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Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on Monday, August 29, 2005.

Within a few days it became obvious that the people of Louisiana needed more help than they were getting.

My church in the suburbs of Atlanta had a 15-passenger van we made available, with driver (me), for hurricane relief. The church was also willing to buy supplies to go in the van. On the morning of Friday, September 2, it was impossible to get any information through FEMA or Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on how to use the van, or what supplies were needed. I left a message at Catholic Social Services.

I couldn't get through on the phone to the Red Cross, so...

The rest after the jump.

I couldn't get through on the phone to the Red Cross, so I drove to their office a few blocks from mine and offered the services of the van. A woman told me the Red Cross was getting together a convoy, working with the governor's office, that would probably leave later on Friday. She assured me they would have plenty of supplies to load on the van, so we didn't need to buy anything.

After I got back to my office from the Red Cross, Catholic Social Services called me back and said a New Orleans family of 11 had made it to a shelter in Thibodaux, a small town about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans. They had relatives in Atlanta who could take them in, but no way to get to Atlanta. I told them I was going down with the Red Cross convoy, and could probably bring back the folks from Thibodaux when I returned. CSS put me in touch with the district manager of Family and Children Services in Thibodaux, who had some responsibility for running operations there. She said they had enough food and water, but needed pillows, blankets, and feminine hygiene products.

I heard nothing from the Red Cross about the convoy, and still couldn't get through on the phone, so late Friday afternoon I drove back to the Red Cross office and spoke with the same woman I'd talked to that morning. She said the convoy was definitely not going on Friday, might go Monday, and they probably wouldn't know anything more about it till Monday.

I called back the woman in Thibodaux and told her I'd come down on Saturday.

On Saturday morning I went to the local wholesale club store, bought all their twin-size blankets, a matching number of pillows, and set a new record for purchase of feminine hygiene products by a person intentionally sporting facial hair.

Then I drove to Thibodaux. Thank God the van had a cruising range of 500+ miles—gas stations in Mississippi either had no gas, or had long, long lines to get what gas they had.

At Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, at 11:30 PM Saturday, there were 200 or so people in the old (small) gym, and 300 or so in the new (big) gym. Most were on cots; some on mattresses; some on blankets; some attempting to sleep with nothing between them and the gym floor except what they were wearing. The DFCS manager said they were expecting more people to arrive. A New Orleans city bus sat in the parking lot; a man had commandeered it, loaded it with people, and driven it to Thibodaux. The folks I was to transport had come in two cars with most of the windows blown out and covered with plastic sheeting held on by duct tape; one of the cars was running hot. They didn’t think either car would make it to Atlanta. The DFCS director said to park the cars on the edge of the parking lot. She was keeping a list of cars left there and to whom each belonged.

A dozen or so tents were set up in the parking lot with stacks of bottled water, packaged food, diapers, etc. The DFCS manager said it had all come from the Catholic archdiocese, the city of Thibodaux, and local volunteers; they had heard nothing from the Red Cross, and nothing from FEMA except a very few people who had arrived on Thursday bearing nothing except a desire to give orders to everybody else. At midnight, a volunteer in the food-prep line under one of the tents served me a delicious plate of hot ham, rice, and white beans.

The DFCS manager offered to let me sleep on her couch, and I accepted. I thought maybe I should sleep in the gym with everybody else, but I didn't want to use any resources that had been donated for those truly in need. If there's a next time, maybe I'll stay in the gym—I still don't know.

On the way to Nicholls State Sunday morning, the DFCS director told me the president of Nicholls State had rented three big air-conditioned buses and loaded them up with people from the gyms, telling them they would be taken to nicer, air-conditioned shelters in other towns. Turns out he had not arranged for the other shelters to accept them. The people sat on the buses for two or three hours while it was determined the other shelters were full, then were told they weren't going anywhere. They got off and got back in the gyms.

We arrived at Nicholls State and loaded the van with a two-year-old boy, his four-year-old brother, their 8+ months-pregnant mom, and nine other women ages 18 to 62, and all their salvaged clothes and small personal items that would fit on the van. Turns out they were not all members of one family, but were all either related or close friends from church. The only exception was a woman who had a sister in Detroit who would arrange for a Greyhound ticket from Atlanta to Detroit, if the Louisiana sister could make it to Atlanta. Greyhound was not operating in Louisiana.

All the group was from the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, one of the areas of the worst flooding. They had tried to make it to the Superdome, but couldn't get there. By the time I met them, they’d heard about the terrible conditions in the Superdome, and were grateful they’d ended up in the Nicholls State gyms instead.

The 62-year-old's husband had refused to evacuate. He was a diabetic and in poor health. She did not know where he was. A 23-year-old in the group did not know where her father was. A 50-year-old did not know where her brother was, or the father of her children, or several other friends and cousins. A man who did not know where his wife was helped us load the van.

There was plenty of gas in Thibodaux, but we had a problem with the valve on one of the rear tires, and it took awhile before we could get the tire pumped up to the recommended 80 PSI, which was essential because the van was packed to the gills. By the time we got the tire pumped up and topped off the tank and headed north towards I-10, it was noon. We planned to go northwest on I-10 to Baton Rouge, then east on I-12 to Hammond, Louisiana, then north on I-55 to Jackson, Mississippi, then east on I-20 to Atlanta. It would have been quicker to catch I-55 further south at LaPlace and avoid the loop through Baton Rouge, but I-55 was closed between LaPlace and Hammond. I-55 there had passed on a narrow strip of land between the western edge of Lake Ponchartrain and the eastern edge of Lake Maurepas. That strip of land was mostly gone.

On I-10 headed northwest to Baton Rouge, around 1:00 PM Sunday, we passed a convoy of New Orleans city buses heading the same way. Our van rode high enough that we could see through the bus windows. There were only a few people on each bus. Why didn't the convoy run BEFORE the storm?

We stopped for lunch at a Cracker Barrel in Hammond, Louisiana, just south of the Mississippi line. Before we got out of the van, I suggested we read a passage from Romans. I didn't know exactly where in Romans, but I could recall a few words which several women immediately recognized as coming from Romans 8:38. We read verses 35-39:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Cracker Barrel staff were a little overwhelmed, but could not have been nicer. The pregnant woman had back pain and something that felt like gas, and thought she might be going into labor. I got directions to the nearest hospital, just in case. False alarm—thank God. We topped the tank and headed north on I-55.

During the long hours in the van, the two-year-old and four-year-old were patient and cheerful. Bouts of petulance were few and far between. They played with each other, and with some brightly-colored-small-wooden-cubes-connected-with-elastic-string doohickeys we'd bought at Cracker Barrel.

When we passed through Tuscaloosa, it was nearly 9:00 PM Sunday. I had hoped to eat ribs for supper at Dreamland, but the group was eager to get to Atlanta, and I figured Dreamland was already closed or would close before we could get there. So we kept going.

At Birmingham, they still wanted to keep going.

At Oxford, Alabama, around 30 miles short of the Georgia state line, sometime between 11:00 PM and midnight, the van was getting worrisomely low on gas and I was getting worrisomely low on alertness. We stopped to put gas in the van and coffee in the driver. The tank would hold over $100 worth of gas, but one of the two stations had no gas, and the other had a $50 limit. I thought about getting $50 worth of gas, then eating supper, then getting another $50 worth of gas. I was paying with a credit card at an automated pump, so I probably could have gotten away with the second gas purchase. But we could make it to Atlanta without the extra gas, and other folks probably needed it to get where they were going, so we decided against trying.

The group wanted to eat supper at Waffle House in Oxford. I was a little leery because everyone in the group but me was African-American, and every couple of years I’d been reading about some racial incident at a Waffle House, and we were in a small town in Alabama. But I said nothing.

The Waffle House staff were all white. They were kind and patient. They gave us a discount without me even asking. They would not take most of the tip I wanted to leave them. As we left, the waitress called out, "God bless y'all."

The next stop was in an IHOP parking lot 15 miles west of Atlanta, at around 2:00 AM Monday. One of the group had a sister who lived in the western Atlanta suburbs, who was meeting us at IHOP to pick up her sister and 18-year-old niece. We were there around five minutes to transfer the few bags belonging to the New Orleans sister and daughter into the Atlanta sister's van, and to get me another cup of coffee. In that five minutes, the New Orleans and Atlanta sisters were already bickering because the New Orleans sister insisted she would move into her own place ASAP, and the Atlanta sister thought she should see how things went before making plans.

The stop after that was the Greyhound bus terminal in downtown Atlanta, around 2:20 AM. I went in with the Detroit-bound woman to be sure the ticket her sister had arranged was there. It was. While waiting for my passenger to confirm the arrangements to become Greyhound's passenger, I spoke with a disheveled-looking man, around 35 or 40 years old, who said he had owned a horse farm outside Gulfport, Mississippi. The storm had killed all 250 of his horses, and blown away his house and both barns. He was insured. He planned to start over in Kentucky.

It was 2:50 AM when we pulled away from the Greyhound station and got back on I-20. Next and final stop, the home of a woman in the southeastern suburbs of Atlanta who had a sister and a niece in our group. She and her Atlanta friends and relatives were going to house the remaining nine folks on the van. (No further signs of the impending birth of number 10.)

The directions were a little confused, and after getting off I-20 at the right exit, we meandered around awhile—this was before everybody had a GPS—before stopping in a Walmart parking lot to get our bearings. In the parking lot, we read from the 21st chapter of Revelation:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the home of God is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.

We then quickly found the house. The aunt-sister and some other relatives came out to help unload. Everyone hugged and smiled, some cried. While the kids were carried inside, they kept sleeping.

I left the house around 3:45 AM, and headed back towards my home and church in the northwest suburbs. My pastor was thinking of driving in the convoy if it went on Monday, so I stopped to fill the tank. No gas limits in Atlanta. I drove by the Red Cross around 4:45 AM to see if anyone was there to tell me more about the convoy—my pastor lived nowhere near a Red Cross office, so I'd told him I'd get the details and call him. There was one car in the parking lot, but the door was locked and a sign said they'd open at 9:00 AM. I dropped off the van in the church parking lot, went home, read a chapter of the latest Harry Potter book while the coffee wore off, and went to sleep at 6:00 AM Monday.

Got up at 8:30 AM Monday, drove to the Red Cross to find out about the convoy. Huge line of people in the parking lot. Went in the back door, asked for the woman I'd spoken with on Friday. She wasn't there, and I was told to speak to the director of the office. The director said there was no convoy, and there had never been plans for any convoy. But the woman on Friday had told me details— coordinating with the governor's office, supplies will be provided—TWICE? The director said the woman from Friday was only an administrative assistant, who was new in the job and had no contact with the governor's office, and—in the middle of the biggest Red Cross crisis in years, maybe ever—had been given Monday off.

I left them my pastor's name and number, and said he could probably drive people around locally in our 15-passenger van. I found out later they never called him. I went home and—like most of the rest of America—went back to sleep.

Originally posted to HeyMikey on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Houston Area Kossacks and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Beautiful story. (28+ / 0-)

    Very touching and a welcome reminder.  

    My own story about Katrina is from Houston.  I was a project manager in Treasury Management and my bank had been given the federal contract to disperse funds to the refugees through the Treasury Dept and FEMA.  I was assigned to the team that came up with the plan and then delivered debit cards to those housed in the Astrodome and Reliant Stadium.

    To work 4 straight days with little sleep and coming up with a plan that actually worked and delivering to the people in need, the debit card program was bashed in the press and the myths live on to this day about people buying stereos and going to strip clubs.  I manned the "Help Desk" and heard first hand what people were going to do.  They wanted to know where Wal-Mart was because they wanted to buy underwear (boxes of used clothes had been distributed, but have you ever worn used underwear?).  They wanted to know if they should get all cash off their card or just use it as they went.  They wanted to know where the nearest bus station was, or how to get a taxi.  None of them had a place to go to or a personal way to get around, so buying TV's and stereos wouldn't have been their first thought.  Where would they put it?  How would they transport it?  Nevertheless, those were the reports the media decided to focus on.  

    The verification system to assure that households only received one debit card worked beautifully.  One young woman, about 19, came to me and said she was hesitant to take the card because she had a pregnant sister somewhere who needed the money more than she did.  I assured her that she should take the card and with luck her sister may show up to claim the funds and being denied would then be able to find her.  

    I helped old ladies in wheel chairs to use an ATM for the very first time in their lives and advised them not to get cash here at the stadium (the bank set up machines on the stadium floor emblazoned with their logo against my two cents worth of advice - having 6000 people watching as you remove cash is probably not a good idea).    

    I am here to tell you that the vast majority of people receiving funds did not spend it foolishly after living 9 days in shelters with strangers and thugs and not knowing where they were going to live or where their next meal was coming from or if they were going to get a paycheck anytime soon.  The debit cards were coded to not work in certain establishments, men's clubs, gun shops, you name it, it was thought out ahead of time, just like any business person's travel card, the cards can only be used in legitimate businesses.  

    And those saying the FEMA checks delivered after Hugo were a better method are wrong.  FEMA checks are cashed, and the cash is used for whatever and is untraceable.  At least with debit cards, the transactions were traceable after the fact.  Sure, some got cash, but many used the cards at POS.  That had never happened before.  I've often wondered if those POS transactions are now public record.  I wasn't privy to the results.  But I think the results would surprise a few people.

    It was a worthy thing for me to do, and like you, I learned about humanity in those days after Katrina.  I hope we all did.

    Photo from US News and World Report - I'm at the back standing at the help desk in a white shirt looking at the verification tables on the stadium floor.  

    We are all in this together.

    by htowngenie on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:51:16 AM PDT

  •  the scriptures you quoted reminded me of rice- (9+ / 0-)

    remember when condoleeza rice finally got her sorry self out of nyc and got down there and then told everyone we should wait for the lord? his timing is perfect.

    i wish someone would set her down and help her read her bible.

    I still get infuriated whenever I see her.

    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:05:39 AM PDT

  •  Just when I'm about to give up on this site (11+ / 0-)

    I come across a diary like this and remember why it is worth investing the time.

    Thank you.

  •  Thank you for this post, (10+ / 0-)

    You've confirmed it for me that donating to the Red Cross in an emergency is throwing money away. It is a shame because my employer matches gifts to Red Cross, but I always look for other, better options for my donations.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.--Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, scene 5

    by Ooooh on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:30:21 AM PDT

    •  I donated to... (5+ / 0-)

      For Katrina, I thought about the Red Cross as you did but Catholic Services up here was already transporting stuff down south so I went with them inside.  After reading this story and others I am SO GLAD I chose as I did.

      The Julianna Michigan Show on Itunes and Podbean.

      by libnewsie on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:52:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I do have a friend who works for them now, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crashing Vor, Kansas Born, Ooooh

      coordinating. He's a young man, trained hard and for years, and has helped with tornado aftereffects and other disasters. The Red Cross learned from Katrina and the Federal Flood. Consider giving them another chance.

      "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Mohandas Gandhi

      by cv lurking gf on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:45:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I appreciate that, (0+ / 0-)

        But Katrina is not the only reason I've had that opinion of The Red Cross, and as long as I have any other good option to donate, I will always choose the other option. I donate to RC only when there is no other viable option.

        There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.--Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, scene 5

        by Ooooh on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:13:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (22+ / 0-)

    I've said often that Katrina showed the whole world the best side of this country and the worst side at the same time. Thank you for your help - it's much appreciated even all these years later.

    One small story of my own... Nearly two weeks after the storm we had gone back to Metairie (a suburb immediately adjoining New Orleans) to get some belongings from my duplex. We had to go wading to get there but found the apartment intact and got some clothes and a couple of other items that we hadn't taken when we evacuated. It took us a while and it was getting dark when we got on the back road to avoid the mess on I-10  while returning to Baton Rouge.

    On the drive we were passed by not one but two huge convoys of emergency vehicles - fire engines, paramedic units, command cars - all with their lights on. The were obviously heading for home after nearly two weeks of rescue efforts. It was dark enough that I was having a hard time making out the names of the towns on the sides of the vehicles but eventually I saw one that said Peoria Fire Department. While I was trying to remember if there was a Peoria, Louisiana I saw another truck that said Decatur Fire Dept. That's when it clicked - Illinois. These convoys, hundreds of vehicles in total, had all come down from Illinois to help. We just stared at them as they passed, each truck bearing the name of a different town in Illinois,  some of which we recognized but most of which we had never heard of. Seeing that convoy was what made me realize that we weren't in this alone and we were all crying by the time they had all passed. And damn it if doesn't it still makes me cry when I tell that story even today.

  •  Thank you for helping the people of Louisiana... (16+ / 0-)

    I'm from Thibodaux. I've lived in the New Orleans area most of my life. I'm experiencing renewed outrage as to how folks were treated during and after the storm. Your story reminds me of so many of the individuals that helped, when our government refused.

    I'm reading "Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith", by Vicanne Adams. It's about the privatization of aid in the aftermath of Katrina, through the SBA and the so-called "Road Home" Program. Outrageous. It's painful, but a necessary lesson and exposure of predatory capitalism.

  •  beautifully written nt (10+ / 0-)

    Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace. ~ Ulysses S Grant

    by vcmvo2 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:00:12 AM PDT

  •  The Red Cross (5+ / 0-)

    are the last people I'd call in a disaster...  

    From the fraudulent fundraising after 9-11, to the Katrina "disaster services" that would go no closer to the Mississippi coast than the Kiln, to the cluster f*ck in Haiti to the ongoing NY AG's investigation of their actions during Sandy...

    Good on you Mikey, but those guys need to be put out of business.

    “The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all or cannot do so well for themselves”- Lincoln

    by commonscribe on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:08:26 AM PDT

  •  Thanks (5+ / 0-)

    Was good to know your church and Catholic services at least helped.  What you said about the Red Cross I have heard the same from other sources so...it is true and a shame.

    The Julianna Michigan Show on Itunes and Podbean.

    by libnewsie on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:48:23 AM PDT

  •  This sounds familiar... (11+ / 0-)
    ...a man had commandeered it, loaded it with people, and driven it to Thibodaux.
    The night of the Greensburg tornado, after the rescue mob arrived to dig a path through the wreckage to the remains of our house, they carried us to a waiting truck.  I was crammed in next to the driver.

    "Is this your truck?" I asked, just to be saying something.

    "No."

    "Whose truck is it?"

    "I don't know.  It wasn't wrecked up by the tornado, the engine started...so I took it."

    He had been using it to ferry survivors through the wreckage to the only clear area of the town.  He kinda...stole it.  No one seemed to mind that a car thief was one of the rescuers that night.  I know I didn't.

    Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

    by rbird on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 05:20:43 PM PDT

    •  Things like (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chantedor

      That happened after Hugo hit St. Croix. The bad looting gets sensationalized but the good looting goes unremarked. The owners of a lot of the destroyed warehouses here said take what you need we can't sell damaged goods anyway, plus it is insured. So people went in and scavenged but the newspapers claimed they looted.

      If peace is to prevail we all have to become foes of violence.

      by spacejam on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 05:28:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As an indie reporter living on the West Coast, (5+ / 0-)

    I waded through dozens and maybe hundreds of internet sites to try and figure out what conditions were like in New Orleans. From a website the featured actual police reports of activity - people calling for help, on account of the fact that thugs in the flooded neighborhoods were using battering rams to batter their way into home sand apartment buildings. People getting raped and mugged.

    And all the stories of the New Orleans people who knew in their gut that Katrina was not going to be a major storm, but had never figured on the levees breaking. So they had stayed on through the storm, and all had been relieved when almost everything was fully intact after the storm, but then the levees broke, and life became a nightmare.

    I called a local San Francisco Am station and talked to one receptionist to ask if he knew of Katrina stories that weren't getting out. He said one story that most people would not know was that hundreds of people in SF Bay Area had called the station that he worked for to complain that the way the story was reported "seemed racist." And on that I full-heartedly agreed. You would think that poor people had broken down the levees themselves, the way that radio station had reported it!

    I also broke the code for the White House staff phone numbers and got actual voice contact with Andy Card. Explained that as a reporter, I wanted to know exactly why it was that this nation, which way back in 1948 had air lifted supplies to West Germany when the Wall initially went up, and under threat of war, our Air Force kept Germans fed, yet the people in the Super Dome were dying due to no water. Card had a glib response that included a full run down of how many tens of thousands of tons of supplies were at some airfield outside of N.O. and were to be distributed soon. (The day I spoke with him was  Saturday Sept 3rd, so the fact was, people had been doing without for a long time, in terms of a human being's ability to go without water.) I bit my tongue, rather than screaming out what I felt, which was the word, "SHAME!"

    Anyway thank you so much for helping and for giving of yourself and making a difference. also for relating the story here to share with all of us.

    Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

    by Truedelphi on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:09:50 PM PDT

  •  Brings back memories. I was working at a large (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chantedor

    children's hospital the weekend after Katrina hit.  The confusion was startling, as you experienced.  We were put on alert about 10am that Al Gore had rented a jet liner and would be bringing hospital evacuees to Tennessee to be dropped off for in all major cities.  As the day went on, the details became fuzzier, and fuzzier, until....just nothing.  No plane, no needy children, no additional information.  Nothing.  To this day, I have no clue what was real, and what was simply "the fog of war".  Two years later, we brought a neonatologist and N.O. fireman to our institution to speak about emergency preparedness.  Their stories affect me and our institution yet today.  I can say we actually learned something.  You personally made things happen.  You have my immense respect for what you did.

  •  Thanks for telling this story. (0+ / 0-)

    It's the individual stories - stories of the hours and days spent by real people - that make such events real to those lucky enough not to have been damaged by them.

  •  Thank you. Beautiful diary and.... (0+ / 0-)

    .....a strong dose of compassion on your part. Thank you for doing this and telling us about it.

    While you were doing this, metaphorically, our nation was flying over the devastation and say "Looks pretty bad down there but these people aren't Americans and the government can't help."

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 11:35:49 AM PDT

  •  I am always amazed at the callowness of farmers (0+ / 0-)

    and ranchers toward their live stock.

    Granted they are cash on the hoof to people in the animal business.

    250 horses dead are cash in the pocket.  As he said he was insured.  If he had moved them to safety it would have cost him money.

    If the animals were running wild in unfenced, unbarricaded. uncitified country they would stand a chance of finding shelter, high ground, or running before the storm.

    One can only hope he was a least humane enough to put a bullet in their head before he abandoned them.  But bullets cost money.  Otherwise they died horribly terrifying deaths.

  •  Couple of things about Red Cross. I know a lot (0+ / 0-)

    of people like to hate on them because they don't fly in on gossamer wings and save people.

    For various reasons, like legal liability, they do not want "amateur"  last minute, volunteers.  Dealing with them takes time, effort, food etc away from their staff.

    They do coordinate with local officials like city governments and the cops.  If the federal, local and state governments are screwed up like they were in Katrina it makes it difficult to impossible for the Red Cross to send staff and supplies out into the field.
    They do need to keep their employees safe.  That means setting up their on site headquarters out of harms way.

    For a disaster the size of Katrina a lot of Louisiana's RC staff would have been busy trying to save themselves and their families.
    The RC needs housing or at least a place to pitch a tent, there wasn't much available along the coast or in NO, they need roads, they need gas, they need potable water and sanitary facilities for themselves before they can really begin to do much for anyone else.

    Also too most of Louisiana's neighbors were in the same straits as La. so help had to come from many miles away. and in huge amounts.

    The issue wasn't the RC it was and is the fault of the states and the fed gov to pre-plan and pre-prepair how to respond to disasters.

    Cudos to HeyMikie and the guy who swiped the school bus to drive people out of the mess that was NO.

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