Angry New Orleans Mayor Says Feds Don't Have A Clue
UPDATED: 9:38 am CDT September 2, 2005
The once-glorious city of New Orleans is in ruins and its people in chaos from Hurricane Katrina.
For those who sought refuge in the New Orleans convention center, it became just another part of the nightmare. There are reports of rapes, beatings and fights in the convention center, where at least 15,000 people have sought safety.
Police Chief Eddie Compass said hotels have sent away their tourists and the displaced people are "walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon."
But when he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, they were driven back by a mob. He said, "They were beaten back within 30 feet of the entrance."
The mayor of New Orleans is seething over what he sees as the government's slow response to his city's disaster.
Ray Nagin went on WWL Radio Thursday night to say the feds "don't have a clue what's going on." He added, "Excuse my French -- everybody in America -- but I am pissed."
Nagin said that there are many drug addicts who are searching for a fix. He said that's why they are breaking into drug stores and hospitals.
"What you are seeing is drug-starving crazy addicts that are wreaking havoc and we don't have the manpower that we can deal with it," Nagin said.
Nagin is angry, and wants people to flood the offices of the president and the governor with letters calling for help. He thinks not enough is being done to help the evacuees. He said that federal officials "don't have a clue what's going on."
"Get off your asses and let's do something and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country," Nagin said. "People are dying. They don't have homes, they don't have jobs. The city of New Orleans will never be the same. And it's time."
The mayor said he needs troops and hundreds of buses to get refugees out.
He said that it was laughable that some officials had mentioned possibly having school bus drivers brought to New Orleans to help with the evacuation.
"I'm like, 'You have got to be kidding me.' This is a national disaster, get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses to New Orleans," he said. "This is a major, major, major deal."
Nagin accused state and federal officials of "playing games" and "spinning for the cameras." He said he keeps hearing that help is coming, but "there's no beef."
He called for a moratorium on press conferences. He said he doesn't want any more press conferences there until there is actual manpower on the ground helping his city. He said that he is tired of hearing that thousands of troops are on their way because they are just not there.
Earlier, he issued a "desperate SOS" on behalf of the thousands who are stranded at the convention center. He also gave the go-ahead for them to march across a bridge to a dry area of the city and look for whatever relief they could find.
At least seven bodies were scattered outside the convention center. People desperately called for help, chasing after reporters, sometimes pleading and sometimes threatening.
Congress is rushing through an aid package of more than $10 billion and the Pentagon is promising 1,400 National Guardsmen.