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7 Cities for 7 Books Campaign – Atlanta

June 26th, 2016 Comments off

THE CONTRAFLOW PROJECT
thecontraflow@yahoo.com
@thecontraflow
(803) 792-7037

 
 
Katrina ResponseTHPTreme
 

The Contraflow Project Shedding New Light on the Hurricane Katrina Response

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

FORT MILL, SC, JUNE 27, 2016: The Contraflow Project (TCP), a nonprofit research organization, announces its Hurricane Katrina Response Educational Awareness Campaign. “Contraflow,” a Louisiana highway evacuation procedure allowing coastal-bound traffic lanes to flow in the opposite direction of normal, seemed a fitting term for TCP co-founder and former Doraville resident M. Darryl Woods.

Eleven years ago this summer, the world watched in dismay the humanitarian crisis down on the bayou called “Katrina.” On September 7, 2005, M. Woods answered the call to assist fellow Americans in dire need and joined the Katrina Relief Efforts. What began as volunteer house gutting block by block and virtual office services, led to Woods chronicling the Katrina experiences of four men known as the “Soul Patrol” from the New Orleans 7th Ward; along with documenting the Post-Katrina Year One repopulation of the Crescent City.

In late spring ’06, one still gnawing question was why did Delta Airlines supposedly withhold the destination from the passengers on the Soul Patrol’s September 10, 2005, Operation Air Care relocation flight out of New Orleans Louis Armstrong Int’l Airport (MSY)? After several failed electronic attempts to reach Delta spokesman Anthony Black, the airline was going through reorganization at the time; Woods snail-mailed an inquiry to their ATL Headquarters. To his surprise, charter operations manager Tracy Bevingtion responded with word that Captains Joe Kolshak and Mike Quiello wanted to talk. What those two airline executives, who piloted Delta humanitarian Flight 9900 in and out of MSY on September 1, 2005, had to say would unwittingly lead to Woods transitioning focus from solely that of the survivors’ saga to the vastly overlooked responders’ experiences. It was later learned in subsequent interviews that the Delta flight crew in question ignored the FEMA “destination unknown” policy somewhere over the Ozarks when they compassionately informed the displaced Louisianans their plane was en route to Nebraska.

Delta OCC

Now on the trail of the big picture, in Dec. ’06, Woods set out on a Katrina Responders fact-finding mission to San Diego, L.A., San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Atlanta and Memphis. In 2007, the TCP Lead Researcher was given a personal tour of Delta’s Flight Ops/Operations Customer Center (OCC) at ATL; where he met the man in charge during Katrina, the late Bill Miret.

Thanks to the cooperation of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, FEMA, FAA, USFWS, state and municipal agencies, etc., the interviewing and meticulous research continued well into this decade. Then, after reading the Times-Picayune article, “Superdome’s Condition Leaves Mark on Doctor” on March 14, 2014, TCP finally cracks the Katrina Response DNA code. Woods says, “I believe that once the sequence of events is understood, the true story of Katrina can be understood.”

In recognition of July 7, 2016, the 10-year anniversary of the game changing Delta Airlines Kolshak-Quiello interview, Woods plans to initiate a fact-sharing mission physically and digitally revisiting the same ’06 cities to bring attention to the forthcoming 7-part book series, CONTRAFLOW: A KATRINA HEPTALOGY; which is void of blame, political agendas, media sensationalism, race-carding and demographic stereotyping. It’s dedicated to ALL Katrina Responders. The “7 Cities for 7 Books” campaign plans to begin on August 20, 2016; another milestone representing the 4,000th day anniversary of Woods’ personal involvement in Post-Katrina New Orleans. To paraphrase a 1987 Delta ad campaign, “M. Darryl Woods loves anything New Orleans, and it shows!”

CONTRAFLOW is, in the immortal words of Paul Harvey, “The Rest of the Story. Good day!” To learn more please visit: www.thecontraflow.org.

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Final Phase

August 19th, 2015 Comments off

I would like to take this time to update The Contraflow Project’s (TCP) Hurricane Katrina Response oral history contributors. What began as a shocked, saddened and concerned American dropping everything to join the Katrina Relief Effort on September 7, 2005, has grown into arguably the longest running and largest Katrina research project focused solely on the Responders; you all.

Phase Three “Research” ended on March 23, 2014, the day I found the final piece of an intricate whodunnit-like jigsaw puzzle (that I called ‘How Could Things Have Gone So Wrong’) in the following 9/4/05 Times-Picayune article; “Superdome’s Condition Leaves Mark on Doctor.”

Where are we at today? I see the entire picture now; how things went so wrong, and how the responders came in and made things so right. This week TCP is transitioning into Phase Five; the final phase, “Development.” As stated in TCP’s Funding Letter, the final phase will need the following: editing. indexing, graphic art, IT, travel, software, premium social media account and other professional services.

Contraflow Inc., dba The Contraflow Project, is a recognized nonprofit 501c3 charitable organization. Even so, I am a very independent person who has never conducted a public fundraising campaign in ten years of research. Today, the reality is that without outside support, fruition may never come. It’s not that this epic story is too big for me. I’m a walking Katrina Response encyclopedia. I know it like the back of my hand. It’s that the current budget is too small to complete this God-sized project. The more I learned over the years, the less I earned; mainly due to the constant postponing of the publishing dates. But, I had to go where the research took me, where the leads led me, where the responders wanted to see me. It was my contribution, my mission, my purpose…

What’s next? Fundraising! If you’d like to help, the sharing of our GoFundMe page link and/or widget with your digital circle of colleagues, family and friends via social media or email would be greatly appreciated. All cash donations are tax deductible. With outside support, I’m looking at a June 1, 2016, publishing date for all 7 books. Fruition!

Schedule permitting, there may also be some availibity for sponsored public speaking engagements. I enjoy sharing your amazing stories (mixed in with my ten-year New Orleans journey) about the world’s largest rescue mission since the Berlin Airlift. Inspired by a statement made by Rush Limbaugh last year, I penned the following blog post, “Rush to Judgement on Katrina.” I tell the story of Katrina right down the middle of the road. I can speak Katrina to any group, from any background, of any persuasion, anywhere.

I’m very encouraged, excited and inspired. Aside from one last round of fact-checking, the research is complete. The only reason CONTRAFLOW was not published prior to March 23, 2014, is because more responders kept coming forward from the fall of 2010 going forward. Many had retired or no longer worked for at the same corporation or government entity, and were ready talk; and I am so happy they did.

Hence, what I am saying is that the hard part is over. This is America. Funding will come to see this book series, CONTRAFLOW: A Katrina Heptalogy, to fruition. This ten year-plus in the making epic story is destined to be told.

I encourage you all to follow the final phase’s progress by joining TCP on Twitter and Facebook. Hmm, for many of you we were not even texting during the time I first introduced myself. Today we have social media, smart phones, apps, no wires and the cloud; Lol! What an amazing time to be a one-man social entrepreneur. Everything I need to run The Contraflow Project is in my hip pocket.

Speaking of smart phones, I want try and speak with as many of you as I can. If you too would like a personalized update, please text me at (803) 792-7037. Or email me back an appropriate phone number, preferably a mobile number. My Sprint plan allows me unlimited wireless to wireless phone conversations. Or, we can go back and forth on an email thread.

Finally, this would have been such a great time to launch the book series. We all know how Americans like to commemorate past events in years divisible by five, and even more so in years divisible by ten. Even so, I truly believe that I am on schedule; that this is the path I was supposed to travel. I leave you with a few words of support for The Contraflow Project from Pastor Sean Weaver of True Destiny Christian Church in Charlotte, NC. God bless you all.

Click the above play button or this link to hear a prayer from Pastor Sean Weaver of True Destiny Christian Church in Charlotte, NC.



Rush to Judgement on Katrina

July 12th, 2014 Comments off


Prior to Hurricane Katrina, I had never heard of C. Ray Nagan or Nola.com. This from a man who prided himself on being up to date on current affairs and almanac-like data. However, the Times-Picayune was previously familiar to me, and since Katrina I have been a very frequent visitor to its online destination Nola.com. While surfing Nola.com yesterday, Rush Limbaugha Bruce Alpert ‘On the Hill’ story headline caught my eyes; “Rush Limbaugh calls Katrina response very effective…” The following is an excerpt from Mr. Alpert’s article, which I believe came from a recent Rush Limbaugh Show transcript:


“The FEMA U.S. government response, to Katrina, was one of the most massive, one of the fastest, and one of the most effective emergency responses in our history.


Go, independently verify that, if you doubt me. I imagine even some of you in the audience who would call yourselves conservative Republicans are saying, ‘Rush, be careful now, you know that’s not true.’


You probably think it’s not true because you believe, it’s been stated for so long, it’s been the conventional wisdom for so long, that the post-Katrina response was a disaster, and it wasn’t.”


The substance of the entire article had less to do with New Orleans, and more to do with the GOP’s talking points strategy on how Pres. Obama is handling the current Mexican-US Border humanitarian-political crisis. I don’t follow Rush Limbaugh or his show like I do Nola.com. Even so, unlike most of the people I know, I will fight for his right to speak his mind. The day Mr. Limbaugh is silenced is the day “they” silence me. Lord knows I have a documentation, opinions and views of my own; albeit a very small audience to date.


Nevertheless, anyone who knows me could understand why my jaw dropped after reading the aforementioned Bruce Albert article. Based on my nine years of intense research, I concur wholeheartedly with Mr. Limbaugh’s Katrina Response theory. He and I actually agree on the same thing; the real story of the response to the second biggest domestic crisis of the 21st Century has never been told.


One may say the story was told eight years ago in HBO’s award-winning documentary, When The Levees Broke (2006). I am a longtime fan of its director, and I enjoyed watching his four-part requiem. The nation and the world needed something of substance to help them understand what had happened in New Orleans. It focused mostly on Louisiana Democratic political leaders and the Greater New Orleans Katrina survivors; the people. It was real.


My research delves into two major components of Katrina that has yet to be broadcasted or published; the significant inclusion of the responders experiences and the placing of the first week of Katrina events in their proper sequence.


Over the past nine years I have granted only one interview, which was exactly five years ago to date. The Omaha World-Herald Columnist Mike Kelly wrote a piece titled, “Take another look at hurricane’s aftermath.” Here is an excerpt from Kelly’s July 12, 2009, Mike Kellycol-umn about me:


“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” President George W. Bush told FEMA director Michael Brown in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.


Brown, under mounting criticism, soon resigned as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The federal response to Katrina was widely panned and the president’s praise of Brownie was often ridiculed.


Omaha native who has spent most of the past four years in New Orleans is asking that people take another look.


“George Bush got blamed for something that wasn’t his fault,” said Michael Woods. “I’ve interviewed thousands of people and pieced together this big puzzle.”


Five years ago, hmm. Well Mr. Kelly, all I can say is that ‘puzzle’ got bigger and bigger. My recent blog ‘Groundhog Day ja Voo‘ should bring everyone up to speed; a posting summarizing the past five years of my nonprofit independent research project. Have no fear, I kept on piecing things together.


Getting back to Mr. Limbaugh’s bold statement on Katrina for even conservative GOP standards. If you really pay attention to what he stated in the above (transcript) excerpt, a reasonable person may think that he has no proof; that he is wishing it to be so. He offers no documentation, no sources; how did he put it, “Go, independently verify that, if you doubt me.” Go where and independently verify that Mr. Limbaugh?


Here at TheContraflow.org, that’s where! This is exactly what I have been working on for nine years, independent verification; independent of any government, corporate, collegiate or media interests. I am Mr. Limbaugh’s source of proof that the federal government dropping the ball during Katrina is not what happened. He just doesn’t know it yet. I’m the nation’s source of proof. The country just doesn’t know it yet. The New Orleans Katrina survivors? They’ve always known who really dropped the ball. They just haven’t had anyone to articulate yet.


It was those heart-breaking images from the New Orleans Morial Convention Center on September 1, 2005, that changed everything; that literally changed the world. The media, government officials, scholars and scientists have never been able to fully explain what we were looking at that day; how those sad, shocking and surreal images really came to be. I provide credible information in my essay from two years ago, ‘The Events of 9/1‘. A good place to start on the road to really understanding Katrina.


Since arriving in the mega disaster zone called New Orleans nine years ago, there are so many things I thought I would never be doing. Indirectly helping to prove a Rush Limbaugh theory about the ridiculing of Pres. Bush during Katrina, that he is using to help ridicule Pres. Obama about a current immigration issue, ranks in the Top 5. But it is what it is. I did this research for everyone, whatever their politics or views. The truth is in the light.


I spoke earlier about my audience size. I likened this to the saying, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to here it, does it make a sound?” What I am saying is that I, Mr. Woods, have been inspired by the most unlikely source to finally start speaking publicly about all I have learned on the subject of the Katrina Response. about us2Thank you Mr. Limbaugh. I never had a policy of not speaking publicly. It’s just that the research kept going and going (2005-2014), like that old Energizer Bunny Rabbit commercial. Maybe I could return the favor by enlightening your listeners. It’s hard to imagine a bigger audience than yours. I would start off by saying the following:


“A command decision based off a rumor that was relayed to New Orleans Mayor Nagin on Wednesday evening, Day 3, August 31, 2005, set in motion a sequence of events that transformed Katrina from a mega natural disaster to a mega man-made disaster.”


The reason I have been successful in getting people from all walks of life, from all corners of America, to share their Katrina experiences with me is because they felt my genuine drive to tell the real story of Katrina. And that no matter how long it would take, I was going to get their stories out intact; that I was going to keep my promise to publish CONTRAFLOW Book Series void of blame, race-carding, political agendas, demographic stereotyping, media sensation-alism and my own opinions. CONTRAFLOW is dedicated to ALL Katrina Responders.

 


M. Darryl Woods, Lead Researcher
The Contraflow Project

 
 

Validation and Transition

March 25th, 2013 Comments off


Bill Waldron, Retired Manatee County Sheriff's Office Homicide Detective and Candidate for Manatee County Sheriff '12In August of 2005 I was in New Orleans to testify in a murder trial on behalf of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office for my role in the 2003 Homicide investigation of victim Shawn Johnson in the French Quarter and the apprehension of 2 of the 3 suspects in my jurisdiction. I had assisted New Orleans Police Homicide detectives during this investigation while serving as a Homicide Detective with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office (M.C.S.O.) in Bradenton, Florida, which will be profiled on the Investigation Discovery Channel series “Dead of Night” in an episode titled “Bourbon Street Bloodbath” airing March 26, 2013 at 10pm EST.


Shortly after the trial finished up on the evening of Friday August 26, 2005 with a guilty verdict, I learned that Hurricane Katrina was expected to impact the greater New Orleans area and the southern gulf coast states in the next 48 hours, thus delaying my return home. I spent the next week in New Orleans eventually ending up at the Morial Convention Center after being ordered out of my hotel room in the French Quarter where I was staying at the bequest of the New Orleans Police Department. I eventually made it safely back home with the assistance of several law enforcement agencies from several states, including my own.


Upon my return to work I was inundated with interview requests about my ordeal in New Orleans from local and national media outlets. I used my experiences as a Hostage Negotiator and Emergency Services Disaster Responder with several hurricane deployments in Florida coupled with what I observed and endured to provide an accurate accounting of events. I also traveled around the state of Florida speaking to various law enforcement and civic groups about my experiences, disaster preparedness and response. This was to begin my own healing process in coping with this disaster, which has helped to define me as the person I am today.

 
Click the above play button or this link to hear a message from retired homicide detective and Katrina Responder Bill Waldron.


In 2006 M. Darryl Woods contacted me. He had learned of my experiences in New Orleans from news articles and a publication in the Florida Sheriff’s Star journal while conducting research for The Contraflow Project (TCP). Darryl wanted to interview me for TCP. I kindly declined Darryl’s request at the time for professional and personal reasons and informed him that I had my own plans to eventually write a book of my memoirs about my own experiences related to this disaster. I wished Darryl the best in his endeavors and told him I looked forward to reading his book when published.


In 2010 I retired from M.C.S.O. I began to get involved with several non-profit groups in my community and did some law enforcement and training consulting. During the summer of 2011 Darryl reached out to me again and inquired if I had written and published my own memoirs. I explained that I had been so caught up in my career and other projects that I hadn’t really gave it further thought. Darryl explained to me how he became involved in the research for TCP and his accomplishments to date. After listening to his progress on TCP I came away with a much different perspective and admiration for what Darryl has so far accomplished and agreed to be interviewed. He is a skilled interviewer and the questions he asked enabled me to recall many details about what I experienced in New Orleans. This lead to more questions and some startling revelations about particular events I witnessed and experienced. Through the course of our many hours of phone conversations and interviews Darryl and I have developed a mutual respect for one another and a strong professional friendship.


Over the next several months we stayed in touch and Darryl kept me updated on his progress with TCP. In 2012, building upon my experiences from Hurricane Katrina and my other professional and personal experiences, along with an interest for improving law enforcement relations with the citizens of my county and public safety, I decided to run for Sheriff. While I was unsuccessful in unseating my former boss and incumbent Sheriff it was a very worthwhile and rewarding experience and I feel that I made a positive impact on my community, shedding light on various problems and issues while providing viable alternatives and solutions. My campaign for sheriff resulted in bringing me to the attention of local and national media for a series of articles investigating the “Stand your ground law” in Florida and my participation in a documentary about the same for the national cable news show, Current TV. All of these experiences have given me a renewed interest and determination in writing my own book.


I have shared a little about my own experiences which will be included in TCP in an effort to lend validation and accreditation to TCP and to Darryl’s abilities as a writer and historian of this disaster. Writing a book can be a very daunting task. Writing a factual book which tells hundreds of different stories while trying to stay on track and keep everything in perspective for your average research team, with sufficient resources and funding is difficult enough, let alone for one person. Darryl has been that person, who in the early days of September 2005 had a vision of chronicling the events of Hurricane Katrina in the greater New Orleans area as told by the survivors, first responders, law enforcement and government officials impacted by this disaster and who improvised, adapted and overcame many obstacles to save lives and restore order to what was has been one of the largest natural disasters in our nation’s recent history.


With his meticulous attention to detail, accuracy, and interviewing skills along with personal resolve and determination, Darryl could have easily been a Homicide Detective, which in my opinion is the best of the best. As a Homicide Detective I would have wanted Darryl on my team to help solve those difficult cases and see things through. As it turns out, I am now on Darryl’s team helping to make the publishing of TCP a reality. I will continue to lend my technical expertise to this project, along with assisting in the investigative research, fact checking and editing of TCP. I am deeply humbled and honored to have my own experiences included in this book and to be a part of this momentous undertaking and achievement.

 


Detective Bill Waldron (Retired)

 
 

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