Editor’s note: Most of the “Streetbeat” responses this week come from evacuees from New Orleans.
“Yes I do because of the response. It was slow. Basically, it was poor people, and these are the people who don’t get the help that they deserve in the first place.”
“Yes, I do feel race was a factor, definitely, and also an issue of class. The politicians should have been there and done something sooner?”the mayor and the governor. She [Gov. Blanco] waited 24 hours, for what? My sister was one who walked through the flood. She said when they were in front of the Convention Center, the buses would drive down one side and passed them up and didn’t stop to pick up nobody.” (Mrs. Morgan is a West Side resident and has taken in family members from New Orleans.)
Alfred Davis, Sr.
“Yes, I think race played its part in it. It took too long, for one thing. They should have had everything set up when they made provisions for the people to be there at the shelters. They didn’t make for provisions, and they have no supervision, far as I’m concerned. I left when we heard the hurricane was coming. I’ve been here 11 days. I don’t know how long I’ll be here. We have not made a decision yet about what we are going to do.”
“Yes, I do believe it had everything to do with race and the fact that Mayor Nagin had said the day before that if we didn’t get out, that there would be no help available. And the fact that when we got through walking through the water, the Coast Guard or the police (I don’t know what he was), he told us, why didn’t we get out before? My daughter asked if there were going to be any trucks to come and pick us up and take us to the Superdome. Really and truly it was like them punishing us for being disobedient. I was not in the Superdome I was outside the Convention Center. The Convention Center, they didn’t have food and water. But there were some individual private citizens who did bring truckloads of water. As a matter of fact, my brother-in-law’s nephews picked us up in a truck that they had commandeered to help people, picking them up, bringing them back and forth.
“Also I want to say I feel this was no accident. The breakage of those levees, over the last four or five years they had spent $500 million on the Industrial Canal, doing a new bridge project and levee project. So you know that was just recently. It was 2000 when it was completed. There is no way that this bridge should have broke and no way it should have been breached?”there was nothing down there in that area. And this canal feeds into the Mississippi River bridge, so I really believe with all my heart that it was totally contrived, and if you look at the damage from what the people sustained, there was not enough damage to substantiate breaking a wall, because it didn’t even break a window in my house.
“I don’t really call [New Orleans] home no more, and I don’t anticipate going back. I don’t know where the Lord will lead me. I’m going wherever he leads me. When we got out of the water, the police was telling people to break into the store and get some dry clothes to put on. Some people may have gone overboard, but trust me, they were encouraged by the police in the beginning.
“Everybody got out on their own, and Mayor Nagin did not get ignorant until he saw that special on CNN, Larry King Live. He wasn’t on the radio Monday when it first happened. Tuesday he got on around noon before we got out. This is a mayor that had dead bodies floating down in the near 9th Ward and he got on, and the first thing he said was he had a good night’s sleep, he was re-energized, he had six hours’ sleep, and he was ready to build a bigger, better New Orleans. Nothing about the people, nothing about the bodies floating, and, trust me, they did nothing about the bodies floating because they did not send anybody to pick us up.
“While we were lying on that ground, we did not get help over by the Convention Center. I don’t know if you saw that lady on TV asking and begging for the police to stay there with us. They did not stay with us. They kept having buses going around the boulevard, none of them would pick us up, and my daughter asked if they would put spotlights during the night. I can tell you what I felt. I felt more afraid of the police and the National Guard than I did of other people fighting. To me, it was like they were just waiting for us to get so frustrated, turn on each other, and by them having martial law, kill all of us.”
“To me it was both [race and class] because there wasn’t any way in the world that all the water could come down just in one section in the city, and there was no way out. God got angry with them for what they did, so he flooded the whole city. That’s the way I felt about it. Now the thing is going to be regaining your property for those people who want to go back. Me myself, I don’t really want to go back and live there because I was treated wrong for one thing. But we were blessed to get out. I’m just so happy we got out.”
? Anyone wishing to help this family from New Orleans should contact Cong. Davis’ office at 773/533-7520.