispatched some deputies to Louisiana to try and bring Waldron home. In addition, the sheriff's office was working with the Louisiana state police and other law enforcement agencies to get him out.
As the situation grew more desperate and reports of the conditions at the convention center began to be broadcast around the country, a team of game wardens from Texas and Louisiana headed to the convention center to rescue Waldron.
"I knew something was being put in place," Waldron said. "I knew at some point someone would be coming for me."
Rescuing Waldron was a precarious task from a law enforcement perspective, according to Bristow.
"It was a difficult situation to go in there and get one person," Bristow said. "We didn't want people to get upset that we were taking him out of that place, but we had sent him there and we felt we had to do anything we could to get him out."
After searching the crowd for close to 30 minutes, the game wardens found Waldron.
"They handcuffed me to make it look like I was being arrested," Waldron said. "The reason for doing that was because by that time tensions were pretty high. A lot of people were confronting me, asking me if I was a police officer. For my safety and their safety, they had to make it look like they were arresting me."
Waldron was taken to Gonzalez, La., where he took his first shower in almost a week. It was there that he was reunited with fellow Manatee County sheriff's deputies sent to bring him home.
The deputies drove all day and night and delivered Waldron to his Bradenton home at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
"I was relieved," said Nicholas, Waldron's 16-year-old son. "It was an exciting moment when he finally made it home."
For the time being Waldron is resting and recuperating. Bristow said they'll let him decide when he's ready to return to work.
Although he still wakes up with dreams that he's still in the convention center, Waldron said he's glad to be back in Bradenton.
"It's good to be home," he said.
Waldron hopes he can use his experience to help law enforcement agencies handle similar situations better. As a member of the local Emergency Services Response Team he hopes he can work to improve responses to crisis situations.
The most important lessons, Waldron said, are keeping people apprised of what's going on and providing some sense of organization to calm fears and curb chaos.
"I know I'm a lot stronger than I ever thought I was," Waldron said. "I hope I can use what I learned to help other people, because there's going to be more hurricanes."
"I knew at some point someone would be coming for me."
Submitted by Harvey T.
Reports of anarchy at Superdome overstated
By Brian Thevenot and Gordon Russell
Newhouse News Service
NEW ORLEANS After five days managing near riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Following days of internationally reported murders, rapes and gang violence inside the stadium, the doctor from FEMA Beron doesn't remember his name came prepared for a grisly scene: He brought a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies.
"I've got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome," Beron recalled the doctor saying.
The real total?
Six, Beron said.
Of those, four died of natural causes, one overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, said Beron, who personally oversaw the handoff of bodies from a Dome freezer, where they lay atop melting bags of ice.
State health department officials in charge of body recovery put the official death count at the Dome at 10, but Beron said the other four bodies were found in the street near the Dome, not inside it. Both sources said no one had been murdered inside the stadium.
At the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, just four bodies have been recovered, despite reports of heaps of dead piled inside the building. Only one of the dead appeared to have been murdered, said health and law-enforcement officials.
That the nation's frontline emergency-management officials believed the body count would resemble that of a bloody battle in a war is but one of scores of examples of myths about the Dome and the Convention Center treated as fact by evacuees, the news media and even some of the city's top officials, including the mayor and police superintendent.
The vast majority of reported atrocities committed by evacuees mass murders, rapes and beatings have turned out to be false, or at least unsupported by any evidence, according to key military, law-enforcement, medical and civilian officials in positions to know.
"I think 99 percent of it is [expletive]," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Lachney, who played a key role in security and humanitarian work inside the Dome. "Don't get me wrong bad things happened. But I didn't see any killing and raping and cutting of throats or anything ... 99 percent of the people in the Dome were very well-behaved."
Dr. Louis Cataldie, the state Health and Human Services Department administrator overseeing the body-recovery operation, said his teams were inundated with false reports.
Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan said authorities have only confirmed four murders in the entire city in the aftermath of Katrina making it a typical week in a city that anticipated more than 200 homicides this year.
"I had the impression that at least 40 or 50 murders had occurred at the two sites," he said. "It's unfortunate we saw these kinds of stories saying crime had taken place on a massive scale when that wasn't the case. And they [national media outlets] have done nothing to follow up on any of these cases; they just accepted what people [on the street] told them. ... It's not consistent with the highest standards of journalism."
As floodwaters forced tens of thousands of evacuees into the Dome and Convention Center, news of unspeakable acts poured out of the nation's media: People firing at helicopters trying to save them; women, children and even babies raped with abandon; people murdered for food and water; a 7-year-old raped and killed at the Convention Center.
Police, according to their chief, Eddie Compass, found themselves in multiple shootouts inside both shelters, and were forced to race toward muzzle flashes through the dark to disarm the criminals; snipers fired at doctors and soldiers from downtown high-rises.
In interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Compass reported rapes of "babies," and Mayor Ray Nagin spoke of "hundreds of armed gang members killing and raping people" inside the Dome. Other unidentified evacuees told of children stepping over so many bodies "we couldn't count."
The picture that emerged was one of the impoverished, overwhelmingly African-American masses of flood victims resorting to utter depravity, randomly attacking each other, as well as the police trying to protect them and the rescue workers trying to save them. The mayor told Winfrey the crowd has descended to an "almost animalistic state."
Four weeks after the storm, few of the widely reported atrocities have been backed with evidence. The piles of murdered bodies never materialized, and soldiers, police officers and rescue personnel on the front lines assert that, while anarchy reigned at times and people suffered indignities, most of the worst crimes reported at the time never happened.
"The information I had at the time, I thought it was credible," Compass said, admitting his earlier statements were false. Asked the source of the information, Compass said he didn't remember.
Nagin frankly acknowledged he doesn't know the extent of the mayhem that occurred inside the Superdome and the Convention Center and may never. "I'm having a hard time getting a good body count," he said.
Compass conceded that rumor had overtaken, and often crippled, authorities' response to reported lawlessness, sending badly needed resources to situations that turned out not to exist.
Military, law-enforcement and medical workers agree that the flood of evacuees about 30,000 at the Dome and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 at the Convention Center overwhelmed their security personnel.
The 400 to 500 soldiers in the Dome could have been easily overrun by increasingly agitated crowds in the Dome, but that never happened, said Col. James Knotts, a midlevel commander there. While the Convention Center saw plenty of mischief, including massive looting and isolated gunfire, and many inside cowered in fear, the hordes of evacuees for the most part did not resort to violence.
"Everything was embellished, everything was exaggerated," said Deputy Police Superintendent Warren Riley. "If one guy said he saw six bodies, then another guy the same six, and another guy saw them then that became 18."
Inside the Superdome, where National Guardsmen performed rigorous security checks before allowing anyone inside, only one shooting has been verified and even that shooting, injuring Louisiana Guardsman Chris Watt of the 527th Engineer Battalion, has been widely misreported, said Maj. David Baldwin, who led the team of soldiers who arrested the alleged assailant.
Watt had indeed been attacked inside one of the Dome's locker rooms, where he entered with another soldier. In the darkness, as they walked through about six inches of water, Watt's attacker hit him with a metal rod, a piece of a cot. But the bullet that penetrated Watt's leg came from his own gun he accidentally shot himself during the commotion. The attacker was sent to jail, Baldwin said.
Inside the Convention Center, Jimmie Fore, vice president of the state authority that runs the center, stayed in the building with a core group of 35 employees until Thursday. He said thugs hot-wired 75 forklifts and electric carts and looted food and booze, but he said he never saw any violent crimes committed, nor did any of his employees. Some, however, did report seeing armed men roaming the building, and Fore said he heard gunshots in the distance on about six occasions.
Rumors of rampant violence at the Convention Center prompted Louisiana National Guard Col. Jacques Thibodeaux to put together a 1,000-man force of soldiers and police in full battle gear to secure the center around noon on Friday.
It took only 20 minutes to take control, and soldiers met no resistance, Thibodeaux said. They found no evidence, witnesses or victims of any murders, rapes or beatings, Thibodeaux said.
One widely circulated story, told to The Times-Picayune by a slew of evacuees and two Arkansas National Guardsman, held that "30 or 40 bodies" were stored in a Convention Center freezer.
But a formal Arkansas Guard review of the matter later found that no soldier had actually seen the corpses, and that the information came from rumors in the food line for military, police and rescue workers in front of Harrah's Casino, said Col. John Edwards of the Arkansas National Guard, who conducted the review.
Reports of dozens of rapes at both facilities many allegedly involving small children may forever remain a question mark. Rape is a notoriously underreported crime under ideal circumstances, and tracking down evidence at this point, with evacuees spread all over the country, will be nearly impossible. The same goes for reports of armed robberies at both sites.
While numerous people told The Times-Picayune that they had witnessed rapes, in particular the rape of two young girls in the Superdome ladies' room and the killing of one of them, police and military officials say they know nothing of such an incident. (Sept. 26, 2005)
More should have gone north to Arkansas instead of Texas...they didn't. There's no doubt Louisiana let down their good citizens big time...I hope and pray they've learned and can take care of their own citizens moving them to northern Louisiana, next time. And there will be a next time.
I do think HPD is getting a handle on the problems that were created by the criminals from N.O.'s. I've seen White comment on these criminals...stating he couldn't understand why N.O.'s didn't take care of them their selves...and how we'd not ever allow this to go on here in Houston...lots of these criminals are no longer on the streets...they are now in our Texas Prison System.
I had to take a taxi and the driver was a hard working man from N.O.'s...he was a wonderfully nice man...I had to laugh at him 'cause N.O.'s has always been his home but he told me he'd not be returning until after hurricane season was over this yr. He plans to return in Jan. 2007.
They're useless fools who have no use of logic, reason, or the ability to have any patience at all. About anything. Ever. They're always in a petulant, frothing lather.
He said he'd contacted his N.O. mother by phone, and she was trapped, and sick. And he reassured her that help was coming, and each time he called back, she sounded weaker. And he was more and more steadfast, reassuring her that help would arrive shortly.
And of course she ended up dying before help arrived. And the man said he felt crushed and betrayed.
The media had an orgasm with this guy...
And it turned out that he'd made it all up --his mother wasn't sick at all. In fact, she'd died YEARS EARLIER.
I remember he was someone pretty important down there, and I think Rush talked about his whole story.
And the N.O. flood was a feeding-frenzy, where the station that told the most salacious stories would have the firmest grip on a very fickle audience craving lurid details.
Of course, I'm not excusing them.
Actually, I freaking LOATHE them, and I NEVER watch TV. Indeed, I no longer own one of those....
It was absolutely repulsive garbage.