Skip to comments.Looters around the city freely cleaning out stores (Amazingly Honest Account)
Posted on 08/31/2005 7:09:41 AM PDT by End Times Sentinel
NEW ORLEANS - At first it just seemed that the Wal-Mart in New Orleans' Lower Garden District was doing a very brisk post-hurricane business yesterday: The parking lot was full, people were leaving with brimming baskets, and city police and firefighters were there as if to oversee it all.
But people weren't going through the front door. They were squeezing between boards meant to protect the now-shattered glass from Hurricane Katrina's winds. One man was packing his van so full of computers, televisions and DVD players that he had trouble closing the rear doors. One woman was carrying three jugs of laundry detergent in a city with no power to run a washer.
As in so many past disasters elsewhere when crisis and chaos have replaced order and normalcy, a beleaguered New Orleans was beset by looters.
The widespread plundering started before Katrina had finished its onslaught Monday. That afternoon, looters broke into an emptied sporting-goods warehouse in Mid-City, a grocery in Treme, and the hardware center Uptown. In one instance, witnesses said, police were called but did nothing until one man shot another.
People said they had heard Wal-Mart had opened its doors to provide supplies for law-enforcement agencies sheltering the 10,000- plus people in the Louisiana Superdome. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Sharon Weber, said law enforcement, emergency-management teams, and relief agencies had "unwritten permission" to help themselves to whatever they need from Wal-Mart stores in times of crisis, but that standard procedure was for the police or aid officials to "leave us a list of what they take so they can pay us later."
At the Lower Garden District Wal-Mart, among the items seen being loaded into police cars were dozens of T-shirts, DVDs, and dog food.
But when law-enforcement officials went to get their goods, others - people of all ages and races - followed.
"They just came and no one could stop them," said David Brown, 38, a Port of New Orleans employee.
Brown and a coworker were filling their vehicle with dozens and dozens of canned goods - stews and chilis and Spaghetti-O's. Brown said the food would be used to feed the port's police and its employees, many of whom, like him, had worked nonstop since Saturday.
They were only taking essentials, he said, though a copy of Queen Latifah's Beauty Shop movie had apparently made that list.
Brown said the work showed no sign of easing.
"It's pretty bad," he said. "They've been calling for body bags all day."
Most streets in New Orleans were empty yesterday except for the hub around the Wal-Mart, in a section of the city that remained dry. People were everywhere: in cars and trucks, pushing goods in carts and baby carriages, dragging full trash cans and laundry baskets. The steady stream of cars caused a traffic jam on the streets near the store - the type of traffic jam last seen here when people tried to evacuate.
"Is everything free?" asked a woman who pulled up in a red car. Hearing "yes," she started to chant: "TV! TV! TV!"
Inside, a teenage boy held up a pair of blue lacy panties and snickered, "I want to see somebody in these so bad," before tossing them in his basket.
Another man used a table to break into one of the last unscathed jewelry cases.
A rumor that the National Guard had arrived sent people running toward the store's exit, shouting: "Come on! Come on!" But no one put down any merchandise, and the Guard rumor turned out to be false.
Some shoppers were oddly selective. One woman said she was taking only facial-care products. Another was pushing a cart filled with silk roses and baby's breath. In the pharmacy aisle, she leaned over the handle, pushing it slowly as she read labels the way a paying customer would.
But the overwhelming feeling was one of chaos - angry shouting, carts ramming, fast grabbing. When a teenage girl passed out face down between the baby clothes and a women's-sock display, people pushed past or stepped on her.
Joseph LoCascio of Picayune, Miss., stopped to try to help the girl. He rolled her over, and she vomited pink liquid all over her face and hair. He then rolled her back.
"People just walking around like they don't care," he said.
He and his friend Sandi Nolan, 21, of Baton Rouge, tried to revive the girl by pouring water, Gatorade and soda over her face and neck. It only left her shirt and hair soaked.
LoCascio tried to get a man in a firefighter T-shirt to treat the girl, but the man hesitated, saying: "She's breathing. If I took her, where would I take her?"
About 15 minutes later, a firefighter medic arrived and began checking the girl. Still, LoCascio and Nolan were furious at their fellow looters.
Both have infants being treated at Children's Hospital, New Orleans, and had come to get baby food and supplies.
"I've never seen people like this. I have drinks and chips, things I need," Nolan said. "They're getting chain saws and fishing poles, anything they can get for free."
As she and LoCascio left, she noticed he had at least a dozen DVDs in his basket, as well as baby formula and baby food. She laughed and pointed it out to him.
"They're for the kids, so they can watch them," he said. "Things like Finding Nemo."
Nolan laughed. "Don't worry," she said. "I got a few too."
I know there's a ton of Hurricane storries today, but this one made me completely change my mind about sending aid.
I had a 10:30 meeting with my company's CFO and head of H.R. to discuss the company matching employee's aid contributions. I've cancled it and am sending a link to everyone on my e mail list urging them to think twice.
The MAJORITY (not all, but the majority) of the aid is going to end up in the hands of animals just like those in the story.
The people of New Orleans can have my prayers, but my money will wait for a better cause.Owl_Eagle
(If what I just wrote makes you sad or angry,
There are thousands of people who have either left the city are waiting rescue on/in their houses or are in the shelters who are NOT taking part in any of this and are desperately in need of aid. Don't penalize them because of the acts of a few. There are many more good people out there than there are the bad, it's just the bad who get the press.
A better cause? These people just lost EVERYTHIING! EVERYTHING. I'd be pretty mad at God right now too. You have no idea what you would do in those circumstances. I'm not saying what they did was right, but to punish because some people will just naturally do the wrong thing is absurd and it makes me think you're just looking for a way out of giving money. Shame on you.
Remember that the vast majority of residents in the Katrina region are probably not engaging in this type of behavior. Many of them, rather, have lost everything.
What happens when the welfare state meets a power vaccuum. Scary if you live near a major city of any kind, really.
No knee jerk reaction there....no sirree....
It's good to have confirmation of my views.
I wouldn't send a red cent to that hell hole.
And I hope the reports are wrong that they are bringing them to Texas! God help Houston if they bring them there.
They can have my money if they promise not to rebuild IN SUCH A STUPID GOD-FORSAKEN PLACE
Seen any of the people risking life & limb to rescue others?
Savages. Just..........pure, unadulterated, totally uncivilized savages.
As I've pointed out elsewhere here on FR, this has all set race relations back 30 years in this country.
I sent mine to Operation Blessing. I'm sure they'll do the right thing with the money and it won't all go to New Orleans folks. NO will be evacuated pretty totally, I'm afraid.
People can either show their best side or their worst in times like this. Thank God for those who show their best.
No, people do not naturally do the wrong thing... criminals do!
I have absolute empathy for the survivors, and if they were taking food and potable water, clothing and tents... things that you need to survive.. I'd cut them some slack.. this however was just a CRIMINAL MOB!
A flat screen TV isn't going to do squat for you in an emergency....
These people are thugs, pure and simple, and yes, while some may be otherwise ok folks who got caught up in the mob mentality, it DOES NOT EXCUSE THEM!!
It is absolute absurd that you want to give criminals a pass out of misguided compassion.
There are thousands of people who have either left the city are waiting rescue on/in their houses or are in the shelters who are NOT taking part in any of this and are desperately in need of aid.
People who left the city generally have insurance and historically don't line up for hand outs. The aid is going to be given to the thugs and looters wreaking havoc in the streets of N.O. right now.Owl_Eagle
(If what I just wrote makes you sad or angry,
Shame on you for berating someone who chooses to make sure HIS EARNINGS go to a true charity and not to human locusts.
You may have no idea of what you would do in the absence of an imposed civil order, but I know. I know I would not be stealing DVD's and TV's, come hell or high water.
I suggest people wanting to contribute check out Catholic Relief Services (no I am not Catholic), Salvation Army, or other faith-based charities which will be on the frontline of meeting TRUE basic needs.
I don't mind sending money...to the RED counties.
Race relations are set back by a mentality by far too many, encouraged by government checks, that they are entitled to everything... and funded the break down of the nuclear family among the urban poor black community..... Thanks to this, many lack CHARACTER... it has NOTHING to do with skin color.
Martin Luthor King asked that men be judged not by the color of their skin, but on the content of their character... it is clear that the general Character of many he wished to help, has fallen a long long way since his time.
"Looters will be shot" is a good rule in this situation...
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