DeGersdorff also questioned Williams’s claim about getting dysentery, noting that the hotel set up bleach stations to prevent contamination and that, by chance, she had a group of infectious disease doctors staying in the hotel who she said would have been alerted if any cases of the disease appeared.
Also, a former top New Orleans health official told the New Orleans Advocate that there were no dysentery outbreaks during the storm.
In Williams’s telling, the pathos of the scene extended to his crew’s access to food. “We were desperate for food and drink. But not like the people we were seeing in the streets,” he said in the documentary “In His Own Words: Brian Williams on Hurricane Katrina.”
“I remember seeing a box of Slim Jims and thinking, ‘That’s better than any restaurant meal right now. That’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen,’ ” he said.
However, there was abundant food at the Ritz-Carlton, according to DeGersdorff. The hotel was stocked for a fully booked weekend, and it set out buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners each day.