Help Wanted Listings

Times Staff Writers

Every few minutes, a new plea for help arrived.

The sister of a doctor trapped in a hospital said patients were on the verge of dying.

A frantic woman stranded in a Holiday Inn said authorities couldn’t rescue her because looters prowled the area.

And a baseball executive asked whether anyone could help find a 1950s Boston Red Sox ace who had gone missing during Hurricane Katrina.


Hundreds in all, they are posted at a website affiliated with the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper. They are desperate real-time calls by family or friends of people stranded across the submerged city, looking for someone-- anyone -- to respond.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York City, anxious family and friends posted fliers of the missing on store windows and walls, and the carts of the homeless. These New Orleans notices are the 2005 equivalent, Maydays sent out to the world about situations that were becoming more dire by the minute.

Large numbers of the pleas were answered, some with dramatic rescues. Other postings on the website stand as mute testimony to the frustrating and deadly delays in getting help to those who needed it.

Still others display uncommon generosity.

One woman posted a message saying “Car Available Uptown,” which gave its location and where to find the key.

The Los Angeles Times culled the website over the weekend for the most compelling stories and tried to follow up on their outcomes.

What follows are flood zone dispatches:


Begging for Baptist Hospital!!!

From: Rachelle King

Doctors, patients and staff are stranded at Baptist Hospital (extended campus of Memorial Hospital). My brother, Dr. Bryant King, is stranded there and has been sending occasional text messages to let us know the situation. Yesterday, he explained that management at the hospital decided to selectively withhold food and water from patients. Doctors are being forced to decide who gets to live and who will starve to death. The hospital is surrounded by 8 feet of floodwater; There is no more electricity, food or water. Windows are broken out and people are starving. There has been very little press about this hospital, but conditions are deplorable and they need to be evacuated. My brother asked that we please get them out of there.

Update: Evacuations have taken place at the hospital, but King has not heard whether her brother left. He may have stayed behind, she said. “That’s the kind of doctor he is.”


SOS My aunt needs someone to get her.

From: David Mattio

I am in Michigan but my aunt (Lee Livermore) is in an apartment in N.O. She is a diabetic and cannot walk very well.... She will die if no one gets her. I tried calling all kinds of emergency people but cannot get through. Please help her. Her phone is still working.

Update: Reached Sunday in Michigan, Mattio said that he received a telephone message from a Coast Guard helicopter pilot that his aunt had been rescued, but he still had been unable to locate her to verify that she was indeed safe.


Missing and disabled at 2113 Munster in Meraux

From: Pam Gilchrist Necasie

[When] I last spoke to my brother, they had water coming into their home from the roof vents. Next call, they had water rapidly rising from the ground up. My father is disabled and 65 years old. He has long black hair, usually in a ponytail, missing front teeth. He is diabetic, has high blood pressure and other health issues.

Update: On Sunday, Necasie finally heard from her father, who said he had been airlifted from the roof of his home last Monday along with Necasie’s brother and her brother’s girlfriend. They spent five days in the New Orleans Superdome. When her father became sick, he was flown to a hospital in Tennessee. “He told me they flew in Al Gore’s private plane, which was donated for the evacuation,” Necasie said. “He told me they were dirty, like they just walked out of a Tarzan movie. I’m crying now. I just want to hold my dad.”


Teacher stranded, Gretna

From: Holly Hatten

My friend, Judy Harper, 5th-grade teacher ... is stranded [at an apartment building] at 1784 Carol Sue Ave. She had phone service until Thursday morning. She said there were eight people there total, including three children (one of whom is 3 months old). She said they siphoned all available gasoline to fuel a generator hooked to a freezer. They were draining apartment hot water heaters for drinking water.... They said mass looting is constant in the area and I fear for my friend Judy’s life.

Update: Hatten said Sunday she received a call from Harper, who had fled the apartment building with several others on foot after fearing an attack from armed looters who prowled the street. They flagged down a neighbor with gas in his car and they all fled the city.


Car available uptown

From: Anne Rolfes

Hello to anyone and everyone -- I don’t know if my car is underwater, but since it’s uptown there’s a good chance it isn’t. It is unlocked with a key under the mat -- a red Corolla at 507 Cherokee St. and St. Charles. It’s in a driveway. If anyone needs it to get out, please go there!! There is a trunk in the back seat -- throw it out and fit as many people as you can! The car has a spare on it, so if you make it to the highway, don’t go too fast. Anne.

Update: As far as anyone knows, the car is still there.


9 elderly ladies in uptown New Orleans need help

From: Diane Velasquez

Send someone please to rescue nine elderly ladies who stayed through the hurricane. They are almost out of water and crackers. They are located at 3615 St. Charles Ave.

Update: Calls to Velasquez on Sunday reached only an answering machine.


Looking for Lou Brady of the Brady Bunch

From: Denise Hafford

My retired dad is an avid golfer and played daily at City Park with a group of guys who have more laughs together than can be described. One of the golfers is Lou Brady, who chose to stay behind (as far as we know). This group of guys calls themselves the Brady Bunch after Lou, so we have to find Lou! If Lou, his family or any other members of the Brady Bunch see this, please send me an e-mail so I can let Dad know you are OK.

Update: Hafford said Sunday that the golfer had been found, “but we’re still looking for one other member of the Brady Bunch. We’ll keep looking.”


Trapped & need help at St. Claude and Elysian Fields

From: Paschaj Jerry

My family is on St.Claude & Elysian Fields. Need food & water. PLEASE HELP THEM! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! Diane & Crawford Johnson. Please help them get to higher grounds & out of New Orleans. Your help is much appreciated! Thank you!

Update: Jerry received a call from her parents Sunday morning. They told her they had arrived safely in Little Rock, Ark., and were headed on to Atlanta to stay with her sister. The father had said he walked 20 miles over three days to get to the Superdome.


UNO student missing

From: Susan Montez

Cody Siragusa, a 19-year-old freshman attending the University of New Orleans as a music student, was somehow overlooked in the school’s total evacuation before Katrina achieved landfall. He spent Sunday night entirely alone on the 7th floor of his empty dorm building, Bienville Hall at 2000 Lake Shore Dr., which is located in a very hard to reach, flooded area of Orleans Parish. As frightening as this experience must have been for him, according to his father, who had a brief, 5-minute cellphone communication on Monday morning, he was an angel of mercy to a dozen not-so-lucky, frightened and disparate citizens, along with several animals he also found in distress. He and another young man in an oar-less rowboat plucked all from the water and pulled them to the relative safety of his building on the campus, where he set up an impromptu refugee camp by providing shelter and sharing what meager food and water he had. He told his dad he eventually decided to break into the vending machines for sustenance. That was Monday, and he has not been heard from since.

Update: Montez got an e-mail from Siragusa’s mother Saturday saying her son had been rescued by the Coast Guard and she was buying an airline ticket to bring him home to Glendale.


Rescue needed in Gentilly

From: Christine Reed

My mother Mary Benjamin and brother Sterling Benjamin are trapped inside of their home. They live at 4117 Mirabeau Ave. Mirabeau dead-ends, and the house is at the end of the dead-end right next to the seminary. Please send help to get them out of there!

Update: Reed said her mother refused to leave because she survived Hurricane Betsy in 1965. She has not heard from her since last Monday. Her brother is mentally handicapped. A neighbor said there was up to 15 feet of water surrounding the homes in the area.


Somebody save my parents

From: Josh Cooley

My parents are stuck at 241 Harding St. in Jefferson, La. Could somebody get them out of the city? They are running out of food and water!

Update: Cooley heard from his parents Saturday morning. They said they had abandoned their home and were trying to flee the city. Then the phone cut out.



From: Norma Bailey

We are trying to get help to my father-in-law to see if he is still alive. We tried the Red Cross. We tried the VA, he is a vet and he is [73] years old and on oxygen and we don’t know if he is still alive. He needs medical attention but he has no phone or car. Can someone please help us? Would you please pass this information on to someone that can get him to a hospital please.

Update: Bailey said she reached emergency personnel Saturday, and they promised they would go to her father-in-law’s address. She had not heard by Sunday whether he had been rescued.


‘Sax King,’ elderly

mother trapped

From: Myles Tangedal

“Tenor Sax King of New Orleans” Johnny Pennino and his elderly mother are still waiting for rescue at 924 N. Rocheblave St. He left a message for help on Friday afternoon. We gave his address [to authorities] Wednesday a.m and again yesterday, but still no help. It is a shame that people are still without help after all these days.

Update: Tangedal said Saturday that Pennino and his mother called his home in Toronto from the New Orleans airport to say they had been rescued.


Searching for former Red Sox pitcher

From: Dick Bresciani

I am a VP of the Boston Red Sox. One of our ex-great people and pitchers, Mel Parnell, lives at 700 Turquoise St. We are unable to reach him by phone and are concerned. Is there any way you can contact him for us? This is my direct line. Thank you.

Update: Bresciani said Saturday that Parnell and his family had turned up safe in Atlanta and were staying with friends.


Child with Down syndrome stranded

From: David Decuir

Child with Down syndrome stranded @ 1505 Gov. Nicholls St. N.O. There is also a 73-year-old woman who needs medical attention. The phone is still working in the house. Please help them now. God Bless.

Update: Connie Decuir said Sunday that her mother and seven others, including the child with Down syndrome, were rescued by boat Saturday by the Coast Guard and the Red Cross. “The worst times were the nights,” Decuir said. “They could hear the looters outside. They could hear the gunshots.”


Trapped in Holiday Inn

on Westbank

From: Shauntell Alexander

We are trapped in the Holiday Inn on the Westbank of Lafayette exit. We were told that we would not be rescued from this location due to the damage done on the Westbank by looters. This is not us. There are elderly people and small babies. We are in desperate need of food and water and the conditions are unsanitary. Please help us. You are our only hope.

Update: Alexander’s phone was out of order Sunday.


Adopt a family

From: Bailey Tyler

Single professional female has room in my home for single female parent with small children in Tyler, Texas.

Update: Reached Saturday, Tyler said she had received numerous responses to her offer -- not from evacuees, but from others offering to take them in. “They’re all telling me to send on the names of people I can’t accommodate,” said the pharmacist. “There’s a real groundswell of community here.”


Roger Dickerson, concert pianist missing

From: Tina Dixon

World-renowned concert pianist, Roger Donald Dickerson Sr., has been missing since Monday afternoon.

Update: Dixon said Sunday that her uncle called from San Antonio. He had been evacuated to the Superdome, “where he endured all that madness -- no food and no water.” She said he is devastated over leaving behind his prized baby grand piano: “But based on what he’s gone through, he values life more than that piano.”


People are still in the French Quarter

From: Errol Barrois

I have a friend who along with a group of about a dozen others are still holed up in the French Quarter, inside [or near] the Chateau Motor Hotel. They do have shelter and are all in relatively good health for now, but they have a very limited supply of food and water. They are all afraid to move to the buses at the Superdome or Convention Center.

Update: Barrois said Saturday that his friend had made it to safety. After posting his message he received numerous responses, one from a woman with a list of extensions to the Louisiana State Police. The Los Angeles resident used the list to call authorities, who were able to rescue his friend.