The days are getting longer and tougher. When I thought I had witnessed the worst possible sight to cross my eyes, something tops the moment. The stories we are hearing and the images we are seeing are enough to make you cry, and cry hard.
I am humbled and constantly reminded every time I wish I had a few hours of sleep, a worm shower, or a place to call my space for my suitcase…I am once again humbled. There are tens of thousands of people that before this tragedy were barely getting by in the city of New Orleans, now they have nothing…other than the confusion of the situation.
I was flying over southern part of the state trying to get some fresh aerials with the KENS-TV chopper and during a stop for fuel, met a pilot from Atlanta. He walked up to us while we were refueling and recounted that last few hours he had spent trying to evacuate people from the hospitals in New Orleans. While flying thru the city, people were shooting -WITH GUNS – at him while trying to land at one of the hospitals. People are holding signs downtown stating, “You Fly Over, WE WILL SHOOT YOU!” He could only land a for no more than a minute because the security guards could not cover him while off loading supplies for patients. Doctors are scared to run thirty feet to the helicopter in fear of being shot by people that are still in the city. My new friend broke down in tears because the story he was telling had just become a vivid moment in his mind and he then realized the intensity of the situation.
I am being pushed mentally and emotionally. I am shooting, writing, stories for people to voice. I never expected that this type of story would be the time when I would try to search intellectually to do more as a journalist. I never thought witnessing Marshal Law would make me want to dig deeper and find a sense of place in this crazy conglomeration of Belo Staff to just make sure that WWL stays on air.
Everyone is working hard and finding ways to help. We have just moved from LSU’s Campus to the PBS station because we needed the space and the LSU students needed to get back to normal. We have moved up in the world from hand written scripts and ticker tape wire to computers and a working newsroom. I actually slept on a bed last night. But I am still humble, because the stories are still haunting!