Council president lashes out
An outraged New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas blasted the city of Baton Rouge and other Louisiana communities for what he called refusing to take in refugees from the devastated city.
"They don't want them," Thomas said, after bursting into the press room at the Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge."They have put out the word all over the state: 'Those bad New Orleans people. You don't want them.'"
Since the beginning of the aftermath of Katrina, Thomas has constantly said that the images on television of looters and reports of terrorizing by bands of young men have been misleading. "Not everyone from New Orleans is a thug," Thomas said.
While Texas, Arkansas and other states have been "neighborly," Thomas said, Louisiana parishes have been slow to welcome the New Orleans evacuees due to "myths" that they are dangerous.
Dressed in his work boots and jeans, Thomas said that a busload of New Orleans evacuees, about 200, were stopped by National Guardsmen in Baton Rouge on Saturday and told they could not get off.
"These were women and children," Thomas said, his voice shaking. "There were welders, teachers, one lady was a court administrator. ... One of the ladies said, 'If we were lucky, we would have died.'"
Thomas said "rumors" of violence in the New Orleans streets are scaring rescuers and slowing evacuations. "There are people in their attics right now," he said.