Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 10, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

SAVAGERY....A FOLLOWUP....I don't know if this is the most important aspect of the story I posted earlier about police in Gretna preventing desperate residents from leaving New Orleans after Katrina devastated the city, but I do have a few questions. First, here's what the UPI dispatch says:

[Gretna police chief Arthur] Lawson said that once the storm itself had passed Monday, police from Gretna City, Jefferson Parrish and the Louisiana State Crescent City Connection Police Department closed to foot traffic the three access points to the bridge closest to the West Bank of the river.

....As [residents] made their way to the bridge in order to leave the city "armed Gretna sheriffs (sic) formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads."

Take a look at the map below. The three access points to the bridge on the west side are (a) in New Orleans and (b) right next to the Convention Center.

So: what were Gretna City and Jefferson Parish police doing at the foot of a bridge in New Orleans? Why were the state bridge police cooperating with them? And how is it possible that no one in authority at the Convention Center noticed a bunch of non-New Orleans cops forming a line and threatening to shoot people for three or four consecutive days?

And some questions for Chief Lawson: You say you were running buses to Metaire, where there was food and shelter, before you closed the bridge on Monday. Why didn't you keep running them? And if you couldn't, why didn't you let people walk? Maybe even escort them? It's less than 20 miles, after all, an easy day's hike. Why did you instead threaten to shoot anyone who tried to use the highway to walk to safety?

Kevin Drum 12:24 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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