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26182: Bassiouni: (reply on Haitians in New Orleans) Re: 261762: Wilcken (reply) 26164: RE: Davis on Katrina and Haitians (fwd)
From: Nathan Bassiouni <email@example.com>
How dare you say there is NO Haitian community in New Orleans. The Haitian
community in Greater New Orleans was about 10,000 strong and there were plenty
of local organizations, including mine which is the oldest and biggest,
L'Association pour le Developpment Humain (AHDH). We have been here in New
Orleans and in Lavalle de Jacmel for almost 30 years.
I know Vidho well and if he tried to ride out the storm in his neighborhood,
the lower 9th ward, chances are that he is not with us anymore, god forbid.
The lower 9th ward had over 20 feet of water at the time the hurricane hit and
the shotgun houses began to float. If he survived in the lower 9, he would of
been most likely airlifted by the local coast guard since they were the only
authorities to respond immediatly after the storm Monday morning. Since the
houses were floating, gas lines to each house would break, causing gas leaks at
every foundation. So no boats were able to do search and rescue in that area,
as well as Chalmette in Saint Bernard Parish across the canal.
Your contacts for the Haitian community in New Orleans are not good ones,
because they did not interact with the Haitian community. Instead they
entertained tourist, tourist that made New Orleans there home, and white folk
captivated by Vodou. So before you make general statements that are very
offensive at the present time of crisis, get your facts correct. To overlook
the Haitian community in New Orleans, who lived in an area that will probably
remain under water, on the Westbank, could mean they will be forgotten if they
did not survive.
Other local Haitian organizations in New Orleans are: The Haitian Culture
Association, the Saint Domingue geneology research group (predominantly a white
group), and there are 4 haitian churches here also, two catholic and two
missionary baptist. If New Orleans ever recovers and you return to New
Orleans, flag a cab down in the CBD or Vieux Carre, and chances are a Haitian
will be picking you up. I did see quite a few Haitian cabs on the road filled
with people and supplies, so at least some Haitians made it out.
I know I sound very bitter. It's because I have personally lost everything.
All I have is my computer, which I just hooked up after a week offline, some
clothes and my camera. I have photographed and documented ground zero of my
hometown spending tuesday, wednesday, and thursday trying to do what the US
government DID NOT do, save 300,000 people stranded. As I speak there are
still thousands of people in attics, floating on debris, and in under supplied
shelters. There are dead bodies everywhere.
After rescuing about 50 people, a majority of them over 60 years of age, in my
16 foot bateaux, I became very ill due to contact with the toxic water. I have
very bad sores on the bottom of my feet, my face, lips, arms and neck are
burned from the motor oil in the water and the intense sunlight. I'm awaiting
the results of my blood work to see if contracted one of the many diseases that
are now festering in the flood waters of New Orleans. I have been stuck with
about 12 needles and my arms looks like a heroine addicts. I also have bites
all over my legs from floating ants and I still smell like gasoline. My hair
was big and curly, until I had to dive under to cut a pad lock off the base of
an iron door to release an 80 year old man that was in his attic for 2 and a
half days. But when I resurfaced, my hair was matted with oil and other
chemicals. When I returned to the refugee drop off point at the I-10/ 610
split in Metairie, there was already a shortage of water as well as medicine,
food and help. So I borrowed some surgical trimmers and shaved my head bald
and returned to the water.
The media has caused so many problems and made rescuing people very difficult.
The media's biggest crime was announcing that the gunfire heard all over New
Orleans was only acts of violence, which is NOT true. Sure some of the gunfire
was acts of violence, especially downtown in the CBD, but where I was rescuing
people, people used gunfire to get the attention of airboats which are
extremely loud. So loud that the pilot wears ear protection. But after the
careless media report, people began to panic. Also, some people were trying to
evacuate but could not because there was no deisel and gas was very difficult
to find. I have friends with a deisel vw and were not able to evacuate. I
also know someone that ran out of gas looking for gas. The I-10 west was
literally a parking lot of traffic before the storm and people became
frustrated when it began to rain, so they turned around and went home. The
media likes to portray the people that remained in New Orleans as stupid for
staying, when in actuality the infrastructure and emergency preparedness of new
orleans did not allow some people to leave.
Thursday, my last day I will probably ever see my home again, I was deputized
NGMP and issued a badge and a sidearm because of the violence. I really detest
the police and I strongly believe that the institution of police has been
failing at their job for more then 200 years, but I put my politics aside and
made it possible to rescue more survivors. We tried to enter uptown thru
Holygrove launching the bateaux from an Earhart ramp, but we were unable
because of masses of people desperate to leave and they were to the point of
car & boat jacking.
If anyone needs info on certain areas of New Orleans that the media and
government is censoring, please contact me here on the corbett list. I
personally did rescue missions in the following neighborhoods: 7th ward, 8th
ward, UNO, Gentilly (west-near elysian fields), Lakeview, Paris ave. from the
lake to the Saint Bernard projects, 17th ward, Holygrove, Gertown, Carolton,
and the Riverbend. If anyone has any info. on my loft in the 3rd ward/Central
City, 1712 Oretha C. Haley, above Ashe and Zeitgeist, please email me direct at
I already had lost faith in this nation, but after witnessing the lack of
response by Bush and the U.S. government, I do not consider myself American
anymore and I will try to relocate to the islands and denounce my U.S.
citizenship (I am a dual citizen - France). If 300,000 fake blonde girls from
Alabama went missing in Aruba, Bush would have immediately started a third war
to save them.
Please donate anything you can. Le Cap and Haiti's sister city, La Nouvelle
Orleans, might be lost forever, as well as the rich creole culture. And if
they decide to rebuild new orleans, it's probably going to look cheap and
un-historical, like Houston with strip malls and store signs that bombard the