Skip to comments.New Orleans Mayor Nagin's Failure
Posted on 09/04/2005 10:47:00 AM PDT by NWO Slave
This AP photo shows scores of New Orleans school buses sitting in flood waters after Hurricane Katrina - sitting where they sat instead of being used to evacuate thousands of poor people before Katrina hit.
Why are scores of school buses sitting in the flood waters of New Orleans today? Blame New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who is one reason things have gotten worse, not better, in his stricken city since it was hit by Hurricane Katrina. His laissez faire approach to looting allowed the looters to become increasingly armed and violent, interrupting rescue and recovery operations.
But even before Katrina hit, he failed his poorest citizens horribly. He told them to evacuate the city - and then gave his city's poorest residents no way to do so.
Nagin lashed out at federal officials yesterday for the government's relief efforts, pleading for the government to round up "500 buses" to send to New Orleans to evacuate survivors.
But Nagin, who ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans before Katrina hit, ought to be made to answer this question: Where are the buses of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority? Under water? Destroyed? Why?
Before Katrina hit, the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority operated at least 364 buses, probably more. The latest stats (I found these from 2002.) NORTA's website likely has more accurate stats but the site is, understandably, down.)
A more important question for Mayor Nagin is this one:
Why weren't NORTA's 364 buses used to ferry poor people out of New Orleans before Katrina hit?
It's a legitimate question. After all, Nagin knew he had tens of thousands of poor people in his city who had neither money nor vehicles to self-evacuate before the storm arrived. So, why didn't he order NORTA to send its buses into the poor neighborhoods to provide transportation to anyone wishing to leave?
If each bus could hold just 60 people, NORTA's 364 buses had the capacity to take almost 22,000 people out of harm's way per trip. Given that Nagin ordered the compulsory evacuation of the city two days before the storm hit, there was sufficient time for more than one trip - sufficient time to move tens of thousands of the city's poorest residents out of New Orleans by bus before Katrina arrived.
Even if the buses only made one trip, one in five people now trapped in New Orleans wouldn't be.
But Nagin never sent NORTA's buses and drivers into the city's Ninth Ward, its poorest section, to offer the people there a realistic way out.
Critics will ask where, exactly, the NORTA buses would have taken tens of thousands of people. My answer: the first town they came to 100 miles or so west of New Orleans. Would that be ideal? No, but leaving 100,000 poor people trapped in a below-sea-level city about to be hit by a hurricane stronger than the city's levees were build to withstand wasn't exactly ideal, either.
Nagin is screaming for buses now, but when he had them he failed to use them. People aren't dying in New Orleans today because of what the federal relief effort is or isn't doing. People are dying in New Orleans today because Mayor Ray Nagin failed to get them out before Katrina hit.
People are dying - perhaps by the thousands - because of his failure.
UPDATE: A commenter notes that the New Orleans Public School system also had buses - hundreds of them. Why weren't they pressed into service to evacuate the thousands of residents who had no way out? (After posting this update, I found the flooded buses photo via a link posted by a commenter over at BloggingForBryant.)
In the days before the hurricane struck, the possibility of commandeering the city's two big bus fleets - the transit buses and the school buses - was much discussed on this Metafilter thread Metafilter thread.
One person, "Amberglow," wrote at at 11:15 AM New Orleans time on August 28: "They ought to get every bus in the city commandeered and just get people out of there. even boats and barges up the Mississippi would work."
But ... they didn't.
Instead, the transit buses were used to shuttle people to the Superdome. And the school buses were left parked to drown in the floodwaters, each flooded seat representing a person that could have been moved out of harm's way.
The backlash begins...
When are elections for mayor and governor? The GOP better have someone with leadership abilities lined up for a shoe in.
nagin is a corrupt fool. blanco is incompetent.
both are dangerously out of their depth.
If the left's reaction to this disaster which is on the scale of the tsunami in January is hysterics, fingerpointing, rants, obscenities thrown everywhere, physical threats made by a sitting Louisiana Senator at the President of the US, complaints that FEMA suspend the laws of physics and materialize in a day, and downright deplorable behavior, then I guess we all know
they are not to be trusted in an emergency.
I don't think there's any way the GOP could win the mayor's race in NO . . . ever. LA governor is much more likely.
Read the entire interview here.
When evacuees at the Superdome were interviewed by the Houston Chronicle, however, here's what they had to say,
"...Warren Cosey, 41, was less charitable. 'Oh, man, he was crying like a baby,' he said.
Next to Cosey in line was Verdell Berry, who complained that he had not seen the mayor all week. 'He never came in and addressed the crowd or nothing,' he said.
Cosey shook his head. 'If he would have come in here, they would have killed him,' he said."
Read the article here.
In addition, there is some question about Nagin's orders immediately following the Hurricane. In an article in the Los Angeles Times, he was quoted while talking to a radio interviewer as follows:
" 'We probably have 80 percent of our city underwater; with some sections of our city the water is as deep as 20 feet. Both airports are underwater,' Mayor Ray Nagin told a radio interviewer.
Nagin evacuated City Hall and ordered everyone who was still in the city - including police officers who were not considered 'central emergency personnel' - to leave."
Read the article here. Nagin, who has been exposed as a "Good-Time Mayor" was way...way...way over his head in this crisis. He had absolutely no clue. As is typical of so many Democrats, his desperate attempts to rewrite history and tweak the timeline involve exaggeration, embellishment, and outright lies. He knows he failed. He knows that people died because of his inaction prior to the storm as well as his disappearing act immediately afterwards.
We'll see how this plays out over the next few weeks but, with the majority of the LSM acting as a pre-emptive PR firm for the DNC, I am not confident that facts will play a significant role in analyzing this tragedy and preventing future replays.
ping for reference
I think the total submerged bus count from the aerials in 576 now.
Mayor of what, exactly?
New Orleans had 364 Transit Authority buses, and at least 430 school buses available, and failed to use any of them, except the one the kid stole????
Simple...It's better for a Black mayor to throw a hissyfit in the press than do what is right. Those that died will no longer be voters anyway.
I don't think their will be a mayors race in New Orleans. I don't think the city will ever recover for 5-15 years. It never be the same. I don't see the population ever becoming close to what it was. The city is a sewer
sure there will. NO will be flooded with federal bucks for years.
Other federal and state officials pointed to Louisiana's failure to measure up to national disaster response standards, noting that the federal plan advises state and local emergency managers not to expect federal aid for 72 to 96 hours, and base their own preparedness efforts on the need to be self-sufficient for at least that period.
"Fundamentally the first breakdown occurred at the local level," said one state official who works with FEMA. 'Did the city have the situational awareness of what was going on within its borders? The answer was no."
Dems never let that stop them from voting.
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