Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Some Actual Facts About NOLA

There's been a ton of nonsense spewed by the media and the politicians about the New Orleans (NOLA) hurricane disaster. Here are some actual facts and a few opinions.

Fact: The founding fathers devised a federal system of government – one that has served us remarkably well through great disasters. The states have primacy in these instances.

Fact: Last year, four major hurricanes slammed into Florida. Governor Jeb Bush led the disaster response and did a remarkable job, with nothing happening like what we have seen in New Orleans.

Fact: In 1998, during a threat by Hurricane George, 14,000 New Orleanians were sent to the Superdome and theft and vandalism were rampant due to inadequate security.

Fact: A year ago, as Hurricane Ivan approached, New Orleans ordered an evacuation but did not use city or school buses to help people evacuate. As a result over 100,000 of the poorest citizens were unable to evacuate. Fortunately, the hurricane changed course and did not hit New Orleans.

Fact: NOLA Mayor Nagin was publicly warned of his inadequate city plans in an AP report titled, Ivan exposes flaws in N.O. disaster plans. Homeless advocacy groups insisted he make changes. The ACLU criticized the mayor, noting, "If the government asks people to evacuate, the government has some responsibility to provide an option for those people who can't evacuate and are at the whim of Mother Nature."

Fact: New Orleans has long known that a disaster could occur if a major hurricane hit the city. The City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan states that orderly evacuation of the civilian population is the responsibility of the city – not the federal government. Nowhere is the president or federal government even mentioned.

Fact: The city's plan also specifically calls for the use of city-owned buses and school buses to evacuate the population and projected that 300,000 people would need transportation.

Fact: Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco refused to allow the federal government to take control of evacuation efforts. Late Friday evening the Bush administration sent Blanco a legal document asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans. Gov. Blanco rejected the request, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law.

Fact: The President also asked Mrs. Blanco to order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans on Aug. 27 -- two days before the hurricane hit -- but she did not make the order until Aug. 28. Mr. Bush declared the entire state of Louisiana a disaster area 48 hours before the hurricane made landfall and ordered FEMA and military resources to deploy to the area.

Fact: Instead of evacuating the people, Mayor Nagin ordered the refugees to the Superdome and Convention Center without adequate security and no provisions for food, water and sanitary conditions. People died and were killed and raped in these facilities.

Fact: Mayor Nagin kept the city's school buses parked and locked in neat rows when there was still time to take the refugees to higher ground. The bright-yellow buses sit ruined now in four feet of dirty water.

Fact: When Hurricane Ivan barely missed the city of New Orleans, both the Governor and the Mayor took heat for the inconveniences they caused their population.

Opinion: Lives were needlessly lost in New Orleans due to the failure of Louisiana's governor, Kathleen Blanco, and the city's mayor, Ray Nagin. Perhaps their lethal dithering was due to the heat they took over the Ivan evacuation.

Fact: The spirit of the disaster was summed up by a gentleman called Mike Franklin, taking time out of his hectic schedule of looting to speak to the Associated Press: "People who are oppressed all their lives, man, it's an opportunity to get back at society."

Fact: Louisiana and New Orleans have been ruled by Democrats for 60 years. Yet the political corruption, institutional incompetence and poverty are legendary. Over a quarter of the population and a third of the black population receive welfare assistance.

Opinion: Perhaps it is time for Louisiana to consider if a Republican government might do a better job.

Fact: Despite the media and political attacks on the Bush administration, the people have not been fooled. A Gallup poll released today asked who is most responsible for the NOLA disaster. The results: Bush (13%), Federal Agencies (18%), State/Local government (25%), No one (38%), No opinion (6%).

Opinion: The 13% who blame Bush are the same ones who blamed him for 9/11, the tsunami, the death of Arafat and the bird flu; the same patriots who gave the US an unfavorable rating in the Pew Global poll. (See my post Some Interesting Statistics, 8/13/05).


Anonymous Anonymous said...


This was good. Expresses my thoughts all along.


5:34 PM  
Anonymous P said...

Stating the facts! Thanks Bill, excellent summary. H Rodham-Clinton called for a 'commission'.
Oooooookay Hilary. Will do.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous JamesPh. said...

I love the factual compilation. BUT. I'm not questioning any of them but have you considered providing links to the data/factual sources?

9:14 PM  
Blogger alena said...

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!

5:24 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be prepared for the next hurricane andrew or find another one that's similar. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared"!

4:37 AM  

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