New Orleans will be virtually empty before Gustav strikes:

“I am announcing today mandatory evacuation of New Orleans starting 8am Sunday on the West bank,” Nagin said at a press conference.

“We want everybody… we want 100 per cent evacuation. If you decide to stay, you are on your own.”

“This is the mother of all storms,” Nagin said. “This storm is so powerful and growing more powerful every day that I’m not sure we’ve seen anything like it.”

Nagin estimated that less than half of the city’s population has left despite days of dire warnings.

“This is the real deal,” Nagin said. “Riding this storm out would be one of the biggest mistakes you could make in your life.”

Nagin said police, fire and other emergency personnel are being pulled from the city to safer areas. A “skeleton crew” of fewer than 50 city workers will be left behind, according to officials.

New Orleans is still dangerously vulnerable:

Though the city is more aware of the hurricane danger now than it was then, unfortunately – even scandalously – New Orleans is not as prepared as it ought to be.

A recent yearlong Associated Press investigation found that many New Orleanians have a false sense of how secure their city really is behind rebuilt levees.

Though there have been some improvements, an enormous amount of the necessary levee work remains undone and seriously behind schedule. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose faulty levee-building helped cause the Katrina disaster, has over the past three years put in drainage pumps that wouldn’t work and failed reviews by the National Research Council, among other shortcomings. The Corps has high hopes for its efforts, but hope won’t stop a rising storm tide.

It is hard to believe New Orleans remains so vulnerable after Katrina revealed how city, state and federal officials, as well as the people who kept electing them, wasted decades to build defenses against the killer hurricane everyone knew was bound to come.

But here we are, three years after Katrina, with the city still undefended beyond rudimentary repair work. The AP investigation made clear that the city’s crisis today is also the fault of business people, activists and others who don’t seem to grasp the urgency of their situation.

I was in New Orleans in March of this year and couldn’t believe what an absolute mess the city was outside of the French Quarter. If it takes the dirty side of a cat 5 hurricane the damage will be incomprehensible.



2 Comments

  1. Robert Wesley

    It pains me to see the tragedy unfolding and the deaths that have occurred due to this hurricane. I pray no more lives be lost. Property we can replace.

    I wish, the national guards would put their weapons away. These people are not criminals, they are fleeing for their lives.

    Is the Super Dome so super that we can not have temporary shelter for those fleeing for their lives? And why are all these armed guards defending the superdome? This place could be used as a place of shelter. My God, whats wrong with you people in charge. Have a heart. The I don’t care spirit of Pres. George Bush lives on through another storm. Or in the words of Kanye West, ” George Bush don’t care nothing about Black people.” I would go one step further and say George Bush doesn’t care about anybody.

  2. Craig Brougher

    Nagin blamed the Corps for inadequate levees the first time. I got news–both for the Washington Post, NYT, and all the flunkies who write stuff without researching it, first.

    The ACE is not responsible for an inadequate levee or system. They build levees to the mutual specs of their sponsor (New Orleans Levee Board and State of Louisiana) and then it’s that sponsor’s duty to inspect, maintain, and upgrade the system as they see fit!

    They receive government money to help do that. Yet they just misappropriate those hundreds of millions and ignore their levees. It wasn’t Latrina that did in New Orleans. It was their own treachery, lying, thieving, and bedeviling of the citizens of Louisiana for 4 decades that caused a high water table, plus drifting barges, to cut holes in their levees.

    Anybody who has the gall to blame the ACE for their own fraud and crookedness and then carry that story worldwide in all their nonsense newspapers deserves a real hurricane directly, in my opinion.

    Let ‘em feel what a hurricane (albeit much smaller than Katrina) is like for a change. They want that credit, you know. And the day those half-completed levees west of the Miss. holds what they’re going to get is the day I’ll eat my hat. Remember, these are spec’d both by state engineers and the Corps. It’s a joint engineering project.

    Stop jazzin’ us, and stop your naggin’ Nagin! It’s all your fault! None of it belongs to ACE. And if you don’t believe that, then read the Corp’s pdf on levees and who owns and maintains them, fella!

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