I NEED HELP. September 1, 2005 3:51 PM   Subscribe


Okay, I know this isn't the point of MetaFilter, but I'm desperate and I don't have time to find out this information on my own.

I have a friends mother who is trapped in New Orleans and I need to find out who I need to contact to let them know where she is. Red Cross is no help. If anyone out there knows who I can contact, please let me know.
posted by ColdChef to Bugs at 3:51 PM (78 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

I apologize, I know this breaks all the rules. I just don't have time to do this myself. I need phone numbers of who I can call in New Orleans to get her out of there.
posted by ColdChef at 3:52 PM on September 1, 2005

She is at 406 South Gate Drive in Metairie. Her daughter spoke to a few minutes ago. She cannot leave on her own because of an injured leg.
posted by ColdChef at 3:53 PM on September 1, 2005

I saw today a member posting in one of the many hurricane threads about their experience in helping with the relief. Can’t recall if it was NO though. Maybe contacting that member may be of help here.
PS, where are all the bass boats the southerners love so much.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:00 PM on September 1, 2005

I would contact the Coast Guard - here is their Katrina missing person information. This is their online request form for stranded persons. Maybe fill that out, and have everyone who can, call at the same time.

The Coast Guard strongly urges people in distress in the New Orleans area contact the search and rescue emergency lines for the State Office of Emergency Preparedness in Baton Rouge , La.:
(225) 925-7708
(225) 925-7709
(225) 925-3511
(225) 925-7412

Additional Phone Numbers:

IN LOUISIANA, Louisiana State Police:

(225) 922-0325
(225) 922-0332
(225) 922-0333
(225) 922-0334
(225) 922-0335
(225) 922-0341
(225) 925-7398
posted by fionab at 4:11 PM on September 1, 2005

I don't know which parish Metarie is in for sure, but here are a bunch of thed nearby Office of Preparedness phone numbers:

Offices of Emergency Preparedness

Jefferson Parish 504-349-5360
posted by BoringPostcards at 4:14 PM on September 1, 2005

Ignore the first sentence of that post- I Googled and it's in Jefferson Parish
posted by BoringPostcards at 4:15 PM on September 1, 2005

Just to state the bleeding obvious, ring 911 if you can't get through with Fionab's suggested contacts. (as said at Louisianna Homeland Security site - which has a bunch more contact points).
posted by peacay at 4:23 PM on September 1, 2005

Thank you, fionab. I've filed an evacuation report with the Coast Guard. I don't know what that will do, but it's a start.

Matt, feel free to delete this thread or close it or whatever. I'm so sorry for doing this on your site.
posted by ColdChef at 4:26 PM on September 1, 2005

Oh, and thanks to everyone else, too.
posted by ColdChef at 4:27 PM on September 1, 2005

Hey, pretend her mom's on Metafilter, and it's a meet-up.

We love you, CC.
posted by tizzie at 4:35 PM on September 1, 2005

A reader posts that there is a database being developed for people who are missing and may need to be rescued from New Orleans. Call 225-925-6626 to give officials their names. They may also have information about people already rescued. We attempted to check this number and were unable to get through (busy signal).
posted by amberglow at 4:39 PM on September 1, 2005

hang in there CC. best of luck.
posted by xmutex at 4:45 PM on September 1, 2005

Matt, feel free to delete this thread or close it or whatever.

Matt, please don't ever delete this thread! This is fantastic!
posted by Pollomacho at 4:50 PM on September 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

also call CNN and tell them, and MSNBC and FOX and all the local news outlets. Get them to talk about it on air.
posted by amberglow at 4:53 PM on September 1, 2005

Somebody call Vidiot now.
posted by lilboo at 4:54 PM on September 1, 2005

(I don't have his number, or else I would, but he could be in a position to help out with this.)
posted by lilboo at 4:55 PM on September 1, 2005

This was posted in the LJ neworleans community a couple hours ago:

We've had a horrible time figuring out who to contact for elderly relatives who survived the storm but need help getting evacuated from their homes. Finally, today, we were successful. The information was difficult to locate, and the Red Cross, local authorities and other standard places that folks who are looking for help getting friends and loved ones help do not know where to send people. So. Without further ado, the place you need to contact to get a relative who needs help getting out is the local Homeland Security office for SE Louisiana. The contact information that we used to get through was:

Homeland Security offices in New Orleans/Orleans Parish

Orleans Joseph Matthews (504) 658-8700 (504) 658-8701

For questions or comments please contact

Jones, Art
Division Chief
(225) 925-7555
Weiser, Richard
Asst. Division Chief
(225) 925-7556

posted by whatzit at 4:56 PM on September 1, 2005

Please don't delete. This is a beautiful thing and shows MeFi as a community of caring and knowledgable people. It's a fucking disaster and one of us needs help -- to hell with the rules.

I only wish I had something more concrete to offer than my prayers.
posted by cedar at 4:56 PM on September 1, 2005

Okay, here's where we're at:

It's getting dark in New Orleans and raining a little bit. She's on crutches and can't really move around well on her own.

After speaking to the Coast Guard, I've advised her to stay put in her apartment since she has a working phoneline and some food and wait until morning.

Then, she's going to move towards the interstate and flag down whomever she can. It's not a fancy plan, but it's all I've got.
posted by ColdChef at 4:58 PM on September 1, 2005

I just got off the phone with ColdChef. His friend's mom has food and water, and is in a secure situation for tonight. I think he'd appreciate it if anyone knows of a way to get her a ride tomorrow morning, after she's had a night's sleep. I have his contact info, and my e-mail is on my user page.

I'll call Vidiot, too.
posted by tizzie at 4:58 PM on September 1, 2005

If she can get out of New Orleans, I'm going to drive her to Houston, so that she can fly to New York to be with her daughter.
posted by ColdChef at 4:59 PM on September 1, 2005

Oh, hell.
posted by tizzie at 4:59 PM on September 1, 2005

posted by tizzie at 4:59 PM on September 1, 2005

I hope this thread isn't deleted. It's nice to know MeFi is good for something other than bickering. Hang in there, ColdChef, and good luck to your friend's mother.
posted by languagehat at 5:13 PM on September 1, 2005

[this is good]
posted by loquacious at 5:22 PM on September 1, 2005

ColdChef, I wish I could do more for your friend's mom (and for everyone else down there) but I can't. But I will be praying for them.
posted by LeeJay at 5:23 PM on September 1, 2005

If this isn't the point of a community of human beings, leave me out. Wish I could help and best of luck.
posted by yerfatma at 5:27 PM on September 1, 2005

"...she's going to move towards the interstate and flag down whomever she can..."

Things may be a lot different tomorrow. Of course, I thought they'd be a lot different today. But, anyway, my impression is that going anywhere where a whole bunch of other people are crowding and there's no or insufficient tranportation out is simply not going to work, especially for someone who can't afford to expend much energy in the hot sun.

I dunno. Tough choices. Could you look around the NOLA groups and other places, try and get through to where there (may be) staging areas nearby her where volunteers are or where the rescued are being taken and get some good solid information from someone there on the street, so to speak, who actually knows a place that an old woman with crutches could manage to get to where her needs would likely be met and she wouldn't be lost in the crowd?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:30 PM on September 1, 2005

Hi everyone--it's my Mom that cold chef is talking about--i'm so impressed with all of the info. I have received--she is OK and her brother and her sister and I are making a plan to get her out--Cold Chef is the best. And--ps--I bet she would love to get interviewed by CNN. Thank you thank you for all of your comments--I feel so helpless here in New York. I'm a New Orleans native and my heart is breaking over all of this.
posted by rachelNOLA at 6:01 PM on September 1, 2005

So glad to hear everything's okay. I'll send you an e-mail.
posted by Vidiot at 6:35 PM on September 1, 2005

And here's CNN's list of people who have been safely evacuated.

hurricanevictims@cnn.com might be a good resource as well if this situation crops up again.
posted by Vidiot at 6:40 PM on September 1, 2005

And--ps--I bet she would love to get interviewed by CNN.

: > (i'm so glad they're going to be ok!)
posted by amberglow at 6:41 PM on September 1, 2005

I wish I could add something worthwhile. It warms the heart to see our community coming together like this.

rachelNOLA - I hope things work out. Our thoughts are with you.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:38 PM on September 1, 2005

[this is good]

Godspeed, Cold Chef, and all those that lack a warm bed tonight.
posted by docgonzo at 7:53 PM on September 1, 2005

I'm cryin' here.

Bless you all.
posted by yhbc at 8:16 PM on September 1, 2005

Good luck CC.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:21 PM on September 1, 2005

I'm glad she's safe for the night. Hoping like hell she gets out OK to meet you, ColdChef. Keep us posted if and when you can.
posted by soyjoy at 8:44 PM on September 1, 2005

posted by delmoi at 9:25 PM on September 1, 2005

Hmmm... Wouldn't this have been a perfectly valid AskMe question? All this apologizing would have been completely unnecessary :)

(sorry about being such a smart ass...)
posted by Chuckles at 9:59 PM on September 1, 2005

[this is best]
posted by Bugbread at 10:22 PM on September 1, 2005

Did she get out ok? Follow up? Everyone good?
posted by dejah420 at 11:01 PM on September 1, 2005

Doh...sorry, timestamps obviously confuse me...for some reason, I thought this was posted yesterday,and we hadn't heard any news from today. Apologies.
posted by dejah420 at 11:02 PM on September 1, 2005

The domain Katrina.com has been owned for many years by a web designer in Virginia. With so many people visiting the site and calling her, she realized that she could help, and quickly set up the site as a central resource for relatives trying to find each other. techdirt
posted by crunchland at 7:20 AM on September 2, 2005

This is really, really touching and amazing. Humans at their best. I hope she got out ok, my prayers are with all you guys in LA and MS.
posted by WaterSprite at 8:42 AM on September 2, 2005

Shout outs for ColdChef and rachelNOLA! Let us all know how things are working out and if you need any help we can provide.
posted by jasper411 at 9:54 AM on September 2, 2005

Thanks for the good news amid all the posturing and chaos.
posted by fenriq at 12:28 PM on September 2, 2005

Keep in mind that Memphis, Tennessee, is only 400 miles up the road from New Orleans. That is not much farther away than Houston and we also have an international airport.

Our city is working on setting up long-term shelters and other assistance for hurricane victims. We currently have about 10-15,000 refugees in town.

My best wishes to everyone still struggling to get their families out. Let me know if you need help finding a place to stay in Memphis, a ride to the airport, or whatever.
posted by naomi at 12:34 PM on September 2, 2005

Here's CNN's Katrina Safe List
posted by amberglow at 12:51 PM on September 2, 2005

the United Negro College Fund is getting area college kids into other schools--it's vitally important that they continue their educations.
posted by amberglow at 2:47 PM on September 2, 2005

Yes, thanks for letting the community help one person and know it. It's otherwise just too big.
posted by puddinghead at 2:54 PM on September 2, 2005

Hi everyone--thank you again so much for your thoughts and prayers. So many people need them. I'm arranging rides right now and now, I can't get through to her on the phone anymore--I was calling her all week on her land line. We have a plane ticket waiting for her at the Baton Rouge airport. I've got some very reliable people working on getting her to BR on Sat.--so I think everything will be OK. I will, of course, continue to update. She's not quite out of the woods yet, but getting very close. I just hope the parishes aren't completely blocked to those trying to help others to get out.
Again, thank you.
posted by rachelNOLA at 4:12 PM on September 2, 2005

amberglow suggested I post this here. It's a project put together by some friends of mine, and it's to help get school supplies to the children displaced by Katrina.
posted by FunkyHelix at 5:32 PM on September 2, 2005

Man, I'm gone one day and this gets pushed to the next page.

Hope y'all are still out there, because we ain't there yet.

I'm waiting on the call from the police officer who will bring her to the police station in Westwego on the West Bank of New Orleans. He said that if he can get her there, he needs me to come there and pick her up.

Easier said than done.

I just spoke to the state police and they are "fairly certain" that I can get as far as the Westwego police station, but they cautioned that it is not entirely safe to make that trip and there may be problems with people once I'm there. So, I've called a friend of a friend who is from the Westbank (and he's a pretty big dude, too) to ride shotgun with me, both figuratively and literally.

We'll probably leave early tomorrow morning.
posted by ColdChef at 8:10 PM on September 2, 2005

Good luck ColdChef. I know time is running out but you're doing a fantastic job. I'm going to work on getting a fund set up for those MeFi members that could use a little during these horrific next few days/weeks/months/years. We send you our best down there.
posted by fionab at 9:18 PM on September 2, 2005

godspeed, CC. if you can grab a mom or 2 with babies while you're there too, it'd be good.
posted by amberglow at 9:23 PM on September 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

Cold Chef is on the way to pick up my Mom! He has contacted the police officer who is bringing her out of Metairie to his station in Westwego and now, it is all systems go.

I'm shaking--I can't wait to talk to her when she is in his car and safe. I don't know how I'm ever going to thank Officer Johnson or Cold Chef. It's still amazing what people will do for one and other and I can't believe my good fortune in this horrible situation.

I have known Cold Chef since college and he was and still is such an amazing friend--and he and this police officer are saving my mother's life, as far as I'm concerned.

Thank you thank you to all out there!--what a ride.
posted by rachelNOLA at 6:33 AM on September 3, 2005

You know how sometimes when you’re watching shows on TV, they say, “Do Not Try This At Home!”? Well, this is one of those stories.

I got the call from the police officer this morning. He told me that he could bring her to the police station if I could get down there to get her. But then he said that he doubted that I could get that far, since all roads were blocked into Jefferson Parish.

I told him that I had to at least give it a shot.

I left my house at 7:00 this morning and headed down to New Orleans. The trip was wild. Devastation was everywhere. I got stopped five or six times by the police, but when they asked me where I was going, I gave them an abridged version of my story, and they let me pass.

Only once was I afraid that the police officer wasn’t going to let me through. I was literally ten miles from my destination and no civilian cars were being let through. He didn’t want to listen to my story, he just wanted to turn me around. I begged, I pleaded, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried. “Just let me get there and get her and I’ll leave, I swear to god, I’ll turn right around and it will be one less soul for you to worry about.” After about a minute or so, he gave me a disgusted look, but waved me through.

I know what they are going through and it made me feel awful to put him in that position, but I had come too far to be turned back right there.

I quickly made it to the police station. In a matter of minutes, the police officer arrived with Rachel’s mom. She cried, I cried, and I think the police officer got a bit choked up, but I may be wrong. I hugged him, too. Big old bear hug. I’m sure he didn’t expect that, but he was my hero, and he had fulfilled his promise to me and her and Rachel.

Within two minutes, I had her loaded up into my car and we were headed home.

I took her to lunch, where she had her first real meal in five days: a fried oyster po-boy and about four cups of coffee. She was in such amazing spirits. She’s staying tonight at my sister’s house, since my cup runneth over at mine (20 people with three more arriving soon, possibly) and tomorrow, I will put her on a plane to be reunited with her family.

I know this is just one person in an enormous sea of tragedy, but helping her lifted my heart to unimaginable levels. There are a lot more people out there to help, and I’m going to get to them as soon as I can.

I just wanted to bring everyone some closure on this small story. Thank you to everyone involved.
posted by ColdChef at 3:20 PM on September 3, 2005 [31 favorites]

Fantastic news. Well done ColdChef.
posted by peacay at 3:39 PM on September 3, 2005

Wow. You're a good man, ColdChef.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:42 PM on September 3, 2005

My hero is the officer who brought her to safety. He's one hell of a guy who's going to get a HUGE thank-you basket once this all calms down. (And maybe a few more awkward hugs from me.)
posted by ColdChef at 5:01 PM on September 3, 2005

Good for you and the officer. It's great to hear a story like that amid the horrors. Thanks for posting this.
posted by languagehat at 5:32 PM on September 3, 2005

Good show, ColdChef. I'm glad we have people like you around.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:49 PM on September 3, 2005

CC : >
posted by amberglow at 7:08 PM on September 3, 2005

CC, I've said this before, but it's worth repeating: You're a good man. We need more like you.

I'm glad this story has a happy ending.
posted by aine42 at 8:08 PM on September 3, 2005

I haven't been posting here, but wanted to say that I'm so glad this worked out, and that ColdChef, you've been an absolute hero this whole time. I'm so proud to know you even a little bit. And rachelNOLA, I'm so glad your mom's alright.

We all need some good news at a time like this.
posted by livii at 8:34 PM on September 3, 2005

Another vote for CC being a great guy. He gave me a little help today about getting help to a little old lady down there who is in distress.
posted by lackutrol at 10:06 PM on September 3, 2005

Shhhhh! First thing you know, I'm the New Orleans Harriet Tubman.

(seriously, my brother passed your info to the Coast Guard...let's hope that's enough)
posted by ColdChef at 10:16 PM on September 3, 2005

Chef, thanks. I hope somebody can get there. And I hope we can discuss the dramatic rescue over drinks at the Cafe Napoleon or something when this damn thing gets fixed.
posted by lackutrol at 10:22 PM on September 3, 2005

wonderful news, ColdChef - and thanks for giving us all one little bright note, when everything we hear is so soulwrenching.
posted by taz at 11:02 PM on September 3, 2005

This is wonderful news. I have nothing new to add, but Chef, you are way better people than this country deserves.
posted by chicobangs at 1:50 AM on September 4, 2005

What an uplifting story to hear among all the sadness. I think Matt should give Stan Chin's gold star to CC!

We have another LA-based member - atchafalya - who deserves kudos for pitching in on the scene.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:21 AM on September 4, 2005

Metafilter: Shhhhh! First thing you know, I'm the New Orleans Harriet Tubman.

: >

We have lots of members helping out--from those nearby, to those who work as first responders and for organizations who help to those who could just give a little cash.
posted by amberglow at 5:26 AM on September 4, 2005

Don't forget blood donors - we're poor, but we're sincere :-)
posted by tizzie at 7:21 AM on September 4, 2005

Blood? Ick. I ain't drinkin' that!
posted by ColdChef at 8:14 AM on September 4, 2005 [2 favorites]

Oh, man, ColdChef, that is an amazing thing to read this morning. I'm sitting here, reading the paper and sifting through the mounds of photos online, but that story - maybe it's just because we've followed it closely, I'm not sure what - just made me lose it. You are awesome.
posted by fionab at 9:11 AM on September 4, 2005

Hey all, I already emailed Chef but that little old lady I mentioned is now OK. Small bright spot in this whole thing.
posted by lackutrol at 1:03 PM on September 4, 2005

Fuckin' a.
posted by ColdChef at 5:38 PM on September 4, 2005

We have another LA-based member - atchafalya - who deserves kudos for pitching in on the scene.
Dope! It was in an askme thread that I saw the helping member who I mentioned above...with a cajun name too.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:32 PM on September 8, 2005

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