Published: Sept. 2, 2005 By

[1] “About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at New Orleans convention center grew increasingly hostile after waiting for buses for days amid the filth and the dead,” reported the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Thursday, September 1, 2005. There were helicopters, there were boats, and there were even gigantic C-17 government cargo planes landing and departing from the airport on the day this was reported. There were numerous parked cars whose owners had long since left town before the storm hit. There were numerous media groups in cars and trucks moving in and out of the city, to interview people waiting for the bus. But for those in dire need, on the verge of death from starvation and dehydration, there were no planes, no trains, no trucks, no automobiles. They had to wait for a bus to get out.

[2] Here are thousands of people, poor people, elderly people, babies, people with no resources, no water, no food, no medicine, people literally dying as they waited–not for a plane, or a helicopter, or cars, but for a bus. Because they had been told that the only way they could get out of New Orleans was by bus. Why were they told this? Why did the much vaunted buses fail to take them any farther than the Superdome before the hurricane? Why were the buses only willing to take them to a sports stadium in Houston five days and many corpses later? What is the lunacy of the well-fed people who are “staging” this emergency “rescue”? One thing is clear: Poor people have to take the lowest form of public transportation, the bus. It doesn’t matter if they’re dying, if this is the biggest disaster in modern times, if this is the richest country in the world. They must leave by a means appropriate to their income level, or die trying. As trucks and cars roll by, as planes fly overhead, they wait at a fetid bus stop, the Superdome, for however long it takes, for a bus.

September 2, 2005