Dying of Thirst in New Orleans

As thousands of evacuees languished in the New Orleans Convention Center for four days, only one authority came to reassure them, according to NBC photographer Tony Zumbado:

I went back with Harry Connick Jr. He spoke to them and told them he would do anything he can to help them. They seemed to appreciate that. He's the only person of authority -- believe it or not, a musician -- to go in there and tell them that things are going to be ok.

Connick's upholding a fine tradition of entertainers keeping their heads in disaster, following the legendary Titanic Band and Robin Boltman, the magician who stayed on the sinking cruise ship Oceanos after the captain and crew left for the lifeboats.

Zumbado told NBC Nightly News he saw things so horrific inside the center he wouldn't film them, knowing the network wouldn't broadcast the footage. They found unbelievable stench from human waste and numerous dead bodies, including two babies who had died of dehydration and a teen dead in a freezer, her throat slashed after a rape.

Harry Connick and a journalist were able to get from Baton Rouge to these 15,000 desperate people, as he described on the Today Show. Until late night Thursday, when food and water was brought for the first time since the storm, no one else could manage it.


It's easy to get to the convention center, we got there with no problem ... how hard is it to take a truck with water or food for these people? I don't understand. They told these people to go to the convention center for help and it's been five days. It's unbearable

There's a backlash against anyone who expresses anger about this disaster, as if it's just political gamesmanship to angle for the congressional mid-term elections next year. If anger isn't the proper response to babies dying for lack of water in the U.S., I don't know what is.


Where's the accountability for this mess? I'm constantly amazed that after all the various disasters these past 5 years, no heads have ever rolled, what a joke.

Havent you been paying attention? Bush is the "Zero Accountability" president.

That's all very impressive but consider this riveting, shocking, burning tale of a confrontation with danger and destruction and panic!!!:

(Circa 1982) Wally T. Fuchs was walking home from main street. Another day in MiddleAmericatown 01209. Fifteen blocks to his home on a bright snowcovered December afternoon. Quiet, empty sidewalks.

Wally came upon a brickhouse with smoke seeping through the mortar and said to himself WTF? FIRE! His first instinct was to break-in the door and search for victims of inhalation. He hesitated out of fear then threw snowballs and ice at the windows to alert anyone inside.

He was heading for a firehouse a block away when a car happened by. Stopping the car he sent the driver up the cross-street and against the one-way signs to the firehouse. If the firemen were all in the firehouse all the time and fully dressed at the curb next to the firetrucks they would have been to the house in 15 seconds.

Since firefighters have to eat, worship the oracle of their choice, vote, fight wars and reproduce they would arrive from radio dispatch a lengthy 12 minutes/15 seconds later!

The first thing the volunteers did was raise a ladder truck to the roof and axe a hole to vent the smoke.

Wally watched with confusion, it was now 20 minutes/15 seconds since he sent the car driver to the fire station a block away! Were their people inside dying or dead?

Wally wondered why they didn't rush in the front door and get the show on the road!?! WTF thought Wally, this procedure is flawed, it's too long to get the needed result which is get people out of a burning building!?!

The house was entered then word came that the house was unoccupied. A calm came over Wally and the small crowd of onlookers. Today they were refugees from their normal routines.

But why F around, Wally asked? Why not get inside to search for people, why hesitate!?! Why attack this burning house with an axe in some fairytale metaphor of punishment? Helpless small innocent children and women and children could be trapped inside this wrath set forth by anyone of the different Gods followed by individuals in the crowd???

The answer to Wally's question came from Joe Knose, a volunteer firefighter. Looking like someone who could routinely smell of beer or suffer from callouses on his backside, Joe Knose, never to be mistaken for a buff stud next to an immaculate pumper truck on a calender said;

"If you open the door first, before releasing the gas through the roof, you feed oxygen to the smoke which then ignites and explodes into flames. Deadly."

Wally then exchanged astrological signs and party affiliations with Joe and continued his quiet yet eventful walk home.

The next day the NextDayNews, Wally's local rag, had the story. The fire was started by an electrical short circut. But more shocking to Wally there were carelessly and illegally stored propane tanks in the basement of the burning house. If they would have exploded there would have been fatalities of firefighters and onlookers.

He never thought of that, Wally was speechless.

If you want someone to point fingers at, look at the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana. It was their job to have a real emergency plan (they had one, they just didn't use it).

Evacuation? There's a great photo of 200+ school buses, sitting in a flooded lot, about a mile from the Superdome.

Shelters? New Orleans didn't have any. Really. They had a couple of "refuges of last resort," but the whole plan for the city (and, indeed, the whole area) was for everyone to just leave. There was no provision for shelter of any sort for most people, no food stocks, safe water, *nothing*.

What you're seeing right now is the Federal folks stepping up and doing someone else's job, improvised, on the fly, and in less than 48 hours from the time everyone realized the locals had screwed up so horribly. They spent a day or so getting all of those stocks together so they *could* do what they're doing now. If they hadn't, we'd have a couple of thousand soldiers sitting around waiting for the stuff.

Go on blame blame blame, but the US Govt with all it "power" and quick witted politicos can't help anyone in need, the best they can do is tie their own shoe laces!

This sounds more like population control. Why were we there for the tsunmai and not for New Orleans?
Bush says he not happy with what the government has not done?? He is the government.
Where are the city officals families? I'm sure they got out...

"Go on blame blame blame, but the US Govt with all it "power" and quick witted politicos can't help anyone in need, the best they can do is tie their own shoe laces!"

So you're griping about blame, while blaming the Feds for having some sort of fictional "power" and not using it to magically bypass the locals (unconstitutionally, by the way).

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