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From hell to paradise – Jude Acers found

9/12/2005 – For many days he was missing, the famous chess teacher whose workplace was a sidewalk in the French Quarter of New Orleans. After Katrina hit, friends and fans were deeply worried for his safety. A week later Jude reported back from a refugee center in Tennessee, shaken but alive. Here is his harrowing tale.
 

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.

Jude Acers

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