There are 205 of these. 205 school buses that could have been used last Sunday to evacuate the poor and those without transportation out of the city. 205 buses that could have saved lives. 205 buses that could have stopped the atrocity at the Superdome. 205 buses that could have prevented the starvation, the dehydration, the stench and the death at the New Orleans Convention Center. TWO.HUNDRED.AND.FIVE.

Mayor Ray Nagin, why are you blaming and pointing fingers at the federal government? Why didn’t you save your citizens on Sunday?

Why are these buses under water?

All 205 of ’em.

Others who agree: Bill Hobbs, Brendan Loy, JunkyardBlog, Instapundit, David Frey, Cracker Barrel Philosopher

MORE: Blanco refused to act.

STILL MORE: Less than a mile from the Superdome, over a hundred NORTA buses sat, idle, each with at least 60 seats available.

UPDATE I: Blanco delayed the response offer made by Bush for additional 24 hours.

Gov. Blanco on FoxNews 09.06.05 – “The mayor told me he sent busses into the streets with police escorts and sirens asking citzens to evacuate.”

UPDATE II: Jon Christian Ryter –  What Nagin should have done was commandeer all of the school buses in New Orleans and place them at strategic intersections in the city’s poorest sections to provide exit transportation for those who did not possess the means to escape the city. However, the buses were not insured for that purpose.

Related: Let the Peasants Die  | Delusional, Dysfunctional, Divisive, and Defiant |


  1. Bill: You’re absolutely right. The mayor had the resources and failed to implement them, and now is blaming everyone else. He is an incompetent politician.

  2. IN an interview Nagin blasts the federal government for wanting to send in schoolbus drivers to drive his people out of N.O. He says they are thinking too small, he wants the best greyhound buses and bus drivers.

    Schoolbus drivers are not good enough for him, darn it. His people will sit there and die until somebody takes him seriously and sends greyhound bus drivers!

  3. Linked, with a huge hat tip.

  4. clintcarter says:

    Just so I’m clear:
    The mayor should have moved the school buses out of New Orleans prior to the hurricane’s arrival?

    And if he HAD moved the buses out of the city, he should NOT have brought them back to the city after the hurricane had passed?

    Given the amount of attention this picture is getting, what WAS the Mayor to have done with the city’s school buses that would have spared them from the flood and made them available to be the ONLY way out of town for many people?


  5. No.

    When an evacuation was ordered last weekend, Nagin should have used these buses (which weren’t yet underwater) to move the people who did not otherwise have transportation out of New Orleans. Instead, he told them to go to the Superdome.

    That was his miscalculation.

  6. I’m not sure if clintcarter is really an idiot, or I’m just misunderstanding some kind of parody. The buses should have been used to evacuate the city BEFORE the hurricane arrived. Many of the people currently stuck in NO claim they had no way of leaving. See, in grown up land, you’re supposed to plan ahead instead of waiting for somebody to come save you after the fact.

  7. Random Numbers says:

    Nagin’s BusesL Water Taxis?

    America’s newest city, Venice of the Mississippi, already has an incredibly large fleet of multi-passenger water taxis, called “Nagin’s Arks” by locals, thanks to the efforts of forward thinking mayor Ray Nagin. With 205 Ye…

  8. He could have used the buses to implement the mandatory evacuation and get the people out. . . before the flood. That’s the whole idea behind mandatory evacuation in preparation for a Cat 5 hurricane.

  9. Clint Carter: it takes a Villiage kid. Well Clint, for two days prior to the hurricane the Mayor asked people to evacuate. On the day the hurricane was over, Monday, the city looked pretty good. Lots of wind damage but not major flooding. However on day two there was flooding being to occur. Thus on Tuesday morning Mayor (not Gulliani by any stretch) made an SOS call for the government to send Air conditioned buses to New Orleans for the SuperDome crowd that was growing due to the rising waters. All this time, he had over 200 school buses at his disposal for parish wide use and also many, many city buses. He did not utilize any of the transportation modes that were available on the ground there from the first hint of a levee leak. He sat on those buses until they were in water too deep to naviage them out of the yard. However, if you do a google search there is a story that was on Greta last night about an 18 year old neighborhood kid who took it upon himself to get a bus out of the yard and he filled with young and old alike from his neighborhood. When he heard that Texas was opening the AstroDome this kid collected gas money from his passengers and was one of the first buses to arrive in Texas. He is somewhat of a hero today! Yet, Mayor Nagin may still be hidden in Civil Defence headquarters screaming for Bush to send the Army.

  10. 205 X 60 = 12,300. 9000 people gathered at the Superdome during the storm. Those 9000 people could have been bussed out of harms way with some effort.

    Galveston, TX had their buses fueled and ready to go.

    Think outside the box.

  11. Apparently you are not clear. The flooding came a day after the hurricane. When he ordered the mandatory evacuations, he should have gotten those buses loaded up with those who did not have transportation, starting first with the most helpless. Those buses could have immediately evacuated 10,000 people. He could have then had them sent back in on Monday, right after the storm, to get another 10,000 out before the flooding occured. They weren’t under water until at least a day after the hurricane went through.

    Mayors like Rudy show how your supposed to LEAD in these situations. Nagin is failing his peoply miserably.

  12. Blackhawk has the evacuation plan that Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco were supposed to follow. This is the plan developed years ago by and for that part of LA. And in that plan it says that local officials should co-opt school buses and city buses and use them to evacuate the people who do not have cars, since LA is know to have an incredibly high rate of adults who do not own vehicles.
    Nagin did not follow his city’s own evacuation plan.

  13. NO Clint – you obviously don’t get it. The buses (plus at least 364 NORTA buses) should have been used to EVACUATE those poor people, as specified in the emergency management plan. BEFORE the hurricane, as specified in the emergency management plan.

  14. What was he supposed to do with the buses? Uh…use them?? Yes, load them up with folks who need to be evacuated and drive them OUT of the city BEFORE the storm. Yes, the buses will not be IN the city immediately after the storm and will then have to be driven BACK IN. But, on their way back in they can carry food and water. Once they arrive, they can be used for evacuation.

    It’s counterintuitive, I know. But, the best way to save your resources in times like this is often to send them away first, only to bring them back later. Why? Because of exactly what we see in this picture. By leaving the buses in the city, they did not take folks out, bring supplies in, or evacuate anyone after the storm. Instead, they did NOTHING and are now useless.

  15. clintcarter,
    the point everyone is making is that when the mayor called for the MANDATORY evacuation on SUNDAY, he had 205 buses to use. There were people in hospitals and jails, was it up to them to decide to follow the mandatory evacuation orders?

  16. What to do with the buses????

    Use them to evacuate people! Duh!

  17. Ok, Clint, I’ll try to say it simply for you.

    MANDATORY EVACUATION – get everyone OUT of the city

    Nagin told people to head to the dome and other shelters of last resort. According to the New Orleans evacuation plan, Nagin was SUPPOSED to put people on the RTA and SCHOOL BUSSES to get them OUT OF THE CITY.

    It’s not about getting people out NOW with these busses, it’s about getting them out DURING THE ORIGINAL EVACUATION OF THE CITY.

    Nagin left the busses sit there, didn’t try to use them OR the public transit to evacuate people from the city AS HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO.

    Does that help, Clint?

    Additionally, Blanco didn’t even request an inventory of available transportation until Wednesday?????

    Here we have a fine shining example of “Louisiana politics”, rampant incompetance and corruption in crystal clear relief.


  18. Well, for a start he could have at least moved them to higher ground. The satellite photo of the bus depot shows plenty of parking near the dome, and about a mile of elevated freeway between them.

    The only one who seems to have had the sense to use the buses for evacuation was the young chap who stole one to rescue his friends and family! Put him in charge!

  19. Ok. Now read slowly, clint, just so’s you don’t miss anything:

    When the mayor sends the buses out of the city, he puts the immobile people on them, first.

    Does that help?

  20. iltridente says:

    You said – “The mayor should have moved the school buses out of New Orleans prior to the hurricane’s arrival? . . . What WAS the Mayor to have done with the city’s school buses that would have spared them from the flood and made them available to be the ONLY way out of town for many people?

    Ok, stay with me here. This might go over your head. You get 48 hours notice that a Cat V hurricane is coming you way. What to do with all these damned busses?! How about loading them up with all these poor people and getting them out of the way BEFORE the storm ever makes landfall, eliminating the risk of death from the storm AND the floods after? No need to send the busses back, either, because all these poor people are kicking it at some Guard Armory safely away from the coastline, smoking a Lucky, watching the whole thing on TV like the rest of us. What an idea. Taking action with available resources BEFORE the hurricane hits.

  21. The mayor should have moved the school buses out of New Orleans prior to the hurricane’s arrival?

    Er, yes. Full of people would have been a good idea, too.

  22. clintcarter

    Just so you’re clear, he should have moved the buses out of the city filled with the people who couldn’t leave on there own. He should have evacuated tens of thousands of people prior to the hurricane. After the hurricane, he could have sent the buses back to pick up those that didn’t get evacuated prior. Instead, they sit in floodwaters so deep they will be useless for anything but historical documentation of Mayor Nagin’s incompetence.

    Why is that not clear to you?

  23. He could have used those buses (More than 500 from what I’ve heard) to transport those people out who could not get out on their own. 500 buses would hold a lot of people.

  24. artvandelay says:

    It’s not really that complicated. Not all of New Orleans is below sea level. Not all of New Orleans is underwater. Those buses could have been moved to higher ground the weekend prior to the storm. Once the storm cleared, they could have been used to evacuate people.

  25. Texans would have moved the busses out of town, after they were filled with poor people with no other way to leave, dropped the poor people off at shelters in Baton Rouge, then returned for more, and repeated the cycle for as long as possible. Perhaps more action and less nuance is in order.
    Meanwhile, at the Astrodome, some refugees are pointing out that Texas has the death penalty, so some of the people who made life miserable in NOLA before Katrina probably won’t last long in Houston, since “they can’t just do what they want here.”
    Lastly, take a look at the video of the Astrodome: the people being served are overwhelmingly of color, and the people serving are overwhelmingly not.

  26. But there are some continuing mysteries:

    — Why were Blanco and Nagin so reluctant to order the evacuation, that they were finally pressured into writing the order by the federal government?

    — Once written, why was it not enacted? Why weren’t the buses used?

    — Why was Blanco so reluctant to order in the National Guard? Why was the pre-flood looting allowed to occur?

    — Why are Tim Russert, CNN and the rest focused on federal failings? We can understand why Nagin would pop off, but why would the media corporations follow that line, and bury the satellite photos of drowned buses?

    — While the media pile on so strongly, there is little corresponding attack from Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and the rest. Why is the media carrying the attack alone?

    We know that the popularized story is false. But what were the real incentives for Blanco & Nagin to negligently slay their own citizens, and why does the coordinated anti-Bush media attack lack the usual Democrats?

  27. um, clint, doncha think if the mayor had filled the school busses BEFORE Katrina hit with as many people as possible, and the school busses headed, say, west to Baton Rouge or further, to Houston, those school busses would have pulled about 12000 people out of NO? Like those in the Convention Centre maybe?

    And, of course, those busses, safe in BR or Houston, could have returned to empty the Superdome.

    Or am I just applying logic here?

  28. Thoughts on Katrina, a beginning. . . .

    It’s been very hard to put together something about the disaster in New Orleans. N.O. is my hometown, the place of my birth and where I came to realize who I was and what the world around me was like….

  29. To make it as simple as possible, cc, the mayor was saying that he couldn’t get his people out because the Federal Govt. wouldn’t send him any busses. He had all these busses sitting there all the time. He could have used them to shuttle people to higher ground. Why didn’t he? And, heck, people could have walked out after the storm passed and before the waters rose everywhere. They stayed to loot, mainly. And to whine and get money from responsible people.

  30. Y2K and The Management of Hurricane Katrina’s Aftermath

    Leadership is setting the strategic direction; Management is getting things done. Katrina’s havoc shows us that government bureaucracies do not perform well in large scale emergencies where people are dying. From Reasoned Audacity,Pundit Guy gives us t…

  31. Where was he supposed to evacuate these people to? Who was going to coordinate and provide shelter, food, water, medical for these people BEFORE the hurricane? Were all these people supposed to sit on a bus until it was over? It is easy to say what should have been done when you were not there and don’t know all of the facts behind the bueracacy. There are many at fault on all levels of governmant. What a lesson to be learned by ALL. Focus on the future of these Americans and offer them hope.

  32. Bithead = idiot says:

    Uhhh… hey retard, the idea is to evacuate the poor with those busses BEFORE the storm hits. Not run them out to fucking Texas, let the storm kill of most of the people, and then come back to NO and drive around looking for people to transport.

    You know, kinda like how they were putting people into the superdome BEFORE the storm hit, not after?

    Fuck youre stupid.

  33. Somebody explain these photos to me

    205 school busses sat idle when the storm hit. Why weren’t they used to evac…

  34. Re: blacks “loot” while whites “find” goods in the flood

    Here is yet another article from another tribe.

    Somebody explain these pho…

  35. What is the purpose of Homeland Security if they are so limited in their ability to immediately protect the Homeland? Did they never consider that local and state authority might break down during an extreme crisis?

    Or were they they too busy “basking in the sun” in Hawaii and handing out billions to their cronies? http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=340420&page=1

    Now pick up your pom poms and practice your BABB (Blame anybody but Bush)cheers again, some of you aren’t quite in sync.

  36. The Original Musings says:

    And here’s another question for you …

    Hello, Mayor? I saw the most amazing photo on Yahoo news today. I immediately thought “wait … why didn’t they …” And then I thought surely I wasn’t the only person to have had that thought. So I did a…

  37. Just a small question. All of these pictures of school buses plastered all over the place. The City of New Orleans owns approximately 357 school buses. Of that number, almost 150 are not working, in need of various repairs. So yes, there are about 205 or so school buses that are operational. My small question is, how does anyone know if the flooded school buses in these pictures are the operational buses, the buses that are not functioning or a combination of the two? If they are the non-operating buses, how would you propose they be saved from the flood, hauled away by tow trucks, which the city probably doesn’t have very many of? If these flooded buses are a mixture, how many are operational that possibly could have been saved and how many not?
    It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes a few words are worth more than a thousand pictures, if those pictures don’t give you all the circumstances that the picture depicts.
    In this case, if those are the inoperative buses, a picture can falsely show the city as being not functioning properly when it actually is.
    I have heard stories that the 205 school buses and the Metro Transit buses were used until the drivers decided to flee the floods with their own families. Just as many of the police officers did. I have also heard various people other than city and state officials say that the buses were used to bring refugees to the Superdome and Convention Center under instructions from FEMA. How else would all of those poor people have gotten there, if not by using the very buses the city is accused of not using? I have no way of knowing the truth of these statements and neither does anyone else until an impartial review has been made. If true, then the castigation of local and state officials is unwarranted. If false then they deserve all of the criticsm then have received and then some.
    The problem is that the current inverstigation is being carried out by one of the parties that may be at fault, the Federal Government, and so its results can’t be accepted as truthful. Just as the rebuilding effort is neing directed by Karl Rove, which means even more profits for Haliburton. After all, former FEMA Director Joe Albaugh has a $100 million contract to help rebuild, as a representative of Haliburton who already has a $1.1 billion no-bid contract to do rebuilding as well.
    I am also amused by all of the praise for Haley Barbour, when there are people still missing in MS, as well as people still not rescued there as well. Whole communities have been wiped from the map. Not to mention the destruction caused by the gambling boats. Whole streets of buildings that survived the hurricane and storm surge were wiped out by these massive barges. Why no criticsm of him for not moving these barges away from the shoreline in order to protect waterfront structures? Hardly something I would be proud of if I were a Governor.

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