September 01, 2005

Dangerous Ground in New Orleans

Want to know what it's like to be a reporter right now in New Orleans? Here's an unsigned entry to the N.O. Times-Picayune's news blog (search for Gordon):

Thursday, 3:45 p.m.

Across the city Thursday, the haunting fear of flooding was
replaced by a raw fear for life and public safety.

Navigating the St. Thomas area of the Lower Garden District in an SUV, Times-Picayune reporter Gordon Russell, accompanied by a photographer from The New York Times, described a landscape of lawlessness where he feared for his life and felt his safety was threatened at nearly every turn.

At the Superdome and Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Russell said
throngs of hungry and desperate people displaced by the flood overwhelmed the few law enforcement or miliatary personnel present.

"There was no crowd control," Russell said. "People were swarming.
It was a near riot situation. ..."

Russell witnessed a shootout between police and citizens near the
Convention Center that left one man dead. ... Police, perhaps caught off guard by their sudden arrival on the scene, slammed Russell and the photographer against a wall and threw their gear on the ground as they exited their SUV to record the event.

... Almost everywhere Russell went Uptown, one of the few relatively dry areas in Orleans Parish, he said he felt the threat of violence.

"There is a totally different feeling here than there was yesterday
(Wednesday)," said Russell. ... "I'm scared. I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm getting out of here."

Bad stuff.

Posted by Tim Porter at September 1, 2005 03:46 PM