http://dolinar.com/column/politics/superdome.html Inside (and outside) the Superdome: What went right By Lou Dolinar Remember the dozens, maybe hundreds of rapes, murders, stabbings and deaths from official neglect at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina? The ones that never happened, as even the national media later admitted? Sure, we all remember the original reporting, if not the back-pedaling. Here's another one: Do you remember the dramatic TV footage of National Guard helicopter landings at the Superdome, as soon as Katrina passed, to drop off tens of thousands saved from certain death? The corpsmen running, in an echo of M*A*S*H, with stretchers to carry the survivors to ambulances and the medical center? About how the operation, which also included Coast Guard, regular military units, and local first responders, continued for more than a week? Me neither. Except that it did happen, and got at best an occasional parenthetical mention in the national media. The National Guard had its headquarters for Katrina, not just a few peacekeeping troops, in what the media was portraying as the pit of Hell. Hell was one of the safest place to be in New Orleans, smelly as it was. The situation was always under control, not surprisingly because the people in control were always there. SNIP Still, by focusing on the part of the glass that was half-empty, the national media imposed a near total blackout on the nerve center of what may have been the largest, most successful aerial search and rescue operation in history. SNIP Most of the national media also neglected to mention the seven babies that National Guard physicians delivered, something Maj. Ed Bush said he pointed out repeatedly. Overall, the false claims of up to 200 dead at the Dome, including murder victims, had clueless FEMA officials showing up at the end of the week with a refrigerated 18-wheeler to claim the stacks of bodies. In all this time, Dressler said “We didn't see a single camera crew or reporter on the scene. Maybe someone was there with a cell phone or a digital camera but I didn't see anyone.” This was in the headquarters area. Maj. Ed Bush, meanwhile, did start seeing reporters on Tuesday and Wednesday, but inside the Dome. Most were interested in confirming the stacks of bodies in the freezers, interviews with rape victims, he said, and other mayhem that never happened. He pitched the rescue angle and no one was interested. A few reporters and film crews did hitch rides on helicopters, came back, and produced stories of people stuck on rooftops, not about rescues, he said. SNIP The biggest story everyone missed was that the guys in charge--and you're entitled to your own political persuasion here--weren't out-of-touch FEMA bureaucrats, or a president somewhere fund-raising, or a paralyzed governor in Baton Rouge, or mayor hanging out with his crew at a posh hotel a block away. Except for the Coast Guard's brilliant performance, which saved up to 30,000 lives, most of the rescue operation was run by local National Guard middle management, combat tested in Iraq, accustomed to hardship, intimately familiar with the City (In fact, as I previously reported, Guard members rescued other Guard members, who then reported for flight duty.) The junior officers munched the same vile but adequate rations as everyone else at the Dome. They were struggling to catch a few winks when they could in the garage level under the LZ, with concrete chips raining down on them when the Chinooks landed and rattled the decking.