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As thousands of New Orleans residents -- the vast majority of them poor and black -- waited for days in squalid and nightmarish conditions for rescue, authorities prioritized tourists and hotel guests for evacuation.
With no electricity, plumbing, food or water, crowds had been forced to fend for themselves against hunger, thirst, sickness and violence.
"How does this work?" asked Howard Blue, who had been waiting in line to evacuate, the Associated Press reported Friday night. "They [are] clean, they are dry, they get out ahead of us?" According to the AP, National Guard soldiers prevented Blue and others from boarding buses while they assisted the "well-dressed" tourists with their bags and whisked them out of town.
In a press release, Hyatt confirmed that guest who had remained there during and after the hurricane had been relatively well provided for. "The approximately 900 guests that remained on the premises following Katrina's powerful blow -- primarily hotel staff and their families, officials, and those in emergency-related roles -- were safely relocated to the hotel's well-sheltered ballroom, exhibit hall areas and serviceable guest rooms where they were kept comfortable following the hurricane," reads the release. "A convoy of food and supplies provided by Hyatt hotels in Atlanta and Houston arrived at Hyatt Regency New Orleans on Wednesday of this week."
Food and supplies did not arrive at the Superdome until Friday night.