He Wouldn't Leave His Dog Behind
Ron Claiborne, New Orleans
Sept. 4, 2005

The National Guard Urban Rescue teams and police were out in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood looking for survivors still trapped inside their homes… and the bodies of those who couldn't, or wouldn't, leave.

There is a stench in the air. It is the smell of natural gas still leaking in this area, gasoline mixed in with the flood waters, and just a foul odor of the toxic brew that is the flood waters, which are up to two or three feet in this neighborhood. This was by far the hardest hit area in all of New Orleans.

While we were out, we saw a Coast Guard helicopter drop a rescuer onto the roof of a two-story brick apartment house. He chopped a hole to try to reach the man inside, but then decided it was too risky an operation. He asked us if we could take that man on our boat instead.

We brought our boat around to the rear entrance, and the man, Patrick Gentry, climbed aboard with a dog in his knapsack. He said he'd been inside his home — unable to leave — for the past six days.

"I have been standing on the roof waving white flags and white towels. I have seen helicopters but I don't think they have seen me," he said.

Gentry said National Guard troops came by on Monday during the storm and offered to evacuate him and his wife. But they wouldn't take Spikey, his puppy. His wife left, but he and Spikey rode out the storm together.

He said a downstairs neighbor also stayed — and drowned.

Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2005 @ 05:30 CDT


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