Tulsa couple talks about their experiences of being trapped in downtown New Orleans

Friday, September 2nd 2005, 2:22 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa couple is back home after being stranded in New Orleans since Saturday afternoon.

Joe Rodanski says his thoughts and best hopes remain behind in New Orleans. As he looks at the photographs he took of New Orleans both during and after the hurricane, Joe Rodanski finds it hard to believe he just got out Thursday morning.

He and his wife Judy had gone there for a conference. Instead, they found themselves in a sweltering hotel room, with clogged toilets, a few snacks and some bottled water. His group was evacuated Thursday morning. The hotel had hired a private security force and some buses to get them out of the city.

Joe says his heart stayed behind with the locals trying to survive. "I would love to go back to New Orleans but my wife says we're not going back, she's not going back, but it's a great city I'm so sorry for it, for the people there. I just don't know how they're gonna rebuild it. And if they do, it's going to be years.”

Joe saw plenty of looting going on, since his hotel room window overlooked Canal Street, but he thinks most of the looters were simply trying to stay alive, and he doesn't fault the families he saw making off with food.