Sep 15, 2005

It Was as if All of Us Were Already Pronounced Dead'

New Orleans, LA
USA
by
Wil Haygood and Ann Scott Tyson
,
Washington Post
Flooding in Venice, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Photo: Wikipedia
Flooding in Venice, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Photo: Wikipedia

For five eternal-seeming days, as many as 20,000 people, most of them black, waited to be rescued, not just from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina but from the nightmarish place where they had sought refuge. On the fourth day, after TV had been filled with live reports from the center describing sexual assaults, robberies and gunfire, single mothers desperately seeking help for their children and fathers doing their best to protect them, the federal official charged with leading the hurricane response, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, responded to an interviewer's question by saying it was the first he had heard that people "don't have food and water in there."