Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Prison Scene

The sixth scene in Killing Game takes place in a jail. Unbeknownst to the prisoners, a plague is raging in the city outside - tens of thousands of people are dying horrible deaths every day. Bodies have piled up in the streets because there is nobody left to collect them. Almost all of the prison guards have died as well. The last remaining jailer enters to free the prisoners, as they will surely die anyway - it's just a question of dying of starvation inside the jail, or of dying from the plague outside the jail.

Prisoners in the Orleans Parish Prison weren't so "lucky" during Hurricane Katrina. The morning of the storm, guards left inmates to die in their cells as floodwaters swallowed the building. Those who managed to escape were met by heavily armed guards waiting outside the building, who held the inmates for days on a highway overpass without food or water.

McSweeney's has recently published Voices From the Storm: The People of New Orleans on Katrina and its Aftermath as part of its Voice of Witness series. Voice of Witness is a series of oral histories focused on illuminating human-rights crises around the world. By allowing the victims of social injustice to speak for themselves, each book provides an unadulterated, ground's-eye view of the events, told in the unique and captivating voices of the people closest to the story. Stranded in a city submerged, the narrators of Voices from the Storm survived the devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina only to find themselves abandoned—and even victimized—by their own government. These thirteen men and women of New Orleans recount, in astonishing and heartrending detail, the worst natural disaster in American history.

Here is an excerpt from Dan Bright's account of being an inmate in the Orleans Parish Prison during Hurrican Katrina.

"Late, late—maybe early Monday morning—maybe like 4 or 5. Hard wind, very hard wind. Lights went out in the jail. I was on the top floor. We can look out the window. They had these little portholes that you can look out, and see the rain, the wind blowing, and the water starting to rise.

It was early. You can see the water is constantly rising. You gotta remember, we’re stuck in these cells. Guys on the first level, on the bottom level—man, they hollerin’ and screamin’. No one comes. They were hollering for the guards to come. Begging, pleading. You had guys who had broke windows out, burning sheets and blankets, flagging them to try to get some attention. In fact, helicopters was flying over, and guys was holding blankets out the windows, burning blankets to try to get their attention. And no one came and helped them.

The lights had done went out, so you can imagine being in this water, in the dark with this water constantly rising. Only thing we had to do now is to break out. We wasn’t trying to break out just to be breakin’ out of jail, we breakin’ out to save our lives."
Continue reading here...

Source: Voice of Witness via Your Daily Awesome

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