June 1, 2005

Bigfoot Talks About the Real Situation in the Dome

MORE FIRSTHAND REPORTING from Indictor at Outpost Crystal in New Orleans:
"Bigfoot" is a bar manager and DJ on Bourbon Street, and is a local personality and icon in the city. He is a lifelong resident of the city, born and raised. He rode out the storm itself in the Iberville Projects because he knew he would be above any flood waters. Here is his story as told to me moments ago. I took notes while he talked and then I asked some questions:

Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.

It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.

Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.

Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

The buses never stop.

Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.

He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."

He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.

I have "Bigfoot"'s phone number and will gladly give it to any city or state official who would like to tell him how everything is under control.

Addendum: Bigfoot just called to report that "they" (the authorities) are cleaning up the dead bodies at the Convention Center right now.

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Posted by Vanderleun at June 1, 2005 11:27 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.


Should criminal incompetence constitute grounds for impeachment?

Is Rummy actually in charge of the rescue mission in New Orleans? After all, the Bush Administration seems intent on using the Baghdad model for New Orleans. We could have at least expected that a Republican Administration would be able to restore order in the aftermath of a national disaster. Apparently not.

Where were the troops? Once again, the Bush Administration has approached a national challenge with insufficient resources. It used to be liberals that were characterized as incompetent and soft on crime. No longer - enter the Bush conservatives.

However, if you believe what is coming from the hourly press conferences from the President and his minions, everything is going swell with the federal response. Perhaps today in New Orleans the President will repel down from a Coast Guard helicopter in an orange jumpsuit and declare "Mission Accomplished."

And America weeps.

Given what has happened in New Orleans, why should Americans have any confidence that the federal government is prepared for a major terrorist attack on an American city? This is a monumental dereliction of duty by those we have entrusted to defend and protect us..

But if one listens to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a city is an expendable thing. And conservatives are defenders of tradition?

The magnitude of this disaster is only matched by the incompetence of this Administration. Now we know the meaning of conservative Commissar Norquist's "leave us alone" coalition. Or is this just the highest stage of "compassionate conservatism" as Americans starve or die of thirst on the streets? Maybe, we are just judging the Bushies by the standard of the "soft bigotry of low expectations."

And don't forget - this is the Administration that demands accountability and standards from our educators and students. Parents - don't accept any excuses from your kids for substandard school work but don't leave any incompetent FEMA Director or Secretary of Homeland Security behind!

Conservative governance has produced fiscal irresponsibility, government expansion, unprecedented incompetence and lawlessness. Have they no shame?
-- Posted at 8:42 AM - 9/2/05

Posted by: libby at September 2, 2005 6:20 AM

Yesterday - early this morning? - MSNBC turned over the report to two cameramen who had been at the Convention Center for a couple days. They confirm your correspondent's report. At one point one of the cameramen broke down in tears. I think this is going to shake out as one of the biggest scandals of the NO disaster: citizens directed towards a high profile facility and then abandoned.

Posted by: Doug Anderson at September 2, 2005 8:50 AM

If I was a cynical bastard and didn't have (limited) experience with the N.O. and LA governments, I'd say said their entire emergency plan was "let the federal government handle it".

Thank goodness I'm not a cynical bastard.

Posted by: P.A. Breault at September 2, 2005 8:51 AM

G-rod -- you're doing a major public service here, using your lifelong resources and contacts to pass along unvarnished observations from the scene -- someone on local SF Bayrea news pointed out last night that film of black people with goods is consistently tagged "looting stores for food and water" while film of white people carrying goods is "people who LOCATED food and water."

For now, I tend to think in terms of "Don't fix the blame, fix the problem" -- this despite my intense personal antipathy toward Bush and his henchmen.

And you, serving as messenger for people who are there, clear, and articulate, are adding impetus to that process, toward fixing the problem.

(Gee, I don't usually offer kudos to you for what you do and say -- like... hmm, NEVER -- so common decency and personal integrity makes it important for me to do so now. Keep it up.)

Posted by: Saintperle at September 2, 2005 8:52 AM

I saw someone that I work with here on the news. She went to New Orleans to try and convince her grandparents to leave.

What's most disheartening is to see the situation used for partisan purposes by both sides of the blogosphere and media. We seem to be living in a fantasy world only tangentially affected by reality. Let's try to stick together on this one and let the moonbats and wingnuts burn each other out.

Posted by: StephenB at September 2, 2005 10:01 AM

Sigh.. thanks, as usual, for the reality check.

P. S. Holding to habit to keep on to my sanity -- mandatory printfreak input on the dangers of Spellcheck (even in emotional reportage): "dire straits" -- as in channel)

Posted by: DeborahAdams at September 2, 2005 2:12 PM