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Feds Learn New Orleans Still There

September 2, 2005

Apparently the US government finally remembered that there were people who needed help in New Orleans, with troops finally arriving in force, a mere five days after Hurricane Katrina.

At the New Orleans Convention Center, some of the thousands of storm victims awaiting their deliverance applauded, threw their hands heavenward and screamed, “Thank you, Jesus!” as the camouflage-green trucks and hundreds of soldiers arrived in this increasingly desperate and lawless city.

“Lord, I thank you for getting us out of here,” said Leschia Radford.

But there was also anger and profane catcalls.

“Hell no, I’m not glad to see them. They should have been here days ago. I ain’t glad to see ’em. I’ll be glad when 100 buses show up,” said 46-year-old Michael Levy, whose words were echoed by those around him yelling, “Hell, yeah! Hell yeah!”

I’m pleased to see that they actually managed to locate the Convention Center (hint — it’s the real big building next to the river with all the refugees in it — it’s right across from the casino, and there are a LOT of pissed off people standing outside it — you really can’t miss it), since yesterday the head of FEMA (on CNN) and the head of Homeland Security (on NPR) both claimed to be surprised to learn there was a problem there — despite the fact that the whole country had seen plenty of media coverage of the deplorable conditions there — rapes, murders, dead elderly and children, etc.

Somebody ought to rename these organizations — the way our Emergency has been Federally Managed, our Homeland Secured, and our Nation Guarded has been sadly lacking, both in the preparation for and the mitagation after this disaster.

Charity may begin at home, but at some point government attention needs to start here as well.

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2 Responses to “Feds Learn New Orleans Still There”

  1. Big Dog on September 6th, 2005 2:27 pm

    Is it really fair to blame the Feds? They actually started getting ready before the storm which is more than local gvt did. The feds have 72 hours to get there. The national guard was there in 48. Let us not forget that the things that made it difficult for the people also made it difficult for the rescuers to get in.

    We should also remember that if the local gvt had done its job (yes despite the news you hear it is local gvt’s responsibility to evacuate and find transportation) then there would not be as many people who need to be rescued.

    National Guard in 48 hours because the law enforcement broke down and feds in place in 72. That is the standard 72 hours. Perhaps we should be asking instead, why New Orleans left so many people out on their own. We should also place blame on those who refused to leave.

  2. Chuck Lawson on September 6th, 2005 6:04 pm

    Sure it’s fair to blame the Feds. That doesn’t mean I’m not an equal-opportunity bitcher, I blame the locals for quite a bit too (like a couple of hundred school buses underwater instead of being sent out for the transport-less when the evacuation order went mandatory).

    There’s plenty of blame to go around, and plenty of excuses too. As excuses go, not being able to get in isn’t bad, but it doesn’t excuse the heads of both FEMA and HS from claiming publicly that they didn’t know that there were people at the Convention Center when it’d been all over the media for 48 hours prior. The Convention Center was well above water (it’s about as high as ground level gets in downtown N.O.) and transports to and from the Superdome were driving right past (despite all of the people in the street trying to get them to stop).

    Blaming those who refused to leave is real popular these days too. I pretty much assume that folks who do so have never had much experience of being broke, desperate, or living in a place with a high crime rate and a well publicised amount of corruption in local government.

    Lucky souls those — God bless ’em and let’s hope that karma doesn’t come around and bite ’em in the ass one day. I had to learn the hard way, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

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