Canoe and a gun get duo to safety
By Stephen DeFerrari as told to Jessica Fargen
Friday, September 2, 2005 - Updated: 11:23 AM EST
Stephen DeFerrari, a Dedham native whose sister-in-law lives in Hanover, and his wife, Pam, escaped from their New Orleans home yesterday, brandishing a shotgun, in a canoe with their seven cats. Stephen spoke to the Herald last night after they arrived at a Baton Rouge hotel.
It was so dark last night. Pitch black. That was the scary part.
I was standing on the front porch with a shotgun keeping an eye on things. I could hear people breaking into houses right around the corner. We knew. We knew we had to get out. There was no police presence. The people are just going crazy. There doesn't seem to be any authority at all.
It took a canoe trip of about an hour and a mile long. It started to rain. More water. Just the thing we didn't need. It kind of felt good because we were so hot, so filthy. It felt good to have cool, clean water.
We had to make two trips in the canoe to get the cats and the dogs and the people we were with to get to higher ground. We saw fires and looting going on. If we didn't keep on moving and stay away from some people I feel like we would have been in trouble.
Earlier today, a man came up to me. I think he wanted the canoe. He saw I was armed and gave up.
We happened to pass this mall and people were looting it.
People told us the police went in there so they started shooting at the police. So the police left. They (looters) just set the place on fire. We saw it burning and we saw the fire department not even going near the place because the looters were going nuts.
We made it to dry land. We got into an Explorer rented by one of our friend's daughters. There weren't too many people on the roads in the beginning. As we got closer to Baton Rouge there started to be more people. There are people with their bags, looking lost. It's so eerie and strange. People are just lost. I guess most of them probably lost everything they got.
We are lucky, very lucky. Our house didn't get destroyed. We are still alive. The first thing my wife did after she and her sisters hugged and cried at the hotel, she took a shower. I'm about to do the same.