Thursday, August 17, 2006
Death by (non-existant) rescue
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The son of a 91-year-old woman who died in her wheelchair awaiting rescue from a shelter in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina sued the city and the state on Thursday.
Herbert Humphrey Jr. filed a lawsuit in state Civil District Court in New Orleans accusing numerous state agencies and the city of New Orleans of willful misconduct in the death of his mother, Ethel Freeman.
Freeman died sitting in her wheelchair outside the city’s Convention Center, which was overwhelmed with desperate evacuees. Her body, pushed to one side and covered with a poncho, became a widely noted icon of the botched hurricane response.
Humphrey’s lawyer, John Paul Massicot, said Freeman was instructed to go the fetid Convention Center — even though there was no aid available and no way out.
“Let’s not forget, she survived the storm. The storm didn’t get her. She didn’t survive the rescue,” Massicot said.