From hell to paradise – Jude Acers found
By Michael Ciamarra
American chess master Jude Acers has been found and is safe in Greenville,
Tennessee. Jude was evacuated this past Friday and arrived in Tennessee on
Saturday. He posted his story of nine days of survival until he was evacuated
from New Orleans on a survivors website. The local newspaper in Greenville
apprised us of Jude’s arrival and that he is settled in for the time
being. A reporter told me that Jude is a celebrity in Greenville already! As
Jude’s email was literally overwhelmed with inquiries he posted this
publicly for all to know that he made it from “Hell to Paradise.”
We are thankful for the many email inquiries from around the world about Jude.
We know Jude will be back playing and teaching chess very soon!
Jude Acers' message
It was wild west, folks. I have learned a new meaning to the term "rock
and roll", courtesy of this hurricane. From hell to paradise.
I was evacuated to the terrific 4H camp refugee center in Greenville, Tennessee,
after nine days of gunshots all over the place. Looting, helicopters, total
darkness, candles, little food, water, dying radio batteries. I will never
in my life take food and water for granted again. I drained the hot water heater
of of its stored water – this saved me. I ran the night guantlet to a
military kitchen to get rations in the night for my 80 year old landlord, who
would not leave the city without his dog. I had guns on me twice and was frisked,
stripped by chilling but very professional military patrols. Gun fire all over
the place, two oil drums blew up across the river from my 4th floor balcony.
In better times: Jude at his "Gazebo" sidewalk terracein the
French Quarter of New Orleans
I am very, very lucky to be alive, as I could not get down to lower floors
as was the plan, with the approach of the storm. The winds were far too strong
and my outer stairway was a deathtrap. I stayed put and lived. Just a roll
of the dice that I lived.
I worked three days in the CNN featured Eddie Horner food kitchen. He really
is a miracle organizer, believe me, and stops at nothing to feed people. I
am the guy in the red beret in some CNN footage, hauling ice and putting soft
drinks and water into the chests, washing many a pot and pan, opening beans.
Huge trucks poured in and I just used the pop top cans for food preparation.
One horror I witnessed: people firing at military helicopters. Why? One thing
not on the news: young turk Chinese and Vietnamese store owner famillies were
using automatic rifles, hidding in their stores and using them aplenty, at
least as warning shots. Tycoon James McCain of Katy, Texas, and Big John Ormins
of Indiana are now on my case, and with those guys the rest is going to be
history. Thanks to everyone for their concern.