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Anorak | The I Of The Storm

The I Of The Storm

by | 5th, September 2005

‘AFTER the broadsheets have done their reporting, the tabloids wade into the New Orleans waters and look for the human interest angle.

‘Dear Readers, today I went to the game’

And the human the Sun is interested in is Emily Smith, the paper’s girl on the scene with a pad and maybe even a pencil.

There’s even a lead shot of Emily (we’ll stick with first names throughout) on the Sun’s front page. In it she’s seen placing her hand atop that of 81-year-old diabetic Rosella McCoy, a picture newsworthy enough to be repeated in a larger format inside the paper.

Black Rosella looks deeply pained. Blonde Emily looks compassionate. “This tragic widow begged me to save her from disaster,” writers Emily, “and half an hour later she lay on the verge of death.”

It’s just terrible. But spare your tears. It’s OK. Emily’s still with us. And she’s professional enough to keep up the good work. “Our Emily vowed to help”, but when she returned (from where we are not told) Rosella had collapsed and was driven away “sprawled across the bonnet of an army truck”.

It must have been a trying ordeal? But Emily is just fine. Shaken? Yes. But deeply stirred. “PRAY FOR HER,” says the Sun’s front-page headline. And we will. Good luck, Emily. Godspeed.

But what of the other Britons out there on the frontline? News is that the Express’s Cyril Dixon is hard at it.

Unlike the Sun’s Emily, Cyril’s stayed at home, where the real relief effort is being orchestrated from.

He tells us that 150 Britons are still missing in New Orleans, one of whom is of Catherine Nicholls, who lived in Biloxi, Mississippi. He speaks to her sister who says, “The longer it goes on the worse it gets.” “She continues: “How long do you wait before we say, ‘They’re not coming back, they can’t be alive?’”

Cyril doesn’t seem able or willing to give an answer. And moves onto Guy Rounce, brother to Penny, who has not been heard from since just before the storm. “”We are on tenterhooks, waiting for her to get in touch,” says Guy.

And so it goes on. The names keep coming, and Cyril keeps writing them down. But the Mail’s Robin Yapp knows the real story when he sees it coming his way. It’s aged 20. It’s white. It’s got curly blondish hair. It’s dressed in jeans, a lacey vest top. And comes from south Wales. It’s Jane Wheeldon.

Jane’s just arrived back from New Orleans, and the Mail was at Gatwick to probe her for vital information.

“We were prime targets,” says Jane. No, not for the winds. For the looters and nefarious crims who turned the Superdome where Jane had been sheltering into “hell”.

“Guys would come up and stroke your back and tummy and your bum to find any money you had on you,” says Jane. “Everyone was staring and it as so intimidating.”

Terrible winds. Thousands feared dead. Many lives ruined. And now the news that one of our own has had her back touched up. It’s just too awful, and we wonder who much worse it can get.

And just as soon as Emily, Cyril and Robin have found someone suffering, we’ll let you know…’



Posted: 5th, September 2005 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink