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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/1/2005 4:50:24 PM EDT
September 01, 2005

Guard troops, civilians struggle to cope with Superdome stench

By Joseph R. Chenelly
Times staff writer

NEW ORLEANS — When the Louisiana National Guard took charge of the Superdome in New Orleans Saturday, the troops created a shelter meant to offer refuge for civilians from the soon-to-arrive Hurricane Katrina.

Now many of those at the dome are calling it a hellhole and loudly demanding to be moved out. The Guard is in the process of evacuating the dome and several people who complained about conditions there acknowledged that the troops are doing all they can, considering that 80 percent of the city is flooded and many roads are impassable.

The civilians aren’t the only ones talking about dirty, smelly, wet, hot living conditions at the Superdome.

“It’s boiling hot and soaking wet in there,” Chief Warrant Officer 3 Marvin Franks said Wednesday. “I’d almost rather be in Iraq. The living conditions are better there.”

He is the maintenance officer for the Guard’s 527th Engineer Battalion.

Most of the soldiers running the shelter sleep in the dome, said Louisiana Guard spokesman Maj. Ed Bush. And many also sleep on cots in a parking garage next door. Those inside the dome bunk near but separate from the evacuees. The roof has leaked since 130-mph-winds ripped much of it apart; several soldiers said their gear and clothing has been wet since the hurricane.

As of Wednesday morning, Bush estimated that about 700 guardsmen were taking care of 16,000 evacuees. at the dome. While the Guard is working to fully evacuate the dome, a steady line of more civilians continued to wade through flooded streets to get there for refuge Wednesday.

Many inside would advise them to turn around.

“It’s a bloody mess in there,” New Orleans resident Lawrence Jones said. “I keep joking with the soldiers. They’re cool. They’re doing their job. But it is a bloody mess in there.”

The dome, just as the rest of city, has been without electricity since Sunday night. The Guard is running several generators, but they cannot power air conditioners big enough for the dome. Since the storm cleared out Monday evening, temperatures have neared 100 degrees in the daytime and stayed in the 80s at night. Several evacuees and soldiers have been treated for heat injuries, military police said.

Jones said he was outside braving the intense sun to escape the stench inside. Inside, sweat poured from people listlessly sat on the fold-down plastic chairs normally used to watch the New Orleans Saints.

Other people sprawled on damp cement floors. Bottles apparently filled with urine were strewn among the seating. There are no functional showers or potable water. Each person at the dome is issued two Meals, Ready to Eat, twice a day.

Bottled water is always available for everyone, Bush said.

“We’re being treated like we’re refugees from some third-world country,” said Rodney Smith, who came into the dome Saturday because of the mandatory evacuation ordered by the city. “They’re doing the best they can, but they need to get us out of here. The toilets don’t flush, but people keep using them. There is no ventilation at all inside. We’re being exposed to possible airborne viruses. I think we might be able to do better out there in the floods.”

Bush said soldiers are regularly cleaning the entire arena, including the bathrooms.

Numerous civilians in the dome said they fear for their safety inside. At least three people have died since the storm. One is believed to be a suicide, and the other two were caused by preexisting conditions, Bush said Several civilians said there have been rapes and murders inside.

One National Guard soldier was shot in the leg, for reasons not known, and troops arrested a convicted child molester suspected of abducting a child inside the dome.

Several brawling incidents have broken out inside the dome, although there have been fewer such incidents than the Guard expected, Bush said. A Special Reaction Team is on standby 24 hours a day. Plus, the SRT patrols through the crowds several times a day.

The soldiers walk through the dome talking with people. Anyone deemed “unruly,” is detained and eventually ordered away from the dome and the surrounding compound, which is secured by soldiers and airmen.

Spc. Adam Catlin of B Company, of the Guard’s 527th Engineer Battalion out of Ruston, La., said he’s seen several civilians try to leave.

“We tell them it’s really bad in the city. There is nowhere to go,” Catlin told Army Times. “But some won’t listen. They go and just about all of them come back a little later.”

Catlin has deployed in the past to a similar mission in Honduras. He said working a disaster zone is tough mentally for soldiers, especially when it’s so close to home. He, but he said this was different.

“I certainly cared about those people we helping in Honduras,” he said. “But these are our people. I want to do everything we can for them. They all have it really bad, but only so much is possible right now.”
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 4:56:23 PM EDT
Why are these people sitting idle? Why are they not organized in working parties to clean up their own filth? Why would they sit around in squaler when there are thousands of able bodied people that could improve their conditions?
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 4:59:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
Why are these people sitting idle? Why are they not organized in working parties to clean up their own filth? Why would they sit around in squaler when there are thousands of able bodied people that could improve their conditions?



+1 What a bunch of sheeple. Patty
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 5:02:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
Why are these people sitting idle? Why are they not organized in working parties to clean up their own filth? Why would they sit around in squaler when there are thousands of able bodied people that could improve their conditions?


Institutional laziness. When the .gov has fed you and changed your diapers for generations, you tend to sit around and wait for someone else to do everything for you.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 5:04:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
Why are these people sitting idle? Why are they not organized in working parties to clean up their own filth? Why would they sit around in squaler when there are thousands of able bodied people that could improve their conditions?


Institutional laziness. When the .gov has fed you and changed your diapers for generations, you tend to sit around and wait for someone else to do everything for you.



Also bet you if some of them did try to organize to clean, etc, the gov would tell them to stop cause they will get in the way/gov knows what is best.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 5:07:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pattymcn:

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
Why are these people sitting idle? Why are they not organized in working parties to clean up their own filth? Why would they sit around in squaler when there are thousands of able bodied people that could improve their conditions?



+1 What a bunch of sheeple. Patty



+2 Exactly what I was thinking.

I can not understand these people. Where I come from people stick together and help each other.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 5:08:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2005 5:08:59 PM EDT by TrashHeap]

Originally Posted By pattymcn:

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
Why are these people sitting idle? Why are they not organized in working parties to clean up their own filth? Why would they sit around in squaler when there are thousands of able bodied people that could improve their conditions?



+1 What a bunch of sheeple. Patty



Exactly Patty. When SHF for real. The sheeple will perish. Sheep need a shepard. Wolves pray on the sheep.

This should be an eye opener to the sheep. A time to reflect.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 5:11:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
Why are these people sitting idle? Why are they not organized in working parties to clean up their own filth? Why would they sit around in squaler when there are thousands of able bodied people that could improve their conditions?



Dude, have you ever been to New Orleans?
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 5:17:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TrashHeap:

Originally Posted By pattymcn:

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
Why are these people sitting idle? Why are they not organized in working parties to clean up their own filth? Why would they sit around in squaler when there are thousands of able bodied people that could improve their conditions?



+1 What a bunch of sheeple. Patty



Exactly Patty. When SHF for real. The sheeple will perish. Sheep need a shepard. Wolves pray on the sheep.

This should be an eye opener to the sheep. A time to reflect.




+1
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 6:15:04 PM EDT
I would wager a lot of them are families. I don't know if I'd be expecting Mr Jones to volunteer to leave Mrs Jones and the two kids and go out into the Wilderness on work detail before he knows exactly where his family are and that they're being taken care of.

Can you imagine what it would be like for him if he came back in the evening, couldn't find his family, and nobody could tell him which bus they got on? Or if they got onto a bus in the first place?

NTM
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 6:19:19 PM EDT
In past natural disasters, our grandfathers forced able bodied people to work at the point of a bayonet. Back then, most people had no problem with that.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 6:23:49 PM EDT
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