Sep 5, 2005

"Naglin's Navy" Commandeered

Saturday night while New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was engaged in his long-winded interview and foul-mouth tirade blaming everyone from the Governor of Louisiana to the President of the United States in a futile and pathetic attempt to compensate for his own negligence and ineptitude to properly provide for the evacuation of the citizens of New Orleans, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco was signing Executive Order No. KBB 2005-25 to provide for the emergency evacuation by school buses for those affected in New Orleans by hurricane Katrina.

"Executive Order NO. KBB 2005- 25 provides that pursuant to the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act, R.S. 29:721, et seq., grants emergency powers to the governor, where, she has in consultation with school superintendents, utilized public school buses for transportation of Hurricane Katrina evacuees."

Blanco's surprise executive order is far reaching. It calls for all Louisiana school systems not just New Orleans to make their buses available "as necessary" and to continue doing so until as late as Sept. 25. The order also specifically suspends a state law requiring free transportation for students.

Sadly the school buses of New Orleans which should have been originally utilized by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to evacuate the citizens of New Orleans remain underwater having never been used.

'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"... - Louisiana Disaster Plan, pg 13, para 5 , dated 01/00

Perhaps if the Mayor would have done his job in the first place and familiarized himself with his city's own "Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan" lives could have been saved and the citizens all evacuated in an orderly manner. He might even have read the following -

"The person responsible for recognition of hurricane related preparation needs and for the issuance of an evacuation order is the Mayor of the City of New Orleans."

"I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man" ... "And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the President's problem, but somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now!"

What they need to figure out apparently is how to prevent you from futher creating problems and get the job done that you failed to do. How shameful is it to blame others for your own failure? The picture of the submerged buses are simply priceless.

While it is too late for the citizens of New Orleans perhaps other communities along the Gulf coast can learn from this and perhaps take a look at Galveston's plan for action in a similar crisis.

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