Don’t Believe Everything You See on TV

HeroicStories #632: 9 September 2005

The Last Boat Out Story Editor:
by Robert LeBlanc Clayton Bennett
Louisiana, USA

On Wednesday, August 31, my friend Jeff Rau and I wove a motorboat
through New Orleans, pulling people out of the water. We ferried people
all day between Carrolton Avenue and the Causeway overpass, about a mile
and a half each way.

Early on, we saw a black man in a boat with no motor. He rescued people
and paddled them a mile and a half to safety — with nothing but a piece
of two by four lumber for a paddle. He then turned around and went back
for more people. He refused our help, saying he didn’t want to slow us
down. At 5 p.m. he headed on another trip, knowing he would finish after

One group of 50 people we rescued that Wednesday afternoon was on the
bridge that crosses over Airline Highway near Carrolton Avenue. Most had
been there with no food, water, or anywhere to go since Monday morning,
with 10 feet of water all around them.

One man had been there since the beginning, helping people reach the
bridge and caring for them afterward. He didn’t leave the bridge until
everyone got off safely, even deferring to people who’d just arrived.
This man waited on the bridge until dusk, leaving on one of the last
boats out that night. He risked not making it at all.

In a really rough neighborhood, we came across five seemingly unsavory
characters, one with gunshot wound scars. We found them at a
recreational center, one of the few two-story buildings around. They
broke into the center, then gathered as many people as possible from the

They stayed outside in the center all day, helping people into rescue
boats. We approached them at 6:30 p.m., obviously one of the last trips
of the day. Yet instead of getting in our boat, they sent us further
into the neighborhood to get more people out of homes and off rooftops.

These five were on the last boat out at sundown. They were incredibly
grateful, repeating “God is going to bless y’all for this”. One even
offered us his Allen Iverson jersey, perhaps the most valuable
possession among them. We declined, but understood the depth of his

The looting and shooting you saw on television tells but a small part of
the story. By showing the worst effects of Hurricane Katrina and the
flooding that followed, news reports discouraged volunteers from
helping. But help was still needed, and will be for a long time.

In case it matters, I’m politically conservative. I was impressed to see
young and seemingly poor black people caring for sickly and seemingly
well-to-do white people. We can sort out political issues later; anyone
with a sense of compassion will agree that New Orleans needs help,
people’s lives need to be saved and families need to be put back
together. They now need all of our help.

I want everyone to know how gracious these people were, despite being
stranded and panicked. This transcends politics. It’s about humanity.

Pat Robertson, Terrorist

You heard that Pat Robertson, spiritual leader of millions and political advisor to your government, recently called for the assassination of Venezuela’s democratically-elected President (and, yes, pain in the realpolitik butt) Hugo Chavez. Robertson denied he said it, then said he was misunderstood, and finally apologized.

You may not know that in America, the law requires that “whoever kills or attempts to kill a foreign official, official guest, or internationally protected person shall be punished” (Title 18 of US Code Section 1116). In fact, it’s even a crime to “knowingly and willingly threaten” to do so (Section 878). We’ve all seen videotape, then, of Robertson committing a crime. But we doubt that he “shall be punished,” because…um, why?

More to the point, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network should be investigated by the FCC. They used the federally licensed airwaves to illegally call for President Chavez’s assassination. Last year CBS was fined a half-million dollars for airing a half-second view of Janet Jackson’s nipple, and Fox stations were fined over a million bucks for showing strippers whose nipples were covered with whipped cream. That would make the appropriate fine for the CBN, which caused an international incident, about 42 trillion dollars. Otherwise, the government’s message will be clear: a little titty (very little) is more dangerous than the threat of terrorist violence. And isn’t that what we’ve been saying they’ve been saying all along?

“Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, © Marty Klein, Ph.D. (”

Labor Day in Baton Rouge

Rev. Jesse Jackson Offers Words of Encouragement at Red Cross Shelter

Glenda Plunkett , Special to

Monday, September 05, 2005 — BATON ROUGE, La. – Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans being housed at the River Center Shelter in Baton Rouge received encouraging words from the Rev. Jesse Jackson yesterday afternoon.

Rev. Jesse Jackson visited with several Hurricane Katrina survivors at the River Center Shelter in Baton Rouge, La. Here he speaks with and holds the hand with Marguerite Mackey, 85, from Buras, Ala., September 4, 2005.
photo of Jesse Jackson
(Photo Credit: American Red Cross)

Jackson encouraged people to hold on and not to give up. His message of hope to survivors was that rescuing efforts were continuing in New Orleans. He reminded them that the shelter was a temporary solution and that people were working for them to find a permanent solution to their housing needs.

“I want you to put your hands together for the wonderful job the American Red Cross is doing,” said Jackson, asking for the strong to take care of the weak, the young to care for the old and the men to care for the women.

Jackson visited with several of the shelter residents individually, hugging the children. He held the hand with hurricane survivor, Marguerite Mackey, 85, of Buras, Ala.

“Reverend Jackson is a good man. He is here to help us,” Mackey sighed. “Those flood waters didn’t care if we were black or white—they took everything no matter. Red Cross doesn’t care either. They help you no matter what color you are.”

Glenda Plunkett is with the Mid-Illinois Chapter of the American Red Cross. She is a member of the Red Cross Rapid Response Team currently deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of this disaster and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting