No good deed goes unpunished
By Steve Ritea
A Broadmoor man who said he rescued more than 200 residents after commandeering a boat during the flood after Hurricane Katrina is being sued by the boat’s owner for taking it “without receiving permission.”
Mark Morice, who by the Wednesday after the storm said he “couldn’t get more than a block or two without people screaming to me for help,” took the boat “out of necessity. . . . I did it for my neighbors.”
Among them was Irving Gordon, a 93-year-old dialysis patient who Morice carried from his flooded home, placed in the boat and rescued from distress.
“I don’t know where we would be today if it weren’t for him,” Molly Gordon, Gordon’s wife of 65 years, said Friday.
The lawsuit contends that boat owner John M. Lyons Jr. suffered his own distress, in the form of “grief, mental anguish, embarrassment and suffering . . . due to the removal of the boat,” as well as its replacement costs.
E. Ronald Mills, Lyons’ Metairie lawyer, who filed the suit in 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish earlier this month, on Friday accused Morice of “hubris.”
Morice made no attempt to return the boat, Mills said, and it remains missing.
‘Living in fear’
The Friday after the storm, Morice said, he left the city briefly to recover from a week of trolling the city’s streets, “living in fear and sleeping with a shotgun.” That day, after delivering 15 people to dry ground on Claiborne Avenue near the Orleans-Jefferson parish line, Morice said he parked the boat there and left it for other rescuers to use. Given the sum-of-all-fears atmosphere at the time, returning the boat “was the farthest thing from my mind,” he said.
Molly Gordon said she was baffled by the lawsuit.