Here is the caption for the AP photo above:
An aerial view of flooded school buses in a lot, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in New Orleans, LA. The flood is a result of Hurricane Katrina that passed through the area last Monday.
Here is a segment from the overplayed diatribe that the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, gave yesterday to radio station WWL-AM. The emphasis is mine:
WWL: What do you need right now to get control of this situation?
NAGIN: I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. We ain’t talking about — you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here.
I’m like, “You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans.”
That’s — they’re thinking small, man. And this is a major, major, major deal. And I can’t emphasize it enough, man. This is crazy.
I’ve got 15,000 to 20,000 people over at the convention center. It’s bursting at the seams. The poor people in Plaquemines Parish. … We don’t have anything, and we’re sharing with our brothers in Plaquemines Parish.
It’s awful down here, man.
I heard that, then found the photo above, and just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
WHY WEREN’T THOSE BUSES USED MAYOR NAGIN??!!
I just read about this story:
The first busload of New Orleans refugees to reach the Reliant Astrodome overnight was a group of people who commandeered a school bus in the city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and drove to Houston looking for shelter. [HoustonChronicle.com]
See Mayor… the people could have used those buses themselves…
I didn’t think I would have to say that the buses in the photo should have been used BEFORE the hurricane, but apparently I do. Obviously the buses in the photo are useless NOW. Unfortunately, lessons have been learned the hard way, and I can bet that the NEXT time (Yeah, I’m sure there will be a next time after we rebuild) you won’t see any buses in that parking lot.
This photo really pissed me off. I couldn’t believe that a plan was never created to use them for situations like this. While searching for a reason, I found an article posted in November of last year by Shirley Laska of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology titled “What if Hurricane Ivan had not missed New Orleans?” Here is an excerpt from this amazingly prophetic piece about what occurred when Hurricane Ivan buzzed New Orleans last year:
Residents who did not have personal transportation were unable to evacuate even if they wanted to. Approximately 120,000 residents (51,000 housing units x 2.4 persons/unit) do not have cars. A proposal made after the evacuation for Hurricane Georges to use public transit buses to assist in their evacuation out of the city was not implemented for Ivan. If Ivan had struck New Orleans directly it is estimated that 40-60,000 residents of the area would have perished. (emphasis added)
Read the whole article when you get a moment: What if Hurricane Ivan had not missed New Orleans?
Update by Stephen VanDyke: Coyote Blog calls it a missed opportunity and blames the local government for not using them, saying:
The city declared a mandatory evacuation. Why then did it stick tens of thousands in the Superdome, right in the middle of town, rather than evacuate them with the assets they already owned in quantity?
Some critics are calling it a racist plot. If we rely on Coyote’s Law, the most likely answer is incompetence and stupidity.
Yet ANOTHER update:
Drudge Report just posted the same photo I did on this post and is running the following tagline: WHY DIDN’T YOU DEPLOY THE BUSES DURING THE MANDATORY EVACUATION, MAYOR?…
And then quotes the following from the Louisiana disaster plan, pg 13, para 5 , dated 01/00:
‘The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating’…
This will come back up later if it isn’t addressed by the mass media outlets now…