The Katrina Evacuation: A Phenomenal Success

[Note: I’m leaving this at the top for a while, check for more content below.]

Let me be the first to burst the group think. Yes, you read that headline right. (and no this ain’t one of my patented satire pieces) With each passing day it is becoming increasingly clear that the evacuation of New Orleans was a phenomenal success.

To understand how I can say that, the first thing you need to do turn off the 24 hour cable news which is far more interested in “drama” than information.

Stop listening to the “experts” and use your own brain for a minute.

For the last two weeks you’ve all seen links to various reports on the study done 2 years ago on hurricane preparedness. In case you’ve miss the multiple times I’ve linked it, here is the part in question.

That would turn the city and the east bank of Jefferson Parish into a lake as much as 30 feet deep, fouled with chemicals and waste from ruined septic systems, businesses and homes. Such a flood could trap hundreds of thousands of people in buildings and in vehicles. At the same time, high winds and tornadoes would tear at everything left standing. Between 25,000 and 100,000 people would die, said John Clizbe, national vice president for disaster services with the American Red Cross.

The city (proper) and the east bank of Jefferson have a combined population of about a million people. The number that most officials worked with was that 50,000 of them would die if “The Big One” hit.

During Katrina, only Orleans Parish got flooded, not both parishes, but it was commonly accepted that of those 50,000 deaths, the vast majority of them would be in Orleans Parish. As recently as the last 2 days ago, the estimated dead in Orleans was hovering around 10,000. Instead, it looks like the numbers will be far less.

The death toll in Louisiana rose to 154 on Saturday. In Mississippi it was 211. In Jefferson parish, in the western part of the New Orleans metropolitan area, the death toll was 20. In St Bernard parish, east of New Orleans, the toll was 62.

I can’t find numbers on Orleans Parish, but so far, the whole state of Louisiana is running behind Mississippi. Granted, Mississippi took the brunt of the storm but they don’t have our problems with geography. Assuming these numbers are anywhere close to representative of the final numbers, they show us a phenomenal success story.

Stop for a second and consider the task… We had to move a million people out of harms way in 48 hours… We only have 3 main roads out of town AND we had to wait to move until the people to the south of us got out first. – And as an added bonus, we didn’t get to practice this a dozen times. We had a few dress rehearsals like Ivan but none like the size of this evacuation.

Could your home town evacuate (effectively) the whole city with 48 hours notice?

Were the TV images of the Dome horrific? Sure they were, that’s what TV does best. Was the evacuation perfect? Nope. But when was the last time you saw anything perfect in life? Judging a one-off evacuation against perfection is folly.

If you step back and look at it realistically, New Orleans did the baseball equivalent of pitching a 1 hitter. The cable newies will focus on the one guy who got on base… Never forget the rest of the game.

The evacuation saved thousands of lives. Period.

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And a note for the reading challenged: Read this again if you need to, I did not talk about anyone’s respose. I did not talk about anything but the fact that the evacuation clearly saved thousands of lives.. That is a succes in my book. If you want to babble about the Superdome, feel free, you are more than welcome to babble about things you know nothing about. If you want to talk about the busses, feel free to focus on the one guy who got on base and forget the rest of the game… Then send your resume to CNN, Fox and MSNBC, they’re looking for people like you.

Give us your flashers, your rapists, your kiddie diddlers yearning to breathe free
Let the Games Begin


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