Monday, September 12, 2005

Now is the time to play the blame game!

With regret, I point the dreaded finger of blame at New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, for waiting until a Category 4 hurricane was bearing down on his city to address a legal issue that should have been addressed way the hell before hurricane season:

A computer model run by the LSU Hurricane Center late Saturday confirmed
that. It indicated the metropolitan area was poised to see a repeat of Betsy's
flooding, or worse, with storm surge of as much as 16 feet moving up the
Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and topping levees in Chalmette and eastern New
Orleans, and pushing water into the 9th Ward and parts of Mid-City. High water
flowing from Lake Pontchartrain through St. Charles Parish also would flood over
levees into Kenner, according to the model.

Also flooded would be much of the north shore below Interstate 12,
including Slidell, Madisonville, Mandeville and Lacombe, according to the model.

And the model doesn't take into account the 5- to 10-foot waves that would
be on top of the surge, which could top levees all along the south shore of the

On Saturday at 7 p.m., the Hurricane Center placed the storm 360 miles
southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with winds of 115 mph. The
forecast projected the storm sweeping directly over the city.

The Hurricane Center posted a hurricane warning from Morgan City to the
Alabmama-Florida line.

President Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, authorizing
federal emergency management officials to release federal aid and coordinate
disaster relief efforts.

By mid-afternoon, officials in Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles,
Lafourche, Terrebonne and Jefferson parishes had called for voluntary or
mandatory evacuations.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin followed at 5 p.m., issuing a voluntary

Nagin said late Saturday that he's having his legal staff look into
whether he can order a mandatory evacuation of the city, a step he's been
hesitant to do because of potential liability on the part of the city for
closing hotels and other businesses.

Unbelievable, and inexcusable, not to have "looked into" that earlier, and to be so worried about being sued by hotels for loss of business that you would risk the loss of many lives by failing to issue a mandatory evacuation order.

For that matter, why didn't the Governor didn't order a mandatory evacuation? In South Carolina, such orders come from the governor's office. Maybe it's different in Louisiana.

Someone else needs to have his or her eye poked out with the finger of blame: The fucking bureaucrat(s) who decided that the Red Cross should not be allowed to enter New Orleans to deliver desperately needed aid after the hurricane because this might encourage people not to evacuate.

From the FAQ's on the Red Cross's website:

Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

*Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local
authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot
enter New Orleans against their orders.

*The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to
request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following
the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage
others to come into the city.


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