A prediction: Some of the stories being circulated about rape, murder, and havoc in New Orleans are not going to hold up under scrutiny. This is not to minimize the countless horrors that have occurred in Katrina’s aftermath. But the truth of what happened is awful enough without having to embellish it.
Item 1: Civil rights leader Randall Robinson has retracted his Drudge-publicized claim that “black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive.”
Item 2: A report in the UK Guardian questioning whether any children were raped or murdered at either the Convention Center or Superdome:
There were two babies who had their throats slit. The seven-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in the Superdome. And the corpses laid out amid the excrement in the convention centre.
In a week filled with dreadful scenes of desperation and anger from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina some stories stood out.
But as time goes on many remain unsubstantiated and may yet prove to be apocryphal.
New Orleans police have been unable to confirm the tale of the raped child, or indeed any of the reports of rapes, in the Superdome and convention centre.
New Orleans police chief Eddie Compass said last night: “We don’t have any substantiated rapes. We will investigate if the individuals come forward.”
And while many claim they happened, no witnesses, survivors or survivors’ relatives have come forward.
Nor has the source for the story of the murdered babies, or indeed their bodies, been found. And while the floor of the convention centre toilets were indeed covered in excrement, the Guardian found no corpses.
Item 3: According to this Reuters article, someone named Wade Batiste saw New Orleans police run over a 16-year-old boy who “was just crossing the street” then get out of their car and shoot him in the head. Alenda Lux doubts the story is true:
Reuters is the only one reporting this story, and “Wade Batiste, 48” is the only one telling this story. I’m sure there are probably a few Wade Batistes in the city of New Orleans, but what is the likelihood of “Wade Batiste” being the subject of two separate stories: witnessing police slaughtering children in New Orleans while also applying to work at a McDonalds while being a resident with his family at the Astrodome in Houston?
Reader Kathy Y. writes: “Hmmmm, perhaps you should be on the look out for “witnesses” named Greg Packer.” Keep your eyes peeled.
Update: Another Katrina myth? RedState takes a closer look at the Wal-Mart anecdote peddled by Aaron Broussard on Meet The Press this weekend.
Update II: Via reader Bob M., some firsthand reporting from USA Today…
We had been told that there were bodies in the cooler of the kitchen. What we found were the bodies of a few elderly people who appeared to have died of natural causes and were placed by the back door, as if to get them as far away from the survivors as possible.