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Rapes, Assaults, and Murders Occurred While Katrina Survivors Waited for Help

by Kevin Caruso

September 3, 2005

Hurricane Katrina survivors are telling horrific stories about unspeakable crimes that occurred in New Orleans as residents waited day after day for help to arrive.

The Convention Center and the Superdome, which were places that were supposed to keep people safe, turned out to be extremely dangerous places.

Several women were raped.

Numerous people were assaulted.

And some people were killed.

And some accusations are being leveled against the New Orleans Police and the National Guard.

Steve Banka, 28, a Katrina survivor, described a horrifying incident that he witnessed at the Convention Center.

"They killed a man here last night," Banka said. "A young lady was being raped and stabbed. And the sounds of her screaming got to this man and so he ran out into the street to get help from troops, to try to flag down a passing truck of them, and he jumped up on the truck's windscreen and they shot him dead."

Wade Batiuste, 48, another Katrina survivor, recounted another horrific incident at the Convention Center.

"Last night at 8 p.m. they shot a kid of just 16. He was just crossing the street. They ran him over, the New Orleans Police did, and then they got out of the car and shot him in the head," Batiste said.

The young man's dead body, covered in a blood-drenched blanket, laid by the entrance of the Convention Center on the morning of September 1st, while his family sat next to him in deep shock and grief.

Africa Brumfield, 32, who is a member of that family was so overwhelmed with what happened that she did not want to talk about it, but she did comment about the general conditions as she cried uncontrollably.

"There are rapes going on here. Women cannot go to the bathroom without men. They are raping them and slitting their throats. They keep telling us the buses are coming but they never leave," she said.

Wvonnette Grace-Jordan, another survivor, also spoke of the general conditions.

"They have us living here like animals," she said. "We have only had two meals. We have no medicine and now there are thousands of people defecating in the streets. This is wrong. This is the United States of America."

Many survivors have expressed anger with President Bush for the inadequate response. And one National Guard soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "They [the Bush administration] care more about Iraq and Afghanistan than here."

Another National Guard soldier told of finding the body of a young girl.

"We found a young girl raped and killed in the bathroom," he said. "Then the crowd got the man and they beat him to death."


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