Whatever Floats Your Boat
Bayou Boat, River Road, Metairie 10/2005
Boat in Gas Station, New Orleans 10/2005
Carmalita , Lower 9th Ward , New Orleans 8/2006
Boat owner drops lawsuit
Man took it to rescue victims of Katrina
Friday, September 08, 2006
By Leslie Williams
John Lyons Jr. has decided not to pursue his lawsuit against a Broadmoor man who said he rescued more than 200 residents from post-Katrina floodwaters after commandeering Lyons' boat.
On Tuesday, Lyons' attorney, E. Ronald Mills, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit seeking payment for direct and indirect costs "attributable to the actual conversion of the boat and motor," as well as for "grief, mental anguish, embarrassment and suffering of the petitioner due to the removal of the boat and motor."
In a written statement, Lyons referenced the "media frenzy" surrounding the lawsuit against Mark Morice and explained that the turnabout will allow Lyons "to redirect my energy back to rebuilding my home and my neighborhood."
"The big issue here is not the monetary damages that I incurred from the loss of the boat," he wrote. "It is about holding people responsible for their actions.
"Does a natural disaster give an individual the right to break into private property, take possessions of others, not return them and then have no responsibility to the rightful owner? If this becomes a precedent, then we, the citizens, will ultimately pay the price."
Lyons said he too was a victim of Hurricane Katrina and that he evacuated 10 people from a flooded home, including several elderly women and a young child.
"To complete this evacuation, I borrowed a pirogue and personally paddled these people eight blocks through fallen trees to dry ground. After numerous trips back and forth, when everyone was out and safe, I waded back through chest-deep floodwater to return the pirogue to the owner's home."
Morice welcomed Lyons' change of heart.
"I feel relieved," Morice said Thursday. "I'm sorry he lost his boat, but I felt blessed that it was available to me when I needed it."
Morice said he didn't return the boat when he could no longer use it because he turned it over to others "at the water's edge, so they could go save more lives."
Morice, who said he never saw the 18-foot Fiberglas T-hull boat again, said he later told Lyons' wife that he took their boat and explained why. Lyons said Thursday that Morice's encounter with his wife was accidental, and he did not purposefully seek out his wife to explain why he had taken their boat.
"I felt horrible when I was taking the boat," Morice said, "but I realized I had to have it to save lives."
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The Times Picayune 9/9/2006
photographs by William Greiner
all reproduction Rights reserved