Thursday, September 01, 2005

Now We Are In Hell

Just when you think the situation in New Orleans can't possibly get any worse, it does.

The city is continuing its descent into lawlessness and anarchy. Nothing illustrates that better than an incident this morning in which a Chinook helicopter on its way to pick up evacuees came under small weapons fire! And that wasn't the only incident. Another chopper pilot aborted his landing at a hospital when he saw an armed mob waiting on the ground. With such dangerous conditions for would-be rescuers, the plan to move refugees to Houston's Astrodome has been running slow. In other words, New Orleans is rapidly turning into "Escape From New York."

But while the government's efforts may be faltering, some citizens are finding ways to save themselves. For example, Jabbar Gibson took it upon himself to comandeer a school bus, pick up about 80 other evacuees, and drive the 350 miles to Texas. And guess what? They were the first ones to arrive!!!

Meanwhile, there are numerous other reports of rescue vehicles being stopped and their contents of ice, food, water, and medical supplies stolen by gun toting gangs. In an effort to restore order, Mayor Ray Nagin has ordered his police officers to suspend search and rescue operations and concentrate on stopping looters.

That's a good idea. Keeping a waterlogged 32" TV from being stolen is certainly much more important than, say, saving a human life.

And with still no electricity or running water, conditions at the Superdome continue to deteriorate further. One woman has said of her experience there, "Now we are in hell."

The article then goes on to describe the four levels of Superdome hell: At field level people have established a reasonably civilized existence. Cots are used to set personal spaces for families, and their areas are kept orderly.

The restrooms are the second level of hell. With no running water, the urinals and toilets are clogged and overflowing, and people slip and slide in eachother's excrement. If you need to go, you just find a corner and go.

Level three is where the darkened skyboxes are. It is described as "a place for abandonment and coupling." Use your imagination on that one.

Then there is level four. It is for the druggies and gangsters, and rumors abound about murders and rapes.

And there you have it: Life in New Orleans, or what's left of it. While there are thousands of National Guard in the city, many more will be needed to restore order. Of course, that may be difficult, since so many of them are off fighting in Iraq.

0 thoughtful ramblings: