August 27. Arrested for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Detained in Templeton III building of
August 28. Katrina blows into town. Flooding begins.
August 29. No food. No water. Generator fails. Lights go out, water seeps into cells. No correctional officers on site. No one to help. We try to escape. We try waving burning clothes out of windows to attract rescuers. My God, there’s no air either.
August 30. No food. No water. Flood waters rise. My neighbor alternately screams and cries. The water is up to our chests if we are lucky, to our chins if not.
August 31. No food. No water. Some of us manage to escape our cells, only to be still locked in the jail building, Where are our rescuers? Sewers backed up—the stench is horrible. The screams of fellow prisoners add to the hell.
September 1. Finally rescued today. Did anyone drown? 500 of the 600 of us are still missing.
- Researcher from Human Rights Watch reports this prisoner abandonment one of the worst nightmares of Hurricane Katrina.
- Of the 600 abandoned inmates were many who had been arrested for minor offenses and misdemenors--some without having been charged.
- Prisoners reported seeing floating corpses of their fellow inmates who had drowned. Official from the Sherrif's department reported that “nobody drowned, nobody was left behind.”