New Orleans

A report from the 9th ward

Sunday, September 04, 2005


The entire city of New Orleans is under evacuation orders. I just spoke to my friend Daniel in the

Bywater (9th ward). He reports that unmarked police vehicles (cadillacs) are driving through the

neighborhood with SWAT team police armed with 'big black machine guns' telling people through

bullhorns they are under orders to evacuate and must leave the city now. People in that neighborhood

are being told to go to the big pool on the corner of Lesseps and St. Claude (this is one block from

my house) to be airlifted out, tho people are allowed to leave by their own means if they can. He

reports helicopters all over the place of all kinds - everything from large Army helicopters with

guns to Red Cross helicopters - they are swooping down low in the neighborhood and 'buzzing'

houses - he said one just flew low enough over him to blow shingles off the roof. He is starting to see

National Guardsmen marching through the streets with guns to make sure people obey evacuation

orders. He wanted to get into a neighbor's house to save their dog that is locked up in there, but was

told by a National Guardsman that unless he has keys to the house, if he tries to break the door

in he will be shot on the spot.

He also reported that Dr. Bob, Bywater artist, was beaten by NOPD who thought he was a looter -

they beat him up severely and took his weapons.

We are being forced out of our city, with no word as to if and when we will be allowed to return.

We've been wondering what they would do after enough people were forced to die of starvation.

Population reduction has been accomplished.

Here are the updates I was working on before this latest call from Daniel:

Yesterday I finally spoke with my best friend Daniel who stayed in New Orleans as he finally was

able to make a call on his cell phone. He was calling from the upstairs of the house he lives in,

sitting on the porch with an AK-47 in his lap. More details on that call to follow.

He just left me a message about 5 minutes ago telling me that there are cops driving around the

neighborhood with bullhorns telling everyone that there is a mandatory evacuation and EVERYONE must

go. There are helicopters all over the skies. He is not sure if they are just trying to scare

people into leaving, or if they are serious, but he has found a ride and they are leaving the city.

We do not yet know how this will affect our plans to return to the city. We will be monitoring the

situation as we drive towards New Orleans today and will assess our plans when we arrive in Baton

Rouge, our first stop before heading into the city. If we are not able to gain access to the city

  • which we will still try to do - we will be assisting with relief efforts in Baton Rouge and
Covington, where there are hundreds of thousands of refugees from New Orleans in desperate need of


Some important information:

Thanks to everyone for your generous donations of money and supplies. We wish we had the time to

thank each and every one of you individually, but please know that we thank you all from the bottom

of our hearts, as do the people of New Orleans. Our government has failed us - or worse - but the

people are stepping up. Please keep spreading the word and encouraging others to send donations -

our relief efforts will be going on for weeks, if not months, and we will keep getting supplies

and getting them to the places needed the most.

You can always donate online via Paypal at

Some people have asked for a physical address to send money to, so here are two places you can do

this. Our good friend Ward Reilly, who will act as our Baton Rouge liason and staging ground, can

cash checks for us (we will not have access to bank machines in New Orleans to cash checks!). The

best and easiest thing to do is send a check or money order made out to Ward Reilly and note on

the check that it is for Get Your Act On.

Please send to:

Ward Reilly

645 Kimbo Drive

Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Checks and money orders can also be sent to my sister in Philadelphia - they can cash checks for

us and paypal us the money. So you can also send donations to:

Rachel Garland

824 South Fifth Street

Philadelphia, PA 19147

We apologize for not having an official Get Your Act On! bank account set up, but, well, we

weren't exactly able to plan ahead for this. If possible, we will have one sometime next week, but for

now, please send snail mail donations to either of the places listed above or online via paypal at

our site.

100% of all donations go directly and immediately to relief efforts where they are needed most.

People that are on their way to Louisiana to help or want to come down - right now we do not

advise people to try to enter the city of New Orleans until we know better what the situation is,

especially with the breaking news about the forced evacuations. However, there are hundreds and

thousands of refugees in the areas around New Orleans, and there is a desperate need for help there.

We need to make it very clear that if you want to go to Louisiana to help, you must be prepared

for hard and exhausting work. If you are not up to this, you will merely add to the already

overwhelming problems. There is plenty of work to be done in other places - helping raise money - put on a

fund raiser, hold a vigil or rally in solidarity, spread the word about what is really going on in

New Orleans - all these efforts are just as important and crucial to what needs to be done as

physically going down to help.

If you are ready and willing to help, here are some places you can go to help:

In Baton Rouge:

Volunteers are asked to go to the LSU P-MAC Assembly Center on the LSU Campus. Very important:

they WILL NOT be able to put you up, so it is a good idea to come in a vehicle you can sleep in, or

bring a tent and sleeping bag.

In Covington:

People and supplies are needed in Covington at the Pine View Middle School, 28th Street. Please

contact Albert Marino at for more details - I have heard that some kind

of official permission may now be needed to get into Covington.

In Donaldsonville:

The 'Dream Center' Shelter is in desperate need of volunteers. To help them, please contact the

Dream Center in Los Angeles at or in louisiana call (it's mostly busy- but keep trying) 225-474-6688.

We will continue to post more locations that need volunteers as we get the information.


As I mentioned above, my friend Daniel Finnigan who also lives in the Bywater neighborhood, 9th

Ward, of New Orleans was finally able to call me yesterday. He and a group of friends have been

holed up in the top floor of the building he lives in, guarding the property with guns. As of

yesterday, the people he was with had all left - he has his dog and our two cats (we were roommates for

many years) and refuses to leave without them - and he has described himself as the now being the

New Orleans SPCA so I have a feeling he has adopted a number of abandoned and lost animals in the

area. When I asked him what he wanted us to bring him, he asked nothing for himself, but requested

cat and dog food. That's my Daniel ;) You'll never meet a bigger animal lover.

Daniel says that in 6 days they have not seen or received any help. In 6 days they saw one

policeman - flying through the neighborhood in a police car at 40 miles an hour. He reported that for the

first two days after the storm, Wildlife and Fisheries were rescuing people from the flooded out

lower 9th ward, blocks from my house and his house by boat - and just dropping the people off on

the dry side of the levy, with no food or water or anywhere to go. He said that after two days the

boats just stopped coming. He had no idea why until I explained the situation with the National

Guard to him, and that the rescue boats were told to stand down and stop rescuing people. The people

locked down in the city have no idea that supplies are sitting just outside the city and being

turned away. The only reason they have food is they managed to gather what they could from friends'

apartments, etc., but again, no one has come to help them or bring them food. Other than the people

left stranded in the neighborhood, it has been completely abandoned by all official entities.

Here is a bit of heart breaking news. There is only one radio station people can receive in the

city. Daniel said that people trapped in their attics in the lower 9th ward have been calling the

station saying where they are and asking that some one come get them. But there is no one to come.

Those that are not already dead are dying. Daniel estimates that there are easily some 40-50,000

people dead in their homes in the lower 9th ward. I can not imagine listening to this on the radio,

knowing that these peoples pleas are falling on deaf ears. They have simply been left to die.

Daniel affirmed reports of people marching through the streets with guns, taking what they can out

of sheer desperation, though he says that situation has largely calmed down. This is why he is

sitting on his porch with an AK-47 - he ways if someone asks him for water he will give them water,

but if they point a gun at him he will have to shoot them. He does not blame people for these

actions - again, they are desperate and abandoned. Now, as with others we have had contact with in New

Orleans, the people are afraid to leave their homes because of the National Guard, who have

permission to shoot anyone on the spot.

There are many more small details Daniel relayed, but I do not have time for them all now. Just to

say that he confirms reports we have received about supplies and relief not getting through.

Apparently some assistance is starting to get into the city, but not to the poor neighborhoods.

OK, I have to go now - we need to get on the road towards New Orleans. We will be stopping in

Baton Rouge where we will be meeting up with Daniel (they have found a car to get out of the city) and

we will then assess the situation and take things from there. It looks more and more like we will

not be able to enter the city without the extreme likelihood of being killed in the process. So we

will regroup in Baton Rouge and start relief efforts with the refugees already there and the rest

of the people being airlifted out of New Orleans. If we deem it at all possible, we will still try

to enter the city of New Orleans, but we will not put ourselves in the position of being killed as

then we can be of no help to anyone.

All these people will need places to go. Please start finding housing, campsites, etc. in your

communities and forward any information to us.

Oh, I also received word that Bill Quigley from Voices in the Wilderness was last known to be

trapped in Memorial hospital in New Orleans. I assume that those folks will now be airlifted out as

well. If anyone hears from Bill, please let us know asap.








A few more points I'd make to like in the name of the C3 organization in New Orleans:

  • no involvement by Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown and Root
or any other contractor for which elected representatives

have a financial interest, such as dirty Dirk Cheney

  • full restoration of affordable housing for all residents
of New Orleans as of midnight, August 29, 2005

  • complete hearings on all aspects of this disaster,
including sabotage of plans for Category 5 levees,

repair of existing levees, total budgeting for all needed

drainage projects for City being constructed by the

Corps of Engineers

  • cease removal of low income residents from any Section 8,
or public housing unit, a full accounting of all residents

displaced from St. Thomas Housing Project and all other


  • full investigation of public subsidies for real estate developers
including Press Kabacoff and Canazzaro and how those subsidies

cut into funds not provided for needed social services for the poor,

infirm, elderly, and disadvantaged

  • full investigation of the role of the city's preservationists in the
seizure of properties, arsons, murder, and other crimes

  • demand that from the point that the state of emergency
ends in the city, government will be conducted in such

a way that it is transparent and accountable.  Hearings on

proposals for how that could be accomplished will be held

and the best ideas passed into law by the City Council...and

if they don't pass them, those ideas will be the issues for

the coming elections....NO, those elections will NOT be

cancelled...this disaster HAS to on the agenda for change.

Peace out - we must hit the road now and go see what is happening to our city and do our best to

help save our people. Please keep sending donations and supplies, everyone has been so generous,

but it is still but a drop in the bucket. We will post more info when we arrive in Baton Rouge.

With sorrow and a broken heart -

Andrea Garland

updated: 16 years ago