After reading about what is starting to happen in N.O. Is looting a common problem during all natural disasters? Is this a crime of desparity or a crime of opportunity? What are you feelings??
By ALLEN G. BREED, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 4 minutes ago
NEW ORLEANS - With much of the city emptied by Hurricane Katrina, some opportunists took advantage of the situation by looting stores.
At a Walgreen's drug store in the French Quarter, people were running out with grocery baskets and coolers full of soft drinks, chips and diapers.
When police finally showed up, a young boy stood in the door screaming, "86! 86!" — the radio code for police — and the crowd scattered.
Denise Bollinger, a tourist from Philadelphia, stood outside and snapped pictures in amazement.
"It's downtown Baghdad," the housewife said. "It's insane. I've wanted to come here for 10 years. I thought this was a sophisticated city. I guess not."
Around the corner on Canal Street, the main thoroughfare in the central business district, people sloshed headlong through hip-deep water as looters ripped open the steel gates on the front of several clothing and jewelry stores.
One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store.
"No," the man shouted, "that's EVERYBODY'S store."
Looters filled industrial-sized garbage cans with clothing and jewelry and floated them down the street on bits of plywood and insulation as National Guard lumbered by.
Mike Franklin stood on the trolley tracks and watched the spectacle unfold.
"To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it's an opportunity to get back at society," he said.