The Librarian's Tale


Commenter "Dead Elvis" points to this interesting first-person account by UC San Diego librarian Paul Harris of what it was like to be in the Superdome before, during, and after the hurricane, and then what it was like to be quietly smuggled out with a group of mostly white international tourists. Read the whole thing; here's one selection:

Fortunately, a soldier, Staff Sgt. Ogden, saved our group of 100. I am thankful beyond words for the work he did in arranging to get us out. I don't know if he did this because he liked us, or he knew we were in danger, or if it was racism, or if he realized that if one of the international students was raped or murdered that would be a huge embarrassment for President Bush. I may never know the motivation, but I was happy to find out that we would be somewhat-secretly escorted out by armed guards to a different location.

My mind filled with so many different thoughts. What right did we have to leave when many of these people had families with them? What right did we have to leave when we weren't even New Orleanians? What right did we have to leave? I felt pain for the people left behind. I knew they were living in hell. But I was jubilant to be leaving. We were told not to talk to anyone, not to smile and to just walk in a single line. We were told that a riot could break out once others left behind caught wind of this favoritism.

The group was eventually moved to the Hyatt, and then bussed out of town.