Prisoners of Katrina
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Prisoners of Katrina

Ratings: 7.47/10 from 19 users.

Prisoners of KatrinaIn the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while thousands fled New Orleans, the city's prisoners were trapped. Fresh eye-witness accounts reveal what really happened to those left behind, and how crucial forensic evidence was simply washed away. In September 2005, long after most people had fled a devastated city, inmates of Orleans Parish Prison - many of them shackled - were still waiting to be rescued from the blazing heat and the stinking floods.

"They basically abandoned the prison," says Vincent Norman, a chef arrested for an unpaid fine who found himself locked in a cell for days. Norman should have been there no more than a week. Instead, abandoned without food, drink or sanitation as the waters rose, he was in prison for 103 days.

In the days before the hurricane, when other citizens of New Orleans were ordered to leave, city leaders were asked: "What about the prisoners in the jail?" "The prisoners will stay where they belong," replied Marlin Gusman, the criminal sheriff in charge of the city jail. But it was a gamble he would regret.

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57 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Matthew Duncan

    they are human beings and no one - regardless of guilt - should be left to drown trapped in a room they cannot get out of...what happened was inexcusable and those that were there and sentenced were not sentenced to die. What the hell is wrong with you people? This is all about $ - those who have and those who don't....and if you don't have it, then you are expendable...which means like 99% of us are expendable according to the 1% who have the $ to buy the laws and the people who make them

  2. Ellipsis

    The great crime here is against grammar and spelling. I am appalled.

  3. Michael Wurtz

    i think we should just get on a ship and go back to africa,to hell with white america, we should all just go back take our families,that will show them

    1. beepath

      Show us what, exactly? I am sickened by what all the folks suffered and I am so sorry for all that suffering. Michael, this is your country as much as mine. Now I'm no flag-waving idiot repubicon, thinking the world loves the US. But I'll be damned if I'm going to put up with the tea baggers taking us down with 'em. Please stay and try to be happy with what has been accomplished. It will get better. It has to. Seriously.

  4. Justin Harnett

    not working

  5. Thela Tucker

    yeh, this is what AMERICA is all about!! The rich white man has found another way to put poor, black or white people DOWN! WAKE UP AMERICA!! WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE????

    1. benfirthy

      yeh, man, oh wait a minute, they committed crimes, guess what, i don't want them out causing mayhem in a chaotic situation, but you could let them move in with you and the kids, good luck with that

  6. Asher Craig

    Obama is a Bilderbergs Group member through his Campaign Manager James A Johnson look it up on Wikipedia

    1. beepath

      So what! They all have a gun held to their heads if they don't cooperate. Please read, "The Unspeakable, why JFK had to die." Then, you won't be so critical of Obama.

  7. Jamie19786

    America is not a democracy is not black and white its rich and poor.America is now bankrupt due to wallstreet corruption,illegal wars,illegal occupation,over 150 bases around the world and other reasons like the FED printing money thats not worth the paper its printed on.Corruption is ramped in America and the fact is most people in government deserve jail more than most inmates.As bad as hurrican Katrina was when the dollar collapses its going to look like a picnic.The congress and president are bought and paid for by corperations drug companys and AIPAC.When things do collapes and its not if its when the corrupt polititions and rich will leave the middel class and poor to die a slow death.I pray things will change for the better but its unlikely.It seems planed or how could the government be bankrupt and still fight illegal wars in illegal manners and pay for over 150 bases in the world when the troops should be brought home and the bases closed.The government knows its running on borrowed time and the crash of America will affect the entire world.9/11 and Londons 7/7 were inside jobs I've studyed them for years and am 100000 persent sure of it.Not only are the troops still fighting illegal wars but America planes on invading and fighting more illegal wars to name the ones that are coming at first I thought it would be Iran now most likely Pakistan or Syria then Iran witch Pakistan or Iran and possibly even Syria may lead to WW3 .And also they have a plane to war with China thats backed by Russia just like Iran but probable more so.Its sad to say because many will suffer around the world but less will die if America collapses before the zionist neocons can cause much more harm.This film points to how much the government cares for its people and the fact that when things really hit the fan they will be left to die.Than they may implement a NWO witch is almost forsure planed.We can just hope there are powertfull countrys like Russia China and many others that will not allow it.We live in scary times and all we can do is to best prepare ourselfs for what seems to be the inevitable.Well I could write all night but people are starting to get the big piture.GOD bless Asa Lama Alakem.Hope I spelled that right probably not.Keep your faith and hope life is better in the after life.As for the here and now we all face the same possible end and I belive are all GODs children so stop fighting each other and stand togeather as one.

    1. benfirthy

      still waiting for the collapse brother, enjoy life and be happy

    2. Kat Katrawitz

      Inside jobs, oh dear. Another conspiracy. The Royal Family are lizards and The Illuminati are taking over the world, or The Zionist Plot.......

    3. Yup Waiting

      Still waiting in 2021

  8. Jeff

    I cant help but think too myself, how do men that abused and ignored a system their entire life, then beg that it saves them. This documentary made a point to say "He had not been charged" and "He was in for a $70 fine." The two murders they interviewed where looked at as elder statesmen that helped young inmates. If you think that is not well thought out by the producer, so as too raly ever idiot to their side, then I have some ocean front property in Colorado I would like to sell you. One man rapped someone and another man killed another human being. These men then beg for compassion and rescue in the face of tragedy. Those of you that say how terrible the treatment of these men was, lets see how they would treat you if you happened to come across them on their turf.

    Having to listen to a rapist say "I didnt have any food or water", neither did anyone else you piece of trash. The government of New Orleans and the state of Louisana failed the people. When I say people I am talking the children and the innocent citizens that were left to die without a fighting chance. These men had pissed away that chance a long time ago. The Hurricane taught these monsters a valubale lesson "Its sucks when you are a victim", after a lifetime of taking advantage of other people, now they got the chance to feel helpless. Sadly bad things usually only happen to good people, but now we make movies to bring attention to bad things happening to bad people. Oh wait was I supposed to mention something about race?

    1. Jamie19786

      You must be a racist and sorry all are not perfect like you and many were not supposed to be there also innocent untill prover guilty read the constitution some time.People like you is why the world is the way it is.These people made bad mistakes and will face there punnishment in this world and the next but so will you for judgeing people.Your talk tells what kind of person you are.There will probably be other perfects that make similar comments and I will use this to respond to them all.And I'm a white Canadian citizen but am not blinded by lies and thinking I'm better than others like you.Have a nice life.

    2. benfirthy

      Jamie there is a new protocol for them to be moved in with your wife and kids, your liberal views are compassionate but now you will be required to prove them, good luck with that, btw I wouldn't go out and leave your loved ones alone with them as your missus might show a little too much compassion

  9. dadc

    This really has made me want to send a letter to the governor of louisiana...I am not gonna capitalize anyone that hold a government title in that state. The lack of humanity in the voices of those interviewed that were in charge is beyond the pale. I will never visit that state. The way some spoke of the crime rate being slashed as a result of the hurricane just made me ill. I think at some point I am going to have to flat-out stop watching documentaries about the astonishing failures of my country, just to keep my sanity.

    I don't want to wish my time away, but when I retire to Europe, my heart will flood with joy as the East coast fades from view. I obviously cannot predict the future, but as things stand today, it is the plan. Either I was totally blind in my younger years, or things have changed radically in my lifetime. Though I know the fog of time seems to make the harsh seem mild, there are fundamental differences, along with more hatefulness between people than I think I ever expected to see. Like anything else, it's likely a combination of both, but my heart weighs heavy with worry for what this world holds for my Kids and Grandkid (singular so far), when I'm no longer here to at least try to ease their burdens. I am disabled, and I worry less for my future, even with all the threatened cuts, because my oldest will be 30 this yr, and my youngest just turned half that, 15...and I repeatedly tell them that after their Mom and I are gone, to hold together, because that is the only true treasure. I just pray this world remains livable for them.

    Man I need to watch a comedy.

    1. benfirthy

      " lack of humanity in the voices " ok so we will create a new protocol for all the prisoners to move in with you, your kids and their families, let me know how that goes, if i don't hear from you I will guess you are busy

  10. Tim

    New Orleans wasn't a nice place before Katrina...the storm made it into a dismal sh**hole. Before seeing this documentary, I had no idea the immensity of the suffering that happened. This was shocking information.

  11. darryl

    Americans love to put people in prison for BS. USA is a sespool of greed, and corruption.

  12. Steve

    "It's their fault for breaking the law and being in jail". This ignorant clown is a poster boy for the stereotypical southern white sheriff. It wouldn't be so incredible if this comment was just the result of a corrupt liar looking to find a way to absolve himself of responsibility but I think he's actually dumb enough to believe what he said was logical and correct. I'd like to go to New Orleans but the US south is just too backward, corrupt and bigoted to take a chance on visiting.

  13. alexander scott

    I would like to say I was completely shocked by this video, Im a 46 year old married man (White and not that it should matter) with two kids who stays in Glasgow in the uk, This natural disaster should be pointing out to all humans that change however small should always happen to make people change their political and religeous views for the better, ve respected a lot of peoples views on this comment box but feel instead of venting anger against each other in the rat race war, make the small changes in your own mind to make your own life change and if everyone can do that then one day at a time, one community at a time, one town at a time,etc etc I believe a nation can learn to live with itself, believe me we should heart goes out to the people of New Orleans and hope that however long it takes you use this disaster to make the changes in your own individual lives to better your community because without community you have nothing apart from more heartache on the way, By that I dont just mean in NO but everywhere in this godforsaken planet.

    Peace out

    1. benfirthy

      peace brother, i like your liberal approach, if HMP Barlinnie gets his by a natural disaster we will be sure to send them around your house so they can be looked after, let me know how you get on with that and if you have a change of mind

  14. Whitt23

    @ Fly Poster Your statement acts like Whites invented slavery?I want you to know that the slaves in question from Early America were traded to the white man for plates and jewelery.Their tribe masters or chiefs gave his people away for gifts from the white man.Egyptians,Romans,many more used slaves before the white man.My heritage is American Indian and i don't bitch about the raping and slaughtering of my ancestors.The casinos we were given is helping ALOT lol.Racism will not end because neither side will drop it already.Media cant let it rest...probably 90% of the comments i read have something to do with race on them. If there wasn't suppose to be a winner then why call it "race"?

    1. NativeAmericanCitizen

      I highly doubt Whitt23 is actually Native American. Maybe he has a Cherokee grandmother who was a Princess. Native Americans do not Bitch, about the rapes and murders, and the lose of our culture, but we damn sure do let you and any other white man Know that we do not forget what your race has done to ours. And as for the Casino's that the White man bestowed upon us...Well, total BULLSHIT!! We had to fight every inch of the way to get these casinos. And the casinos do not make up for the ALL Treaties that your government has not honored.

    2. benfirthy

      agreed man, we apologise for idiots who went before us, native americans were happy before white eye turned up, greedy b.....s, and I am one of them

    3. mojowoart

      Learn about slavery before you mention this again. I'm not trying to argue. I'm just trying to save you from an embarrassing moment if you ever bring it up in front of someone who has actually studied this. Basically, in many parts of Africa at the time, slavery wasn't an institution that you could not be released from. Slaves were taken through war, debt etc. The slave could eventually end their term and even be elevated to a higher station in life. They were still seen as human. When the slaves were traded with western traders, the tribesman naively assumed that this concept was shared. It obviously was not. The trans-Atlantic slave trade was extremely damaging and paved the way for several things to come, including Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. It's easy to say "drop it" when your family members have not been killed because of it or psychologically damaged from it. I am the son of a man damaged by it. Maybe my children can "drop it". To simply say "drop it" is in poor taste. It isn't an argument over which MMA fighter is the worlds greatest or a debate over who really killed JFK. Maybe you should respect it for what it is and have some compassion.

    4. Jamie19786

      I put a like on your comment but People can't be held responsible for crimes of the past before we were here.What we need to do is stop the crimes we can and there are many that will take many life times to solve if ever and thats if we as humans survive.

    5. benfirthy

      there is a genetical difference between races, look at physical capabilites of some races compared to others, it is a natural instinct to protect ones own gene family first, regadless of race, anyone who says different is a damned liar

  15. Whitt23

    @ tracy Did you vote for Obama just because hes black?Sounds like you voted Obama for bragging rights.Thanks to you he is in the White House.Hasnt done a damn thing he promised us yet either.Change? yes but for the worst,but we do indeed have a partical black president.Not sure why you feel you should brag about voting because he was black?Im guessing your middle aged white women from your remarks.Maybe if your lucky your daughter will have a black man taking her to her prom!!!/Crosses my fingers for you!

    1. dadc

      You are just......regrettable.

    2. Alisha

      I agree, Im a black 28 yr old female and Hell no I didnt vote for Obama. Hes for welfare nd not to help the people who go to work everyday. Females pop out kids like a microwave poppig popcorn and the system maks it so easy for them. I have to work hard and buy store brands and pay full rent while these folks live off the system eat better than i do, cheaper rent, and nicer cars. This has to stop and they need to reward us who work hard, and need elp too. sorry i dont want to have a brady bnch of kids and i cant afford to take care of them, SMH! Get Obamas ass out the white house!!!

    3. wheelnut53

      that crap was going long before Obama took office , be grateful you have a job so you have the leisure time to complain about someone on welfare living better than you come on you expect us to believe that . I was with you right up to women receiving a reward for unsafe sex that results in pregnancy yes and the system makes it easy but when did all this begin ? you have plenty of time now think about it ......

    4. christopher brinda

      hello honky

  16. GrantStret

    What is really scary is that while the USA is home to around 5% of the world population, we are home to around 20% of the worlds prisoners. This leaves the potential for tragedies like this very high. The USA is very much a "prison state" and does not take care of its prisoners.

  17. Juancho

    In the middle of a natural (or unnatural) disaster ... there is a mass panic, and the last people anyone wants to worry about is the prison population. As terrible as that sounds it's true, people look out for themselves, and whatever government is still functioning will be concentrating on the civilian population. What happened to these prisoners is absolutely terrifying and wrong ... and it's a foreshadowing of what would happen in ANY town when communications break down and there's a life-threatening disaster.

    Just goes to show, the most powerful country in the world, and we can take care of our own when things get panicky.

    Interesting documentary, I wish there were another Doc on Katrina here that didnt focus on the prison, I'd like to see EVERYTHING that went on. Spike Lee's would be excellent to see but it's preview only. :(

    1. benfirthy

      got to agree, if you were a prison gaurd and a natural disaster hits, your family is at home and hanibal canibal is staring at you from his cell, are you going to think
      1. poor guy i should just let him out, it's the right thing to do
      2. there is no way i'm letting this guy or his buddies, if they don't get me now then they will get my famility later, if i let that poor little billy bunson out (a harmless prisoner who didn't pay his fine) he might spring these other guys, that reminds me i better lock up all the trustees too.
      you decide the most likely answer, then you will know what happens in a natural disaster

  18. esmuziq

    i can't believe this man
    how can a systhem that says it is the most powerfull one in the world
    allow things like this to happen ?

  19. Anthony

    @ tim, racism still exist because it makes for good ratings and gives mor*** like Jessie Jackson and other ilk like him something to profit from. While slavery has seemingly been abolished, serfdom hasn't.

    1. benfirthy

      yeh, try getting a job in detroit if you are white

  20. tim

    Just get over it already!!! Slavery has been abolished. I am white, not a caucasian American, cracker, etc. Same goes for blacks, they are not African Americans, niggers, etc. I am white, they are black. We are all equal. The only thing that determines we are not equal is each and everyone of our foolish behaviors. I know white trash, black trash, yellow trash, etc. Heck, I am getting to the point that I even see green alien trash, lol. With that said, why can't all races grow up? I have.

    1. dadc

      The inequality is in class status more than anything

    2. Margaret Turner

      you are a blind ******* fool if you think we are all equal; while slavery has been made illegal there are hundreds of thousand of slaves in America today. Do some research. -frustrated katrina survivor.

    3. benfirthy

      yeh has nothing to do with intelligence, initiative and hard work passed down through genes and stable upbringing

  21. Alexandrea

    Ughh, sick! God Bless This Country.

    1. Jamie19786

      Like your comment but GOD bless the world.

  22. Fly Poster

    Tracy, the problem with what you say is that white people rarely if ever, have been oppressed by black people. in a similar way, men have rarely if ever, been oppressed by women. Racism is a system where one group of people of a race oppress and exploit another group. Throughout history Black people (as well as other races) have been forced into slavery, and denied basic human rights, and have been subjected to horrific violence.. Racism and oppression still exist in America even with a black president.

    Should that oppressed race rally behind the slogan "black power" it is in the spirit of emancipation and equality.

    White power groups tend to be in the spirit of ethnic clensing, oppression, apartheit. and national socialism.

    1. benfirthy

      you make some good points here, i have to agree, but you have to admit as one race may be genetically better at say certain physical sports, then other races may have had to subsitute this lack with other abilites such as intelligence, also it is a natural human function to give priority to one's own race as it is protection of genes. the problem being that people won't admit this so no discussion is ever had to resolve route issues,btw i am not saying one attribute is better than another from races, the goal should be that all people be happy however this may be achieved.

  23. Bluesmanwalking

    By the way i'm Canadian in Canada, so maybe we see things differently with Blacks here.

  24. Bluesmanwalking

    @Tracy, i'm not sure i understand what you mean but in any case it wasn't meant to be a negative comment on Blacks from my part. Actually, I've had 2 Black business partners, and my children's Godparents are Black. This comment, I must have poorly expressed it. This conversation came up during our monthly poker game with some Black friends. "When The Levees Broke" here on TDC might express better.

  25. tracy

    @bluesman - some of what you said actually made good sense. But try this, everywhere you typed BLACK go back and type WHITE and vise-versa. Would that not be considered, (dare I say) racist? I guess if that's what you're going for you've made your point. Thanks to voters like myself we have a black president and I'll assume that you are aware of this.

    1. Jamie19786

      A black president would have been great to move the country forward but he is a sell out to drug companys the military industrial complex corperations and AIPAC.If you voted for him I don't blame you but all he did was lie his way to the presidency and anyone that did should wish they didn't.I'm Canadian so I could not vote or would have voted for him and it would have been a big regret.

    2. benfirthy

      yeh and all those health measures he brought in to help the poor, they don't really exist too, heck why don;t you just edit the whole of history to support you unbalanced arguments

  26. Bluesmanwalking

    i'm curious if other courts in the country with a potential water disaster have moved their evidence room to a top floor ??? And maybe consider using laptops & tablets & scanners, do they know what these are down there ???
    There's a saying that goes "Always try to do a good thing out of a bad thing" or something like that.
    New Orleans could be the perfect example of accomplishment of the Black Men in the US. I think this is exactly what could rebuild the confidence and pride of the Black Men in the US. It should be rebuilt by them and only them, in store strong values, tight secure and safe neighborhoods. I see no reason why every Black Men shouldn't have a job regardless if they have a lack of experience. This is the perfect opportunity the learn a trade, to create small businesses, etc.
    Hey you millionaire rappers why don't you pitch in instead of buying another Cadillac Escalade.
    And most importantly, do not have a white men representing the city, the police force or the state. Then maybe you stand a chance to not have liquor stores at every street corner in your neighborhood to destroy you. I think that's what Spike Lee and Dr King was expressing more then once.
    Peace & Black Power !

    1. Jamie19786

      I'm white am have no racism in me but you sound like a racist and that type of thinking will get humanity no were.We all black white Asian Arab lation and all others share vthis planet and there is no room for racism and contiual war.

    2. benfirthy

      agreed, i see where you are coming from, can i still come to Mardi Gras though?

  27. personal trainer austin

    Interesting film. New Orleans = gross incompetancy.