If you didn’t catch This American Life’s After The Flood over the weekend, go listen now.
“In the days following Hurricane Katrina, Denise Moore was trapped in the New Orleans Convention Center, with her mom, her niece and her niece’s two-year-old daughter. There she witnessed acts of surprising humanity by armed thugs, taking charge and doing good.”
Hearing Moore’s story literally brought tears to my eyes. She described how the so-called ‘gangs of armed thugs’ stole juice for the children and made sure that nobody besides them was armed, how they protected people trapped in grave circumstances from getting out of control and hurting anyone, especially the old and young, and how they stole yellow raincoats to use for makeshift uniforms, so that they could keep track of each other.
All this while the ‘officials’ at the scene made the survivors line up over and over again for busses which would never come, under 100-plus-degree sunlight, and with little or no regard for age or infirmity.
What does it say when thugs and gang members did more to organize relief for the people trapped for days in the New Orleans Convention Center, than FEMA or anyone else in government, local or otherwise?
Also, the Prologue focuses on the little covered issue of when the Federal Government was allowed to take action to help the people of New Orleans and the rest of the affected Gulf Coast: New Homeland Security Laws enacted while Bush was in office eliminate any pre-requisite for requests for help by state and local officials.