Film dispels negative spin about victims but shows horrid living conditions
By David Edwards on 9/1/2005, 8:42pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

MSNBC Photojournalist, Tony Zumbado, spent the morning filming at the New Orleans Convention Center. He assumed that some news reports had been exaggerated. Zumbado wanted to see and film the victims' situation first hand.

Allison Stewart asked him about the experience:

ALISON STEWART: Tony, I know you've seen a lot of things in your career, but have you ever seen anything like that?

TONY ZUMBADO: I've gotta tell you, I thought I'd seen it all, but just when you think you've seen it all, you go into another situation and you see something horrific. I've never seen anything in my life like this. ... I can't put it into words the amount of destruction that is in this city and how these people are coping. They are just left behind. There is nothing offered to them. No water, no ice, no C-rations, nothing, for the last four days.

They were told to go to the convention center. They did, they've been behaving. It's unbelievable how organized they are, how supportive they are of each other. They have not started any mÍlťes, any riots ... they just want food and support. And what I saw there I've never seen in this country.

...
STEWART: Are you telling me there is no police in the area, no National Guard in the area?

ZUMBADO: I don't want to sound negative against anybody or any official, but according to them, and what they saw, they left and they're there on their own. There's no police there's no authority. ... You would never ever imagine what you saw in the convention center in New Orleans.

STEWART: Tell me about the sanitation.

ZUMBADO: The sanitation was unbelievable. The stench in there... was unbelievable. Dead people around the walls of the convention center, laying in the middle of the street in their dying chairs. ... They were just covered up ... Babies, two babies dehydrated and died. I'm telling you, I couldn't take it.

Watch Tony Zumbado's film of the New Orleans Convention Center in Windows media format or Real media format.