more first-person accounts

auryn24 is a nurse who was working at a New Orleans hospital when the hurricane hit. Day 1, 2, 3, & 4.
"We limited our water intake to 1/2 a glass a day. We watched the patients take their meds with just a small sip, and told them that the water had to be conserved throughout the day as much as possible.

Also, our NOPD (cops) that we had stationed at the hospital, along with our National Guard boys (who were all teenagers and didn't help out worth crap) decided to use their "marshal law" and boat to Walgreens to get us supplies. They got some food products and water (which we got a small bottle of gatoraide and sparkling water, that's all. never saw anything else), but also went to Dillards and "used marshal law" to acquire expensive Polo shirts, jeans, Fendi purses, perfume, candles in which they traded (?) to family members on the floor. It didn't help patients or staff. I was disgusted about this. Our own cops LOOTED. They are all crooked. That's why I want out of Louisiana. You can't trust anyone.

Trapped in New Orleans by the flood--and martial law: This story has been making the unattributed-cut-and-paste rounds today. As far as I can tell, the above link is the original copy. I don't know how trustworthy this source is (and they used the phrase "heroes and sheroes" which makes me inclined to ignore anything else they have to say), but the story is pretty horrifying:

As we approached the bridge, armed sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. [...]

The sheriffs informed us that there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move. We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the six-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans, and there would be no Superdomes in their city. These were code words for: if you are poor and Black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River, and you are not getting out of New Orleans. [...]

Now--secure with these two necessities, food and water--cooperation, community and creativity flowered. We organized a clean-up and hung garbage bags from the rebar poles. We made beds from wood pallets and cardboard. [...] Our encampment grew to 80 or 90 people.

Just as dusk set in, a sheriff showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun at our faces and screamed, "Get off the fucking freeway." A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water.

Once again, at gunpoint, we were forced off the freeway. All the law enforcement agencies appeared threatened when we congregated into groups of 20 or more. In every congregation of "victims," they saw "mob" or "riot." We felt safety in numbers. Our "we must stay together" attitude was impossible because the agencies would force us into small atomized groups.

Update: The above story got some coverage in the SF Chronicle and the Washington Times. This appears to be an account from someone else who was in the same group.

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17 Responses:

  1. rjhatl says:

    I think this is the original source for the heroes and sheroes story:


    • jwz says:

      I can't tell which is the original, but there have been many random punctuation and grammar edits made to one or the other. Except for the intro, they're mostly the same words, though.

  2. caitlinburke says:

    The thing from Socialist Worker was also published on an EMS site and is attributed to two SFFD paramedics who are active in their union local (SEIU 790). (I have also seen it on a mailing list for healthcare professionals.) The "sheroes" thing is just from the dek on the article as pub'd at Socialist Worker - I don't think it appears elsewhere. Interestingly, though, neither of those paramedics' names appears on SF Gate yet; I'm not sure why the local paper hasn't grabbed that local angle, so maybe there is something else going on there.

  3. solarbird says:

    This is just sick:

    (Sorry for the PDF. It's normally a sciffy fanzine. No, not mine, I don't publish one.)

    It's part of the aforementioned-posted propaganda offensive.

  4. baconmonkey says:
    Add geography to the growing list of FEMA fumbles.

    A South Carolina health official said his colleagues scrambled Tuesday when FEMA gave only a half-hour notice to prepare for the arrival of a plane carrying as many as 180 evacuees to Charleston.

    But the plane, instead, landed in Charleston, West Virginia, 400 miles away.
    "At one point, there were a load of girls on the roof of the hotel saying 'Can you help us?' and the policemen said 'Show us what you've got' and made signs for them to lift their T-shirts. When the girls refused, they said 'Fine' and motored off down the road in their boat."

  5. st_arbirix says:

    I'm having trouble believing the "heroes to sheroes" article. Way too PC.

    "Those who did not have the requisite $45.00 for a ticket were subsidized by those who did have extra money."

    "We held a mass meeting to decide a course of action."

    "Now secure with the two necessities, food and water; cooperation, community, and creativity flowered."

    Most people just don't talk like that. According to sfgate Slonsky is a retired paramedic. I'm of the opinion that is the original site, but I think they gave their story with permission and it's been heavily peppered since then.

    • omnifarious says:

      Some people do talk like that, though it's a bit scary to behold (or listen to anyway). The story jibes with other stuff I've been reading about what went down in New Orleans after Katrina passed by. A lot of complaints about police inaction, and/or corruption. One account I read was by a British tourist.

    • mcfnord says:

      if it's fiction, it's elaborate fiction, because someone tells the story first-hand here:

      The woman telling it there is a retired paramedic. Probably same person. Your skin will crawl when you hear this story.

      • st_arbirix says:

        Ah, so it *is* making the rounds.

        This entry is, what, a week old now? Today I heard a guy telling someone else this story while I was at the pub.

  6. wsxyz says:

    So now we know why the Red Cross didn't bring supplies to the Superdome & convention center - The State of Lousiana DHS told the Red Cross to stay out:

    The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.