Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Inexcusable: Families finding bodies of loved ones in NOLA

Wed Nov 16, 2005 at 10:55:19 AM PDT

How quickly two months go by.

Yet, that is how long it has been since Katrina hit, and it has been 6 weeks since the search for bodies in the 9th Ward was halted. And lest we think otherwise, it was known at the time that there were still bodies that were not recovered.

And now we hear that since families are just starting to come back to the Ninth Ward to see the destruction, collect what they can of their belongings, or even check on the houses of families or loved ones, gruesome discoveries are being made.

but of course, it is not a "missing white woman story", so it too gets buried....

Of course, this wasn't even too much of a concern at the time, not only to Brownie, whose fashion exploits and other examples of twisted and disgusting behavior was extensively documented here.

Remember this lovely comment made at the time the search was called off:

There might still be bodies found for instance, if a house was locked and nobody able to go into it," said Bob Johannessen, a spokesman with the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

And what was the backup plan when the search was called off? To call 911 if you were to find a body that wasn't recovered. Of course that assumes that there were people around to find the bodies (not likely), had the means to call 911 with power out in many areas of the Ninth Ward (not likely) and even if so, actually get someone from the police, rescue workers, state agencies, Red Cross, FEMA or whoever to come by (also not likely).

Of course, we don't need to rehash how this was because people were poor, or black or whatever. The fact remains that these people are AMERICANS that deserve the same treatment as those who lost their lives on 9/11, in another natural disaster, or however.

But, that being said, we are now two months after Katrina hit, and per Anderson Cooper yesterday (scroll down to near the bottom),

Well, the death toll keeps rising.

You know, it's hard to imagine anything worse than coming back to your home in New Orleans and finding it completely destroyed. But, tonight, as you're about to hear, there is something worse, much worse. Dozens of families have returned to what is left of their homes and found, lying amidst the mold and the wreckage, a body, forgotten, abandoned. Maybe it's their mother or their grandmother, sometimes even their missing child.

The state called off searching house to house in New Orleans well over a month ago. They said they completed the job. Clearly, they have not. In tonight's "Keeping Them Honest," our daily segment devoted to New Orleans and the still devastated Gulf Coast, we try to find out who is to blame.

Some interviews with folks who had returned tell a story that is not only heartbreaking and unacceptable, but all-too common in Bu$hCos 'Murka.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Susie Eaton (ph) worried her mother, Viola (ph), might have been stuck inside her house in the Ninth Ward when Hurricane Katrina hit. Eaton (ph), who lives in Florida, received a death certificate for the wrong person. Upset, she tried, but couldn't get answers from officials in New Orleans.

She ended up calling CNN and told us about her worst fears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My feelings are that my mother may be still in the house and she was not able to get out in time before the -- before the levee broke.

DORNIN: We volunteered to go to her mother's house to see what we could find.

(on camera): This is what's left of the block where Susie Eaton's (ph) mother lived. We have no idea exactly where the house was. But we did have the address. And we found her mailbox. When we called Eaton (ph), she said she was thankful to know that much, but still wonders what happened to her mother.

(voice-over): Two blocks from where Viola Eaton's (ph) house once stood, cadaver dogs continue to search underneath the piles of rubble.

The official search-and-rescue effort was called off October 3, but there was such a backlash, crews resumed searching demolished neighborhoods. They have cleared areas zip code by zip code.

There was no joy for Paul Murphy (ph) in this homecoming. When he walked into his house in New Orleans' Ninth Ward last month for the first time since Katrina, it was shock and anger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I'm thinking that, OK, I was going to come and salvage a few pictures or something. And I walk in here. I found my grandma on the floor dead.

DORNIN: Since November 1, 10 bodies have been found in the ruins of the Ninth Ward. The last area, known as the Lower Ninth, will open to residents December 1. Coroner Frank Minyard worries about what people will find.

(on camera): You're fully expecting that more bodies will come in once they open the Ninth Ward?

FRANK MINYARD, ORLEANS PARISH CORONER: Yes. And I think it's -- it's going to come in for a good while. There's so much rubbish around that they might find people in the rubbish. DORNIN (voice-over): They already have. And there are still many bodies left unidentified and unclaimed.

MINYARD: We have 150 autopsies left to do, all on unidentified people. Hopefully, that -- that will help us identify that person, if we can find a pacemaker or an artificial hip or something. Then we're into DNA.

DORNIN: Susan Eaton (ph) asked if she could send a DNA sample and was told DNA samples were not being accepted. Nearly 80 days after Katrina, not one DNA test has been done.

Not only that, but according to Jack Stephens, the Saint Bernard Parish Sheriff, the shock of finding the decomposing bodies of family members was a surprise (emphasis mine):

A month ago, we were still very much in the midst of a -- of a crisis. And the National Guard was conducting the house-to-house searches. And if you go through, Anderson, the neighborhoods right now that were searched then, a lot of them bear the mark of "N.E.," which means no entry.

I was always under the impression that there would be a hard- target search at some point following that to determine whether or not there were any casualties left in those dwellings. As of right now -- in fact, the day before yesterday, in my own jurisdiction, a family came home to discover a family member who had been reported missing.

I strongly recommend reading the transcript, but here is one more snippet that shows how FEMA is STILL screwing this up, and how DNA testing hasn't even been done on many (if any) people because, get this---FEMA AND THE STATE ARE STILL ARGUING ABOUT WHO SHOULD PAY FOR THE DNA TESTS!!

STEPHENS: It was a horrible -- it was a gruesome sight. Very -- and again, people don't deserve any more grief and pain than they're going through right now. I mean, this whole process has been so excruciatingly screwed up and slow that, I mean, you're starting to feel a real sense of anger and hostility on the part of people locally and, my God, it's well-deserved.

And it is almost impossible now to do identification on them. I mean, these bodies are so decomposed, you know, which leads to the next chapter of the story, and that is the horrible job that has been done at Saint Gabriel with respect to handling these bodies, identification and return of these casualties to their loved ones.

COOPER: That's an incredible story in and of itself. I mean, I know you've been publicly critical of the morgue over there in Saint Gabriel, and look, I'm sure the people there are working hard and God knows that the conditions they're probably working in, examining these bodies, has got to be horrific. But 874 bodies they've examined so far, only 238 of them have actually been released to the families. They haven't even done any DNA testing that has resulted in identification because the state is arguing with FEMA about who's supposed to pay for the DNA labs. I mean...

Seriously, WTF????

And of course, Georgie puts KKKarl in charge of rebuilding New Orleans and it looks like he, like Brownie, is doing a helluva job.

Absolutely unacceptable.

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