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Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Katrina’

4,000 Days to New Orleans

July 11th, 2016 Comments off

On Thanksgiving Day ’08, while visiting my little sister in Southwest Charlotte, I sat down to a fine meal with love ones. It was November 27, 2008, 1,177 days after I first joined the Katrina Relief Efforts. At the request of a Katrina Survivor named Rick Mathieu from the Treme Neighborhood of New Orleans in November ’05, I purchased a camera for what I thought was to be use to document storm and flood damages at his Treme and Seventh Ward homes. Instead, it was used to document the repopulation of the Big Easy. For three straight years, I carried around that camera (from Uptown to Downtown, from Lakefront to Riverfront, from Eastbank to Westbank) like people today carry around their smart phones. It was always in my hand. As you will see, my brother-in-law Pastor Sean Weaver turned my camera back on me. I was like “Soul Food” movie meets 60 Minutes

I sounded so engaging, and I remember feeling relieved that my Hurricane Katrina research was over. Not! Today, I know that I wasn’t even 1/3rd of the way to fruition when this rare interview of myself was captured. Yesterday, I asked a lifelong friend named Kathy to describe me with one word. Her response was, “Engaging.” This upcoming August 20, 2016, will mark my 4,000th day since joining the Katrina Efforts on September 7, 2005. It is good to know that after all these years, I’m still engaging. 4,000 I’ll need that character trait even more so to finally tell this mega story of what really happened in and around New Orleans during the Katrina Response.

Why is this all still relevant? Because it socially and politically changed the world; lame ducking arguably the most powerful man in the history of the world, Pres. George W. Bush, only seven months into his second term; sending the nation on a path toward CHANGE. Am I talking conspiracy theories? Not at all. I exhaustively researched and meticulously positioned literally thousands of events during those surreal days of the Katrina Resposnse into their proper sequence. I thank God for Microsoft Excel. Anyways, it is there where the true story jumps right out and slaps you. Basically, the light skinned city leaders of New Orleans (Katrina Responders) were scared to death of the darker skinned constituents (Katrina Survivors). A New Orleans pigmentocracy. Three Shades of Blackness

 


M. Darryl Woods, Lead Researcher
The Contraflow Project




Beyond the Civilian Responders

September 6th, 2009 Comments off

LTG Russel Honore & MG William Caldwell in N.O. on 9.3.05

During the Summer of ’07, I made another major research move by reaching out to the US armed services. To my surprise I was very successful with gaining clearance from PAOs to interview their personnel.

The KY ANG 123rd STS very supportive. USCG approval 7.03.07, interviewing pilots LT Shay Williams, LCDR Olav Saboe and CAPT Bruce Jones, and a cutter CO LT (CWO4) Dave Lewald. US Army approval 1.10.08; I interviewed 5th Army responders, including LTC Joanne McGovern, MG Mark Graham, as well as 82nd AB CAPT Jason Holder, COL Barry DiRuzza and COL Victor Petrenko; and LTG William CaldwellUSAF approval 4.24.08 I interviewed LTC Gary Cooke who flew a C-5 into MSY and to his surprise flew out with 200 evacuees in his cargo hold. US Navy approval 8.18.08; I interviewed CDR Paul Propokovich, CAPT Lafe Dozier and Rear Admiral Nora Tyson.

They all appreciated my taking the time to include the military in this epic story. Like the FEMA DMAT and US&R responders, the armed services were very supportive and proved to be a wealth of information. Research data received by the government was vital to building our intricate Katrina timeline of contexts and events.


M. Darryl Woods, Lead Researcher
thecontraflow@yahoo.com





Beyond Louisiana

September 6th, 2009 Comments off

DMAT CA-4 at Louis B. Armstrong Intl Airport on 9.7.05

On 12.11.08, I set out on a cross-country journey to interview in person FEMA medical and US&R responders teams in cities such as San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Memphis, as well as Helinet Aviation in Van Nuys, the Katrina pool helicopter crew during the first week.

During the visit to DMAT CA-4 (Disaster Medical Asst Team) Operations Center in San Diego, I was greeted by about fifteen team members who were happy to hear that someone was taking the time to tell the story from the from the responders’ points of view.

This was the beginning of our transition to documenting the federal response to Katrina. We gained cooperation from the USFWS, USMS, CBP, USACE and more FEMA responder units. Also, the FAA Mgr Dave Haddad explained what life was like above and below MSY’s ATC Tower. With the support of the federal government came detailed accounts via after-action reports, Power Point presentations, photos, videos, charts, maps and reports. It helped us complete our mission to thoroughly document the first two weeks of Katrina in a very detailed chronological format. This support has also allowed us to map the flow of responders into SE Louisiana.


M. Darryl Woods, Lead Researcher
thecontraflow@yahoo.com





Beyond New Orleans

September 6th, 2009 Comments off

Crescent City Connection BridgeThe research spread to St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, the Westbank and Baton Rouge.

On 6.28.07 Dwight Brashear, who was brought in to run the transportation desk marshaling commandeered school buses, described the scene at the state OEP to me. On 12.28.07, I interviewed Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu who relived a night when he drove one of eight buses filled abandoned Superdome evacuees in a convoy to Lafayette. I interviewed Gretna PD Chief Arthur Lawson on 8.12.08, and Gretna Mayor Ronnie Harris on 8.22.08, who both helped shed light on ‘another chapter’. I also interviewed LAANG CWO5 Kevin Dares, and his brother and fellow Katrina responder retired LDWF MAJ Sandy Dares.


M. Darryl Woods, Lead Researcher
thecontraflow@yahoo.com





Beyond the 7th Ward

September 6th, 2009 Comments off

757 Capt Kolshak & Capt Quiello preparing for Delta Humanitarian Flight 9900 to MSY on 9.1.05

Coming to what I believed was the end of my research, I had just one question, which was for Delta Airlines. Why were the Omaha-bound evacuees not informed of their destination until before landing?

To my surprise, I was granted an interview by two Delta executives on 7.7.06, who as 757 pilots flew Delta CEO Gerald Grinstein into Armstrong Airport on a humanitarian mission to deliver provisions and pick up evacuees. After hearing Capt. Joe Kolshak and Capt Mike Quiello’s amazing heartfelt accounts, my 7th Ward blinders were removed and Armstrong Airport quickly became the next major focus of our research.

I then started documenting other parts of the city such as Algiers, Lakeview, 9th Ward, N.O. East. It was then when I started comprehending evacuees migration pattern out of the city through major collection points like the Superdome, Morial Convention Center, Algiers Point Ferry Terminal, I-10 & Causeway and MSY. It was the beginning of my six-phased evacuation theory.


M. Darryl Woods, Lead Researcher
thecontraflow@yahoo.com





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