+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 1 of 1

  1. #1
    sojustask's Avatar
    sojustask is offline The Late, Great Lady Mod - Retired User Rank
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    In Attics and Rubble, More Bodies and Questions

    This is so sad, it just never seems to end for these people.

    In Attics and Rubble, More Bodies and Questions

    NEW ORLEANS, April 5 When August Blanchard returned to New Orleans from Pennsylvania in late December, his mother was still missing. Family members, scattered across the country, had been calling hospitals, the Red Cross and missing persons hot lines, hoping she had been rescued.

    But Mr. Blanchard, 26, had a bad feeling. Twice, he drove past the pale green house on Reynes Street in the Lower Ninth Ward, where he and his mother, Charlene Blanchard, 45, had lived, yet he could not bring himself to enter.

    It was not until Feb. 25 that one of Mr. Blanchard's uncles nudged the front door open with his foot and spied Ms. Blanchard's hand. Dressed in her nightgown and robe, she lay under a moldering sofa. With her was a red velvet bedspread that her daughter had given her and a huge teddy bear.

    The bodies of storm victims are still being discovered in New Orleans in March alone there were nine, along with one skull. Skeletonized or half-eaten by animals, with leathery, hardened skin or missing limbs, the bodies are lodged in piles of rubble, dangling from rafters or lying face down, arms outstretched on parlor floors. Many of them, like Ms. Blanchard, were overlooked in initial searches.

    A landlord in the Lakeview section put a "for sale" sign outside a house, unaware that his tenant's body was in the attic. Two weeks ago, searchers in the Lower Ninth Ward found a girl, believed to be about 6, wearing a blue backpack. Nearby, they found part of a man who the authorities believe might have been trying to save her.

    [On Friday, contractors found a body in the attic of a home in the Gentilly neighborhood that had been searched twice before, officials said.]

    In the weeks after Hurricane Katrina, there were grotesque images of bodies left in plain sight. Officials in Louisiana recovered more than 1,200 bodies, but the process, hamstrung by money shortages and red tape, never really ended.

    In the Lower Ninth Ward, where unstable houses make searching dangerous, a plan to use cadaver dogs alongside demolition crews was delayed by lawsuits and community protests against the bulldozing. In the rest of the city, the absence of neighbors and social networks meant that some residents languished and died unnoticed. Many of the families of the missing were far from home, rendered helpless by distance and preoccupied with their own survival.

    Now, as the city begins to rebuild in earnest, those families still wait, agonizing over loved ones who are unseen and unburied, but unforgotten.

    "We never reached out to anyone to tell our story, because there's no ending to our story," said Wanda Jackson, 40, whose family is still waiting for word of her 6-year-old nephew, swept away by floodwaters as his mother clung to his 3-year-old brother. "Because we haven't found our deceased. Being honest with you, in my opinion, they forgot about us."

    She continued, "They did not build nothing on 9/11 until they were sure that the damn dust was not human dust; so how you go on and build things in our city?"

    In October and November, the special operations team of the New Orleans Fire Department searched the Lower Ninth Ward for remains until they ran out of overtime money.

    Half a dozen officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency rebuffed requests to pay the bill, said Chief Steve Glynn, the team commander. When reporters inquired, FEMA officials said the required paperwork had not been filed.

    During that period, if someone called to ask that a specific location be checked for a body, Chief Glynn said, there was no one to send. The Blanchards were not the only family left to find a loved one on their own.

    Others had no family to find them. The name of Joseph Naylor, 54, was posted on Hurricane Katrina message boards by a friend, J. T. Beebe, who said in an interview that Mr. Naylor had no relatives except maybe an estranged cousin. Mr. Naylor was found in his attic on March 5.

    Anita Dazet, who lives on a street that had little flooding, said she had been back home for five months before she thought to check on her neighbor, Lydia Matthews, whom Ms. Dazet described as mentally ill, and found her dead. Ms. Dazet said she had assumed that the same church that regularly left meals on the porch for Ms. Matthews had helped her evacuate.

    Ms. Blanchard, too, was described by family members as mentally ill, but able to care for herself. When family members urged her to evacuate before the hurricane, she refused. "She would get violent if you tried to make her leave," said Shirley Blanchard, a sister.

    In February, FEMA agreed to pay for the search for bodies to resume, and on March 2 the agency's special operations team was able to begin a systematic check of the 1,700 structures in the Lower Ninth Ward, the site of the city's worst destruction.

    It is tedious, hot work. Each team of firefighters works with one or two dogs trained to find human remains. If the dogs sense a body, the workers lift heavy furniture, dig through stinking mud or pull down ceiling tiles to find it.

    Often, the search is fruitless in part because of Hurricane Rita, which flooded the area again two weeks after Hurricane Katrina. Many who had perished in the first storm were washed away, leaving behind only the smell of death.

    According to a fluorescent orange scrawl on Ms. Blanchard's house, a search was conducted in September by the New Orleans police. Many bodies were overlooked during initial searches, partly because houses were structurally unsound or, with their contents in heaps, impossible to walk through. A thorough check might have required hacking through a collapsed roof or moving a small mountain of debris.

    This time around, no one wants to miss anything. On a recent day, firefighters spotted a gallon-size pickle jar in an exposed attic, suggesting that someone had tried to weather the storm there. Because the house could not be entered safely, a piece of heavy equipment called an excavator was summoned to dismantle it. But the firefighters found nothing.

    And finding a body is just the first step. Of the 14 bodies found since mid-February, none have been definitively identified and released for burial, partly because FEMA closed a $17 million morgue built to handle the dead from Hurricane Katrina. The morgue was used for eight weeks, and agency officials said there was no longer enough volume to justify keeping it open.

    FEMA declined to allow the New Orleans coroner, whose own office and morgue were ruined in the storm, to continue to use the autopsy site.

    For now, newly found bodies are stored in a refrigerated truck in Baton Rouge, La. The coroner, Dr. Frank Minyard, says a temporary office will be ready in about a week.

    To Geneva Celestine, Ms. Blanchard's mother, who was on the front porch of the house when her body was discovered, not being able to bury her daughter is only the latest in an exhausting series of horrors.

    "It's awful," she said by telephone from Pennsylvania. "To go there and find your own child, something they're supposed to be doing. Something they've got paid to do. And you see the mark on the house. It's really sad."

    Early on, families were so angered by delays in releasing bodies that a few picketed the morgue. But although there is no longer a morgue to picket, the jurisdictional squabbling that contributed to the delays has not ended. Dr. Minyard's state counterpart, Dr. Louis Cataldie, said he had a mobile morgue and could take DNA samples immediately if Dr. Minyard would allow it.

    "We have a very good idea who some of those people are," Dr. Cataldie said. "If we could get DNA, we could confirm it very quickly."

    Bringing that kind of resolution to families is what motivates the searchers, who spend days in the desolate landscape of chest-high weeds and houses popped open like packing crates. Searching a single structure can take half a day.

    Mickey Bourgeois, a search team member, recalled an incident when the team was told where to look for a mother and a baby. They found only the woman, he said.

    "When something like that happens," he said, "you can't talk the guys into leaving until everything's out of the house."

    Last edited by sojustask; 04-11-2006 at 03:24 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. Six questions
    By Real TX Oilfield in forum Political Scams
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 03-06-2015, 04:02 PM
  2. Troops Pissing on Dead Bodies Video (literally)
    By Administrator in forum Political Scams
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 01-13-2012, 03:02 PM
  3. Mexican Military Finds 72 Bodies Near Border
    By pwrone in forum Political Scams
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-26-2010, 12:48 PM
  4. Bucks for Bodies
    By sojustask in forum Political Scams
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-19-2006, 11:14 PM
  5. TWO MISSING GIs are found dead, bodies recovered.
    By MoreThanTrafficScam.Com in forum Political Scams
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-22-2006, 03:21 PM

Tags for this Thread

Add / Edit Tags
9/11, agreed, ame, animals, april, area, arms, august, aware, baby, bad, bill, blue, boards, body, bring, bringing, bro, built, buried, bury, called, calling, care, ceiling, church, community, con, contributed, country, damn, daughter, days, dead, death, december, department, destruction, dig, dna, door, dow, dozen, emergency, ended, enter, equipment, face, families, federal, feeling, fema, find, finding, firm, flooded, for sale, forgot, fra, frank, friday, front, furniture, gen, girl, give, gli, good, green, guys, hacking, hand, handle, helped, hey, high, his, home, horrors, hot, house, huge, huma, human, hurricane, ial, ill, images, ime, incident, interview, ion, jackson, justify, katrina, kind, king, latest, lawsuits, leaving, lines, lived, longer, louisiana, lying, mark, mea, meals, members, mentally, mentally ill, million, mobile, money, more, mother, mountain, networks, november, october, office, officials, open, operations, orange, orleans, outs, packing, part, pas, past, pay, pen, pennsylvania, people, piece, pos, posted, process, pull, question, questions, quickly, ran, ready, recovered, refused, released, rendered, reporters, rest, resume, rita, rouge, sad, sale, sca, section, send, sense, september, shirley, sign, site, ski, skin, small, sound, special, spend, spied, state, step, steve, storm, story, street, survival, talk, tape, team, they, thought, told, trac, truck, urged, vic, viole, violent, wait, waiting, wanda, ward, wearing, weeks, woma, word, workers, worst, year

View Tag Cloud



Posting Permissions

  • You may post new threads
  • You may post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may edit your posts