Friday, September 02, 2005

St. Bernard Parish abandoned to its fate

St. Bernard Parish officials complained today that, five days after Katrina struck, the devastated home of 60,000 people had not been contacted by FEMA. Rescue efforts (and there is almost no information) appear to have been entirely spontaneous and local.

I have seen references to "a tugboat captain" who was rescuing people there, on the WWL-TV blog. I don't know more than that, but I can envision it easily.

I can see some poor guy with his tow grounded on the river side of St. Bernard, shipping the flat boat at the back of his boat, and going in to do what he could, because no one one else was coming.

He is a hero, and I hope he is found and his story told.

Five days after the storm hit, and seven days after the computer models put the storm landing between Barataria Bay and Bay St. Louis--the Doomsday scenario--these people remain unaided.

People rescued by their neighbors and the random grace of a towboat captain , were dying of thirst waiting in the Chalmette Slip for the boats that never came to take them to Algiers.

These people were not the "scary" African-Americans of the NOCC, whom FEMA in their cowardice decided it was too dangerous to rescue. They look like (and are in many ways a lot like) the people I live among in Fargo, ND.

The more I consider this, the more I am convinced that the inept response of our government was one of titanic ineptitude, or simple disregard for people unimportant to the current trends of power in our country.

Black and white, Ninth Ward and Chalmette, Catholic and Protestant, men and women, very old and very young: they died in the heat and the stink of death waiting for the help that never came.

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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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