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Never Flooded New Orleans Buses Not Used For Evacuation

Remember this gut-wrenching picture?

(AP Photo/Phil Coale)
(AP Photo/Phil Coale)


It was a picture of what was left of the Orleans Parish school systems bus fleet that was supposed to be used to evacuate the citizens of the parish BEFORE the hurricane. That picture was especially poignant because there were thousands of people trapped in the Superdome and the buses that could have saved them were ruined.

But last night I found a picture even more tragic in Google Maps.


On the left is the Superdome. On the right is the OTHER Orleans Parish bus barn (the Algiers Bus Barn at 801 Patterson Ave. [Document Link]), less than 5 miles from the Superdome. These buses never flooded and the route from there to the Convention Center and the Superdome was open the whole time. The hurricane blew in Monday morning and this picture was not taken until Wednesday. They did not finish evacuating the Superdome until Saturday.

To put a fine point on it... These were not private buses. They did not belong to a neighboring parish. These buses belonged to Mayor Ray Nagin. He could have used them at any time. He didn't.

Here's a close up:

algiers_bus_barn_close.jpg


Your count may vary, but I counted roughly 60 buses in the yard and presumably they filled the bus barns with buses to protect as many as possible. The 2 buildings could have held probably another 50 buses. But for the sake of argument let's say both buildings were empty. 60 buses X 75 people per bus is 4500 people per load. (you could put 100 per bus, but I'll be generous)

From the Superdome to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge is about an hour with no traffic. They could have moved 4500 people every 3 hours. (time to load and unload) Or in other words, they could have had the Dome empty by sundown the day after the storm.

Once at Tiger Stadium they would have had water and sewerage and food would have been much easier to get to them.

Mayor Nagin didn't need to wait for the Feds to "get off their asses." All he needed to do was use the resources available to him.

~ And kudos for the fancy graphics go to Kevin~


Update (by Kevin): Generic Confusion extends the bloggers as fact checkers metaphor.

"Thank you, Paul, for once again proving that we can fact-check your ass from orbit."
Indeed...


Update 2 (by Kevin): Two issues with the story have been raised via comment and trackback. Ironically one objection negates the only salient fact contained in the first. Let's address them in order received.

First, this Media Matters report obsesses on cable news talking heads wildly misstating the number of school buses available in New Orleans. Given the over estimates on everything from casualties to murders and rapes at the Superdome (all of which seem to be off the mark by a factor of 10X the actual number), misreporting on the number of buses seems like a triviality. The number Media Matters presents that IS of interest is the estimate of the number of out of service school buses in the Orleans Parish fleet. They report that according to a September 5, 2003, article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, "The [Orleans Parish school] district owns 324 buses but 70 are broken down." So it is (theoretically) possible that all of the buses in the picture above are broken down, except that the picture below contradicts that theory.


The second objection is from The Jawa Report, where Rusty Shackleford notes that NOAA images taken the same day (original), show the same lot in use:


Google has widely reported that their images were taken at 10AM local time Wednesday August 31, 2005 - a time at which our previous graphics indicates the buses were not moving. It's nice to know we were right in assuming that those were buses were in good working order, even if they were sitting unused Wednesday morning.

We don't know what time the NOAA image as taken, but visual inspection of the NOAA image indicates that is was taken later in the day (notice the shadows on taller buildings), probably between 4-5PM. We were aware that, as of today, the buses are still not back in the Algiers Bus Barn, and planned on getting a picture of the empty lot to prove that the buses were in fact fully operational. The fact that they rolled out Wednesday afternoon does not address the issue of why they were not used before, during, or immediately after Katrina (and the flooding) hit.

The other significant story from Wednesday is that, thanks to total media saturation, everyone knew that the Superdome was filled with miserable people, desperate to get out . It's probably more than just coincidence then that at just about the same time the NOAA picture was taken Governor Blanco announced that the evacuation of the Superdome would begin Wednesday evening. She also issued an Executive Order (PDF) allowing the National Guard to seize school busses in order to help in the evacuation, so it is possible the drivers in the NOAA picture are Guardsmen. We still have no evidence that Mayor Nagin ever mobilized these buses.

All of which returns us to the whole point of the story.

Why didn't Mayor Nagin use these readily available assets to empty the Superdome for over 48 hours?

Update 3 (by Paul): Someone over at the llama school took a nose dive into the bizarre trying to make the case that Gretna officials (Jefferson Parish) blocked access to the busses. In a fit of irony that can only be produced in the blogosphere, he calls my conclusion that the mayor did not use the busses "absurd."

OK... He bases his conclusion on the unrelated fact that Gretna officials turned back New Orleans residents after Mayor Nagin gave up and urged his people to WALK into a neighboring parish who had no facilities to support them AND Nagin never even called the neighboring parish to tell them he was sending thousands of hungy/thirsty people over. (what a nice guy) While Gretna officials did turn back people on foot, there is absolutely no evidence to support the notion there was a blockade of Orleans Parish vehicles.

You can go read the whole bizarre illogical conclusion the llama student drew, but I'll save you the time and offer you the obvious debunking. If Nagin found time to whine to the media about Gretna sending his people back... And Nagin found time to whine to the media that the Feds did not send buses... How on earth could it be that a neighboring parish blocked Orleans from using their own busses and Nagin never said a word?

Get real. To believe this bizarre conclusion, you'd have to believe that the Mayor was calling for the busses the whole time but Gretna set up road blocks to stop the busses. Then 48 hours later Gretna let the busses roll (see above) and Nagin never said a word to anyone about another parish blocking his busses. You'd also have to believe that Gretna also made sure their magical school bus blockade never made it to any of the media. Yeah, right. Now you know why that llama is still in school.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Never Flooded New Orleans Buses Not Used For Evacuation:

» Guide to Midwestern Culture linked with Inside Ray Nagin's Closet

» Bloggledygook linked with Where Have All The Buses Gone?

» The Jawa Report linked with Nagin Lied, People Died

» The Anchoress linked with Then there were those NON-FLOODED Buses

» Myopic Zeal linked with Ray Nagin’s Buses Have Been Found!

» Blogger Beer linked with Nevermind the Flooded Busses!

» Outside The Beltway linked with Yet More New Orleans School Buses

» Katrina Coverage linked with 60 unflooded buses found?

» North Canton Airline and Storm Door Company linked with Nagin's Busses Redux

» The Strata-Sphere linked with New Orleans, Nagin’s Disaster

» The Political Teen linked with 60+ Unflooded Buses Found

» The Zero Point linked with The Great Bus Caper

» The Political Teen linked with 60+ Unflooded Buses Found

» Say Anything linked with Nagin’s Buses

» Brutally Honest linked with Nagin ought to have been the first to be laid off

» A Lady's Ruminations linked with The Never-Ending Bus Saga

» The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill linked with And there is no way to fire that incompent slug...

» Aldaynet linked with Profiles in Asshatery: Ray Nagin

» Mindless Bit Spew linked with More on the "failure" of the feds

» Mover Mike linked with Those Yellow Buses!

» Mover Mike linked with Buses Sit in Flooded New Orleans!

» Keith D. Milby :: blog linked with Those Big Yellow Buses

» Generic Confusion linked with More signs of Mayor Nagin's incompetence

» Confederate Yankee linked with The Wheels on the Bus Go "Squish, Squish, Squish."

» Barcepundit linked with (no title)

» Cafe Oregano linked with Wednesday Specials

» WunderKraut.com linked with What?

» Don Singleton linked with Never Flooded Buses Not Used

» A Blog For All linked with The Curious Case of the New Orleans Buses

» Christian Coalition Blog linked with Daily News & Opinion

» Conservative Outpost linked with Daily Summary

» Random Numbers linked with Damned if you do…

» The Dread Pundit Bluto linked with Another Katrina Evacuation Horror Story

» The National Debate linked with TND Scorecard

» Interested-Participant linked with Photos of Bus Evacuation in New Orleans

» Louisiana Libertarian linked with More Incompetance By Nagin

» File it Under linked with LOOK AT ALL THESE TRACKBACKS!!

» The WB42 5:30 Report With Doug Krile linked with Another Wild and Wacky Wednesday

» dwayne.blog-city.com linked with Off I go......but first....

» foo linked with I've said it before...

» awning linked with awning

» The Volokh Conspiracy linked with Voting With Your Feet and the Political Impact of Katrina:

Comments (91)

Good job ferreting this out... (Below threshold)
joe:

Good job ferreting this out. The visual evidence is stunning.

Score another one for the P... (Below threshold)
Yogurt:

Score another one for the P.J. Crowd, great job Paul!

YOU REPTARDS JUST WON'T LET... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

YOU REPTARDS JUST WON'T LET UP WILL YOU? STOP TEARING DOWN THAT WONDERFULLL MAYUR NAGIN!!!! IF CHIMPY MCBUCHITLERBURTON WASN'T SO CORRUPT AND INCOMPETENT HE WOULD HAVE DRIVEN THOSE BUSSESS HISOWNSELF!!!!


/moonbat

Sorry! Just had to beat th... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Sorry! Just had to beat the BDSers to it for a change.

unfuckingbelievable!<... (Below threshold)
barbara:

unfuckingbelievable!

meanwhile, the pleading incompetent mayor and msm reporters filling the bunkyards with the alleged baby-rapes, muggings, suicides, dead bodies, and shootouts...

next think you know, we'll find out that money that was supposed to go to aiding people went directly into his pocket.

unfuckingbelievable.

I believe the accepted safe... (Below threshold)
chad:

I believe the accepted safe seating, of adults, for a standard school bus is 46. So it might have taken up to roughly 1/3 longer to move the people, but still a hell of a lot better than what we saw.

Good illustraion. Ex... (Below threshold)
89:

Good illustraion.
Except "Convntion".

Also, you should draw a red rectangle around the area that you enlarged. At first, I thought the bus barn was a lot bigger than the superdome, untill I understood that the arrow pointed to the enlarged portion, and didn't point north.

Could you tell me please ju... (Below threshold)
Herman:

Could you tell me please just who you had in mind to drive all those buses on a Sunday morning? Takes a special license (trucking license) to drive a bus, doesn't it? Had all available bus drivers fled the city early on, and if not, would any potential bus driver want to be paid?

Sheik Yur Bouty that made m... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Sheik Yur Bouty that made my day.

---------
> I believe the accepted safe seating, of adults, for a standard school bus is 46.

Hey! Thank you Cliff Clavin!
----------

But you are missing a coupl... (Below threshold)
capitano:

But you are missing a couple of things as Herman astutely points out.

Governor Blanco already said you can't get Lousiana government workers to work on a sunny day, so absent a meterological analysis, those busses might as well be under water.

Also, before you could allow any untrained, non-union bus drivers to rescue the Superdome refugees, they would have to attend diversity awareness classes followed by sexual harrassment training. By the time they finished training the Superdome would have been under water.

So Nagin was better off hiding under his desk and bitching out the Feds.

<a href="http://mediamatter... (Below threshold)
The X factor:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200509120005

I have little doubt that you'll ever issue a correction but the link above disputes that picture. The overwhelming majority of those buses were broken down. They were not ready to evacuate anyone.

I dunno, Herman, seems like... (Below threshold)
Lunch Mamma:

I dunno, Herman, seems like that Jabbar Gibson kid did a pretty good job. I expect there would have been a lot of volunteers both to drive and to ride with the inexperienced drivers, assuming that was all that was available which is by no means a given.

Herman perfectly demonstrat... (Below threshold)
Karl:

Herman perfectly demonstrates the mindset that failed so many poor people in N.O. The state, city and RTA had a plan that included busing residents to Red Cross shelters. But the RTA ultimately punted because they could not find enough volunteer drivers.

Competent public officials would have had in their plan the provisions for paid drivers and training them to be drivers if needed. Instead, the local officials did not follow through on their bus plan, leaving the "shelters of last resort" as the only resort -- an option that FEMA had criticized for years, pointing out that the shelters could get ugly if the power and sewer went out.

Anyone that can drive a sti... (Below threshold)
Laddy:

Anyone that can drive a stick can drive a bus. There's not much to it. There were likely a hundred LANG soldiers nearby qualified to drive a bus. Chances are, given how ill-prepared NO was, the LANG had no idea where any buses were located. Someone in city government however should have known. If one were to call it as they see it, one would have to simply conclude that NO and LA government freaked and were incapable of rationally dealing with the event.

The X factor can you read?... (Below threshold)
Paul:

The X factor can you read?

Not a word of your link spoke about the busses in Algiers that were available AFTER the flood. But not try keeping the spin going.

I apologize for slandering ... (Below threshold)
capitano:

I apologize for slandering Gov. Blanco. The "sunny day" quote was of course made by Senator Landrieu.

"Senator Landrieu, I want to ask you, and I'm going to ask you both--" some other senator was on there, too "--about the local response. Was it incompetent and insulting for Mayor Ray Nagin to order a mandatory evacuation, but then to leave buses--" and we got a picture of these buses "--hundreds of buses idle so that they could be flooded instead of using them to get people out?"

**********
LANDRIEU: I will. I will answer it. I am not going to level criticism at local and state officials. Mayor Nagin and most mayors in this country have a hard time getting their people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out of the city in front of a hurricane.

The City of New Orleans had... (Below threshold)
jesusland joe:

The City of New Orleans had several hundred bus drivers on the city payroll driving city buses. All Nagin had to do was to call them to duty PRIOR to the hurricane. It doesn't take a genius to figure this stuff out. Just a tiny bit of common sense.

Great job guys. One other p... (Below threshold)
Moon Monkey:

Great job guys. One other point though; I seem to recall that when the subject of buses came up in the early moments of all the turmoil,the Mayor said he didn't want any school buses. He wanted Greyhounds to get the people out. I guess he didn't want to use school buses anyway.
Whatever! This guy is un-credible!!!

If Gore had been President ... (Below threshold)
Puddin' Tang Tastes Oh So Good:

If Gore had been President there would have been more buses available for evacuation. If John Kerry had been President he would have been down there personally evacuating refugees in his Swift Boat.

Puddin',You're clo... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Puddin',

You're close. Gore would have invented buses that drive themselves.

And I'm sure that Kerry's memory of personally rescuing people from NO in his Swift Boat is seared, seared in his memory.

I find it hard to believe t... (Below threshold)
Eric Rhodes:

I find it hard to believe that of the 10s of thousands of people stuck in New Orleans in the Superdome and the Convention center that none of them could drive a bus and drive themselves and 50 other people to Baton Rouge. And so what if there were only 700 buses that went under water instead of 2000 (the liberal media said 10,000 people died and that is a lie- 900 have officially died- so they lied 11 times instead of 2 times) That is still about 35,000 people that could have been evacuated in 1 (one) trip.

I saw this picture and simi... (Below threshold)
Jay:

I saw this picture and similar commentary on blog(s) weeks ago. Which doesn't make the point invalid, just a bit behind the times.

"The [Orleans Parish school... (Below threshold)
J:

"The [Orleans Parish school] district owns 324 buses but 70 are broken down."

Do you have any proof that the buses in your photo worked? Or are you just making that presumption?

There's no question that Nagin screwed up. But FEMA's whole purpose is to take charge and coordinate a response to situations that local and state officials can't handle. Nagin couldn't handle this, fine. Neither could Blanco, fine. Neither could FEMA . . . not fine at all.

I think it was FEMA's respo... (Below threshold)
Lew Clark:

I think it was FEMA's responsibility to provide buses and drivers! Just name me one city in the United States where local people are allowed to drive buses. All buses, trains, planes and dog carts require a special FEMA license.

X factor -If you l... (Below threshold)
ts:

X factor -

If you look at the quote from the T-P article on broken school buses, it dates back to 2003. Please tell me what a two year old article on school buses has to do with anything?

But wait, Senator Landrieu ... (Below threshold)
J-Ho:

But wait, Senator Landrieu said those buses were already underwater! How could they be used if they were already underwater? You say that they were in Algiers and not flooded? But she said they were already underwater! How could they be used if they were under water???? Surely the Senator knows what she is talking about! Come on, now. Let's trust our officials. They would never mislead us.

groan.

Clerk: Hear ye, hear ye, a... (Below threshold)
robert:

Clerk: Hear ye, hear ye, all involved draw near for the case of the people v. Gibson.
Judge: Clerk, please read the charges.
Clerk: Mr. Gibson stands accused of saving 80 lives without the proper license.
Judge: Proceed.
Prosecutor: The people call John Smith. (Mr. Smith takes the stand).
Now then Mr. Smith, please tell us what happened.
Smith: Well, this guy jumps in and drives us all to safety.
Prosecutor: Were you, and all others, wearing your seat belts at the time?
Smith: Well, er, not exactly, you see many of us were standing.
Prosecutor: Was the bus inspected before moving it, was it in proper working order?
Smith: I didn’t inspect anything because there was no time. The water was 3 feet and rising fast. I did notice a broken window though.
Judge: OK I’ve heard enough. Bus stealing, moving violations – and Gibson, you do not have a license to unkill. Throw them all into jail, forever.

NYT: A band of criminals stole city property and narrowly escaped being drowned or eaten alive during the Katrina hurricane. Two police officers, and their shopping carts, were run down in the escape attempt. As it turns out, Mayor Nagin is a genius for not using the city buses in unlawful and risky ways.

“It was tempting to grab 50 or 100 volunteers from the Superdome to drive those buses that were right there waiting”, Nagin said: “In the end though I decided to forget about it and get on with buying that house in Dallas.”

J "But FEMA's whole purpose... (Below threshold)
mamapajamas:

J "But FEMA's whole purpose is to take charge and coordinate a response to situations that local and state officials can't handle."

It is NOT FEMA's responsibility to (psychically?) just KNOW what resources are available in a city. It is the city's job to tell FEMA what resources they have, what is damaged, what is not.

That is where Nagin was criminally negligent. As Laddy pointed out, there were LANG people available. All Nagin had to do was tell them where the busses were.


I wonder how many of those ... (Below threshold)
IreneFingIrene:

I wonder how many of those supposedly 3000 people let go due to budget constraints on the NOLA payroll really exist?

It never fails. When the s... (Below threshold)
Eric:

It never fails. When the subject of the school buses is brought up, some lefty always asks who's supposed to drive them? As if driving a school bus is some specially difficult task.

My uncle owns a school bus company in Pennsylvania. During my summer breaks during high school and college I used go up and work for him doing various gofer chores. One of which was to drive buses from one place to another.

Believe me it doesn't require any special training or skillset to drive a school bus. My cousin, who is 5'2" and barely weighs 100 lbs. drives her dad's school buses. It's a BIG car, that's all. Special attention is given under normal circumstances because of the people who normally ride in a school bus, i.e. kids. But a hurricane isn't a normal circumstance.

So there were plenty of people capable of driving the buses. For example, the LANG easily has thousands of people trained and experienced at driving large heavy equipment.

So my advice to those same lefty's is either go back to the drawing board and come up with a much better reason why the buses weren't used or accept the fact that Nagin bears the blame for not using them.

Alrighty Folks, ... (Below threshold)
BigBird:

Alrighty Folks,

I am a Alabama National Guardsman, I know that we have lots of folks that can/could drive a bus, I'm sure the LA Guard does too. As a matter of fact, there is a Transportation Company in Slidell, across the bridge from New Orleans, they can drive a bus.

A lot of you really don't have a clue as to what FEMA's mission is.

It is not FEMA's JOB to evacuate anything!!!! Period, It is the responsibility of the City/Parish/State Gummints...

I'm not a fan of FEMA, I live in a disaster area, I still do not have my roof fixed, but I do find it amazing, that folks can sit around and bitch about FEMA, and they do not even know what FEMA is/does.

There were thousands of Guard soldiers on the ground Thurs night and Friday, and we could have driven those buses, if we had known they had them.

The New Orleans disaster plan, discusses just that.

But, the INCOMPETENT Local Gummint fell apart, and instead of asking for help right away, they spent their energy pointing fingers and bitching. That went all the way to the State level.

My 2 cents

Denied a post. Why???... (Below threshold)
Fran:

Denied a post. Why???

My denied response will be ... (Below threshold)
Fran:

My denied response will be up on my site.

What's up with the denials...?

No cursing, just a decent argument against.

What is the sound of one hand clapping???

Fran,Check out the... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

Fran,

Check out the comments on the post at your blog for a clue...

Oh, about that denial Fran.... (Below threshold)
Red Stater:

Oh, about that denial Fran. There was a poll last week and you lost.
Ur banished to DU again :P

Back in 1983, Hurricane Ali... (Below threshold)
Hornet:

Back in 1983, Hurricane Alicia hit Galveston. The City of Galveston was so unprepared that when the electricity failed, the emergency generator was started and ran for about 10 minutes before it failed. The radios, then working on car batteries, were used to broadcast an appeal for anyone with spare and charged car batteries to being them to City Hall - in the middle of the storm.

The irony is that the City itself had many car batteries in its garage less than one half mile away and the garage manager was in the hall outside the EOC - yet no one thought to ask him if the garage had any batteries.

I only mention this because the NOLA buses in Algiers would have been useful if 1) someone knew the buses existed and were available, 2) could relay that information to the mayor, 3) the mayor could connect the availability of the buses with the need to evacuate people from the Superdome and Convention Center, 4) the mayor's decision could have been relayed to someone capable of executing the order.

If the Mayor and his staff is unable to communicate, his decisions are being made in a vacuum and being given to an empty room.

The bridge was still open w... (Below threshold)
johndrock:

The bridge was still open when they needed it the most. Most school busses have automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes, nearly anyone can drive the bus, especially in an emergency.

And one smart kid did. Reme... (Below threshold)
More bumbling from a idiot ... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

More bumbling from a idiot mayor he should be replaced he has proven himself irresponsible

If the NOLA people were loo... (Below threshold)
Eric Rhodes:

If the NOLA people were looking at TV they would have had the info, just as they blamed FEMA for not looking at TV.

Geraldo R. got driven in by taxi to air his complaints on national TV, so why didn't they evacuate everyone by taxi?

Being a school bus driver, ... (Below threshold)
ozone64:

Being a school bus driver, most school busses built within the last 15 are automatic, so truly there can be no excuse as to why these or any other bus wasn't used. Sounds like Mayor Nagin should be Re-Nagin his Mayorship ASAP.

"meanwhile, the pleading in... (Below threshold)
Vulgorilla:

"meanwhile, the pleading incompetent mayor and msm reporters filling the bunkyards with the alleged baby-rapes, muggings, suicides, dead bodies, and shootouts..."

That's why I will NOT watch any of the TSM during the next disaster to hit where ever it decides to hit. Why waste my time on glory seeking propagandists. I now get everything from the Internet. The TSM can go pound sand up their ass.

I have to wonder, why is it... (Below threshold)

I have to wonder, why is it that problems with logistics and manpower, are acceptable excusese for local authorities to fail but not when it comes to the Bush administration.

So, when is Senator Landrie... (Below threshold)
Phil:

So, when is Senator Landrieu going to punch Nagin in the mouth?

Oh, I forgot. It's the federal government's fault:

"They did [have] a hundred thousand people left in the city because this federal government won't support cities to evacuate people, whether it's from earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes. And that's the truth." - Sen. Mary Landrieu

"the route from there to... (Below threshold)
Reid:

"the route from there to the Convention Center and the Superdome was open the whole time"

Well, other than the days the Gretna cops turned back those who tried to cross the bridge. The chief of police said "Evidently, someone on the ground (in New Orleans) was telling people there was transport here ... There wasn't."

Local governments come up w... (Below threshold)
rastajenk:

Local governments come up with emergency plans all the time. They are even expected to practice them, go through dry-runs, to work out bugs. So are we to believe that after a successful walk-through, someone says to the bus drivers, "OK, that's a wrap; you did real good. Now, in the event we really have to do this, we hope you show up, but if you don't, well, we can always blame FEMA." The question of where to get drivers should not have been a last minute consideration, it should have been an integral part of the LOCAL plan.

Haven't you used Google Map... (Below threshold)
Tom:

Haven't you used Google Maps enough to notice that the satellite imagery can be up to several years out of date? I know the visual of my neighborhood still shows stuff from more than a year ago. You're right that any available buses should have been used, but where is the proof that this Google Maps picture is recent?

Tom:Do you notice ... (Below threshold)
MH:

Tom:

Do you notice the roof of the Superdome? That happened with the hurricane.

Hope that helps.

Um, maybe all that water do... (Below threshold)
Joe:

Um, maybe all that water downtown? I don't think that was there before.

Behind me, tossed on my bed... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Behind me, tossed on my bed, is a pamphlet entitled, "Community Evacuation Plan". Our local issue is fire. We have a plan.

In California we got earthquake emergency instructions every so often, what to do, how to prepare, minimum items to have on hand.

No "What to do in a blizzard" instructions remembered from Minnesota, at least not distributed by local governments but there's a reason that people up North don't put groceries in the trunk of their car.

Could someone please fast f... (Below threshold)
topsecretk9:

Could someone please fast forward those the Senators and Governor of the LA

The press doesn't care because that would ruin the "get" Bush angle and the Left doesn't care because that would have them admit something, which is the fact that they are a party of failure, uncaring, calculating by worrying about political fall-out while the poor languished ..oh and it would also ruin the "get" Bush angle because that is all the Dem party REALLY cares about

go ahead libs, try to defend the indefensible ...I welcome it

Another useless story from ... (Below threshold)
Bob Bobson:

Another useless story from this site, amazing the things that they come up with in the media these days, totally stupid...

My vapid, attention-deficit... (Below threshold)
epador:

My vapid, attention-deficit mind is getting bored about Katrina. Lets talk about the new mystery viral epidemic in Toronto. I'm sure its the Bushitlerit's fault. Maybe that would tweak BoBO.

A couple of small points th... (Below threshold)
Lugnut:

A couple of small points that the others have talked about some already:

School buses aren't any harder to drive than a big pickup truck. They've all had automatic transmissions for years, not to mention power brakes and steering. Would have been a piece of cake to round up some people with regular driver's licenses, put their butts in the seat, plop the shifter in "Drive" and steer.

Advertised seating (say 60 passengers) is for kids small enough to pack three to a seat. You can't get 60 high school kids on a 60 passenger bus without some of them standing in the isle. It would have taken longer than your calculation suggests to move all the folks, but move them they surely could have if they'd have just used them.

When you read the comments ... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

When you read the comments to a post like this and then look at the trackbacks, you find a little truth.

The hit and run fools prove themselves slight.

Those with something to say actually back it up.

By: Paul (October 4, 2005 0... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

By: Paul (October 4, 2005 03:40 PM)
...the route from there to the Convention Center and the Superdome was open the whole time.

Quibble point and probably invalid, but:

Was/is the bridge structurally sound? I remember seeing one highway with sections lifted off their piers to varying degrees. Granted, the architecture and design of the pictured bridge looks different from a zillion miles away (I know it's a different HWY), but is this route really passable? It doesn't excuse the entire evacuation disaster known as Lake Nagin, Blanco's Paralysis, and Landrieu's Folly, but it might provide a handkerchief of cover for them in this regard.

If you look closely at the ... (Below threshold)

If you look closely at the NGS photo of Algiers Point, you will see what looks to be people around buses. Algiers Point was used by the Coast Guard and other boats to evacuate people to "dry land and waiting buses across the river". It's clear that these buses were used as part of the evacuation process.

Furthermore, Mayor Nagin and other city officials instructed people to walk across the Crescent City Connection into the West Bank (where Gretna and Algiers are) and that "there would be buses waiting to take us out". From the pictures, this looks pretty accurate (more on this here).

However, pedestrians were blocked with shotguns from crossing the bridge by Gretna and Jefferson Parish police.

So it looks like the Mayor and city officials correctly instructed evacuees to go to buses in the West Bank and were stopped by police in another jurisdiction. You can blame the Mayor and/or city officials all you want, but it looks like they directed them to evacuation buses. If anything, the blame should be squarely on Gretna and Jefferson Parish officials for not allowing anyone across the bridge.

>Was/is the bridge structur... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Was/is the bridge structurally sound?

YUP! I've driven it.

Besides, the only other route was under 20 (yes that's 20) feet of water. If you wanted to get people out by land, that would your only choice.

Slightly related:A... (Below threshold)
Sherri:

Slightly related:

According to a story on the Revolution Online website (which I assume many might consider unreliable?), Houston school bus drivers volunteered their time to drive 94 HISD busses to NOLA to bring back as many stranded NOLA citizens as they could fit on the busses. But instead of rescuing any NOLA citizens, they supposedly ended up bussing around the miliatary instead.

"We got back to Houston at about 1 o’clock Monday morning, 31 hours after we left, WITH NOBODY ON OUR BUSES."

Bus Drivers’ Rescue Mission - Hijacked by U.S. Military in New Orleans

I would think it wouldn't be too difficult to verify, since the 94 bus drivers were from HISD. And supposedly some Houston MSM were involved in the beginning of the story of the HISD busses taking off in the hopes of rescuing the stranded NOLA citizens (only to end up bussing the military around -- according to the story).

I remember the Gretna polic... (Below threshold)
obsidian:

I remember the Gretna police/CCC Bridge incident as well.
Several comments:
The lede for the CNN story says "Mayor urged people to cross the bridge (Crescent City Connection (CCC)-(Rte 90, by the Convention Ctr)."
The text of the article, though, only says "N.O. Police directed people." There may not be a discrepancy, but it's not clear.
Gretna is to the South, once you cross the bridge, Algiers is to the North. Gretna police were technically out of their jurisdiction on the CCC from what I can tell (of course I know it was a huge emergency). It would be significant to find out what the normal division of jurisdiction is between the police, and how that changed in this emergency.
Algiers is under Nagin and N.O. Police.
There was an unflooded route from Algiers to the RTE 90 entrance ramps and to the CCC into N.O.
Vehicle traffic was allowed on the CCC, but not pedestrian (by the Gretna Police).
This outrageous miscommunication and possible racism was all Bush's fault.

Greta Van Sustern did an in... (Below threshold)
Macdaddy:

Greta Van Sustern did an interview on Friday night the 2d of Sep outside the Houston Astrodome with a man from New Orleans, Jabbar Gibson, who commandeered a school bus, picked up as many people as he could (he ended up taking on seventy refugees), and drove himself and them to the Astrodome in Houston.

Newspaper story:
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/topstory2/3334317

MSM and Louisiana/NO authorities surely don't want this advertised and recognize this man as a hero.

He was far too much smarter than Mayor Naggin or Gov Blanco, obviously, and we wouldn't want this to get out.

Whether it's 2000 buses or 324 buses, its too many. People could easily have been driven out of there. Why can't you liberal apologists ever take responsibility for anything?

Hmmm.If you read u... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

If you read up on the Gretna story you'll find out that the Gretna police commandeered, i.e. stole, three busses to ship the people on the bridge to the intersection of I-10 and Causeway Boulevard.

My biggest objection to what the Gretna police did is that they mispresented their situation. Chief Lawson, of the Gretna police, has stated that they didn't have the resources to deal with six thousand people. Yet a cursory look on Yahoo! shows two Super Wal-Marts and 23 other grocery stores within a 2.2 mile radius.

So yes those busses were operational. And no the Gretna police didn't allow anyone, except for the Gretna police, to use them.

We'll need first-hand local... (Below threshold)
obsidian:

We'll need first-hand local knowledge to verify, but Algiers (and the bus lot) is part of the N.O. Police Dept. 4th Precinct (Algiers). Gretna is a completely different jurisdiction to the south. It's crass overstatement at this point to say Gretna controlled all those buses and didn't allow anyone else to use them. The facts say otherwise. The reporting says Gretna used three buses, but we don't know if they were Greyhound, N.O. School, or even Gretna School buses. The photos show a half dozen police cars escorting those buses when they were moving. Most likely those were N.O. police and part of the evacuation from Algiers station also pictured. Gretna Police had nothing to do with evacuation from Algiers station to my knowledge. If they did, I don't think they would have been telling people they were lied about buses in Algiers.

ed writes: "My bigge... (Below threshold)
obsidian:

ed writes:
"My biggest objection to what the Gretna police did is that they mispresented their situation. Chief Lawson, of the Gretna police, has stated that they didn't have the resources to deal with six thousand people."
And you think that's misrepresentation because there were some stores to loot?!
That's sick.

The buses were always available to Nagin, before and after Katrina.
The route from the buses to the convention center and dome was always drivable, and was in fact, driven over by many people and trucks.
Eventually the buses were used in conjunction with (apparently) the 4th Precinct N.O. Police and evacuation efforts of (apparently) the Coast Guard and others. At one point Nagin may have thought to tell people to fend for themselves and try to get to the buses, but he never sent police to get the buses to the people. He never acted as if he had any authority over any city or school buses anywhere in the city. He never acted as if he had any authority to DO anything about evacuating anyone, only to tell people to fend for themselves and to maybe try to get themselves here (superdome) or there (Algiers). Then he cried on TV "I am a victim!"

So it looks like the May... (Below threshold)
Paul:

So it looks like the Mayor and city officials correctly instructed evacuees to go to buses in the West Bank and were stopped by police in another jurisdiction. You can blame the Mayor and/or city officials all you want, but it looks like they directed them to evacuation buses

To believe this you must be quite mad. The mayor did not tell his people, "Look, here are some busses, go get them." He said "Hell, I give up, go loot another Parish and you won't be my problem."

I hate to ask such an obvious question but if the mayor knew the busses existed, why then did he (in your theory) make people walk 5 miles to them. (over a tall bridge in the heat) Why wouldn't he ~you know~ drive the busses to the people?

You are perhaps the only person on earth that thinks that the best way to use a bus for an evacuation is to leave them in one place and have people walk to them. Most clear thinking people would drive the bus to the people... But maybe it is just us.

Another question... When you land at an airport do you call a taxi to wait at your hotel so you can walk to the taxi? Just wondering.

OH I GET IT.The ma... (Below threshold)
Funny Guy:

OH I GET IT.

The mayor told the people to walk to the busses rather than drive the busses to the people.

This was all part of the mayors plan.

You know they had busses in Houston. If the mayor had only thought to tell his people to walk to those busses the whole problem would have been solved.

the problem is that the maj... (Below threshold)
BIG DOG:

the problem is that the majority of our elected officials are democrats,(good at promising--bad on delivery). additionally, every official with more than 2 terms served is part of the ongoing problem with our state being ranked 46-50th in all positive indicators.

These are all very interest... (Below threshold)
Jim:

These are all very interesting comments. I think the reasonable thing to do is to appoint an independent commission to investigate the timeline of events, the resources available, the options available, suggest improvements (such as putting the military in charge), and to apportion blame among local, state and national governments (present and past) and even Mother Nature (for this was a major storm, and even if everything had been well planned there still would have been plenty of damages and deaths). And, yes, the report should address individuals own responsibility (even the poor), for 80% did evacuate when warned. I would recommend former San Diego mayor, former Senator and former California Governor Pete Wilson (R), for he has beld local, state and national office and can empathize with each level for he has shared their perspective. His report would have some credibility. If he had a staff that was aware of the blogosphere for its utility (perspective, fact gathering and fact-checking), it could accomplish much. It would need a small number of other members (total of 5 or 7) to "reflect" other political perspectives, but a Wilson Commission could be as useful as a Warren Commission or a Kerner Commission. I believe in the end, FEMA/Bush will be responsible for 10% at most of the bad decisions, and the mayor for over 50%.

Jim that is a good idea.(s)... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Jim that is a good idea.(s)

Paul,I think you c... (Below threshold)

Paul,

I think you completely misunderstood my claim. Let me lay it out again, and I'll address where (I think) you misunderstand my post.

There are multiple reports of the mayor and other city officials instructing people to leave by foot across the Crescent City Connection.

There is also photographic evidence of school buses taking evacuees from Algiers Point. And there is evidence of city officials telling evacuees that "there would be buses waiting to take us out" on the other side of the bridge.

There are also multiple reports of Gretna city, Jefferson Parish, and Lousiana State police not allowing pedestrians across the bridge. (Note that it's not just Gretna city police, but police from various jurisdictions...none of them being for the city of New Orleans or Orleans Parish.)

So let's recap.

1. Some city officials tell people to get out via foot to buses on the other side of the Mississippi.

2. There is photographic evidence of evacuees being picked up and transported by bus at Algiers Point (on the other side of the Mississippe) on Wednesday afternoon.

3. The only close way to get to Algiers Point (by land) is by the Crescent City Connection.

4. There is eyewitness evidence of police blocking people from getting to the other side of the river via the Crescent City Connection.

If Gretna and other officials are blocking access to the bridge, and there are buses on the other side of the bridge, then how isn't it that Gretna city officials blocked people from these buses?

The only thing I can think is that you were confused about what I posted. I never said that Gretna and other officials blocked buses from coming into New Orleans. I said that they blocked access TO the buses. My best guess is that the Mayor was given a report that there were buses used to evacuate people from Algiers Point to some point in South Louisiana, and city officials told some people to head over there b/c they didn't have any buses at the Superdome. Likely, city officials weren't aware that the bridge was being blocked and that's where problems occurred.

BIG DOG,The proble... (Below threshold)
AndrewSpencer:

BIG DOG,

The problem with our elected officials is not necessarily that their democrats, it's that the majority of elected officials are incompetant. There are a few good ones on both sides of the aisle, but there are so many incompetent ones (e.g., I have no love lost for the republicans who are good on promising and good on deliving sacks of money in the form of tasty pork). When I come across a smart, thoughtful politician I pretty much suffer a heart attack from shock.

If there was to be a truly independent investigation, I think we would learn that none of the levels truly did right by people down there and no one did what they were supposed to do in such a crisis, to alleviate the losses in such a crisis. Not the city, not the state, and not the federal government.

I think the mantra that when you point a finger at someone else there are three that are pointed back at you holds true here. If a calamity occurs at the level faced by the NOLA area, no one can get off by saying "it wasn't my job" or "the other guy was supposed to do it". (Nagin, Landry, FEMA, I'm talking to you). Nagin was clearly unequipped to handle the situation. Does that mean that the federal government, who I'd like to think was equipped, was allowed to sit back and say "not my jurisdiction". Only if it didn't want the inevitably lost tax revenue, I guess. I just don't think that it it's okay for any level of government to sit back and let things fail in the face of such an event.

Rather than try to comment ... (Below threshold)

Rather than try to comment all the info I had about this situation, I blogged it, here.

I don't know whether this confuses or clarifies, but I found it interesting that I had information that might shed light.

OK Llama you are correct.. ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

OK Llama you are correct.. I was wrong and you were right.

NOW- I thought the mayor was simply incompetent. You have proven he was insane.

Rather than have the drivers ~you know~ drive the busses over the bridge, he made evacuees walk 5 miles in the heat over about a 12 story bridge to get on the busses.

YEP! That was the mayors plan all along and the damn cops in Gretna foiled his perfect plan.

Are you comply incapable of understanding that if you are right you are damning the mayor even more than I ever could? Don't you get that?

If the mayors PLAN was to get crippled people to walk 2 hours to get into busses that could have been driven over the bridge in 10 minutes, then that plan was the work of a mad man.

If I am right, he should resign. If you are right he should be committed.

Are you really sure you want to win this one?

Excellent post Polimom but ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Excellent post Polimom but I can tell you, no one was in charge then and no one is in charge now.

Everything that happened, happened ad hoc.

P

PAUL. YOU PREACHED IT AS... (Below threshold)
BIG DOG:

PAUL. YOU PREACHED IT AS IT IS . THERE ARE NO WINNERS IN THAT ARGUEMENT. are ya'll sure we can comment on this subject and not be labeled racists?

Hmmmm.sigh<p... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

sigh

@ obsidian

1. "Gretna is a completely different jurisdiction to the south. It's crass overstatement at this point to say Gretna controlled all those buses and didn't allow anyone else to use them."

Chief Lawson specifically stated that they blocked the BRIDGE from foot traffic. I know that Gretna is to the south. Anyone who has plugged in "gretna, la" into Yahoo! Maps can see that quite clearly. But Chief Lawson, of Gretna Police Dept, has stated very clearly that the foot traffic was blocked AT THE BRIDGE, i.e. outside Gretna jurisdiction.

Got that? Want me to repeat it?

2. "And you think that's misrepresentation because there were some stores to loot?!"

sigh.

Chief Lawson has stated repeatedly that they didn't have the resources to help any of these people. Who have walked for miles in 95 degree heat and high humidity. Who have not had clean water to drink for days.

AND WHEN WAL-MART GAVE PEOPLE PERMISSION TO LOOT THEIR STORES IF THEY NEEDED TO.

Dumbass.

Paul,Algiers Point... (Below threshold)

Paul,

Algiers Point ferry station was used as a drop-off point for people that were rescued by helicopter and by ferry. A lot of Chalmette residents (an area devastated even worse than New Orleans) were picked up by boat and taken here. If you take these buses away from Algiers Point, then what do you do with the people rescued from Chalmette and others rescued by boat and chopper? Leave them because there are people at the Superdome? There has to be a fleet of buses there used to shuttle people from Algiers Point to food, water, shelter, and medical care. They had food and water at the Superdome...I doubt they much of this at the ferry station. Since there are reports that the Gretna/Algiers facilities were packed, my guess is that they took people to other shelters farther west.

As for the Mayor and city officials, I don't think that the "plan" was to make everyone (or anyone) walk to Algiers to leave. Note that people in the Superdome and Convention Center were not instructed to walk to Algiers (prob. because buses were coming to the dome at some point), and I'm sure the crippled weren't instructed to make the trip as well. The Mayor (or someone) decided to wait for a larger fleet of buses to take people from the Dome and Convention Center, while the smaller fleet was used to evacuate people that made it to Algiers Point.

It looks like people that were willing to make the walk were instructed by some city officials to go to buses across the bridge, knowing that there were buses being used to evacuate people. This wasn't "the plan", but improvisation so that people who could make the trip on foot could get out of the city. Of course, if this was "the plan" then it would be crazy...but there's absolutely no evidence of this. Sorry, but this is another strawman you're putting out here.

Once people headed towards the bridge, they were stopped by officials from a separate jurisdiction and forced to stay in the city. Again. Gretna, Jefferson Parish, and other officials did not allow people to walk to buses. I really can't conceive how this can be blamed on the Mayor.

Llama you've now changed yo... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Llama you've now changed your argument 3 times. None have made a dime's worth of sense.

Now your argument is that these busses were more needed in Algiers than the Dome. That directly conflicts with your earlier theory that Nagin wanted the people from the Dome to walk to the busses. If they were needed in Algiers why have people walk form the dome?

Further as the photos prove, the busses were not used in Algiers until 48 hours after the storm hit. WHY WHY WHY?

You have one more post left in this thread to say your peace then you are done. I should just ban you now because you are clearly either being a troll or you are a dumbass. (or you are the mayor's cousin) (or some combination of all 3)

You say: "I really can't conceive how this can be blamed on the Mayor."

Then you must not be able to conceive too much. The busses to evacuate his people sat unused for 2 days and you can't figure out why he might be to blame. You're a dumbass.

Give me your last dumbass theory and be done. After that you are done. I won't have dumbasses abusing common sense.

I think, actually, that the... (Below threshold)

I think, actually, that the real story behind those buses in Algiers is that Nagin had totally forgotten about Algiers... altogether. I can't count the number of blog entries I made in those weeks about that little problem.

When you said everything went on ad hoc, Paul, you were absolutely correct. Because it was evident for a LONG time that there was nobody "driving the bus" (so to speak) at any level, in New Orleans. People made do with resources at hand, as I believe was the case at the ferry landing in Algiers - likely a local, on the spot solution.

Llama - the reality is there were no buses waiting anywhere on the West Bank for those folks - although eventually some came and picked them up from the expressway. Nor do I understand that the bridge itself was closed. It was the exits from the bridge.

ed, I'll try to type slowly... (Below threshold)
obsidian:

ed, I'll try to type slowly so you get it.

You said "Gretna controlled ALL those buses and didn't allow anyone else to use them", and inferred that Nagin didn't screw this up, based on the evidence that:

1. THREE buses of unkown origin were comandeered.
2. People on foot were stopped at the top of the bridge, denying them access to loot and find their way to the buses.

All the while, you were ignoring evidence that:
A. All the Algiers buses (except perhaps three) went into service on Wednesday (48 hrs after).
B. Vehicle Traffic flowed freely over the CCC Bridge.

In your "rebuttal" you affirm that vehicle traffic flowed and the buses were in use. And yet somehow you think by calling me a dumbass, you're vindicated in maintining that "Gretna Police controlled ALL the buses and didn't allow anyone else to use them."

You also think Gretna Police should have let the people at the top of the Bridge walk three more miles (not in the direction of Algiers buses) into Gretna in order to loot stores and sleep just where?? and eat what food?? and loot what else?? just because looting a Walmart could provide some food and water?? Just because the Gretna police were asshats, and perhaps racists, doesn't mean they should have believed the people's claim that there was shelter, food, and water waiting for them. (There wasn't.) Should he have believed that Nagin had transportation for them and wanted them to walk five miles in the sun instead of sending the transportation to the superdome? The people's story was unbelievable, even though there was an element of truth to the transportation. A more humane response would be to bring a fire truck or some other potable water source to the bridge for those who needed water. And it would have been most proactive to send some of his own police to Nagin to find out what the hell they could do besides piss and moan, and if there were any truth to the transporation rumors. But refusing the people the "right" to loot a city was sane.

Finally, if the wares of Walmart were available, why didn't Nagin arrange to take them to the people? Gretna DIDN'T have the resources to cope with all the people, but it could have brought some of its inadequate resources (including food & water from Walmart--even though it wasn't all that much after the binge shopping before the storm). It's insanity to take the responsibility of getting people emergency water and food off of Nagin and onto the people themselves, making them march five miles, with police escort--as you would have it--for an uncontrollable looting spree.

Stupidity, thy name is ed.

As someone mentioned earlie... (Below threshold)
Eric:

As someone mentioned earlier the probable reason the busses weren't used is that no one in the mayor's office knew they had that resource available or thought to use them.

There's an old saying "Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance" I think the root of the problem is that New Orleans didn't plan for this crisis very well. They didn't plan it well prior to the storm and they didn't work the problem very well as it was occurring. In this case the buck stops with the mayor.

Any way that you cut it, the responsibility/fault for those people being stranded at the Superdome with inadequate food and water lies with the mayor.

The mayor is the one who ordered the evacuation of the city. The mayor told people to go to the Superdome. The mayor did NOT provide adequate food, water and security. The mayor did not deploy the school buses, before during or after.

EVERY municipality in the U.S. has public school buses. They are a significant capital asset and budgetary item for every municipality. How do you forget about hundreds of busses at your disposal? And at the same time publicly call for busses?

The fact that they were there and not used shows gross negligence on the mayor's part. Every excuse is lamer than the last. Anyone who would continue to excuse the mayor for anything other than gross negligence or incompetance is a hack.

The reason there were no b... (Below threshold)
Casey:

The reason there were no bus drivers for the busses, silly people, is that they were all busy driving deserters from the police force out of town!

Splitting a hair with you E... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Splitting a hair with you Ed, you said:

I think the root of the problem is that New Orleans didn't plan for this crisis very well. They didn't plan it well prior to the storm...

That's the worst part. New Orleans DID HAVE a good plan. The mayor did not implement it. THAT is a tragedy.

Paul,If you want t... (Below threshold)

Paul,

If you want to ban me for expressing a view that's different from your view on your forum, then go ahead. This isn't an attempt to troll. It's an attempt to lay out an argument that is different from yours and the majority of your readers. And if you're misrepresenting my position (which you clearly do in Update 3), I'm going to correctly restate and defend my position. If you can't deal with this kind of dissent and/or debate (laying out evidence and other viewpoints without personal attacks), then that's just sad. I hope that your desire to ban is based on just misunderstanding my arguments and not a desire to get rid of opinions you don't agree with. Now, to address your comment:

First, I've never changed my argument. It's clear in my first comment: City officials told some people to go to buses across the Crescent City Connection (CCC), there's photographic evidence of buses being used to evacuate people across the CCC, and there are multiple eyewitness accounts of people not being allowed to cross the bridge after being told that there were evacuation buses there. This is consistent with my original post and all of my comments on the blog. The only thing you use to say that I've changed my argument is this:

Now your argument is that these busses were more needed in Algiers than the Dome. That directly conflicts with your earlier theory that Nagin wanted the people from the Dome to walk to the busses. If they were needed in Algiers why have people walk form the dome?

They were needed to transport people rescued from Chalmette and other places from Algiers Point to shelters, so it wouldn't be smart at that time to take the buses to the Superdome while people are still coming/at Algiers Point. Maybe after they're done taking people from Algiers Point, but the NGS shows what appears to be lots of people at the Algiers Point ferry station on Wednesday afternoon.

However, there was a subset of people that could walk out and asked officials to walk out. See this quote from Mayor Nagin on Nightline:

People got restless and there was overcrowding at the convention center. They asked us, "Is there any other option?" We said, "Well, if you want to walk, across the Crescent City Connection, there's buses coming, you may be able to find some relief." They started marching. At the parish line, the county line of Gretna, they were met with attack dogs and police officers with machine guns saying "You have to turn back..."

Those that could cross the bridge could have gotten on buses at Algiers Point. Those buses could be used then both for those rescued and sent to the ferry station and by those that walked over. There's no conflict in the argument here.

(By the way, I just looked back and noticed that the first buses to evacuate people from the Superdome left on Wednesday night. It's possible that some of the buses for the Algiers Bus Depot were used in both the Algiers Point evacuation and (after finishing at Algiers Point) at the Superdome.)

Further as the photos prove, the busses were not used in Algiers until 48 hours after the storm hit. WHY WHY WHY?

I agree...they should have been used earlier. My guess is that the mayor didn't know about them at first, and found out about the buses sometime on Wednesday. Then some city officials/police told people that were walking/wanted to walk out that there were buses on the other side of the CCC and that they could evacuate from there. But then they were blocked by Gretna, Jefferson Parish, and CCC police.

Finally, you say this:

You say: "I really can't conceive how this can be blamed on the Mayor."

Then you must not be able to conceive too much. The busses to evacuate his people sat unused for 2 days and you can't figure out why he might be to blame. You're a dumbass.

If you look at the context, I was talking about how you can't blame the blocking of the bridge by authorities in other jurisdictions on the Mayor (see the preceding sentences in the comment).

---

Now I understand that you're unhappy with the Mayor. But why haven't you said anything about how these police officers used shotguns to keep people that had the desire to leave from reaching evacuation buses and/or from leaving the city through the only land route out? This is hugely important, and it seems like you're overlooking it to instead focus on blaming the Mayor.

Sadly your own quote kills ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Sadly your own quote kills your whole argument:

------------
Nagian said: " "Is there any other option?" We said, "Well, if you want to walk, across the Crescent City Connection, there's buses coming, you may be able to find some relief."
------------

Guess that just shoots down your "The Mayor sent them for the busses canard." He said busses "were coming" not to "go to Algiers to get them."

So everything you have tried to say you just undid.

Further you've never answered why that sat idle for 2 freaking days!!!!

NOR have you answered why if he wanted people to use them did he not DRIVE them over the bridge vs make people walk to them. You are either a troll or a dumbass or both.

170 MORE RTA BUSES! High an... (Below threshold)
Tom:

170 MORE RTA BUSES! High and Dry. Mostly missed by blogs and media.

Per NOLA - http://www.nola.com/weblogs/print.ssf?/mtlogs/nola_tporleans/archives/print078933.html

"Some 150 buses that were moved to the Poland Avenue Wharf in the Lower Ninth Ward appear to have fared well, but about 70 of those vehicles were commandeered by the police and fire departments, the National Guard, and in a few cases by individual citizens who used them to evacuate family members, friends and neighbors."

See 8/31/05 Google Map of Poland Street Wharf - w RTA buses - NOT cargo containers - see pre & post Katrina & compare w Canal St buses.
http://maps.google.com/maps?oi=map&q=Bartholomew+St+And+Chartres+St,+New+Orleans,+LA

See 8/31/05 NOAA Pics of Poland Street Wharf - w 170 RTA buses - River Sector -

Row 4 - 5 from right - N is right - http://ngs.woc.noaa.gov/storms/katrina/24428406.jpg

Row 4 - 6 from right - N is right - http://ngs.woc.noaa.gov/storms/katrina/24428410.jpg

Row 4 - 7 from right - N is right - http://ngs.woc.noaa.gov/storms/katrina/24428415.jpg

For visual comparison - See Canal Street Buses - Row 3 - 14 from right - North is Left
http://ngs.woc.noaa.gov/storms/katrina/24427963.jpg

See Google Map of Canal Street facility -
2817 Canal St, New Orleans, LA - http://maps.google.com/maps?oi=map&q=2817+Canal+St,+New+Orleans,+LA

BUS DRIVERS EVACUATED TUESD... (Below threshold)
Tom:

BUS DRIVERS EVACUATED TUESDAY -

So... the Canal Street RTA Bus Yard had a ready crew of bus drivers. They watched the buses flood. Then evacuated to Baton Rouge.

Per 10/1/05 NOLA quote -
http://www.nola.com/newslogs/breakingtp/index.ssf?/mtlogs/nola_Times-Picayune/archives/2005_09_30.html#084048

-from RTA spokesperson - Rosalind Blanco Cook -

"Although many of RTA’s buses flooded in Katrina, the agency has enough to begin the limited run, Cook said.

And staffing isn’t a problem, she said. Many bus drivers stayed at RTA’s Canal Street office during the storm and evacuated on the Tuesday after the hurricane for shelter in Baton Rouge, Cook said."

Feel free to re-post both Canal St Bus Drivers at Ready and 170 Buses High and Dry at Poland Street Wharf.

Paul :Splitting a hair w... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Paul :Splitting a hair with you Ed, you said:

I think the root of the problem is that New Orleans didn't plan for this crisis very well. They didn't plan it well prior to the storm...

That's the worst part. New Orleans DID HAVE a good plan. The mayor did not implement it. THAT is a tragedy.

Actually Paul you were splitting hairs with me. And while I agree that on paper they had a plan and probably not a bad one. Though having looked at it, it's not great. My point is that there is more to planning than having a plan on a piece of paper.

Either the mayor received bad advice or ignored the plan. Either way the plan wasn't followed. Either way the buck stops with the mayor. The fact that they had a plan on paper before the storm makes it all the more damning that the mayor was grossly incompetent.

This was a case of keeping ... (Below threshold)
sam:

This was a case of keeping the lie alive. Black people need to get off of theirs and correct the bs. Leonard Pitt ranted and raved about black treatment and racism. Everything that was presented by the media and Ray Nagin was a lie. Now, where is the demand for accountability and truth? No where to be found. Why? Because it doesn't serve the hypocrisy of the leaders that blacks have chosen - if they keep their hate alive - founded on illusions and their own hatred of anyone not black, then they cannot get special treatment and free money. The sad part being that the real money only goes to the most corrupt chosen few amoung them.

Over and over we heard that if it had been whites, scandinavians/norwegians to be exact (can't get any whiter than that) then the government would have been there immediately. Well TENET corporation employees would beg to differ. There were 4000 people evacuated from hospitals in the flood waters. The hospital were IN FACT under seige from the gangs - because of supplies and mostly drugs. Those white people DID have to protect the entries with their own weapons. Those white peole did see LOTS of death 45 dead. Those white people along with whatever other racial mix of people that were unfortunate enough to be there; did have to create a system to ration food. They hauled the sick up to the roofs of the buildings. Those people were told by the government that NO evacuation would be performed by the government. They did get private help, including Ross Perot's help and all were evacuated after four days. Do the math and more than 4 people out of every 100 died. Superdome math is one ONE of every 2500. Which scenario, in reality is more traumatic?

The difference is that the very worst demographic of people were thrown together in the Superdome. They were a collection of generational welfare citizens, a mass of people who have never made a positive contribution to society and who have no desire to change. They have waited on the government to take care of every aspect of their lives... a monthly allowance, food stamps, medical treatment, free school lunches, someone to take those masses of children off their hands for eight hours a day by warehousing them in the crummiest school system in the United States... free babysitting, if you will. They created in their own "wards" the hooligans and freaks that then turned on them and robbed and looted in the crisis. They therefore could not cope with being on their own, in a chaotic situation. Many have chemical alcohol and drug problems... look at the arrest and crime statistics for proof. Can you imagine being stuck in that place where a large percentage of the population was going through an unplanned detox? So rumors abounded throughout and circulated as truth and they refused to cooperate with one another. They were afraid of one another...and they did what they have always done, screamed and yelled for the government to fix their situation.

Now we have simply farmmed out this population to be a burden on different states. Newspaper article after article were about 2 people getting married that had 5 children but one could not locate their other 3. What??? Or a mother of three children who was 22 and her oldest was 6??? She once had a job at a Wendy's???? Excuse me , we are handing her vouchers and a three month FEMA allowance to a new apartment... why??? Blabbering over and over about the grandmothers - did you catch the ages of these matriachs? 50, 55, 49... hello - that is my age range - some were not even AARP eligble. So now we re-spin this to redefine elderly? Obese sick people that had let their health decline, and were traumatized by relief efforts because it's harder to get someone out that needs to be lifted by six men versus walking on their own.

Poverty is an evil but it does not excuse moral deficiency and corruptness.

Nagin and Blanco are traitors, they need to be tried for treason and punished. The media is disgusting. Rebuilding is stupidity.

When I think of new Orleans I think of perversity not cajun food or jazz - you can get that at any resturaunt and cd store around. The only good thing that could come of this would be to rid the country of a corrupt an evil place - it was cleansed and ruined all in one moment. Leave it under water.

It is too bad there are so ... (Below threshold)
Sue:

It is too bad there are so many uninformed people acting like authorities on this issue.
1. The estimates from the Hurricane Pam disaster drill and experience from other urban evacuations led the city officials to expect well over 100,000 people left in the city.
2. There were not anywhere close to enough buses available in the immediate area to evacuate that many people.
3. With the back-ups on the evacuation routes, buses tasked with taking people on contraflowed roads would have been able to make ONLY 1 trip.
4. Governor Blanco delivered 68 buses from surrounding areas on Monday after the worst of the winds had slowed down to evacuate some people.
5. She was told on that same day that FEMA would provide 500 air-conditioned buses to evacuate people. That is why Nagin and Blanco did not continue to assemble more school buses on Monday.
6. Blanco DID commandeer, via executive order, hundreds of school buses from other Louisiana parishes on Wednesday and forced those parishes to provide the bus drivers that would normally be providing transportation to school children, when FEMA had not delivered the air conditioned buses. Those buses evacuated over 15,000 people on Wednesday and Thursday, until the Greyhound buses eventually arrived on Thursday.
7. The Mayor has said that they had trouble finding enough drivers to drive the few city-owned buses, some with lifts for wheelchairs, that stopped at 10 locations around New Orleans and delivered people to the SuperDome, the shelter of last resort. There is no evidence that there was a surplus of drivers that Nagin failed to take advantage of.
8. The buses shown in the flooded lot DID NOT belong to the city. They did not even belong to the Orleans School District. They were owned by a company named Laidlaw. The bus drivers for those buses were not employees of the Orleans School District - they were employees of a private company. There is no way that Nagin could have FORCED those drivers to drive those buses.
9. The fact that a private person can steal a bus and then drive it, or that a private business can allow anyone that they chose to drive a bus does not mean that a city can allow just anyone to drive buses being used in a citywide evacuation. A municipality cannot do that - they had to have legitimate bus drivers.
10. They would have also needed additional security staff to monitor and supervise the gathering point(s), medical personnel to staff the buses, and additional staff to manage the crowd control and queues.
11. Since there were insufficient school buses to transport all those that were left in the city, the issue arises of who would have gotten on those buses. The people that died were mostly in 3 categories. Those who died as a result of hospitals and nursing homes being able to provide advanced life support and intensive medical care, those that drown because they did not evacuate their homes and move to safe higher ground like the SuperDome, and those that did evacuate to the SuperDome but were too medically fragile or too young to survive for days without water.
12. Would the weakest people in the hospitals who died from lack of advanced medical care have survived 12 hour trips on non-airconditioned buses without basic medical machines or treatments? Of course not. How about those that failed to even leave their flooded neighborhoods? Well, they would not have gotten on the buses either - they were unwilling to leave their homes. So buses would not have saved them. And the weakest people at the SuperDome? Would they have been able to force their way to the front of the line once people realized that the number of buses was incapable of evacuating even a quarter of those left in the city? Remember, with all the buses, hundreds of them, that the Governor was able to amass, they still only got 15,000 people out. There were at least 60,000 at the Convention Center and the SuperDome, and about 100,000 or more in the city who did not evacuate.

Getting 80% of a city's population to evacuate is a very high number. If a few poorly built flood walls had not collapsed, those 20% of people left in the city would have been okay IF they had gotten help from FEMA in a timely fashion. There were 360,000 meals ready to eat delivered to the SuperDome, and trucks full of water on Sunday and Monday. They had supplies for several days. FEMA should have been planning on a city flooded with toxic waters that needed to be evacuated as of Saturday. FEMA has told local emergency preparedness officials for years that they should be prepared to hang on by their fingertips for 48-72 hours until FEMA can provide significant help. That 2-3 day window of time, starting from Saturday, would have been over on Tuesday. But obviously FEMA was NOT there, in any great numbers, on Tuesday. The buses they promised Nagin and Blanco would be provided did not arrive until Thursday. They should have had those buses there before then. They should have planned on this need beginning on Saturday. In fact New Orleans was hit with a less powerful storm, and had much less wind damage than what FEMA should have been preparing for.

These accusations of failure directed towards Nagin and his dealings with the buses appear to be an effort to deflect criticism from the Bush Administration. Nagin and Blanco were NOT perfect in the way they managed this disaster. There is plenty of blame for almost everyone involved. However, Nagin really does not deserve blame for not using the buses.

1. After the Hurricane Pam disaster drill, and after Hurricane Ivan the year before, and after reading about how the city's evacuation had problems before Hurricane Georges, the Mayor insisted upon the creation of a disaster plan that would be sent out to the residents of New Orleans. They were looking to recruit local churches to organize small groups that would help those without cars to evacuate, among many other initiatives. This plan that Nagin had initiated was almost complete when Hurricane Katrina hit. Governor Blanco and the state of Louisiana had created a plan that called for a phased evacuation of low-lying parishes first, allowing those people to get off the delta and past New Orleans before the Mayor of New Orleans would be allowed to call for the mandatory evacuation of the city. This protects thoses people who live in areas not protected by levees and floodwalls to get out in time, and not be stuck in dangerous areas by gridlocked highways out of New Orleans. This Statewide evacuation plan also called for contraflowing the three major evacuation routes out of town - something that Louisiana had NOT had in effect for previous storms. The Mayor could NOT cooperate with the Statewide evacuation plan and call for a mandatory evacuation of his city too early. The parishes south of New Orleans did not demand that their residents evacuate until Saturday morning or early afternoon, and so Mayor Nagin had to wait until Sunday to demand that New Orleanians leave. There was not time THEN to assemble people at gathering points, find bus drivers, extra police, crowd control and medical help and get map directions to those drivers to evacuation sites in safe areas. The best idea was to encourage everyone they could to leave, and to provide a safe place for those that would not or could not leave. Nagin did that. I am really sorry that so many people refuse to look at the facts and come away with reasonable conclusions about his actions regarding these facts.

Yes but supposing they got ... (Below threshold)
Joshua Straume:

Yes but supposing they got the buses to the Superdome - where could they go from there? The I-10 had flooded under the train tracks and the only alternative route (610 heading east) had broken into pieces and sank.




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