This has been making the rounds, so I thought I would mention it, too.
Late Sunday morning, 28 August 2005, the Associated Press reported on a press conference given by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco in which Nagin called for a mandatory evacuation of the city.
The day before, Interstate 10 had been converted into a one-way northbound escape route for the entire city, but it was already a parking lot when the mayor and governor went before the cameras. My emphases:
Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding.Judging from that, I don't think President Bush shirked his duties in the precuationary stages. But he surely deserves to be criticized for his later inaction. I'm convinced of that already.
"There doesn't seem to be any relief in sight," Blanco said.
"We are facing a storm that most of us have long feared," Nagin said.Sounds like Nagin was right on about a number of things, but still didn't seem to make much of an effort to move people from the southeastern areas of the city northward on the buses available. Even if all they could do was dump people off in higher elevations, they should have at least made some effort.
The storm surge most likely could topple the city's levee system, which protect it from surrounding waters of Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi River and marshes, the mayor said. The bowl-shaped city must pump water out during normal times, and the hurricane threatened pump power.
Previous hurricanes evacuations in New Orleans were always voluntary, because so many people don't have the means of getting out. Some are too poor and there is always a French Quarter full of tourists who get caught.
"This is a once in a lifetime event," the mayor said. "The city of New Orleans has never seen a hurricane of this magnitude hit it directly," the mayor said.
He told those who had to move to the Superdome to come with enough food for several days and with blankets. He said it will be a very uncomfortable place and encouraged everybody who could to get out.
And now I hear that there may be thousands of dead in the outlying areas of New Orleans. Is that even possible? Jesus.