Thursday, September 01, 2005

Escape from New Orleans: One Man's Story

Hi everyone,

I've been too tired to write today, but I wanted to pass on this email I got from Emile, with whom I work. (He does all the work on finances and book sales for the Death Penalty Discourse Center and Sister Helen Prejean's work.)

We've been waiting and waiting to hear from him, knowing he was stuck in the French Quarter. It was with huge relief that we got this email this afternoon.

Rose Vines

After harrowisng/horerific days at Omni [the Omni Royal Orleans hotel in the French Quarter] etc. many war stories to tell, but I'll make it short at this time but will bore you with them later. On Tues Morn. 6am my aunt got up to go to bathroom, with flashlight, and fell. We did not discover her until 8, on floor bloody arm and possible hip or ribs broken. No emt service so we set out for charity hosp. were moved to superdome, they wanted to evacuate to BR [Baton Rouge] without me and we refused--sat there for 7 hours without any one seeing her, no food or bathroom opportuites--I walked around until I found a used bed pan and rinsed it out with bottled water. Finallly theyl said they were going to evacuate her to a new location at Interstate and Causway Blvd. [this is an outdoor location where thousands of people are congregating with medical triage] I told her this might be the best since the alterrnative was to stay at the dome with no medical help and no food etc. She agreed and they put her in the back of a truck and of course that is the last we have heard from her. I'm sure she has been moved to who knows where.

After she was taken I walked thur water,, sometimes pocket high, back to the Omni. I did hitchhike part of the way on side of Army vehicle. Got to Omni and was told by police they had taken over the hotel and I could not enter. I mentioned my family, wife, daughter, son in law, granddaughter and they said every person in hotel was evacuated, led out of the city by police escort. I told them I had just walked back from superdome, I was exhaused and I was sitting on the steps until I could decide what to do. For a brief moment I thought the best solution was to get arrested. Anyway, while I was sitting thinking, planning (all bad) I heard the lovely accented voice of Darryl from Scotland, second in command of the hotel--he helped get my aunt to the hospital that morning, I jumped up, he saw me we hugged and he told them I was with the hotel and we convinced them I should stay--AB justed called to come look at some TV coverage--I hadn't seen any tv all week and I'm embarrrased how minor my problems seem when I see people dying in the street by Convention Ctr.

AB let me a note with all our stuff in the room and I was able to contact her in Houston with a friend of my daughters. Yessterd around 1pm police ordered me to leave and escorted me out of town.