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Hurricane Katrina

Evacuees hear remark as full shelter denies them

By Times Staff
Published September 5, 2005

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RAPIDES PARISH, La. - A caravan of African-American leaders and three busloads of evacuees traveled three hours northwest of New Orleans late Saturday.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., tried to deliver the roughly 150 people to the Louisiana National Guard Armory in Rapides Parish, which already was sheltering about 600 evacuees.

The group was turned away by the president of the Central Louisiana Chapter of the American Red Cross. Leeann Murphy said there wasn't enough room at the armory. Then a white man emerged from the shelter saying he didn't want "murderers and rapists" there. He was alluding to reports of rapes and other violence at the Superdome and convention center in New Orleans.

A black woman asked the man how could he assume the people on buses were criminals. It wasn't clear whether the man was staying at the shelter.

The caravan quickly left and pulled in around midnight at a nearby closed Wal-Mart that had been turned into a shelter. Officials there began processing the evacuees, requiring them to throw away the clothing they had on and giving them new clothes.

The shelter, which also offered food, television, a recreation area for children and computer access, is near the former England Air Force Base, closed in 1992. Jackson made the trip to dramatize his demand that base housing be opened to evacuees. Tent cities also could be set up on the base, he said.

Sending displaced residents hundreds of miles away is breaking up families and making it more difficult for relatives to find each other. He likened the separations to "slavery times."

Middle Eastern, European nations pledge relief

CAIRO, Egypt - Donations to Hurricane Katrina relief poured in from around the world Sunday, with Kuwait offering $500-million in oil products and humanitarian relief and other Mideast countries offering aid and condolences despite widespread opposition to U.S. policies in the area.

The European Union and NATO also offered aid after rare requests for help from Washington, while the 22-member Arab League urged countries across the Middle East to "extend aid to the United States to face the exceptional humane circumstances."

Spain, Belgium, Britain, Germany and Italy announced they had started or were about to send aid and experts to the United States to help with the logistical operation of getting help to hurricane survivors.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said Sunday the government would send 500,000 ration packs.

Germany and Italy sent flights of supplies, including food rations, bed supplies, inflatable dinghies and water purifiers.

--Times staff writer Marcus Franklin and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

[Last modified September 5, 2005, 01:16:12]

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