20 years ago today, I was reporting to a new assignment at the Special Operations Division of the New Orleans Police Department. On September 7, 2001, newly minted Deputy Chief Marlon Defillo had told me that he was not going to be able to transfer me. I was surprised to see the transfer on September 9. Monday the 10th was a down day and on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was standing in an office at 1700 Moss Street watching the news at my new assignment. As you might imagine, things were a little hectic after the planes hit the buildings in New York.
Another date I remember vividly is August 29, 2005. I had just closed on a new house on August 17 and moved in on August 20. On August 29, 2005, I was assigned to the Traffic Division and my whole unit stayed on the 16th floor of 650 Poydras St. that night. Now, the 16th floor of 650 Poydras St. is home to the U.S. Dept. of Justice. However, in 2005, it was an empty floor of a downtown office building.
Today, we are also recovering from the impact of Hurricane Ida. My electricity was out for 7 days. There are people who are still out of electricity. Ida was not as bad as Katrina because the levees held. Otherwise, there are many similarities between Katrina and Ida. For me, the biggest difference is that we know power will be restored. When Katrina flooded the city, we did not know how that happened or how it would be fixed. There was a real concern in 2005 that Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River would rise to a level where they met in the city of New Orleans and the bowl would be filled to the top with water. There were a lot of unknowns in 2005, much like there were in 2001.
Today at 7:46 am (CDT), I got a notification from the New York Times about the 20th anniversary of 9/11. 8:46 am (EDT) was when the first plane hit the World Trade Center buillding in New York. I went out to cut my grass. One thing I learned from Katrina is that cutting the grass, cleaning the pool, whatever, helps when dealing with hurricane damage. I just need my insurance adjuster to come by.
Where do I stand?
I stand with you. I stand with the individual members of the New Orleans Police Department. I stand with the members of the Crescent City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. I stand with the members of the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police. I stand with my brothers and sisters across the country and wherever else you can find members of the Fraternal Order of Police.
The men and women of the New Orleans Police Department did a fine job following Hurricane Ida. The men and women of law enforcement across Louisiana did a fine job following Hurricane Ida. Hurricane Ida was not done when it left Louisiana’s borders. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people impacted by Ida as it continued across the United States to its northeast corner.
Things are starting to return to normal in New Orleans. I have already begun to put statements on my calendar for the upcoming week. There are Civil Service extension hearings on the agenda for next Tuesday.
Call me if you have a statement or hearing coming up. Call me if you have any questions about anything that you may have coming up. I am ready to stand with you when you need it.
That was beautifully written Donavan. I couldn’t have said it better. I left HQ by boat at daybreak on 8/30/05 with my wife. We were both assigned to Juvenile, I as a cop and Cyndi as a clerk. Lt. Kreider knew she was a day late for dialysis so he arranged for the Sixth to pick us up from the Broad Street overpass. We arrived at Baptist Hospital before the water came, way before. Cyndi was dialisized that evening just before the water arrived and flooded the basement and stopped about a foot from the top of the outside emergency ramp.
It was miserable in there with no a/c and at the nurses stations the windows were being broken to get some air flow going.
The next morning I put Cyndi on a airboat with other patients and never heard from her again for almost two weeks. I turned around and a doctor recognized my last name and asked if I could help with crowd control. I also found Sgt Walter Zschiedrich, a lifelong friend and we both assisted in crowd control and on the heliport deck with safety and security. I helped bring patients down flashlight lit stairwells and out to the second floor next to the chapel.
By Thursday near midnight we had gotten all the patients out and most of the civilians. The Second District rank got us out by boat to the Second District station and the rest is literally history.
I still get emotional talking about these experiences and cry like I am right now.
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