Hanan Yadin and the Shin Bet
Audubon Place is
a private enclave off St. Charles Avenue
the most elite real estate in the ctiy of New Orleans. Its houses
were built between 1894 and 1927, and the 28 residences represent
a large portion of the
The residents of Audubon Place voted among themselves in 1900 to keep their avenue and enclave private, and so it remains today, hidden mostly from public view off St. Charles Avenue by ornate iron fencing and an arch of wrought iron over the width of the boulevard, the name spelled out in Victorian script. A security hut sits at the entrance to the neighborhood allowing only the privileged and their guests to visit within.
(Photo by: Michael Democker, The Times-Picayune)
While access is limited, the
Thus when it became clear New Orleans would be shut down for weeks or months after the strike of Hurricane Katrina, the residents of Audubon Place decided they wanted security for their private enclave. No one was going to gain access to their little community, trash their homes and steal their possessions.
Contacts were made between the members of the Audubon Place
homeowner representatives and
Blackwater USA, a North Carolina company, supplies some of the most highly trained mercenaries to governments and corporations across the globe. It "services" the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan with independent security contract personnel, and offers airlift services, security services, and crowd control.
Blackwater officials stated the company was in New Orleans to "join the Hurricane Relief Effort." They actually joined the effort in force if published reports by journalists during the time are any indication. Blackwater and other security agents were more than present they were visible everywhere.
As the threat of forced evictions came true, and the police began
confiscating legally owned firearms from residents, the presence of
heavily armed private mercenaries patrolling neighborhoods, securing
corporate buildings, and openly wielding
Interestingly, mere mercenaries, many of whom were freshly returned from hotspots in the Middle East, held no interest for the homeowners of Audubon Place. They had a very specific type of security personnel in mind. They demanded their homes be guarded by Israeli commandos.
Enter security and defensive training operator Hanan Yadin, currently from Houston, Texas. Yadin is a former member of the general security service of Israel known as Shin Bet.
Shin Bet operatives conduct
Yadin's security training company, ISI, Inc., is based in Houston, and trains law enforcement and SWAT personnel in various "dynamic" scenarios, including bus and airplane rescue operations. When the homeowners of Audubon Place specifically demanded Israeli security personnel, Yadin was contacted and asked to get a team together.
Yadin and his people were flown by private jet from Houston to Baton Rouge, and airlifted from Baton Rouge directly into Audubon Place by a Blackwater helicopter.
Once inside the private compound, the Israelis were given one house
to operate from and live in. They set up their base of operations and
They were individually armed with
"My people were highly trained to operate in hostile environments. That fit well with the demand of the situation in New Orleans," Yadin later said.
Because of their presence and
While they occasionally heard gunshots, and once heard what sounded like a gun battle several blocks away, their vigilance resulted in no incidents in Audubon Place.
Police of different agencies stopped frequently and visited with Yadin's
personnel guarding the front gates, but no comment was ever made
about their armament, nor attempt made to confiscate any of their
weapons. Even though police across the city were confiscating what
would become thousands of legally owned firearms from individual
citizens, they would ignore the ubiquitous
Copyright 2007, Gordon Hutchinson & Todd Masson
Excerpted from: Gordon Hutchinson & Todd Masson, The Great New Orleans Gun Grab: Descent into Anarchy, Louisiana Pub. Co., Boutte, LA, 2007, Chapter 9, "Street Stories." Reprinted in accordance with the "fair use" provision of Title 17 U.S.C.