The Digital Journalist
© Ted Jackson/The New Orleans Times Picayune
SHOOT FIRST Graffiti appeared around town warning looters that the rules of the Wild West were in force, but looting and suspicious fires continued. It was reported that the looters set fire to the Oakwood Mall in Gretna. The riverfront warehouse and A.J.'s Produce on Chartres Street in the Bywater were completely destroyed by fire. Before the fire, the security guard was giving away the fresh produce to whoever wanted it. One evening I was mistaken for a looter. A retired cop intent on protecting his neighborhood leveled a shotgun to my head. "On the ground!" he demanded. Fellow photographer David Grunfeld and I quickly tried to explain that we had broken into his neighbor's house with permission from the owner for a place to sleep. We weren't winning his confidence or calming his antsy trigger finger until David made the connection. "Are you Al? Meg told us we might meet you," he said. Within seconds, Al was offering us food and drink, but few apologies. Later his wife confided with me that local deputies were telling residents to shoot looters without questions and dump them in the canals. I thanked Al for asking questions first.