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Home --> Katrina --> Personal Accounts --> Report from a Paramedic

Report from a Paramedic

Claim:   E-mail written by a paramedic details conditions in New Orleans.

Status:   Multiple — see below.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2005]

Hey Pop,

Just finishing another long night, and heading to bed. Email has been hit or miss for a while with Cox, so yes this is a better way to chat. Not sure how much of this you want to pass along. so feel free to edit. And I'm far from being any kind of hero. The real heroes are these crazy CG Divers hanging from a cord, pulling people from their rooftops while some idiot neighbor in his crack house is shooting at them!

Glad to hear that you've passed the word along about some of the goings on here in Louisiana. obviously the major networks won't tell you what should be told, and Fox is doing a good job about getting the real word out, but there's so much more to the story that they just can't report about. It's not in the public's best interest to hear about the incredible number of murders that have been going on, or how the green berets are here on the roof tops at night with their night vision goggles. They've been taking out these looters and rapists one by one at night when they don't think they're being seen. The first couple of nights here they were capping about 20 or so a night, now its down to half a dozen a night. they've been cleaning out the city very efficiently. The weird part is you never know its coming. just a short bright flash from a rooftop corner somewhere downtown and a few seconds later, a little muffled whoomp from the muzzle blast..sad to say it's gratifying, but with the stuff that's been going on, it's hard not to feel these punks deserve it.

The rest of the city is pretty much cleared out now, except for the corpses floating in the water. The airport has been our main staging area for the sick and injured ones. (Can you walk? Great. go to gate 5 please. and you sir, you need a wheelchair? Ok, get on this luggage cart and we'll take you to gate 7! Just crazy!) There are so many of these people that probably have typhoid, or another bacterial infection that will end up dying that we'll probably never know the true final death count. The open wounds from they have on their legs and feet from the water burning them, are disgusting. We've even seen a number of cases of tuberculosis too. Then there's the people that went to a NOLA hospital that were so obese that when the water started rising the staff couldn't get them up the stair wells to the dry floors and were forced to leave them downstairs to slowly drown. Nurses were starting IV's on each other just to stay hydrated when the water ran out. The bodies in the streets were being tied up to fences and lightposts by the Guard so they wouldn't float away and could be retrieved later. Have you noticed how the news doesn't show 'Live' aerial shots any more? Too many bodies floating. The only thing thicker than the stench that's in the air are the flies! We looked around yesterday and thought we heard a low flying aircraft and wondered what in the hell these guys were doing flying so low, only to realize it was a swarm of flies! We're losing our minds! I'm sure a lot of us will need therapy for years to come! There's so many other things we've seen that I'm not even sure how to talk about them yet. I'd almost rather have gone to fight in Iraq than to see what's happened here. If they don't tear down the Superdome and start all over with something new, I'll never be able to walk into that place again. It might just be what the 'Aints need to start winning, anyway! We heard about some guy who had been rescued from a hospital and when he asked where they were taking him and he heard "another hospital", he jumped out of the boat because he wanted to go to the dome since he couldn't sell his crack in the hospitals. Go figure..

So that's my news for now. I'll try to catch you up on other things in a few days. I'll just leave you with one more story that came out of Baton Rouge.

Yesterday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up in Baton Rouge, I wished he would have showed up in Sheriff Harry Lee's office as we would have NEVER heard from him again. He said, "Bush has NOT appointed a Single Black to head up this Katrina Relief, the Black Caucus and Black Leaders all over America are upset with him putting the Black Folks on the side and it is OUR people who are sitting on their roof tops waiting for Rescue, OUR people who are standing in line at the Superdome waiting on Food, Water and a Ride to a safe place, OUR people who have been locked down in Poverty." and so on.

George Sell, the Anchorman for TV 9 news, responded to Jesse, "Rev. Jackson, the Mayors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge are Black, the Police Chief's of New Orleans and Baton Rouge are Black, the Head of the LA State Police is Black, the Head of the Army conducting the Army's operation on the Ground in New Orleans is Black, the Congressman from New Orleans is Black and for the last 40 years, the leaders of LA have been members of the Democratic Party, YOUR Party, don't blame us like you are doing, look in the Mirror, you pull the Race Card any time you don't get your way, we are in a Terrible Crisis and right now we need to come together and here you come to Louisiana and holler Racism, just like you do, it is NEVER EVER your fault, ALWAYS someone else, but here you are sitting High and Dry, why don't you go out in to the waters where they are shooting at the Rescue personnel and help in the Rescue???'"

Hats off to George Sell for putting him in his place, Harry Lee would have put Jesse in his place and then some! This is a time to come together and work together, not the time to pull the race card!

Brian

Origins:   Accounts that purport to be first-hand reports from people on the scene in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continue to pop on to the Internet and go on to enjoy wide circulation as they are passed from inbox to inbox. This particular one, which presents itself as a letter from a paramedic serving in New Orleans to his father, first came to us on 9 September 2005. Brian White, the originator of the message, maintained to us that the e-mail he sent his father on 8 September 2005 included only the last few paragraphs found in the widely-circulated version, and the remainder was added by someone else:
Subject: RE: glad to hear you're helping...

Hey Pop,

Just finishing another long night, and heading to bed. Email has been hit or miss for a while with Cox, so yes this is a better way to chat. Not sure how much of this you want to pass along &mdash... so feel free to edit.

Yesterday the Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up in Baton Rouge, I wished he would have showed up in Sheriff Harry Lee's office as we would have NEVER heard from him again. He said, "Bush has NOT appointed a Single Black to head up this Katrina Relief, the Black Caucus and Black Leaders all over America are upset with him putting the Black Folks on the side and it is OUR people who are sitting on their roof tops waiting for Rescue, OUR people who are standing in line at the Superdome waiting on Food, Water and a Ride to a safe place, OUR people who have been locked down in Poverty..." and so on.

George Sell the Anchorman for TV 9 news responded to Jesse, "Rev. Jackson, the Mayors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge are Black, the Police Chief's of New Orleans and Baton Rouge are Black, the Head of the LA State Police is Black, the Head of the Army conducting the Army's operation on the Ground in New Orleans is Black, the Congressman from New Orleans is Black and for the last 40 years, the leaders of LA have been members of the Democratic Party, YOUR Party, don't blame us like you are doing, look in the Mirror, you pull the Race Card any time you don't get your way, we are in a Terrible Crisis and right now we need to come together and here you come to Louisiana and holler Racism, just like you do, it is NEVER EVER your fault, ALWAYS someone else, but here you are sitting High and Dry, why don't you go out in to the waters where they are shooting at the Rescue personnel and help in the Rescue???'"

Hats off to George Sell for putting him in his place, Harry Lee would have put Jesse in his place and then some! This is a time to come together and work together, not the time to pull the race card!

Brian
As to the claims made in the piece about Green Berets shooting looters and rapists when they come out into the darkness to transact their business, overweight patients being left to drown in hospitals because they were too large to make it up the stairs to dry floors, citizens with open wounds on their legs from exposure to the toxic soup of the flood waters, and a crack dealer who wouldn't be transferred to another hospital because he couldn't conduct his business there, at this point those have to live as unsubstantiated stories because they have yet to be
confirmed.

The one item in the e-mail that does lend itself to confirmation or denial is its closing anecdote about a newsman who supposedly answered Jesse Jackson's assertion that no African-Americans had been appointed by President Bush to head up relief efforts with a laundry list of the names of African-Americans directing various aspects of the struggle to reclaim the city and its people from the disaster. The Rev. Jackson had made such criticisms of President Bush's appointments while visiting Baton Rouge on 2 September 2005; George Sells (not Sell, as the e-mail would have it), a news anchor at WAFB-TV, the CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge, says he did offer as a reply to the Reverend's assertions the comment that the Mayor of New Orleans and the commander of Army forces, Russell Honore, were African-American. (Russell Honore is head of the military task force overseeing operations in the three states hit by Katrina, and his task force is aiding search and rescue efforts, providing medical help, and sending supplies to three states in support of FEMA. Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, was elected to that position well before the onset of Hurricane Katrina.)

But that seems to be where the e-mailed anecdote and the truth part ways. George Sells asserts his response began and ended with mention of those two African-Americans, and that the rest of the lengthy list of blacks prominent in relief efforts and the suggestion that the one so quick with his charges of discrimination should go aid rescue workers as they were being shot at were added to the online-circulated account by an anonymous author.

Barbara "short sells" Mikkelson

Last updated:   14 October 2005

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