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The Taking Of New Orleans; Bywater evacuated at Gunpoint

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.
September 5th, 2005


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 accomplished.

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.

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 loveisinyourmind (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.

We will continue to post more locations that need volunteers as we get the information.


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.






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

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