Being that it’s June 1st and I’ve neglected my blog for too long, I’ve decided to attempt completing NaBloPoMo this month. The theme is “heroes,” which should tie in with my dissertation writing about Hurricane Katrina survivor bloggers, right?
To get the ball rolling I thought I would share a story that’s got a few people I know outraged. This story “Will Smith to play Katrina hero John Keller in Sony Pictures release” ran in the New Orleans Times-Picayune the other day and I immediately got a phone call from my friend Rudy who was also on the roof of the American Can Co. apt building during Hurricane Katrina. Like the author of the letter to the editor I’m pasting in below, Rudy is vehemently against the hero-ization of this John Keller. He didn’t save anyone & Will Smith, Hollywood and the world need to know that!
Katrina story turns a tragedy into a cartoon
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Perhaps you have heard of a recent memoir whose central premise was two lovers who kissed through a concentration camp fence, later exposed as a complete fabrication, with actual Holocaust survivors understandably furious.
Ultimately, John Keller, the “hero” of American Can Co., will be exposed as such a character. I wish you would stop perpetuating his story.
For starters: There was no 11 feet of water in the American Can. At its deepest point, in the deepest part of the street outside, the water was perhaps 6 feet deep. Water was only ankle deep at best in the lobby. Which isn’t to say it didn’t suck. But when you exaggerate, all can be called into question. Why not throw in some snakes and alligators?
Mr. Keller claims he saved “244” folks. If you did the research you would find there were maybe 400 people stuck in the building — and that seems generous — which would mean this guy personally saved two-thirds of them. His only impressive feat is getting his yarn so far up the Hollywood food chain.
I was at American Can. I couldn’t have picked this man from a lineup without looking at his picture in the paper. Why? Because while he may have been assisting a handful of people in some wing of the building, the rest of us were doing the same with whoever was within our radius.
I don’t want the horror of my Katrina experience turned into a cartoon. The cartoon of “Col. Keller, the One-Man Calvary, Saves the Day!”
There were many quiet and humble heroes from those times, unlike the boastful and self-aggrandizing Mr. Keller.