Freudian Slips: Hurricane Katrina and the Superdome Hurricane Shelter

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and the Superdome Hurricane Shelter

With Hurricane Katrina moving inland from the gulf, about 20,000 destitute Louisiana residents were made to wait outside for hours to enter a shelter of last resort, The Superdome, home to the New Orleans Saints of The National Football League. The homeless, the poor, the aged, and the frail emerged from the city’s catacombs to stand in a single file line waiting for permission to enter a sports arena without any other place to go. The Superdome has hosted many events including the Super Bowl but crowd control looked nothing like this. A ticket less entry, armed National Guardsmen searched every stitch of clothing coming into the stadium ONE person at a time on an ordinary folding table. I understand that this is the age of terrorism so I am not objecting for the need to make the world a safer place but people waiting single file for hours to enter a public building in the pouring rain seems like part humanitarian effort and part indignity. I cannot believe a more efficient and civilized system could not be employed on the eve of one of the worst national disasters in this country’s history?
I watched TV host Geraldo Rivera turn to his field reporter for an interview of two National Guardsman. The soldiers were standing over a pile of contraband seized from people who did not even have the resources to make an exodus out of New Orleans. How many weapons were confiscated? Arguably none from the film footage. I witnessed live television document about fifty household items laying rather innocently in a small pile. The items included pliers, a screwdriver, nail file, needle nosed pliers, a pen knife, teasing comb, and nail clippers. Not a round up of the usual suspects for sure.
A camera close-up showed nail clippers as the most notorious smuggled item. Come On. Keep it real. Impose a mandatory evacuation forcing people to leave their homes indefinitely and setup temporary housing elsewhere and they can’t pack a nail clipper in The Big Easy? What about the nail file? The owner of the nail file was leaving home not attempting to break out of prison. I would even argue the usefulness of a penknife while becoming prey to nature’s elements for who knew how long. There were no revolvers, grenades, hunting knives, pistols, or ammo in the mix. On the contrary, it was merely a pile of ordinary household items that incited no danger to this country. Better safe than sorry? The National Guard may as well have confiscated children’s water pistols during the height of the hurricane instead of the nail clippers from brittle diabetics or a sharp toothed comb from a hippie. During the telecast, they heavy handidly even called a pair of seized pliers a wrench? Geraldo Rivera found more contraband in Al Capone’s empty vault than the National Guard found in the possession of these stranded souls.
I became outraged at this nonsensical footage. Watching live television can leave much to be desired. Why did I watch pre-coverage of a hurricane thirteen hours from making landfall? Like the catastrophic winds of hurricane Katrina, I got sucked in by the media.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous et said...

Talk about being sucked in! Those indigent people who rushed to the super dome to wait in line for hours are now waiting again. This time to be evacuated from the supposedly safe haven the government put them in. How long will the wait be this time to be rescued? Who knows? The shadow of ineptitude knows!!!!!!!!!!

9:15 AM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

I might have totally agreed with all you wrote Joe, but today there was a report of armed looters heading into a hospital where they ran rampant through the halls amidst the remaining patients (who couldn't be airlifted) stealing stuff from their nightstands and stealing drugs off carts. Also, after a lockdown at the hospital after the looting episodes, one nurse walked outdoors for air for one minute, one minute... and was hit and robbed at gunpoint by a passerby. The National Guard knew what they were doing in checking people at the entry point to the 'dome. After three days in a hot and unsanitary "tomb" these people are going to get overheated and tempers will fly. I have a feeling we'll hear some very interesting stories from folks who were inside there, after they get out.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

But jeeze, I really meant to add that you did make some very valid points and you wrote that up quite well. Like I said, under other circumstances, I'd agree.

3:42 PM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

Ah, to live in a culture of fear. Sadly there is reason to fear. I truly hope that this ends with the minimal of blood being shed by the survivors. Didn't the storm do enough damage without violence being done by your neighbors?

6:10 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

ET,
it's Superdome to Astrodome now

Weary,
I found the methodology objectionable not the search. Let us agree on a prayer that martial law does not have to be declared.

Lilly,
now the engineers have to find blueprints for how to rebuild a soggy city under sea level that can withstand hurricanes of this magnitude.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Simply Coll said...

I enjoyed your commentary.

My heart goes out to the many victims

11:27 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Simply Coll,
Today they evacuated dolphins from Mississippi. Tom Petty sings, You Don't Have to Live like a Refugee but I am beginning to wonder...

5:29 PM  

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