CNN Live Saturday co-anchor Tony Harris — apparently suffering already from disaster fatigue — offers his helpful survival skills to an obviously stupid victim of Hurricane Katrina (3 September).
HARRIS: Some New Orleans residents evacuated to Baton Rouge are wondering what next and they’re frantically searching for missing family members. One of them is Dorian Browder. She joins us on the phone from Baton Rouge. Dorian, hello, how are you?
DORIAN BROWDER, RELOCATED TO BATON ROUGE: Fine. Hi, how are you doing?
HARRIS: I’m doing well. Dealing with the how are you part of the question, the how are you part of the question, how are you?
BROWDER: Not well at all at this time.
HARRIS: All right, tell me what the last day or so has been like for you?
BROWDER: A living hell, a living hell. That’s putting it mildly. A living hell.
HARRIS: So describe for us your living hell.
BROWDER: OK. One of the first things I want bring forward (PH) is I’ve treated like I was less than human. It has been a very, very inhumane treatment. Everywhere I try to turn for help, no one is helping me. Be it FEMA, the American Red Cross, whatsoever.
They have treated me like I was not even a human being. You go there for any type of assistance, I was turned away. I went to the main facility here in Baton Rouge on Mayfair. They had boycotted the place and everything, I was inquiring about my elderly mother that’s been left in New Orleans and was missing. They said they couldn’t help us, that they had no database. However, I had just came from the state troopers here in Baton Rouge, and they said they had the database. It’s been a back and forth chaotic situation, no one knows nothing.
HARRIS: Dorian, how did you get to Baton Rouge?
BROWDER: In a car. I came in a car.
HARRIS: Where are you staying now?
BROWDER: I’m staying at a motel called Baymont Inn and Suites.
HARRIS: Do you have children?
BROWDER: Yes I do sir, I have two sons.
HARRIS: How old are they?
BROWDER: I have a 23-year-old and a 17-year-old. And it has been a devastation to them.
HARRIS: Do you have food and water?
BROWDER: No. No. Someone donated some moneys to us, and that’s how we’ve been serving.
HARRIS: Someone donated money to you and that’s how you were able to live?
BROWDER: That’s how I was able to — be able to get to the room. Up until last night, I was sleeping in a car.
HARRIS: So, you were sleeping in a car?
BROWDER: Yes, sir, for several nights.
HARRIS: Where will you go? Where will you turn to begin to put your life back together? What is the next thing you will do in this effort to put your life back together again?
BROWDER: Sir, at this time, I don’t know. I have no home to go to. I have no job. I have nothing at this time. Nothing that I can see.
HARRIS: All right, here’s — they’re small but they’re important questions. Do you have a bank account?
BROWDER: Sir. I had a small savings of maybe $8 in the account.
HARRIS: All right. So, FEMA, FEMA will ultimately have to help you. That’s where you have to turn for help, you understand that, correct?
BROWDER: OK, sir, we called and I did — I gave them some information, but at this time, we haven’t had no response.
HARRIS: And no family — I’m trying to help you move forward. Do you understand what I’m trying to do here?
BROWDER: Yes. I’m understanding.
HARRIS: I’m trying to help you move forward and get some help. You have been able to contact any family member in other states?
BROWDER: No, sir. None that can help me. I have no members outside of this state that can help me. They’re not financially able to help me.
BROWDER: So, it’s like I’m between a rock and a hard place.
HARRIS: All right, continue to think. All right, continue to stay in the moment. Continue to think and continue to find ways. Think of ways to move your individual situation forward. I’m sure there are people in Baton Rouge, if you can reach them, who will be able and willing to help you. Stay positive, and keep moving forward.
BROWDER: That’s the only thing I keep (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the thing is, it’s like every time you try to move forward here to go to these facilities for people to help you, they’re not really helping you.
HARRIS: All right, where are you staying right now? Just quick.
BROWDER: At the Baymont Inn and Suites.
HARRIS: All right, maybe someone will hear this, maybe we can make a call and get help to you and the others who are in a similar situation. Dorian, thank you.
BROWDER: Sir, I — OK.
HARRIS: Thank you, Dorian.