New Orleans had a stroke of luck as it turns out. There was a convention of EMS professionals in town when Katrina hit. There were several who stayed through the hurricane and were onhand. Some were able to assist with medical treatment in various locations around the city. Others had to struggle just to make it to safety.
There are many firsthand accounts at EMSNetwork News .
Here are some you should start with.
Hurricane Katrina - Our Experiences
The account of two EMTs who were stranded in the French Quarter away from the Superdome and the convention center.
Katrina Through the Eyes of an EMT
The account of an EMT who helped Kenner police officers before the levee broke.
Mason trio lived Dome nightmare - Ohio
Three EMS professionals who helped treat the ill and injured at the Superdome during the hurricane.
There are many more accounts and apparently more are coming in. This is probably a good site to keep an eye on.
(catholic school survivor)
PS: I just wanted to add that some of the accounts relate questionable, even abhorrent behavior by some police officers and other public servants, so I just want to be sure that people remember that this misbehavior is a failure of leadership. We can understand that most of the "looters" were probably driven to steal out of desperation, not greed, so we should also remember that the officers who behaved unfairly were in almost the same situation, but were given the impossible task of keeping order in a situation that was completely out of control. If these men had the numbers, organization, equipment and supplies they needed, all of which failed to appear, I believe we would have heard very different stories about them, just as we would not have heard so many stories of "criminal activity" among the survivors. I would really hate to see New Orleans police officers treated the way some Vietnam veterans were. It's not their fault they were put into such an untenable position by incompetent, potentially criminally negligent "leadership".
Just my $0.02.
If you have already read the article ( Hurricane Katrina - Our Experiences ), then you know that the two paramedics were among a large group that took shelter on top of the bridge near the Superdome several days after Katrina. Well,
I was browsing through some picture at the website of a paramedic who was in New Orleans on Sept 3rd, after Katrina and I believe to be a picture of those very people .
This is definitely the right location according to the description given. On the far right, you can recognize the distinctive marquis located outside the Superdome. They also said they commandeered a loaded water delivery truck for a water supply and there is a truck just to the left of the green road signs that looks very much like a water delivery truck.
It is not clear to me exactly which day was “day 1” in the article, but the authors say that the encampment on the bridge occurred the 4th day. Katrina hit on 8/29 for most of the day, so either 8/29 or 8/30 could be the first day, so the encampment was created on either 9/1 or 9/2. However, they were there long enough to make beds, create an outhouse around a storm drain and organize a general cleanup program, so they could easily have been there for 48 hours or more, so the timing makes sense.
I have contacted the publishers of the article to see if they can verify this picture with the two paramedics that wrote the article.