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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.



A Katrina Heptalogy

August 7th, 2015 Comments off


10 YearsAs the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina nears on August 29, 2015, I’d like to take this time to update the responders on where my research stands today. It’s been a honor to have worked ten non-stop years on this project. However, if someone would have told me on September 7, 2005, the day I joined the Katrina Relief Efforts that I’d be still at this in 2015, I would have never departed my home airport of LV McCarran Int’l (LAS) for Houston George Bush (IAH) Airport on a mission to volunteer at the Astrodome. But no one did. And, I did depart.


The funny thing is that I never made it to the Astrodome. I called an audible at IAH and flew to my home town of Omaha, Nebraska. Low and behold, three days later on September 10, 2005, the last two post-Katrina Operation Air Care evacuation flights to leave New Orleans landed at Eppley Airfield (OMA). Two days after that I met the Soul Patrol. Two months after that I made on down to the Disaster Zone called New Orleans.


I went on to become arguably one of most knowledgeable persons yet to be heard from on the subject of what happened during the Katrina Response. When I make bold claims like the aforementioned to folks whose only knowledge of the Katrina Response came from the media, the next thing that pops into many of their minds is the phrase “conspiracy theorist.” The only conspiring I did was to track down as many responders as possible with firsthand accounts of Southeast Louisiana and asked them to, “Please tell me what you recall from your Hurricane Katrina deployment.” With all this oral history I collected, there was no need to theorize. The responders shared it all. All I had to do post-interviews was analyze and arrange the data. A God-sized task, yes indeed. Nevertheless, a task that came easy for me.


I can see why many Katrina spectators are amazed by that fact that an independent researcher received so much cooperation from the highest levels, branches and agencies of federal, state and municipal governments; all the way down to the neighborhood responders from the many New Orleans neighborhood wards. It is my belief that everyone sensed my sincere drive for telling the story how it actually happened in Greater New Orleans.


Also amazing, this comprehensive and riveting seven-book (heptalogy) story of tragedy, survival, heroism, compassion, resilience and patriotism I now have; a story for the ages in the form of a literary mini series. What started off as a single book project about four men from the New Orleans 7th Ward who called themselves the Soul Patrol, staying for the storm rescuing hundreds of their neighbors, grew exponentially after I sat down on December 11, 2006, in San Diego with members of the then FEMA’s California Four Disaster Medical Assistance Team. Two days later I sat down with members California Six up in Menlo Park. I was so moved by their experiences; CA-4 at New Orleans Louis Armstrong Int’l (MSY) Airport and CA-6 at the Superdome-New Orleans Arena Complex. Wow! Man. I could not walk away.


Anyways, that December ‘06 west coast trip led me to boldly venture beyond the neighborhood response; and did I ever go above and beyond. Our story of Hurricane Katrina is now a seven part book series that will tell the story of the largest rescue mission in American History from the responders POV; Army, Navy, USAF, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, FEMA, FAA, USFWS, NOPD, JPSO, Soul Patrol, etc.

  • Book 1 – Cataclysmic Epiphany“; {Aug 26-Aug 30, 2005}

  • Book 2 – Collection Points“; {Aug 30, 2005}

  • Book 3 – Command & Control“; {Aug 30-Aug 31, 2005}

  • Book 4 – Convention Center“; {Aug 31-Sep 1, 2005}

  • Book 5 – Cause & Effect“; {Sep 1-Sep 2, 2005}

  • Book 6 – Comforter in Chief“; {Sep 2-Sep 3, 2005}

  • Book 7 – Collateral Damage“; {Sep 3-Sep 15, 2005}


Katrina RespondersThe projected publishing date for ALL seven books is June 1, 2016. It maybe ten (10 3/4 projected) years later, but I am still on point. Since ’07, I have been dedicating this epic story to ALL Katrina Responders. Also since ’07, I have been pledging to exclude ALL blame, political agendas, media sensation-alism, race-carding, demographic stereotyping and my own opinions. This is the only way I can or will tell this story, dignified and thorough. The working book series title is “CONTRAFLOW: A Katrina Heptalogy.”


What do I want to get out of publishing the Contraflow Series? I hope to help bring closure to all who are still affected by Katrina. The true story shall set us free! I cannot wait to get this story out. But, I guess I have waited; the responders have waited. I thank them all for their patience and support. I thank God for my curiosity, drive, endurance and strength. This project will be finished. The world will learn the rest of the story. You can follow TCP on Twitter and Facebook.

 


M. Darryl Woods, Lead Researcher
The Contraflow Project

 
 

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