5 years later, we look at Katrina and gas gouging

By Fred Childers – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – There were many side effects to hurricane Katrina's damage, we quickly realized while covering it that gas was one of them.

"Price gouging," said one woman while sitting in her car waiting to pump gas.

Before Katrina's rains had even cleared in Laplace, her effects were felt at the pump.

"When you need it, you need it," said another woman while pumping gas into several gas cans.

And it wasn't long after Katrina made landfall that everybody wanted it.

While working on another story, we heard complaints of a nearby gas station charging $5.50 a gallon, when we arrived at the gas station, it had been changed to $3.09.

We asked the attendant who was standing at the customer window why the price had been so high, then changed again. She said she didn't know, so we asked for a manager. The attendant said that she wasn't available.

The heat combined with the desperation seemed to raised the level of tension several notches.

One woman chimed in on our questioning and yelled "Who changed the price!"

While interviewing evacuees who were pumping gas, another evacuee appeared to misinterpret our presence as an impediment to the flow of gas.

"Y'all finished pumping gas?" he asked. " No, we're pumping baby! We ain't going to hold up traffic baby, as soon as we pump this gas we're out of here; you ain't got to move us along," responded the men.

Hoping to avoid being between an angry mob, and it's gas, we moved along.

But the issue wasn't over.

Weeks later, the state's authorities would go after gas stations all over the state for price gouging.

©2010 KSLA-TV. All rights reserved.