December 06, 2005

A story from New Orleans

New Orleans
>>
>>
>>i heard from my aunt last night that my cousin
Denise
>>made it out of New Orleans; she's at her brother's in
>>Baton Rouge.
from what she told me:
>>
>>her mother, a licensed practical nurse, was called
in
>>to work on Sunday night at Memorial Hospital
>>(historically known as
Baptist Hospital to those of us
>>from N.O.).
>>
>>Denise described
it as the scariest time in her life.


>>3
>>of the rooms in the apartment
(there are only 4) caved
>>in. ceilings caved in, walls caved in. she
huddled
>>under a mattress in the hall. she thought she would
>>die from
either the storm or a heart attack. after the
>>storm passed, she went back to Baptist
to seek shelter
>>(this was Monday). it was also scary at
Baptist; the
>>electricity was out, they were running on generators,
>>there
was no air conditioning. Tuesday the levees
>>broke, and water began rising. they moved
patients
>>upstairs, saw boats pass by on what used to be
>>streets. they were
told that they would be evacuated,
>>that buses were coming. then they were told they
would
>>have to walk to the nearest intersection, Napoleon and
>>S. Claiborne,
to await the buses. they waded out in
>>hip-deep water, only to stand at the
intersection, on
>>the neutral ground (what y'all call the median) for 3
>>1/2
hours. the buses came and took them to the Ernest
>>Morial Convention Center. (yes, the
convention center
>>you've all seen on TV.)
>>
>>Denise said she
thought she was in hell. they
were
>>there for 2 days, with no water, no food. no shelter.
>>Denise, her
mother (63 years old), her niece (21 years
>>old), and 2-year-old grandniece. when they
arrived,
>>there were already thousands of people there. they
>>were told that
buses were coming. police drove by,
>>windows rolled up, thumbs up signs. national
guard
>>trucks rolled by, completely empty, soldiers with guns
>>cocked and
aimed at them. nobody stopped to drop off
>>water. a helicopter dropped a load of
water, but all
>>the bottles exploded on impact due to the height of
>>the
helicopter.
>>
>>the first day (Wednesday) 4 people died next to
her.
>>the second day (Thursday) 6 people died next to her.
>>Denise told me
the people around her all thought they
>>had been sent
there to die. again, nobody stopped. the
>>only buses that came were full; they dropped
off more
>>and more people, but nobody was being picked up and
>>taken away.
they found out that those being dropped
>>off had been rescued from rooftops and
attics; they
>>got off the buses delirious from lack of water and
>>food.
completely dehydrated. the crowd tried to keep
>>them all in one area; Denise said the
new arrivals had
>>mostly lost their minds. they had gone
crazy.
>>
>>inside the convention center, the place was one
huge
>>bathroom. in order to shit, you had to stand in other
>>people's shit.
the floors were black and slick with
>>shit. most people stayed outside because the
smell was
>>so bad. but outside wasn't much better: between the
>>heat, the
humidity, the lack of water, the old and
>>very young dying from dehydration... and
there was no
>>place to lay down, not even room on the sidewalk. they
>>slept
outside Wednesday night, under an overpass.
>>
>>Denise said yes, there were
young men with guns there.
>>but they organized the crowd. they went to
Canal
>>Street and "looted," and brought back food and water
>>for
the old people and the babies, because nobody had
>>eaten in days. when the police
rolled down windows and
>>yelled out "the buses are coming," the young men
with
>>guns organized the crowd in order: old people in
>>front, women and
children next, men in the back. just
>>so that when the buses came, there would be
priorities
>>of who got out
first.
>>
>>Denise said the fights she saw between the young
men
>>with guns were fist fights. she saw them put their
>>guns down and fight
rather than shoot up the crowd.
>>but she said that there were a handful of people
shot
>>in the convention center; their bodies were left
>>inside, along with
other dead babies and old people.
>>
>>Denise said the people thought there
were being sent
>>there to die. lots of people being dropped off,
nobody
>>being picked up. cops passing by, speeding off.
>>national guard
rolling by with guns aimed at them. and
>>yes, a few men shot at the police, because at
a
>>certain point all the people thought the cops were
>>coming to hurt them,
to kill them all. she saw a young
>>man who had stolen a car speed past,
cops in pursuit;
>>he crashed the car, got out and ran, and the cops
shot
>>him in the back. in front of the whole crowd. she saw
>>many groups of
people decide that they were going to
>>walk across the bridge to the west bank, and
those
>>same groups would return, saying that they were met at
>>the top of
the bridge by armed police ordering them to
>>turn around, that they weren't allowed to
leave.
>>
>>so they all believed they were sent there to
die.
>>
>>Denise's niece found a pay phone, and kept trying to
>>call
her mother's boyfriend in Baton Rouge, and
>>finally got through and told him where
they were. the
>>boyfriend, and Denise's brother, drove down from
Baton
>>Rouge and came and got them. they had to bribe a few
>>cops, and talk
a few
into letting them into the city
>>("come on, man, my 2-year-old niece is at
the
>>Convention Center!"), then they took back roads to get
>>to
them.
>>
>>after arriving at my other cousin's apartment in
Baton
>>Rouge, they saw the images on TV, and couldn't believe
>>how the media
was portraying the people of New
>>Orleans. she kept repeating to me on the phone
last
>>night: make sure you tell everybody that they left us
>>there to die.
nobody came. those young men with guns
>>were protecting us. if it wasn't for them, we
wouldn't
>>have had the little water and food they had
found.
>>
>>that's Denise Moore's story.
>>
>>Lisa C.
Moore
>>
>>
>> >From: John McCollum

Posted by sleong at December 6, 2005 09:20 PM
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