Houston Chronicle blog "Voices of Katrina"
The Houston Chronicle is maintaining a blog called Voices of Katrina, featuring reporters, photographers, and survivors. From a 9/15 entry:
On Thursday, Melissa Phillip and about eight other journalists were headed to the Superdome when they heard a rumor that thousands of people were stranded at the New Orleans Convention Center with no food or water. They decide to check it out.The blog begins on September 4 and is ongoing. From September 9 entry about Superdome eyewitness Phyllis Johnson:
When journalists reached the convention center, they were shocked by what they saw. Within seconds, they were swarmed by people begging for help. There were no police and no military personnel anywhere.
A man screamed at Melissa to look at the body of a person who died while waiting for buses to rescue them. Melissa was appalled that the people were told the convention center was an evacuation site. She learned they had been stranded for four days with no food or water. She noticed dozens of old people, obviously from a nursing home, who were dumped in the middle of the street and weredying in the blistering sun.
Johnson said many of the people she met inside the dome thought they were going to die there. But she didn't want to lay down and die. She escaped the shelter, slogged through chest-high water and finally caught a ride on a stolen truck. She ended up getting onto a bus headed for Houston.
Even though President Bush said today that race played no part in the botched evacuation efforts, Johnson strongly disagrees. She is sure that if the people who were stranded in New Orleans after the storm were white, they would have been rescued immediately and treated with dignity.
"They portrayed us as savages," she said.