just confirmed the riot and said that a "possible hostage
By Ed Anderson and Jan Moller
An uprising at Orleans Parish Prison and widespread
looting contributed to a deteriorating situation in
Louisiana's largest city Tuesday in the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina Tuesday, according to witnesses and second-hand
accounts from evacuees.
The problem is being
compounded, officials said, by a breakdown in the ability of
public agencies to communicate with one another, said New
Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas.
said he confirmed with New Orleans police that an uprising -
and possible “hostage situation” - took place at the parish
prison sometime late Monday or early Tuesday. Details were
sketchy, but Thomas believes the uprising took place when
prisoners were being evacuated in the storm's aftermath.
It's not clear how many prisoners were involved, or
how many hostages were taken, as Thomas said he has been
unable to contact police since evacuating to Baton Rouge on
Tuesday. Cell phones are not working.
frustrating thing about this whole thing has been
communication,” Thomas said. “We have to devise a better
Thomas said one report he received had a
deputy being held hostage with his four children. Thomas said
he was trying to verify the situation Tuesday evening.
He said looting has also escalated and an atmosphere
of lawlessness has developed as police resources have been
almost entirely devoted to search-and-rescue operations for
people trapped by floodwaters on roofs and in attics.
“Widespread looting is taking place in all parts of the city”
- from uptown and Canal Street to areas around the housing
projects, Thomas said.
“People are going in and out of
businesses at Louisiana and Claiborne (avenues), taking
clothes, tennis shoes and goods,” Thomas said. “It is
inconceivable to me how people can do this.”
are leaving the Superdome to go to Canal Street to loot,”
Thomas said. “Some people broke into PLURPLURPLURPLUR stores
and stole the PLURPLURPLURPLURPLUR off the shelves. It is
looting times five. I'm telling you, it's like Sodom and