Friday, December 30, 2005

Son finds body in rubble

That's a headline from today's edition of The Times-Picayune. The story made me angry and sad at the same instant.
A Lower 9th Ward man who saw his mother die on the roof of their home as Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters rose in their neighborhood, returned Thursday and found their house collapsed and her skeletal remains in the rubble, police said.

The body was tentatively identified by police as Joyce Green, after her son found her remains in the debris outside their home about 3:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of Tennessee Street, said officer Juan Barnes, a police spokesman.

Her son, whose name wasn't released by police, told police he and another relative had taken refuge on the roof of the home with his mother after the Industrial Canal levee broke, police said.

He told police his mother died before he and the other relative were rescued and evacuated from New Orleans.

After returning to New Orleans, the son told police that he went to the home Thursday and found his mother's remains. The grieving son said he recognized her body from the clothes she was wearing at the time she died.

Imagine the horror and the guilt this man must feel. Yes, his mother had already passed on when he left her, but to know that her body lay in the trash and debris, unceremoniously disposed of in the heap of garbage--that has to weigh heavily on his mind.

And how did this happen? How could a human body remain unfound, undetected in the middle of a major city for four months? How could this happen in America? What are we going to do to protect this city from ever having this happen again?

Sadly, this story is being repeated over and over as people come back to New Orleans. The body count is not complete.

The suffering brought by Hurricane Katrina continues.


Sophmom said...

It's absolutely horrible. I wish I could say I'm surprised. The whole thing seems surreal.

Day by Day said...

I can not imagine how the son feels. We are AMERICA... THE USA... we should be doing better than this. This is horrible and you are right "How could this happen..." We should have been and need to be more prepared!!!

drumsnwhistles said...

I am so sorry -- I saw the sons interviewed on CNN last night and it's even worse than "just" the discovery 4 months after the fact. They knew that she hadn't survived, that she couldn't survive and begged authorities to go recover her body. They claimed to have used cadaver dogs, but when they returned to their home, they found her exactly where they had told authorities to look. So either they were lied to or there was just incredible incompetence.

Either way, it's very, very sad.

I wish you and all of New Orleans a far happier, peaceful and productive 2006. I'm glad to close the door on 2005.

Sophmom said...

I just saw the son's interview on CNN. It was incredibly moving. My son and his friends arrived back in the city last night. I do think that the city will feel the arrival of all of these university students returning.

Laurie said...

Happy New Year. I know you'll make the most of what's sure to be a melancholy New Orleans New Years Eve.