Valued lies.com reader trg34211 supplied a link to the following transcript from CNN’s Newsnight program. It features an interview with Tom Rodrigue, whose mother’s death by drowning after days of frantic phonecalls was tearfully described by Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard on Meet the Press last week: Newsnight with Aaron Brown.
It seems increasingly likely that Rodrigue’s mother died in the initial flooding on Monday, August 29, and that Broussard’s story about frantic phonecalls on the subsequent Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday was a lie.
I think it’s interesting that CNN didn’t point that out in this segment of their program. My guess would be that an editorial judgment was reached that nitpicking over the specifics of Broussard’s story would seem heartless and cruel in light of the tragedy Rodrigue endured. And I guess they’d have a point.
Lies.com: Heartless, cruel nitpicking since 1996.
Anyway, here’s the transcript:
COOPER: …And, you know, every day, new numbers frame the story here in New Orleans. One of the grimmest numbers from yesterday was this: More than 30 bodies found inside a nursing home in St. Bernard Parish. Why weren’t these people evacuated before the storm struck? That is a question that is both glaring and tonight remains unanswered.
Here’s CNN’s Susan Candiotti.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tom Rodrigue is living a nightmare. He knew his 92-year-old mother, Eva, was in deep trouble. And he was helpless to get her out of harm’s way.
TOM RODRIGUE, VICTIM’S SON: We’ve had numerous storms before, and they know that, if they evacuate, she needs to go with them.
CANDIOTTI: His mother, Eva Rodrigue lived, and apparently died, with more than 30 others in St. Rita’s Nursing Home, which was flooded after Katrina swept into New Orleans. Some were evacuated, but many were not moved to safety in time and drowned.
RODRIGUE: She didn’t have Alzheimer’s. She knew who people was. She remembered things. And she could still get around on a walker. So she wasn’t an invalid, you know? So she could move around.
CANDIOTTI: Tom Rodrigue, himself a former emergency management director for Louisiana’s National Guard, was out of town when Katrina turned toward New Orleans. He started calling the nursing home Saturday, urging that it be evacuated.
RODRIGUE: You know, they indicated they were not going to leave.
CANDIOTTI: Sunday night, as Katrina struck, Rodrigue was 30 miles away directing emergency personnel for Jefferson Parish. He called the nursing home in St. Bernard Parish again, pleading with officials to get the residents out. He was told they were going to try.
RODRIGUE: I called the St. Bernard officials again and, you know, told them that, you know, they’ve got to get, you know, these people out. And they said they notified them, and that they weren’t — they refused to leave. And I said, “Well, you need to send the sheriff’s office down there and make them leave.” And he said, “I’m doing everything I can.”
CANDIOTTI: On Wednesday, 10 days after Katrina struck, authorities began removing bodies from St. Rita’s Nursing Home. Eva Rodrigue’s remains have not yet been found.
CNN has been so far unable to reach the nursing home owners to find out whether they had an evacuation plan and if the workers did all they could to clear the place out. CNN reviewed St. Rita’s records on the state’s web site. It indicates the home’s license expired last July, but we couldn’t reach state authorities to confirm that. For Tom Rodrigue, the pain is overwhelming.
RODRIGUE: She may not have been able to withstand the ordeal, even if they would have rescued her. But she deserved the chance, you know, to be rescued, instead of having to drown like a rat.
CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, CNN, New Orleans.