Scenes and quotes in Katrina’s wake

Friday, September 9, 2005

Joe Lastie is a drummer with the legendary New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band. From his refuge in Atlanta he said this: “I go around the world sharing the joy that is New Orleans. And because of that joy, I know my city is going to survive. The New Orleans people are the type of people, well, you can’t keep them down. Through the joy of the music and the spirit of the people, we’re always going to bounce back.”
–Associated Press article by Martha Mendoza

Cecile Conway, 44, who swam to safety but lost track of family members, sat in the Houston Astrodome reading the Bible, marking Psalm 6 with green pencil for emphasis: “O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger, nor chastise me in your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak. O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.”
(Ralph Blumenthal, “Astrodome an Orderly Host to Its Restless Guests,” The New York Times 9/114/05

The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot ran an AP photo of a little human drama from the now-infamous scene at the New Orleans Convention Center. A strapping middle-aged black man is helping a much older, frail-looking white man to have a drink of water.

On CNN: Policeman trying to calm a distraught woman who is saying over and over, “I don’t have no home! We don’t have no water!” Finally the policeman, clearly near the end of his rope, said, “I don’t either! I don’t either!” It was all too easy to overlook the fact that most of the police, medical technicians, and other “first responders” were in the same predicament as those who had fled to the Superdome and the Convention Center.

“Bureaucracy has committed murder here”

Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish (the western, suburban part of New Orleans) appeared Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He could not control his sobs as he told of his mother’s fate. She was trapped in a nursing home and, despite her repeated pleas for rescue and repeated promises from a FEMA spokesman, she drowned on Friday, Day 5. “We have been abandoned by our own country,” he said. “It’s not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans. Bureaucracy has committed murder here.” (Norfolk Virginian Pilot, 9/5/05)

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