Too bad this is coming in May of ‘06. It should have been the plan in May of ‘05 so this could have been avoided.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin today outlined a newly revised evacuation plan as the city gears up for the hurricane season which runs from June 1 through to November.
This time, Nagin says there will no shelter of last resort, meaning, the Superdome and Convention center will not be used as shelters, but as staging areas.
“Amtrak trains will also be used for evacuation purposes, which we’re really excited about,” Nagin said. He said federal Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had cleared the way for the use of passenger trains.
Nagin added that the city’s communications infrastructure is being beefed up and that contingency for communication failures had been developed.
The new plan also touches on a heart-wrenching decision evacuees faced ahead of Katrina: To board the buses, they had to leave their pets, and some refused to go without them. In the future, evacuees will be allowed to bring pets with them as long as they have some type of cage to safely put them in.
New Orleans homeland security director Terry Ebbert said the plan also includes arrangements for swiftly getting tourists out of town.
While this announcement should be welcome news for the people of New Orleans, I can’t help but note the timing. Nagin faces an election runoff against Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu. It’s likely that this revised plan was formulated at least a month ago, if not more. Did Nagin sit on the information so he could stage a P.R. event just when he hopes to be reelected mayor? I wonder.