Stuck in New Orleans, Looking for a Way Out

Madeleine Brand speaks with Stephen DeFerrari, who rode out Hurricane Katrina in his New Orleans home. He's now trapped there, with three feet of water submerging his neighborhood, trying to find a way out.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Now to people trapped in New Orleans. DAY TO DAY's Madeleine Brand spoke to Steven DeFerrare(ph), who rode out Hurricane Katrina in his house in the Carrollton section of New Orleans. He's still there; there's three feet of water outside. He's trying to find a way to get out.

Mr. STEVEN DeFERRARE (New Orleans Resident): We live in a raised house, and the water got up to--the highest point, it got to about a foot of coming into our house.

MADELEINE BRAND reporting:

And so are you waiting to be rescued?

Mr. DeFERRARE: Yeah. We kind of banded together with two other couples in this neighborhood, and we got ourselves a canoe and a raft. And one of the girls in this group is--her brother is a deputy sheriff in Baton Rouge, and he's got a big truck and he's coming to get us, if we can get to a certain area. We couldn't all go at once, so some of them are already--Come here, Pam. Talk to them. Come here.

PAM (Wife): Hello.

BRAND: Hi. Who's this?

PAM: This is Pam, Steven's wife. I was just calling my husband 'cause there's two men coming up the street in the water. And not knowing who's OK and who isn't--our raft is on the porch. I'm sure if somebody sees it, they're going to try and take it.

BRAND: So you're afraid of looters.

PAM: Well, yeah. I'm afraid of them trying to take our raft right now just 'cause that's the only way out. And I have cats, several cats--he'll tell you. I'm going to put him back on.

BRAND: OK.

Mr. DeFERRARE: Hello?

BRAND: Hi. So what happened?

Mr. DeFERRARE: Yeah, I'm sorry. So there was some people walking by the corner--well, wading by the corner, and they don't look like they're up to any good.

BRAND: So they were eyeing your raft, your canoe?

Mr. DeFERRARE: Yeah, they were. And then they saw me and kept going.

BRAND: Are you armed?

Mr. DeFERRARE: Yes, I am.

BRAND: Would you shoot someone if they tried to come in or get your canoe or raft?

Mr. DeFERRARE: I don't think I'd shoot somebody over the canoe or raft, but I would shoot them if they were going to harm me or my wife.

BRAND: So let me get your plan straight. You're going to get into the raft and go where?

Mr. DeFERRARE: To St. Charles Avenue. St. Charles Avenue is dry.

BRAND: And do you expect to return to your house?

Mr. DeFERRARE: Yeah. Yeah, probably as soon as the water goes down and we can drive back in, I'll return and I don't know what we'll do. We won't have power for--they say it could be months before there's power. I do know that our shop is gone; it was totally washed away. So I don't think I will have any work to do for a long, long time, at least here.

BRAND: Well, you must be heartbroken and devastated at what you see and the prospects.

Mr. DeFERRARE: Oh, yeah. It's like--it hasn't even really hit me yet. I haven't slept since--I don't know--Saturday. I haven't eaten much. We do have plenty of water, so that's one good thing. But I guess when the shock hits--it's unbelievable. I wouldn't even know how to describe it. It's totally unbelievable.

BRAND: Well, Mr. DeFerrare, best of luck to you.

Mr. DeFERRARE: Thank you. Appreciate that.

CHADWICK: Steven DeFerrare and his wife, Pam, speaking with DAY TO DAY's Madeleine Brand.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: