Rightie bloggers are trying to put a positive spin on the appalling pictures coming out of New Orleans, the most striking features of which are the unbroken seas of black faces staring at the cameras from the hellish, stinking concentration camps at the Superdome and convention center. In the latest of several posts aiming to rebut the charge of racism in the way the evacuation was managed, John Cole writes, “This isn’t a race thing. This was a money thing…..” in an attempt to argue that the poor people were the ones held at gunpoint at the “evacuation” centers. In that the vast majority of poor people in New Orleans are African-American, this spin can be not entirely inaccurate. What it doesn’t do is explain the story of these two British girls:
” TWO sisters last night told of the horror of being trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.“Rebecca and Charlotte Scott, 20 and 19 “respectively, arrived home in Reading yesterday after five days trapped in the hurricane-“devastated Louisiana city. They spent three nights sheltering with thousands of refugees in the New Orleans Superdome, huddled with other British women inside a ring of men protecting them after terrifying rumours of rapes and murders.
Charlotte, who studies geography at Swansea University, said: “The first night was not nice. It was like a long car journey without moving. “I can’t fault the authorities at all. The US Air Force, the army and the police were all great.
“They told us to stick together and not go in the dark parts.”
“The sisters paid tribute to an Australian traveller named Bud Hopes and National Guardsman Sergeant Garland Ogden, who helped them get out the stadium.Rebecca said: “We owe them so much. If we’d been on our own I don’t know what we would have done.”
The girls were moved by officials to a nearby basketball centre, which was being used as a medical centre, on Wednesday. They spent 24 hours helping to wash and feed elderly evacuees before being transferred to the severely damaged Hyatt Hotel on Thursday and finally getting a coach to Dallas, Texas, and a flight to Gatwick Airport on Saturday morning.
So they found better accommodations for British white girls and selected other foreigners on Wednesday, while Americans were forced to remain coralled in the hellholes with no food or water. From this story we learn that these lucky ones were smuggled out on vegetable trucks:
Last Thursday morning, the group was packed into a vegetable truck and told to be as quiet as possible about leaving. They were taken to the Hyatt Hotel in New Orleans where Miss Sachs, 21, slept in a damp and smelly boardroom. Finally, on Friday morning, they were taken in buses to Dallas from where they began journeys home.
So, who did you have to be to get so lucky in New Orleans last week?
The international contingent were moved to a separate area to keep them safe from the poor and desperate, from drug addicts and mentally ill who also had no means of escape. “On the second night, the military told us the generator would be going out and it would be pitch black. We were told not to use a torch because we could be attacked for it,” Miss Sachs said.
Foreign travellers in the Superdome had herded together for safety, after warnings from US air force personnel.
“There were 40 or 50 of us. The lads were on the outside and the girls were on the inside and we just made sure that we didn’t leave any of our bags.”
The military told all non-US citizens to stay together for safety, Ms Sachs added.
They later told them they would be secretly smuggled out in groups of 10 under cover of darkness as it had become too dangerous for them to remain in the stadium, she told BBC News.
“When we were leaving, people were going ‘Where are you going?’ and giving us looks.
“But the military got us out, which we were all thankful for.”
Jenny Sachs, of Sheffield, told how soldiers had to smuggle her out of the Superdome in secret.
She said they had told her the lights would go out before the rescue, and warned her not to use a torch for fear of attack.
The US Military is supposed to “protect” who, now? Foreign nationals over Americans? Is this a “class thing,” “race thing” or something even more evil than we can bear to contemplate? What possible reason could there have been to treat ANY of the people left in New Orleans differently? Weren’t the Americans at least equal to Brits and Aussies? Was it that the foreign nationals had diplomats looking out for their interests? If so, what does that say about who was looking out for the interests of Americans?
Anyone? Any righties want to take a shot at explaining why Americans were kept, starving and dying in the NOLA camps at gunpoint, as foreigners were “smuggled” out to the Hyatt and evacuated ahead of them? Are these guys – Bud Hopes and National Guard Staff Sgt Garland Ogden – heroes?
As the Australians left the Superdome, food and water were almost non-existent and the stiflingly hot arena was filled with 25,000 people and the stench of human waste.
Mr Hopes, 32, said: “That was the worst place in the universe. Ninety-eight per cent of the people around the world are good. In that place, 98 per cent of the people were bad.
Mr Hopes said the Australians owed their lives to a National Guard Staff Sgt Garland Ogden, who had broken the rules to get the tourists out of the dome, with 60 people being evacuated to a medical centre.
Nice. It’s really nice that these people were saved from Bad Americans. After all, what better mission for the American National Guard than liberating foreigners? Maybe the important question about the deplorable treatment of the Americans in the NOLA “shelters” shouldn’t be about whether race or class was the criteria, but about nationality.