Some more information both heroic and tragic from Charmaine Neville, daughter of Charles Neville and leader of her own band for about 20 years, and one of my favorite NOLA musicians.
I first heard of her story from an email of a friend who had heard it secondhand from one of Charmaine's oldest and best friends, Reggie Houston. Later, I saw Harry Connick Jr. relay the story he heard from her father.
I learned more details from searching Google News recently, there's an interview with her by the Baton Rouge newspaper (link below).
I spoke to my friend Reggie Houston [who used to play in Charmaine's band]. Charmaine told Reggie that she stole an RTA bus, picked up folks from the 9th Ward and drove as far as she could till the gas ran out. She got picked up by friends, and is ok.
From CNN:Also angry was the singer-actor Harry Connick Jr., who hails from New Orleans. He visited the city and praised his friend, the singer Charmaine Neville, who commandeered an abandoned city bus to help evacuate refugees. Relaying the story to Larry King, he said, "And I'm thinking, if Charmaine Neville can get on a bus and drive a bus out with sick people, you know, well, we can't get a barge to park back up on the Mississippi behind the convention center and get these people out?"
Saturday afternoon, Neville was cut, bruised and a little despondent. Among the horrible things she'd seen last week, she said, was the rape of old women, girls and boys.
"Some people hate themselves, so they hate everybody else. Those people were not true New Orleanians," she said.
But Neville saw heroes, too. "There are many, many heroes that have come out this. People talking about what I did. I didn't do nothing. Everybody did something."
Neville said that she, too, was raped during those chaotic days. "What he took from me was nothing, because he can't take my spirit, he can't take my soul. My soul is New Orleans."