Today from the White House
Reporter: Regarding the president’s zero tolerance for insurance fraud, looting, price gouging. Does he make any allowance for people who have yet to receive aid who are taking things like water or food or shoes to walk among the debris?
Scott McClellan: I think you heard from the president earlier today about his zero tolerance. We understand the need for food and water and supplies of that nature. That’s why we have a massive effort underway to continue getting food and water and ice to those who are in need. There are ways for them to get that help. Looting is not the way for them to do it.
Fury rose among many of those evacuated. Outside the Convention Center, the sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement. Thousands of storm refugees had been assembling outside for days, waiting for buses that did not come.
At least seven bodies were scattered outside, and hungry, desperate people who were tired of waiting broke through the steel doors to a food service entrance and began pushing out pallets of water and juice and whatever else they could find.
An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.
“I don’t treat my dog like that,” 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. “I buried my dog.” He added: “You can do everything for other countries but you can’t do nothing for your own people. You can go overseas with the military but you can’t get them down here.”
And from CNN:
It’s hard to describe. It’s something I never could conceive of ever seein gin a major city like New Orleans. It is hard to believe. This is New Orleans Louisiana we ware talking about. We spent the last few hours at the convention center where There are thousands of people just laying in the street. They have nowhere to go. These are mothers. We saw mothers. We talked to mothers holding babies. Some of these babies are 3, 4, 5, months old living in these horrible conditions. Putrid food on the ground. Sewage, their feet sitting in sewage. We saw feces on the ground. These people are being forced to live like animals. When you look at some of these mothers your heart just breaks. We’re not talking about a few families or a few hundred families. Thousands of people are gathered around the convention.
I want to warn you. Some of these images that you will see they’re very very graphic. But people need see this. The people that are down there have been down there for days. People need to see what it is really like here. We saw dead bodies. People are dying at the convention center and there’s no one there to come get them. We saw an older woman, someone’s mother someone’s grandmother, in a wheelchair. Her dead body pushed up against the side of the convention center with a blanket over it. Right on the ground next to her another dead body wrapped in a white sheet.
People are literally dying. Right in front of us as we were watching this a man went into a seizure on the ground. It looked like he was dying. People tried to prop his head up. No one has medical training. No ambulance can come. It is just heartbreaking that people are just sitting there without food or water waiting for the buses to come tak ehtem away. People keep asking us – when are the buses coming. And I just have to say, I don’t know.