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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Superdome Survivors Speak Out

Two who survived the Superdome disaster speak out:

"There was so much lawlessness," Montegut stated, her expression clearly affected by the memory of those seven hellish days. "Many people were getting drunk, stealing and running around like wild animals."

"They stole anything that wasn't nailed down," Allen recalled. "It was an absolute war zone. We finally ended up sleeping outside, leaving the 'animals' inside to fight amongst themselves."

"The saddest thing, though," Montegut added, "was all the guardsmen standing around the place, just aching for the order to straighten it all out. I felt so bad for them, because I knew they felt that was what they should've been doing."

Drowsily rubbing her sleep-starved eyes, she continued her story. "When we got there on Sunday before the storm, the place was spotless - we had running water and everything. By Monday, though, we got a huge influx of people; the city had nothing in place to handle so many."

Allen, a normally mild-mannered, softspoken retiree from the automotive industry, echoed Montegut's strong disappointment over the lack of preparation for Katrina. "The failure of our city and state government to take care of the people is absolutely amazing," he exclaimed in frustration. "For as long as 40 years, the local government had been aware that New Orleans had no chance against a level 4 or 5 hurricane without the proper walls and systems. I recall one proposed project from a few years back that carried the price tag of $20 billion dollars. That issue was simply ignored, and now it's too late to save thousands of people."

Both Louisianians placed the blame for New Orleans' societal breakdown squarely on the shoulders of the mayor and the governor. "It felt like they were in the middle of some big power play. They weren't concerned about the people at all," alleged Allen.

Montegut, an insightful social service/forensic specialist employed by Louisiana's prison system, had gazed at a parking lot full of unengaged Regional Transit Authority buses from her position at the Superdome, and wondered why they were not being used to evacuate people from the deteriorating conditions.

"[Mayor Nagin] blew it, throwing his hands up in the air and blaming Bush for days - all the while, he could've been taking care of obvious solutions like that instead of telling people who hadn't the means to leave simply to 'get out'." According to her, the RTA buses sat in their same spots even as school buses came to carry the storm-worn from the shelter.

"When they originally sent the RTA buses out to bring people into the Superdome, it was the feds who made those arrangements, not the local government. It was just unbelievable, the lack of preparation on the mayor's part - even when he knew about the possible severity of the approaching storm," she said, shaking her head.
Didn't see that story on CNN did you? Think it will be posted on Michael Moore's web site?

Thanks Junkyard Blog!

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