Hurricane Katrina washed away everything “stable and prosaic” in the life of Patrick Hartman, an Irish American New Orleans police officer, says the Los Angeles Times. Hartman, 36, prevailed, “but in a way that left him feeling brittle and unmoored. In many ways, his trials were the trials of an entire city: His home was flooded. He was submerged in fetid floodwaters. He was rescued. He rescued others. He was left bereft and homeless, wearing the same fouled clothing for days.”
The Times tells the story of Hartman’s living a “parallel life” as a flood victim and working cop. Hartman’s police station was flooded. He had no police cruiser, no radio, no uniform. Officers hot-wired cars and boats, stole airport shuttle vans and took food and water from looted stores, he said. He was fired on by snipers, even as he rescued people from rooftops. He was involved in the biggest single police action of the flood – the killing of five alleged snipers in crime-ridden New Orleans East.