Monday, September 05, 2005

UPDATE: In Baton Rouge



Information as of Sunday night, Sep 4, 9 p.m. on volunteering to help:

If you are ready and willing to help, here are some places you can go to help:

In Baton Rouge:

Volunteers are asked to go to the LSU P-MAC Assembly Center on the LSU
Campus. Very important: they WILL NOT be able to put you up, so it is a
good idea to come in a vehicle you can sleep in, or bring a tent and
sleeping bag.

In Covington:

People and supplies are needed in Covington at the Pine View Middle School,
28th Street. Please contact Albert Marino at for more
details - I have heard that some kind of official permission may now be
needed to get into Covington.

In Donaldsonville:

The 'Dream Center' Shelter is in desperate need of volunteers. To help
them, please contact the Dream Center in Los Angeles
at or in louisiana
call (it's mostly busy- but keep trying) 225-474-6688.
Here's a bird's eye view from inside the city of New Orleans:

Bywater evacuated at Gunpoint
by Andrea Garland Sunday, Sep. 04, 2005 at 3:52 PM
(reposted by Christian Roselund)
By Andrea Garland of Get Your Act On and member, Green Party of Louisiana.

The entire city of New Orleans is under evacuation orders. I just spoke to
my friend Daniel in the Bywater (9th ward). He reports that unmarked police
vehicles (cadillacs) are driving through the neighborhood with SWAT team
police armed with 'big black machine guns' telling people through bullhorns
they are under orders to evacuate and must leave the city now.

People in that neighborhood are being told to go to the big pool on the
corner of Lesseps and St. Claude (this is one block from my house) to be
airlifted out, tho people are allowed to leave by their own means if they
can. He reports helicopters all over the place of all kinds - everything
from large Army helicopters with guns to Red Cross helicopters - they are
swooping down low in the neighborhood and 'buzzing' houses - he said one
just flew low enough over him to blow shingles off the roof. He is starting
to see National Guardsmen marching through the streets with guns to make
sure people obey evacuation orders. He wanted to get into a neighbor's
house to save their dog that is locked up in there, but was told by a
National Guardsman that unless he has keys to the house, if he tries to
break the door in he will be shot on the spot.

He also reported that Dr. Bob, Bywater artist, was beaten by NOPD who
thought he was a looter - they beat him up severely and took his weapons.

We are being forced out of our city, with no word as to if and when we will
be allowed to return. We've been wondering what they would do after enough
people were forced to die of starvation. Population reduction has been

Here are the updates I was working on before this latest call from Daniel:

Yesterday I finally spoke with my best friend Daniel who stayed in New
Orleans as he finally was able to make a call on his cell phone. He was
calling from the upstairs of the house he lives in, sitting on the porch
with an AK-47 in his lap. More details on that call to follow.

He just left me a message about 5 minutes ago telling me that there are
cops driving around the neighborhood with bullhorns telling everyone that
there is a mandatory evacuation and EVERYONE must go. There are helicopters
all over the skies. He is not sure if they are just trying to
scare people into leaving, or if they are serious, but he has found a ride
and they are leaving the city.

We do not yet know how this will affect our plans to return to the city. We
will be monitoring the situation as we drive towards New Orleans today and
will assess our plans when we arrive in Baton Rouge, our first stop before
heading into the city. If we are not able to gain access to
the city - which we will still try to do - we will be assisting with relief
efforts in Baton Rouge and Covington, where there are hundreds of thousands
of refugees from New Orleans in desperate need of assistance.

Some important information:

Thanks to everyone for your generous donations of money and supplies. We
wish we had the time to thank each and every one of you individually, but
please know that we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts, as do the
people of New Orleans. Our government has failed us - or worse -
but the people are stepping up. Please keep spreading the word and
encouraging others to send donations - our relief efforts will be going on
for weeks, if not months, and we will keep getting supplies and getting
them to the places needed the most.

You can always donate online via Paypal at

Some people have asked for a physical address to send money to, so here are
two places you can do this. Our good friend Ward Reilly, who will act as
our Baton Rouge liason and staging ground, can cash checks for us (we will
not have access to bank machines in New Orleans to cash
checks!). The best and easiest thing to do is send a check or money order
made out to Ward Reilly and note on the check that it is for Get Your Act On.

Please send to:

Ward Reilly
645 Kimbo Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Checks and money orders can also be sent to my sister in Philadelphia -
they can cash checks for us and paypal us the money. So you can also send
donations to:

Rachel Garland
824 South Fifth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

We apologize for not having an official Get Your Act On! bank account set
up, but, well, we weren't exactly able to plan ahead for this. If possible,
we will have one sometime next week, but for now, please send snail mail
donations to either of the places listed above or online via
paypal at our site.

100% of all donations go directly and immediately to relief efforts where
they are needed most.

People that are on their way to Louisiana to help or want to come down -
right now we do not advise people to try to enter the city of New Orleans
until we know better what the situation is, especially with the breaking
news about the forced evacuations. However, there are hundreds and
thousands of refugees in the areas around New Orleans, and there is a
desperate need for help there.

We need to make it very clear that if you want to go to Louisiana to help,
you must be prepared for hard and exhausting work. If you are not up to
this, you will merely add to the already overwhelming problems. There is
plenty of work to be done in other places - helping raise money
- put on a fund raiser, hold a vigil or rally in solidarity, spread the
word about what is really going on in New Orleans - all these efforts are
just as important and crucial to what needs to be done as physically going
down to help.


As I mentioned above, my friend Daniel Finnigan who also lives in the
Bywater neighborhood, 9th Ward, of New Orleans was finally able to call me
yesterday. He and a group of friends have been holed up in the top
floor of the building he lives in, guarding the property with guns. As of
yesterday, the people he was with had all left - he has his dog and our two
cats (we were roommates for many years) and refuses to leave without them -
and he has described himself as the now being the New Orleans SPCA so I
have a feeling he has adopted a number of abandoned and lost animals in the
area. When I asked him what he wanted us to bring him, he asked nothing for
himself, but requested cat and dog food. That's my Daniel ;) You'll never
meet a bigger animal lover.

Daniel says that in 6 days they have not seen or received any help. In 6
days they saw one policeman - flying through the neighborhood in a police
car at 40 miles an hour. He reported that for the first two days after the
storm, Wildlife and Fisheries were rescuing people from the flooded out
lower 9th ward, blocks from my house and his house by boat - and just
dropping the people off on the dry side of the levy, with no food or water
or anywhere to go. He said that after two days the boats just stopped
coming. He had no idea why until I explained the situation with the
National Guard to him, and that the rescue boats were told to stand down
and stop rescuing people. The people locked down in the city have no idea
that supplies are sitting just outside the city and being turned away. The
only reason they have food is they managed to gather what they could from
friends' apartments, etc., but again, no one has come to help them or bring
them food. Other than the people left stranded in the neighborhood, it has
been completely abandoned by all official entities.

Here is a bit of heart breaking news. There is only one radio station
people can receive in the city. Daniel said that people trapped in their
attics in the lower 9th ward have been calling the station saying where
they are and asking that some one come get them. But there is no one to
come. Those that are not already dead are dying. Daniel estimates that
there are easily some 40-50,000 people dead in their homes in the lower 9th
ward. I can not imagine listening to this on the radio, knowing that these
peoples pleas are falling on deaf ears. They have simply been left to die.

Daniel affirmed reports of people marching through the streets with guns,
taking what they can out of sheer desperation, though he says that
situation has largely calmed down. This is why he is sitting on his porch
with an AK-47 - he ways if someone asks him for water he will give them
water, but if they point a gun at him he will have to shoot them. He does
not blame people for these actions - again, they are desperate and
abandoned. Now, as with others we have had contact with in New Orleans, the
people are afraid to leave their homes because of the National Guard, who
have permission to shoot anyone on the spot.

There are many more small details Daniel relayed, but I do not have time
for them all now. Just to say that he confirms reports we have received
about supplies and relief not getting through. Apparently some assistance
is starting to get into the city, but not to the poor neighborhoods.

OK, I have to go now - we need to get on the road towards New Orleans. We
will be stopping in Baton Rouge where we will be meeting up with Daniel
(they have found a car to get out of the city) and we will then assess the
situation and take things from there. It looks more and more like we will
not be able to enter the city without the extreme likelihood of being
killed in the process. So we will regroup in Baton Rouge and start relief
efforts with the refugees already there and the rest of the people being
airlifted out of New Orleans. If we deem it at all possible, we will still
try to enter the city of New Orleans, but we will not put ourselves in the
position of being killed as then we can be of no help to anyone.

All these people will need places to go. Please start finding housing,
campsites, etc. in your communities and forward any information to us.

Oh, I also received word that Bill Quigley from Voices in the Wilderness
was last known to be trapped in Memorial hospital in New Orleans. I assume
that those folks will now be airlifted out as well. If anyone hears from
Bill, please let us know asap.






A few more points I'd make to like in the name of the C3 organization in
New Orleans:

- no involvement by Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown and Root
or any other contractor for which elected representatives
have a financial interest, such as dirty Dirk Cheney

- full restoration of affordable housing for all residents of New Orleans
as of midnight, August 29, 2005

- complete hearings on all aspects of this disaster,
including sabotage of plans for Category 5 levees, repair of existing
levees, total budgeting for all needed drainage projects for City being
constructed by the Corps of Engineers

- cease removal of low income residents from any Section 8, or public
housing unit, a full accounting of all residents
displaced from St. Thomas Housing Project and all other

- full investigation of public subsidies for real estate developers
including Press Kabacoff and Canazzaro and how those subsidies cut into
funds not provided for needed social services for the poor, infirm,
elderly, and disadvantaged

- full investigation of the role of the city's preservationists in the
seizure of properties, arsons, murder, and other crimes

- demand that from the point that the state of emergency
ends in the city, government will be conducted in such
a way that it is transparent and accountable. Hearings on
proposals for how that could be accomplished will be held
and the best ideas passed into law by the City Council...and
if they don't pass them, those ideas will be the issues for
the coming elections....NO, those elections will NOT be
cancelled...this disaster HAS to on the agenda for change.

Peace out - we must hit the road now and go see what is happening to our
city and do our best to help save our people. Please keep sending donations
and supplies, everyone has been so generous, but it is still but a drop in
the bucket. We will post more info when we arrive in Baton Rouge.

With sorrow and a broken heart -

Andrea Garland

the Tarotlaydee )0(
ALL life is sacred!
So we do not forget the War Dead:

Kill ratio in Modern Warfare
7% military personnel to 93% non-combatants
(34% are children & 59% civilian men and women)

Current Body Count:
Iraqi Civilian Deaths:

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