boistering

Friday, September 02, 2005

Where Is the National Guard?




At least seven bodies were scattered outside the convention center, a makeshift staging area for those rescued from rooftops, attics and highways. The sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement.

A military helicopter tried to land at the convention center several times to drop off food and water. But the rushing crowd forced the choppers to back off. Troopers then tossed the supplies to the crowd from 10 feet off the ground and flew away.

“There’s a lot of very sick people — elderly ones, infirm ones — who can’t stand this heat, and there’s a lot of children who don’t have water and basic necessities to survive on,” said Daniel Edwards outside the center. “We need to eat, or drink water at the very least.”

An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

“I don’t treat my dog like that,” 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. “You can do everything for other countries, but you can’t do nothing for your own people.”

The street outside the center, above the floodwaters, smelled of urine and feces and was choked with dirty diapers, old bottles and garbage.

People chanted, “Help, help!” as reporters and photographers walked through. The crowd got angry when journalists tried to photograph one of the bodies and covered it with a blanket. A woman, screaming, went on the front steps of the convention center and led the crowd in reciting the 23rd Psalm.

“It’s like they’re punishing us,” said John Murray, 52.

--MSNBC, 9/2

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