About this blog

Andrew Locke and Bob Sullivan

From Sept. 22-27, the posts in this blog about Rita's evacuation and devastation were reported and photographed by Bob Sullivan and Andrew Locke. Sullivan, 37, is MSNBC.com's technology and consumer fraud reporter. Locke, 34, in charge of MSNBC.com's editorial strategy, was on his second hurricane blog tour.

David Friedman and Miguel Llanos

From Sept. 18-22, the posts in this blog, examining Katrina's impact on the environment, were reported and photographed by Miguel Llanos and David Friedman. Llanos, 45, is MSNBC.com's environmental reporter. Photojournalist Friedman, 35, is a multimedia producer at MSNBC.com.

Kari Huus and Jim Seida

From Sept. 10-16, the posts in this blog were reported and photographed by Kari Huus and Jim Seida. Huus, 43, has been a journalist for 20 years and a reporter with MSNBC.com since 1996. Seida, 39, has been a media editor with the Web site since 1996.

Mike Brunker and Andrew Locke mugshot

From Sept. 2-9, the posts in this blog were reported and photographed by Mike Brunker, left, and Andrew Locke. A journalist for 25 years, Brunker, 49, is MSNBC.com's West Coast news editor. Locke, 34, has been a journalist for 17 years and is currently in charge of MSNBC.com's editorial media strategy.

How you can help

How to help the victims of Hurricane Rita

How to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina


Posted: Saturday, September 24 at 05:55 pm CT by Bob Sullivan

LIVINGSTON, Texas -- During the unexpected night and day at the shelter, tensions rise as time passes. There's one question we hear everywhere:  Where's the gas we kept hearing about? It's still raining and a bit windy, but the worst of hurricane has passed, and everyone is free to go. But no one's leaving, and in fact, more cars and people keep showing up.  They are stranded for want of a working gasoline station. 

Then at about 1 p.m., three white 18-wheelers with paper signs out front that say "FEMA" roll in. On the front, they say ice, food and water.  But still no gas, which is the only thing people here really want.

Inmates from a local jail -- we don't know which one -- arrive to unload the trucks.  It's a spectacle, and hundreds of people come out to watch.  There's a lot of yelling as boxes and boxes are whisked off the trucks. 

While taking all this in, Rita Lotspeich tells us she left good and early to get out of her Houston suburb, at about 5 a.m. on Thursday.  She never imagined she'd end up eating shelter food and sleeping on the floor. Still, she tells us that shelter volunteers have been generous -- and so have the other strand-ees. She just met Angela Angell and her dad Bobby Bowden the night before.

"We didn't have any blankets.  They gave us not one, not two, but three blankets," she said.  Angell, traveling with her three children, had come prepared.

Scott Paxton, another Red Cross volunteer and a veteran of Katrina, was trying to listen sympathetically to complaints.  But there was little information he could offer.  He said he had hoped gasoline trucks would arrive before nightfal, but he wasn't sure.  So it's likely the school will still be their home tonight. But Paxton makes a promise to the disappointed faces he sees.

"I'm not leaving until every one of you has a way to get where you need to go," he says.


Email this EMAIL THIS


Trackbacks are links to weblogs that reference this post. Like comments, trackbacks do no appear until approved by us. The trackback URL for this post is: http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b0aa69e200d83462271b53ef