Anorak News | Escape From New Orleans

Escape From New Orleans

by | 2nd, September 2005

‘A J HOLLOWAY, the mayor of Biloxi was horribly right when he looked at the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and declared, “This is our tsunami”.

America today

Just like in the aftermath of that hideous disaster in the Indian Ocean, we are affronted by tales of the lowest sink of humanity.

“ANARCHY IN NEW ORLEANS,” yells the Independent’s cover. “Chaos rules with 20,000 still stranded in the city.” And: “Looting, gunfire and a death toll still unknown.”

While not quite to the level of those sickening post-tsunami tales of children kidnapped by paedophiles, news of human depravation sticks in the craw.

The Telegraph’s news that a convoy moving patients from New Orleans Charity Hospital came under sniper fire is depressing, as is the Independent’s tale of robberies, carjackings, rape and even murder.

The Times says that efforts to evacuate the city have been suspended after shots were fired at rescue boats and a military helicopter. “A National Guardsman was shot. Gunfire rattled through the city.”

But surely the might of the American machine cannot be stymied by gangs of mindless thugs high of crack or whatever running amuck? Or is America struggling to cope?

Perhaps it is. The Independent says President Bush is under attack from all sides of the political spectrum for not acting swiftly enough.

The paper quotes Daniels Edwards, a New Orleans resident, saying to Bush, “You can do everything for other countries. But you can’t get the military here.”

Over to Dubya. “I understand the anxiety of the people on the ground,” says the President. “So there is frustration. But I want people to know there’s a lot of help coming.”

Maybe it is. But it’s not exactly a rapid response task force. Not according to the fire chief in Biloxi, Mississippi. “We’re not getting any help yet,” says he. “We need water…we’ve got people in shelters who haven’t had a drink since the storm.”

The Times hears from Thomas Jessie, a roofer stuck inside the city’s Superdome and convention centre. He says: “We got dead bodies sitting next to us for days. I feel like I’m going to die. People are going to kill you for water. This is America. It is disgusting. We feel we’ve been forgotten.”

It’s a picture of what the Indy calls an “ugly, elemental battle for survival”.

But if you don’t know help is coming, if none has arrived quickly, if what help there is has not been nearly enough, what do you do? How do you react?

And, as the Indy reminds its readers, many of the people now stuck in New Orleans did not leave out of choice – they stayed because they had no way of leaving and no other place to go.

The paper hears form Marc Morial, a former mayor of New Orleans, who sees the poor being the worst hit, and notes a common theme. “They are people who are African-American, mostly but not completely, and people who were of little of limited economic means.”

They are ones who thought they had little or nothing to lose. And then lost it…’

Posted: 2nd, September 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink