Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Dispatches from the Gulf Coast, Kevin Johnson's globally-known website (and birthplace of 'Lenslinger') continues to showcase the very best in photog prose. New to the front page, a disturbing dispatch from Rick Portier of WBRZ in Baton Rouge, who tells of pillaged lives and plundered faces...

'Wednesday was truly the most emotionally draining day I have ever experienced -- even more tragic than 9/11. I was at the Baton Rouge Centroplex with 5000 refugees. The pictures from New Orleans were terrible, but they paled in comparison to the faces I saw there.

Imagine, if you can, 5000 people who have just lost everything they have ever known: homes, possessions, family. They paced the floors of the Rivercenter and the Arena with expressionless faces, like empty shells. All had harrowing stories of fleeing the storm with only the clothes on their backs.

One man told me of how he carried his nearly 300-pound neighbor across the street to his own house as the flood waters rose above his waist. He pushed him through a window into the house. When the water inside the house got waist-deep, he again loaded the neighbor onto his back and climbed to the second floor, the attic, and finally thru the roof where they waited to be rescued.

Another man told me he watched through his kitchen window as looters beat his neighbor to death then ran-sacked his home.'

Now go read the whole thing (click on Stories from Hurricane Katrina). It'll give you something to think about the next time you're peeking through your fingers at some horrible news footage you just can't bring yourself to ignore.

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