A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

To Go or Not to Go, That is the Question

Hurricane Rita is possibly on her way to visit New Orleans and New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has ordered an evacuation. But, then, he ordered one before Katrina and failed to actually follow the city's emergency plan. Is he going to use these this time (probably not, since they were underwater)?

AP: The call for another evacuation came after repeated warnings from top federal officials, including President Bush, that New Orleans was not safe enough to reopen. Federal officials warned that Tropical Storm Rita _ upgraded to a hurricane Tuesday morning _ could breach the city's weakened levees and swamp New Orleans all over again.

There appeared to be little effort to enforce Mayor Ray Nagin's new evacuation order Tuesday morning, and some National Guard units were withdrawing from the city. The troops have been living tents in the city's Algiers section near a levee that officials fear could break.
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Maj. Arnold Strong of the Louisiana National Guard said Tuesday morning that at this point, the National Guard is not planning to go through the neighborhoods to push people to evacuate. "We've been doing that for three weeks," he said.

He said the Guard is pulling back to the town of Alexandria "so we can go to wherever we need to go" later. He said three inches of rain could cause a levee break that could flood New Orleans again.
Surprise, surprise that the mayor's order isn't being enforced. Does he have any moral authority left?

And this is why National Guard were not stationed around there, in preparation for Katrina. They would all be dead.

Jill Sandars, a 55-year-old contract paralegal and Web site designer who lives in the French Quarter, did not evacuate before or after Katrina but said she may leave this time if New Orleans appears threatened. She said she is tired of the conflicting information from city officials about whether people should come or go. (emphasis added)
That's right, city officials, the ones who are in charge of the city and all its emergencies. Note she does not say "federal officials" giving conflicting information.

Although Nagin backed off his plan to begin readmitting residents to parts of the city, a rift between local and federal officials remained.

On Tuesday, Nagin had harsh words for the federal government's top official in the city, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, who he said "stepped outside his lane by talking directly to the citizens of New Orleans."

"I respect what federal officials are doing down here, but they do not fully comprehend what it's like to lose your home, to lose everything and not know and to be sitting out there for three weeks. So I think it's important for people to come back and at least take a look," Nagin said on NBC's "Today" show. (emphasis added)
"Stepped outside his lane"???? "By talking directly to the citizens of New Orleans"???

Is there some kind of segregation still going on in New Orleans, that doesn't allow the head of FEMA to talk to the citizens?

How can FEMA appropriately respond to the people if FEMA isn't allowed to talk to them?

Does Nagin really think he has the authority to not allow FEMA to talk to NO citizens and vice versa?

And if, as Nagin says, federal officials can't fully comprehend because they haven't lost their homes and everything, shouldn't Nagin, who actually lives there, have had the city better prepared for the hurricane/flood, instead of relying upon the feds who don't live there to do so?

And how are the feds supposed to comprehend how the people feel if Nagin goes around complaining that a FEMA official "stepped out of his lane"?

And once gain, Nagin asks for what he already had:

Nagin ordered residents who slipped back into the still-closed parts of the city to leave immediately. He also urged everyone already settled back into Algiers to be ready to evacuate as early as Wednesday.

The city requested 200 buses to assist in an evacuation. They would start running 48 hours before landfall from the downtown convention center and a stadium in Algiers.
Goodness, he's brilliant.