Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill Declares: "It Makes No Sense To Rebuild New Orleans"

The Times-Picayune

Thursday, September 01, 2005

An angry Gov. Kathleen Blanco demanded that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., apologize for his statement that it might not make sense to rebuild New Orleans. It was “unthinkable,” Blanco said, that Hastert would “kick us when we’re down. I demand an immediate apology.”

At a press conference Thursday night, she said that 300 soldiers from the Arkansas National Guard arrived in New Orleans fresh from Iraq and are under orders to restore order from the “hoodlums.’’

She said of the soldiers: “They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot to kill . . . and I expect they will.’’

U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, said that 1,500 people had gathered on the Chalmette ferry landing awaiting evacuation, possibly by ferry, to Algiers. Making a plea for those refugees to receive food and water now, Melancon estimated that about 100 are dead, possibly from dehydration.

Officials also noted that an additional 80 police officers are now on the streets of New Orleans from elsewhere around the country, bringing some stability to the Superdome.

A doctor in University Hospital telephoned a Baton Rouge TV station, hoping to call attention to the desperate plight at his hospital. The hospital was running low on food and water, and had no power, the doctor said. “We have 160 patients in the hospital and they are actively dying,” he said.