New Orleans - Looters taking advantage of lax store security in downtown New Orleans have begun trading in their jet skis and bass boats in favor of river barges and other, hi-capacity, shallow-draft watercraft, according to police. One looter interviewed, "Dawayne," commented, "If you ax me, Jet skis is good for getting away from the cops, but you can't haul away the good stuff, like a plasma TV." Canoes and other human-paddled boats are "a dime a dozen," according to KOBF news reporter Sky Mitchell, because, "as Survivor Thailand proved, most land-lubbers can't paddle fifty feet in a straight line. Commented Dawayne, "The only thing them paddle boats is good for rescuin' is peoples."
Boat Salesman Mike Adeal, of Lake Pontchartrain Yacht and Fairy, said sales "took off like Pro-Panel roofing in a tornado" once Hurricane Katrina's winds died down. "Most of my buyers are paying cash. They're not buying the usual accessories - water skis, life jackets, that sort of thing. They want extra fuel tanks, and that's it. A guy will buy a boat, and come back four hours later with it filled with loot asking if he can trade the boat and the loot in for a bigger one. The answer is always "YES" here at Lake Pontchartrain boats."
Acknowledging the difficulty of maneuvering a barge or other broad-beamed vessel on Canal Street, and along the narrow streets of the French Quarter, Jefferson Parish Coast Guard Commander Red "Light" Returning has set up ad-hoc courses on piloting, and tugboat operations. "We've got enough problems without one of these yahoos running a barge full of contraband into one of the few remaining bridges. Reportedly, a "six pack" license could be had in less than 10 hours of instruction, and all tests were made "open book."
Boat manufacturer AMF spokesperson Betty Transom pointed to the fact that "Not a single Boston Whaler" sunk during the entire hurricane." On hastily erected billboards throughout the AMF showed images of a sixteen foot Whaler filled to the brim with loot and no less than seventeen "Martha Stewart class" looters, it's bow underwater, still refusing to sink.
While boat owners may be "making out like bandits" said Parish Sherriff Gil Beausoliel, "if the water keeps rising all of a sudden all those plasma TV's and red-tag Levi's are going to be real worthless. Real soon now, these folks are going to be killing each other over food and water. You can watch a Wendy's commercial on it, but you can't eat a plasma TV."