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After Blocking the Bridge, Gretna Circles the Wagons
LA Times ^ | 9/16/05 | Nicholas Riccardi, Times Staff Writer

Posted on 09/16/2005 5:20:30 PM PDT by BurbankKarl

Little over a week after this mostly white suburb became a symbol of callousness for using armed officers to seal one of the last escape routes from New Orleans — trapping thousands of mostly black evacuees in the flooded city — the Gretna City Council passed a resolution supporting the police chief's move.

"This wasn't just one man's decision," Mayor Ronnie C. Harris said Thursday. "The whole community backs it."

Three days after Hurricane Katrina hit, Gretna officers blocked the Mississippi River bridge that connects their city to New Orleans, exacerbating the sometimes troubled relationship with their neighbor. The blockade remained in place into the Labor Day weekend.

Gretna (pop. 17,500) is a feisty blue-collar city, two-thirds white, that prides itself on how quickly its police respond to 911 calls; it warily eyes its neighbor, a two-thirds black city (pop. about 500,000) that is also a perennial contender for the murder capital of the U.S.

Itself deprived of power, water and food for days after Katrina struck Aug. 29, Gretna suddenly became the destination for thousands of people fleeing New Orleans. The smaller town bused more than 5,000 of the newcomers to an impromptu food distribution center miles away. As New Orleans residents continued to spill into Gretna, tensions rose.

After someone set the local mall on fire Aug. 31, Gretna Police Chief Arthur S. Lawson Jr. proposed the blockade.

"I realized we couldn't continue, manpower-wise, fuel-wise," Lawson said Thursday. Armed Gretna police, helped by local sheriff's deputies and bridge police, turned hundreds of men, women and children back to New Orleans.

Gretna is not the only community that views New Orleans with distrust. Authorities in St. Bernard Parish, to the east, stacked cars to seal roads from the Crescent City.

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: falsefacts; fibbermagee; fibs; gretna; suburbanvictims; truthwillout; urbanbarbarians
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1 posted on 09/16/2005 5:20:30 PM PDT by BurbankKarl
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To: BurbankKarl

BTTT


2 posted on 09/16/2005 5:25:21 PM PDT by Bradís Gramma (Lord, we need a Logan miracle for Simcha7 and Cowboy. Please.)
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To: BurbankKarl

Does the LA Times mention that Gretna's entire government is run by Democrats?


3 posted on 09/16/2005 5:25:35 PM PDT by Uncle Joe Cannon
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To: BurbankKarl

Well DUH! This is what happens when you fail to evacuate when there is a manditory evacuation. Gretna was empty. It was the job of the police to stop ANYBODY from coming in.

There does need to be some discussion in lots places that this is what happens when you don't evacuate. You can get stuck.


4 posted on 09/16/2005 5:27:14 PM PDT by JLS
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To: Uncle Joe Cannon

Uh no.


5 posted on 09/16/2005 5:49:37 PM PDT by BurbankKarl
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To: JLS

I will tell you that living as close to Detroit as I do, if I were ever told to evacuate, this computer comes with me.

I guess we just kiss the rest goodbye.


6 posted on 09/16/2005 5:49:47 PM PDT by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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To: BurbankKarl
After someone set the local mall on fire Aug. 31, Gretna Police Chief Arthur S. Lawson Jr. proposed the blockade.

Gretna will be another story within a story. This is the first I associated a mall burning with shutting down traffic into Gretna.

Gretna
Convention Center
Slow reaction to reports of levee breach
Blanco requests v. FEMA/Fed response
Hospital sieges
Bell South building siege
The building that burned on ?Friday? - was it occupied?

7 posted on 09/16/2005 5:58:50 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: JLS
Well DUH! This is what happens when you fail to evacuate when there is a manditory evacuation. Gretna was empty. It was the job of the police to stop ANYBODY from coming in. There does need to be some discussion in lots places that this is what happens when you don't evacuate. You can get stuck.

Yeah - but one doesn't expect to get stuck because the town next door closes a public roadway.

I doubt we'll ever grasp the details of the cordon of NOLA - but I suspect not all of the cordon was enforced by feisty neighbors.

8 posted on 09/16/2005 6:01:33 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: BurbankKarl

It is called SURVIVAL - the real kind. They deserve kudos and using them as examples on how to really survive a terrorist attack --

#1 PROTECT yourself,
#2 your family
#3 your neighbors
#4 your town

--- in that order!

If you don't protect yourself first, you won't be able to go to step #2.

NEVER expect someone else to take care of #1 for you.


9 posted on 09/16/2005 6:09:20 PM PDT by hombre_sincero (www.sigmaitsys.com)
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To: Cboldt

Yeah - but one doesn't expect to get stuck because the town next door closes a public roadway.
_______________________________________________________

Are you kidding? Of course the police of a town are responsible for stopping all nonofficial access when there is a manditory evacuation. It happens here all the time after a hurricane. You can not just drive to the affected areas and look around or loot as you please.

The police can not watch every house. When there is a manditory evacuation, everyone is kept out. I suspect that I-10 was still open, but you can not count on that. BTW, if one got to Gretna, there was no place to go from there anyway.


10 posted on 09/16/2005 6:10:13 PM PDT by JLS
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To: JLS
Of course the police of a town are responsible for stopping all nonofficial access when there is a manditory evacuation. It happens here all the time after a hurricane. You can not just drive to the affected areas and look around or loot as you please.

I don't know the lay of the land in enough detail - and if Gretna is a dead end as you say, then of course it makes sense to close the road.

And I agree with the notion of denying access to people who aim to enter for sightseeing or worse purposes. But ehre we are talking about letting people OUT, not letting them in. One-way traffic was the goal, yes? Get 'em all OUT!

My first impression, FWIW, was fully in support of the Gretna sheriff. And the more I read, the stronger my support.

OTOH, I picture myself in NOLA, and able to travel out, and Gretna not being a dead end, and I would not expect that -EXIT- to be closed.

11 posted on 09/16/2005 6:21:54 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: Cboldt
Was this before Blanco let federal troops into the state? It seems that had they been able to come in earlier, the troops could have been used to police the exit corridor.
12 posted on 09/16/2005 6:27:04 PM PDT by stayathomemom
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To: stayathomemom

Federal troops can't "police" anything. Rescue, provide comms, provide certain kinds of imagery, yup. Police work, nope.


13 posted on 09/16/2005 6:32:01 PM PDT by aBootes
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To: netmilsmom
this computer comes with me.

I guess we just kiss the rest goodbye.

Goodbye hubbie, goodbye kiddiess, goodbye doggies, goodbye kitties..........there, I'm making you a list to kiss goodbye! lol

:)

14 posted on 09/16/2005 6:33:26 PM PDT by Chuck54 (Confirm justice Roberts!)
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To: Cboldt

I understand and feel for the plight of the people stuck in New Orleans, particularly the tourists that had their flights scrubbed and had no way out. But you still have to seal the town or the people of Gretna will not leave the next time.

Property owners know that the police can not protect all property when a town is empty. If they can not rely on the police to keep everyone out, they will not go. I bet New Orleans has even more trouble evacuating people then next time they have a manditory evacuation. Property owners will not want to leave since the police let them down this time.


15 posted on 09/16/2005 6:37:12 PM PDT by JLS
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To: stayathomemom
Was this before Blanco let federal troops into the state? It seems that had they been able to come in earlier, the troops could have been used to police the exit corridor.

AFAIK, there is no date where Blanco "let federal troops into the state." She managed the use of NG since before the storm (see Superdome screening), and other than active military evacuation activity, she was the top of the chain of command.

I think (but don't know for sure) that Gretna was indeed an exit corridor. But the Gretna Sheriff was concerned that people would not just "pass through," and the town could not police a significant increase in population. So, the rational reaction is to close the doors leading in, so population would not increase. Blanco could have provided resources to "enforce the corridor" - use the road but don't stay - but she didn't.

16 posted on 09/16/2005 6:42:14 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: SJackson

gretna ping


17 posted on 09/16/2005 6:44:11 PM PDT by dennisw (G_D : Against Amelek for all generations)
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To: aBootes
Federal troops can't "police" anything. Rescue, provide comms, provide certain kinds of imagery, yup. Police work, nope.

Okay, how about the National Guard then? My point being, if more man power had been available, would they have been able to keep the corridor open? Or was this when Blanco was still trying to decide what to do?

18 posted on 09/16/2005 6:45:42 PM PDT by stayathomemom
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To: BurbankKarl

Gretna is not an evacuation route from N.O. it was merely a looting route. The people on that road were already on high ground and had no legitimate reason to cross the bridge


19 posted on 09/16/2005 6:52:05 PM PDT by Figment
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To: Chuck54

>>Goodbye hubbie, goodbye kiddiess, goodbye doggies, goodbye kitties..........there, I'm making you a list to kiss goodbye! lol<<

Well actually, both the hubby and the kiddies know where FR ranks in Mommy's priorities.
Hubby is Netmilsdad here. I haven't registered the girls yet but I should. They would all understand why they would be carrying the water while Mommy brought the computer.

As for the animals, Vinnie just starred in a Troll thread. He is a Viking. I'm sure he would make it even if we couldn't take him.


20 posted on 09/16/2005 6:54:24 PM PDT by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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