Hotel Manager Disputes Key Hurricane Katrina Details Told By Brian Williams

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The hotel manager for the Ritz Carlton at which Brian Williams stayed while covering Hurricane Katrina recently cast doubt on some of the stories he told about his time in New Orleans after the storm.

Some of Williams statements about what he witnessed in New Orleans were called into question after the NBC News anchor admitted last week to telling a bogus story about his coverage of the Iraq War.

During a 2006 interview, Williams said that he saw a dead body float past his hotel in the French Quarter.

However, according to hotel manager Myra DeGersdorff, there was not much flooding near her hotel in the French Quarter, making it unlikely that the newsman saw a floating body.

“Maybe he was out there, and it wasn’t impossible he could have encountered a body, but I don’t think it was in the French Quarter,” DeGersdorff told the Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday.

“I can tell you that at no time did any of my people report any sightings of any bodies,” she added. “I witnessed no bodies floating.”

DeGersdorff, who the Post said won a company award for her work running the hotel during the storm, also cast doubt on comments Williams made during a 2014 interview. Williams said the hotel was “overrun with gangs,” which she indicated was an exaggeration.

“There absolutely was looting in the French Quarter,” she told the Post. “But I wouldn’t say they were gangs. … They were primarily individual looters or two or three buddies attempting to break into camera stores; it was unpleasant.”

DeGersdorff said that one or two looters did once “breach a door,” but were quickly chased out.

She also addressed Williams’ claim that he “became very sick with dysentery” after swallowing some flood water.

DeGersdorff told the newspaper she doesn’t recall any of her guests coming down with the infection.

The hotel manager said that Williams may have “misremembered.”

“I’m not going to judge him, because it was such an unpleasant week and there were times to be concerned,” she told the newspaper. “And when there is that kind of concern, you can misremember.”

But she maintained that the Ritz Carlton was safe, well-stocked with medicine, and guarded by numerous police officers.

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