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Mixed emotions as aid reaches New Orleans

NBC News has managed to resupply its personnel in New Orleans, so Correspondent Carl Quintanilla wondered,  “Where’s the help that the people all around us need?”

We’ve camped out here for days, and we’ve gotten supplies delivered. It made us wonder: “Where’s the help that the people all around us need?” 

So we left town to find it.

The roads were passable in 10 minutes.

We even saw dogs trying to get out. We tried to leave water for one pooch, but the dog was in shock and wouldn’t drink.

But then, heading the other way, we saw a convoy of semi-trucks. The contents? Water. And there were buses — what looked like a hundred of them.

Ruben Cavadas is a bus driver from Orlando, Fla. He got the call Thursday.

“I’ve never seen something like this; never in my life,” he says.

By 11 a.m., the buses had parked downtown and begun loading refugees for Dallas, including the handicapped and the frustrated.

“Everybody live here from paycheck to paycheck,” one man says. “We don't have the money to get out of town like they want us to.”

There was a crush to be first in line.

“People had, like, metal sticks ready to beat people with,” says one woman.

Window after window, nobody knew where they were headed. And tempers are short.

We asked a three-star general just what has taken so long.

“This is a disaster,” says Lt. Gen. Russel Honore. “This isn't something somebody can control. We ain't stuck on stupid.”

Military police have secured the Superdome, and they’ve heard the Convention Center needs protection. They’re nervous.

One bus driver was concerned.

“It could turn really easy,” he told us. “If they don't get 'em what they promised, it's going to turn.”

These evacuees have seen large-scale security for days. There were concerns they’d become a mob or attack supplies. But as we looked at them, we saw people just sitting, waiting for a ride that’s taken too long to come.

The local police are glad to see support of any kind. But the chief, even delivering the good news about food and water, was crying to our cameras.

“I didn't know where my daughters were at for two days and we endured,” says New Orleans' Superintendent of Police Edwin P. Compass III. “I am so tired of this, but it's finally almost over. That's it. I don't want to talk no more.”

The whole city seems unsure whether to cry or celebrate, knowing full well this is just the end of the beginning.