Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Katrina survivors tell their stories

Adele Bertucci, 53, hospitality worker, native of Cuba and 35-year resident of New Orleans:

The worst experience for me was being alone for maybe four days in the airport. That's something I'll never forget. There were bodies. There were people bleeding. There were people lying in their own waste. One after another. If you take Gone with the Wind and the Nazi War and the Vietnam war, and visualize that in one place, that's how I would describe the airport. When you watch it on TV, it's like watching a Walt Disney versus an R-rated movie. You only see what they want you to see. You can't smell it.

Calvin Dawson, 36, brick mason, former resident of Jackson Avenue in Orleans Parish:

I saw a shotgun fired off. I saw a shotgun pumped and stuck under a lady's throat. Cops standing at gung ho, ready to fire. A guy ran over a pop bottle and dude was like on the crowd with a fully automatic weapon in the west bank. He was ready to kill us, man! And he like blasted the crowd with a shotgun over our heads. Boom! Because people were trying to get on the bus! They were only bringing in two at a time and there were 600 people under the West Bank bridge! People were trying to get on the bus with little tiny babies. They had been standing on their feet all night long. They were sick and tired. They were stressed out. They had lost everything they owned. They were literally at their wit's end.

Lorrie Beth Slonsky and Larry Bradshaw, emergency medical technicians from San Francisco who were in New Orleans for a convention when Katrina struck:

As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander's assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.

There are more stories at this link.

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