"Lethal force is something that we would try to avoid at all costs," he explained. "We are here to help the people of Louisiana, not to inflict damage on them. The only reason we come armed is for self protection, and if it is necessary to have arms and ammunition to preserve a safe and secure environment down here, then we have that equipment on hand, but we do not want to use it."
Federal officials say some 30,000 soldiers are being deployed in New Orleans and other battered areas along the Gulf coast. On Thursday, 300 National Guard soldiers with combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan arrived here from Arkansas and, on Friday, a contingent of 1,000 National Guardsmen from Puerto Rico arrived on scene.