Katrina - The Imperfect Storm
The following letter to the Philadelphia Inkwaster on September 9th pretty much sums up the fiasco that was Hurricane Katrina:
of Moorestown (NJ)
We live in a nation that prides itself on local governance. A nation designed by its founders to keep power as close to the people as possible. A nation where most of us bridle at government intrusion into our lives.
Until, I guess, there's a problem. Then, everything suddenly becomes the fault of the federal government. So now we are treated to the mayor of New Orleans and his staff calling the federal evacuation effort a disgrace and demanding that Greyhound and others supply buses to aid in the effort. Yet just a mile or so from the Superdome, several hundred school buses sit in a parking lot, up to their hoods in five feet of water.
On top of this sad fact, though it has been basically unreported, the only reason a pre-storm mandatory evacuation order for New Orleans was issued is because President Bush called Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and appealed for it. And yet, there those buses sit.
The Katrina disaster wasn't a sudden and unpredictable event. The levee system was built to withstand a Category 3 hurricane; yet for days in advance, it was known a Category 5 hurricane was bearing down.
A city's infrastructure can't be moved, and the physical damage Katrina wreaked on New Orleans was unavoidable. However, had city officials properly planned and executed an evacuation of the city before the storm hit, the human damage would have been minimal.