Firs-hand account from "cheeto55", a New Orleans resident who walked to the Astrodome with his wife to deliver emergency goods after witnessing the lack of "official" aid. He's a Sonic Youth fan, and posted this on a SY fan message board.
There was no official anything on the way in. very few cops, no federal oversight whatsoever.
we walked to the dome and asked arund about where to take these clothes only to be told by cops that they were not accepting donations. I thought that to be BULLSHIT. The administrators and politicians kept saying they did not need anything that they had enough of food and clothes, but anytime the eporters managed to talk to any volunteers or doctors or red cross people, all they could say was "we need EVERYTHING" and "whoever is telling you that there are adequate or suficient supplies of ANYTHING, from food to manpower, is delusional." so I found a red cross worker and asked and she said if we took it into the dome someone would definitely use it.
so we walked down the east ramp, into the saddest, most surreal scene I have ever witnessed in my life. we found a volunteerr who took the clothes we brought and told us how much they were appreciated and we went over and signed up to volunteer.
First of all, the Red Cross is the ONLY organization doing anything remotely organized. they ahve NO federal help. NO national guards, NO military personnel, Nothing at all. they are stretched to the limit in every possble way.the federal government is screwing these people over. it was chaos, but a slightly controlled chaos, and while it was inded heart wrenching to see those people, the babies, the SMELL (not B.O. It was the smel of sewage from these people's clothes. the ones who had not yet gotten to the showers weer weatring the same clothes they have had on for 4 days.) the sight of the babies, the little children, the elderly...
(Thanks, Philip Tomlinson and Roadkillkid
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