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Louisiana Katrina/Rita Relife

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  • Louisiana Katrina/Rita Relife

    Couldn't figure out the best place to post this... I'm curious if anyone else worked in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and Rita, and if so... what part.

    I worked in Slidell, Kenner, Butte (sp?), Choputulas (sp?) and New Orleans for Securitas... I (we) drove down shortly after Thanksgiving.

    Also, are there any companies with Officers still "deployed" down south?

    Thanks
    "What if this is as good as it gets?" ~ Melvin Udall

  • #2
    I was down there Oct 9th 2005- Nov. 14th 2005 with The Wackenhut Corp.

    Stayed in Kenner, worked in Plaquemines Parish.
    "Alright guys listen up, ya'll have probably heard this before, Jackson vs. Securiplex corporation; I am a private security officer, I have no State or governmental authority. I stand as an ordinary citizen. I have no right to; detain, interrogate or otherwise interfere with your personal property-... basically all that means is I'm a cop."-Officer Ernie
    "The Curve" 1998

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    • #3
      Well, I live in Louisiana and work at Bayou Steel In LaPlace. The Sunday morning before Katrinia made landfall my supervisor went in to work. He called me and said, "If I'm still alive tommorrow I expect you to releive me as usual." I told him he was crazy to go down there with a (at that time) Cat 5 storm headed right at him but the plant had a policy of leaving a fire watch of about 6 people to ride out storms. That included Us, the Emergency Med Techs. The Melt Shop furnace bunker would be the place where the crew would shelter when things got bad.
      That night the storm came ashore, I had evaced my home, a Fleetwood single wide moblie home, for the relative safety of the brick home of friends near Baton Rouge. By Monday afternoon the storm had come through and the winds had died down enough to drive. Problem was all the trees down. Most roads had only one lane open where some public works or fire dpeartment crew had come through and cut just enough to open part of a road. It took me a while to get home. When I pulled into my driveway I saw that a large section of a oak tree had split off and fallen toward my home. Luckily it did no major damage, falling on my porch and against the house and front door. With the help of a friend who owned a chainsaw we got the tree cleared and by monday evening I was back home but still without power.
      Things were crazy but by late Tuesday morning I got a call on my cellphone from my supervisor who was still alive. "I don't care if you have to backstroke down the Mississippi River, just come relieve me." I used my Ham radio to contact the Office of Emergency Management in St John Parish, where the plant is, and was told that there were several roadblocks up between my home and work but since I had ligitimate business, and not sightseeing or looting, then I should have no problem getting through. I hit road blocks along I-10 twice and then once in LaPlace before gettign to work but my uniform and paperwork from the plant stating I was an essential employee got me through with hardly a word. Power was out through out LaPlace and moany homes and businesses were damaged but the city became a major staging point for police and releif agencies going into New Orleans.
      I spent all of Tuesday night at work and by wednesday morning department heads were arriving at the plant to check the damage and get things up and operating agian. Several plant workers stopped by and staged in the parking lots with boats they would later use to rescue people trapped by flood waters in and around New Orleans. The Feds were holding up rescue efforts so it was groups of private citizens like the ones at our plant who banded together, found a way around roadblocks and went in to the area to help pull people out of the water.
      By Wednesday moring my regular releif showed up. A hurricane had hit but we were pretty much intact and our schedule wasn't affected much since all of us EMTs lived outside of the main strike area. The regular security officers were scattered though and one SO would end up staying at the guard shack for 4 days straight eating meals brought in by department and plant heads. We had sandwiches, hamburgers, military MREs and other food galore in the guard shack after the hurricane. A folding cot was put up in the Scale house side of the guard shack so the guard could go there for a few hours of sleep with the door closed. While he slept the EMT/SO would watch the gate and handle the one working phone we had. Cellphones were iffy at best and our main switchboard was down. Luckily we had one direct line which bypassed the main switchboard. It was out main form of communication after the storm for about a week.
      After being releived wednesday morning I got in my car, turned on my ham radio and signed on as mobile and headed home. My lady came up on the radio and asked how my night was and then told me to meet her at the courthouse in a neighboring Parish. What was she doing there? Had a tree, damaged by the storm, fallen on the house while I was at work? Before I could panic she told me that she was in the EOC there and had answered a request for hams with emergency training. While I had been at work she had driven over and had been manning the radios at that EOC all night. I drove there, met with the other people volunteering and ended up promissing to return for a night shift after I got some sleep. By wednesday eveing my lady and I were back at that EOC and she was assigned to the same radio desk from the night before while I was sent to a large shelter being set up at a Expo center a couple of miles down the road. The ham radios we used were the only communciations the shelter had with the local EOC, the State EOC in Baton Rouge and their Chapter HQ, also in Baton Rouge. By noon Thursday morning the shelter was full but the EOC had brought in working public safety radios and extra manpower and we were headed back home. By the time I left the shelter there were 1500 people there, most who had been driven straight from the floodwaters fo New Orleans to the Expo center in private vehicles and emergency vehicles.
      By Friday evening I was back at the plant in LaPlace facing a 3 night weekend and employees were slowly returning to work as they were able.
      During the hurricane emergency guards and EMTs were paid a Hurricane bonus of $100 a shift extra so some of us got pretty nice checks that following payday. Since then the policy has changed and now the plant closes and nobody is left at the plant for anything bigger than a cat 3 storm.
      Attached is a photo of me taken the Thurday morning after Katrina in the shelter at Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by EMTGuard; 10-26-2006, 05:08 PM.
      Hospital Security Officer

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      • #4
        LaPlace was our first point of contact when we arrived... I've actuallt debated moving to Louisiana... I liked the people and the area, minus the damage.
        "What if this is as good as it gets?" ~ Melvin Udall

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        • #5
          EMTGUARD, sometimes we do not know just how lucky we are, interesting story, thanks for sharing.
          Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
          Groucho Marx

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          • #6
            WE went down and worked under a contract thru Shaw under a FEMA contract.
            I spent three months down there from before November till February 4th. I then came back home as I had had enough. WE were shipped down by the company and worked in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

            12 hour days 7 days a week even with $1200 a week gets a little old when your employer is always yanking your chain.

            we worked at several hotels, 3 trailer distribution sites, and several trailer parks.
            WE also worked at the only full service hospital still in operation.

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            • #7
              I worked Home Depot's, Wal-mart, one of the main office's. I finally had enough with 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, standing 15 hours a day non-stop is not worth 1200 to me.
              "What if this is as good as it gets?" ~ Melvin Udall

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