Katrina: They Thought They Were Sent There To Die
An e-mail was sent to me by someone who has an inside story from the Katrina disaster zone: “This was forwarded to me by one of my Hemings cousins, passing on an email she had received via what amounts to an African American email network something like the little one you and I engage in. The most chilling idea expressed below is the entirely believable—to me, anyway—notion that many of those in the Convention Center quite literally believed they had been dropped off there to die.”
An e-mail was forwarded to me that claims to be from someone who has an inside story from the Katrina disaster zone. Frankly, I sense a carefully constructed narrative, but I don’t doubt it could have happened that way. The first forwarder says he got the story from his "Hemings cousins." As in Sally Hemings? That’s the main element that makes me suspicious that it’s PR designed to counter the media perception of black people in New Orleans looting. UPDATE: The story’s author is confirmed to exist. From the “Dialy Kos” blog:
“The Moore family is large and long established creole Catholic family in New Orleans, the Moores are musicians - Deacon John (Moore) is the most famous one of them - professors, nurses… Their houses are now submerged by flooding, and most of them have lost everything following Katrina’s passage. Lisa Moore, editor (Redbone press), has collected the testimony of her 43 year-old cousin, Denise Moore, once an education counselor, now a refugee in Baton Rouge. Here is her tale of a dive into Hell. “Update [2005-9-6 23:39 by ch2]: Lisa Moore is indeed the editor of Redbone press. The url below is their webpage and they have a message board. Anyone interested in getting in touch with Lisa to suggest she share her story with the media ? http://www.femmenoir.net/RedbonePress.htm “—John Dentino
3rd generation forwarder: Georgia If ya’ll could pass this on to as many people as possible - especially internationally—then this very important eye-witness account of what went down at the epicenter in New Orleans will be known to as many people as possible. Maybe it can counteract some of the B.S. Rove and Co. are putting out. Fwd: They All Believed They Were Sent There To Die
2nd generation forwarder:Lest we hear any more bullshit from anyone about how it’s all the fault of the poor and black and the poor and white and the middle class and whomever and whatever. And read down to the end and the line about how the young men with guns were protecting the people in the convention center. Which version of reality is correct: this one from a survivor and eye witness or the one put out by the Rovian PR apparatus? You choose. I’ve made my choice.
1st generation forwarder:This was forwarded to me by one of my Hemings cousins, passing on an email she had received via what amounts to an African American email network something like the little one you and I engage in. The most chilling idea expressed below is the entirely believable—to me, anyway—notion that many of those in the Convention Center quite literally believed they had been dropped off there to die.
From: Lisa Moore
Sent: Saturday, September
03, 2005 10:13 AM
I heard from my aunt last night that my cousin Denise made it out of New Orleans; she’s at her brother’s in Baton Rouge. From what she told me: her mother, a licensed practical nurse, was called in to work on Sunday night at Memorial Hospital (historically known as Baptist Hospital to those of us from N.O.). Denise decided to stay with her mother, her niece and grandniece (who is two years old); she figured they’d be safe at the hospital. They went to Baptist, and had to wait hours to be assigned a room to sleep in; after they were finally assigned a room, two white nurses suddenly arrived after the cut-off time (time to be assigned a room), and Denise and her family were booted out; their room was given up to the new nurses. Denise was furious, and rather than stay at Baptist, decided to walk home (several blocks away) to ride out the storm at her mother’s apartment. Her mother stayed at the hospital.
She described it as the scariest time in her life. Three of the rooms in the apartment (there are only four) caved in. ceilings caved in, walls caved in. She huddled under a mattress in the hall. She thought she would die from either the storm or a heart attack. After the storm passed, she went back to Baptist to seek shelter (this was Monday). It was also scary at Baptist; the electricity was out, they were running on generators, there was no air conditioning. Tuesday the levees broke, and water began rising. They moved patients upstairs, saw boats pass by on what used to be streets. They were told that they would be evacuated, that buses were coming. Then they were told they would have to walk to the nearest intersection, Napoleon and S. Claiborne, to await the buses. They waded out in hip-deep water, only to stand at the intersection, on the neutral ground (what y’all call the median) for 3 1/2 hours. The buses came and took them to the Ernest Memorial Convention Center (yes, the convention center you’ve all seen on TV). Denise said she thought she was in hell. They were there for 2 days, with no water, no food. no shelter.
Denise, her mother (63 years old), her niece (21 years old), and two-year-old grandniece. when they arrived, there were already thousands of people there. They were told that buses were coming. police drove by, windows rolled up, thumbs up signs. National guard trucks rolled by, completely empty, soldiers with guns cocked and aimed at them. Nobody stopped to drop off water. A helicopter dropped a load of water, but all the bottles exploded on impact due to the height of the helicopter. The first day (Wednesday), four people died next to her.
The second day (Thursday) six people died next to her. Denise told me the people around her all thought they had been sent there to die. Again, nobody stopped. The only buses that came were full; they dropped off more and more people, but nobody was being picked up and taken away. They found out that those being dropped off had been rescued from rooftops and attics; they got off the buses delirious from lack of water and food. completely dehydrated. The crowd tried to keep them all in one area; Denise said the new arrivals had mostly lost their minds. they had gone crazy. inside the convention center, the place was one huge bathroom. in order to shit, you had to stand in other people’s shit. The floors were black and slick with shit. most people stayed outside because the smell was so bad. But outside wasn’t much better: between the heat, the humidity, the lack of water, the old and very young dying from dehydration… and there was no place to lay down, not even room on the sidewalk. They slept outside Wednesday night, under an overpass. Denise said yes, there were young men with guns there. But they organized the crowd. They went to Canal Street and “looted,” and brought back food and water for the old people and the babies because nobody had eaten in days. when the police rolled down windows and yelled out “the buses are coming,” the young men with guns organized the crowd in order: old people in front, women and children next, men in the back. just so that when the buses came, there would be priorities of who got out first.
Denise said the fights she saw between the young men with guns were fist fights. She saw them put their guns down and fight rather than shoot up the crowd. But she said that there were a handful of people shot in the convention center; their bodies were left inside, along with other dead babies and old people.
Denise said the people thought there were being sent there to die. Lots of people being dropped off, nobody being picked up. cops passing by, speeding off. National guard rolling by with guns aimed at them. and yes, a few men shot at the police because at a certain point all the people thought the cops were coming to hurt them, to kill them all. She saw a young man who had stolen a car speed past, cops in pursuit; he crashed the car, got out and ran, and the cops shot him in the back. in front of the whole crowd.
She saw many groups of people decide that they were going to walk across the bridge the west bank, and those same groups would return, saying that they were met at the top of the bridge by armed police ordering them to turn around, that they weren’t allowed to leave.so they all believed they were sent there to die.
Denise’s niece found a pay phone, and kept trying to call her mother’s boyfriend in Baton Rouge, and finally got through and told him where they were. the boyfriend, and Denise’s brother, drove down from Baton Rouge and came and got them.they had to bribe a few cops, and talk a few into letting them into the city (“come on, man, my two-year-old niece is at the Convention Center!”), then they took back roads to get to them.after arriving at my other cousin’s apartment in Baton Rouge, they saw the images on TV, and couldn’t believe how the media was portraying the people of New Orleans. she kept repeating to me on the phone last night: make sure you tell everybody that they left us there to die. nobody came. those young men with guns were protecting us. if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have had the little water and food they had found.
That’s Denise Moore’s story.
Lisa C. Moore
Chris Casady wrote:
That’s quite a heavy story, and one heavy accusation. This Lisa Moore claims that her cousin Denise Moore saw police shoot an unarmed car thief in the back while a crowd witnessed. (She doesn’t say if he was killed or wounded). If a crowd saw this, why hasn’t it appeared in my news sources yet? Where else might we hear about it, read about it? Is it just one persons story? Why does it sound exaggerated for effect? also find out: Has HBO contacted her yet to option the material. Kraig Grady wrote:
As i mentioned when i watched faux [Fox] news they had multiple people claiming that the police drove up and shot a man in the chest point blank for no reason and then drove off. Of course you can except the opposite scenario, where like iraq, we go in to help the people and for now reason at all a few crazy people start shooting at us, even though we only want to help. Any time they tell me or imply that people are just crazy, which is our pradva’s excuse from everyone from japan at pearl harbor, osward, sirhan, bid laden, I don’t buy it. The point is ONLY crazy people do such things? give me a break. Like the rampart division ( who happen to be on duty at the ambassador the night kennedy was killed in a folly of 25 shots and lost the evidence less than two weeks later) , they reap what they sow. Ron Stringer wrote:
I much prefer the scenario where someone—someone on the side of the angels, would be my guess—realizes he/she can start any goddamn rumor he/she wants to just by writing an email, addressing it and clicking Send. What a sense of power it must give him/her, and all in the name of a good cause! Also, N.B., it was by watching the “faux news” that you heard multiple accounts of the alleged shooting. So where’s your cover-up? Anyway, what you/I make of what you/I see in the news tells me a lot more about your/my prejudices and preconceptions than it does about what may have actually happened. When either of us starts to believe that everything we see and hear supports our hypothesis about how the world works, it’s time to start worrying.
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- 09.09.05 / 2pm