Monday, September 05, 2005

Escape for a select few

Orac found an article (published Saturday, September 3) that compares the experiences of two groups of people in the aftermath of Katrina:
At the Royal Sonesta Hotel in the French Quarter, dinner the last few nights has consisted of grilled tilapia, bow-tie noodles with tomato basil sauce, a T-bone steak and a nice red wine to wash it down.

It's being prepared by two of the Bourbon Street hotel's chefs, who are using propane grills to prepare meals for the 31 staff members who have stayed behind to protect the 500-room hotel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"We're eating like kings," said Gary Davis, the hotel's electronic technician. "We've got to eat it all before it goes bad."

Less than a half mile away, at the New Orleans Convention Center, Sadique Jabbar's first meal yesterday was a bag of Cheetos someone gave her around 11 a.m.

"You know the only reason we've been fed?" Jabbar said. "Some men out of prison have been breaking into buildings, getting food for us and bringing it back here."
But the article goes on to show that the different experiences of the two groups extended far beyond food and drink:
At the Royal Sonesta, they were able to evacuate all the guests -- except for the two German tourists who wanted to stay -- by late Tuesday night. Wandfluh said he "moved heaven and Earth" to get two buses in from Houston, and the rest left in their own cars. During the guests' last dinner at the hotel, Wandfluh made sure there was live music. ...

At the Convention Center, there has been no escape. A few buses came in early Tuesday morning and were quickly overwhelmed. As of yesterday afternoon, no more buses had shown up.

What's more, the people say they have not been allowed to leave. If they try to walk up the ramp to the West Bank Expressway, they say police with guns shoo them back down. They are literally trapped.

"We got kinfolk who would come down here and get us, but the police won't let them in," Lavan McDonald said. "This is worse than the penitentiary. At least there, they give you a glass of water."
So the authorities let people leave the hotel, and even let contracted busses arrive to pick up the guests, but prevented people in the convention center from leaving, even if they had transportation out of the area? It's somehow better to keep people locked up with no food and water?

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