Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


From inside New Orleans

A business colleague or mine sent this email to me yesterday. I thought it might be of interest to those of us not on the inside of the Katrina aftermath. It is from a friend of hers. I did not edit or correct her lower casing, etc. The first sentence is from my friend and then it goes into the email she forwarded from her friend. Now, tell me, who's on first? ;)

This is from a friend doing work for ABC who lives in New Orleans. I thought you might like a perspective other than the national media’s eyes. Not better …. Just different …. Read on…..

hello to friends and family,

a quick update from new orleans- excuse the choppy writing.

thank you all for your emails, concern and offers to help those affected.

just got my laptop/email in new orleans today. all is as good as can be here. working with abc has been amazing. i have met the most hardworking, interesting people. we are like a family here, working long days, about 45 of us, sleeping in pretty nice rv's on canal street, in front of sheraton, where we shower. at first we ate military MRE's. Now we get sandwiches and pizza brought in. even ice and beer now. we have 5 camera/sound/correspondent/producer crews.

still many people in new orleans. residents roam freely, even tonight. i can't imagine only 10k being left. seems like many more. media talks about 'forced evacuation' but have seen or heard of any sign of that. still many suffering, sick people living in gross conditions, flood waters.

i worked on a story with correspondent chris cuomo yesterday in the housing project i used to work in. we waded in chest high awful water in waders (did not touch water) through projects, navigating through rubble, cars, trees, ditches, wire and dead bodies. one needs to go very slowly, as for one bad step, that black awful water filling one's waders could be most extremely disgusting and very hazardous experience i could imagine. found two stranded families. A man had a very bad deep gouge on his shin from walking in the water. it was deeply infected with exposed tendons and magots, green. 13 yr old was with them. we talked them into leaving for baton rouge to get medical attention. military rescue helicopters came over head, brought in boats, took 2 families away. part of this filmed story may be on abc news tomorrow, from 7-8am i think. if it is aired, and anyone catches it, please tape it.

housing projects nearby downtown are hiding places for looters, but for others too, including families/children. no relief/rescue has gone in by foot, families said. there is fear from law enforcement/military about what those inside will do to armed military. abc wanted to hear those in the projects side of the story. we first met with gatekeepers 'guarding' projects. yes, some risk, the three of us going in. however, i felt 'relatively' safe entering housing projects (iberville and lafitte projects) for a few reasons- knowing the project landscape and routes, the people, worked with the kids and community leaders for years, and knowing that those hiding inside do not want to draw attention by shooting unarmed correspondents. we went in offering food, water and medicine. we had a black-english dressed down 35-yo retired special forces ‘man'/paramedic with us (we have 16 security officers hired in new orleans.) there is always some risk. i am aware of that. We really enjoyed our experience, story, and the outcome of the family making the decision to leave, and being escorted out by military boats.

i think military is waiting for water to recede to penetrate areas if people do not leave. military is beginning to surround them and cut off food sources from win dixe near by, where food is looted.

meanwhile, people, some high on drugs and alcohol, were walking in chest high water through streets in the sickest water i have ever seen. i am sure many people will soon begin to get very sick, those wading through this water daily, with open sores and cuts.

wednesday i worked with bob woodruff and crew, uptown, covering crack house fire, which burned 10 homes; helicopters brought in huge buckets of water by air to contain fire. and we covered uptown residents who don't want to leave.

today i worked with angus and crew- we covered the evacuation center at the convention center. it was very interesting. the majority now coming to evacuation center are drug addicts, elderly, blind, and mentally and physically challenged. many have dogs, and a few cats.
military said they are confiscating drugs, mostly meth, from 25% of those that come to shelter. dick cheney arrived at evac center when we were there.

new orleans feels like a war zone. military and police everywhere. helicopters almost always overhead, day and night. it feels relatively safe. still very flooded. may be able to boat over to my house on saturday to assess damage if accessible.

visited bar on bourbon last night. the only bar open that we are aware of. very errie on bourbon st, quiet, dark, smelly, special forces in large groups walking the streets all night.

sheraton on canal st has been amazing. they have housed all police officers. they now have hot/water, electricity, a/c, and very nice rooms. clean, safe. tomorrow they will open a media bar, with free bar drinks. not sure how they are offering so much without charge. I am assisting new orleans sheraton hotel manager in finding an assistant for him. i know this is not the most attractive job, but perhaps there is someone interested in it. good pay. let me know if you know anyone who would be interested.

more to write about in a few days.

thank you all for your emails and concern.

love, (name withheld)


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