It's all somebody else's fault


The Mayor of New Orleans is disgruntled and understandably so. But before he starts complaining about the response of outside agencies, perhaps he should reflect on mistakes right in his own administration. He didn't declare evacuation mandatory until Sunday, when the system was already moving in over the city.

In a critical failure of the city's preparation, it appears the police have no communication infrastructure, and thus no command-and-control system for organizing their activities. One division of police even evacuated to Baton Rouge!

All in all, I think this has been a learning experience for the mayor.

Update: Good news: computer guys running an ISP on the scene report "no visible looting" today.

2nd update: The mayor's relieved now that the Army's on the scene with a take-charge general at the head of the operation.

Bookmark and Share


We have to put the timeline into perspective. Katrina did not make initial landfall until Monday morning. Winds and rains did not stop until late Monday night and it was only early Tuesday morning that the levees broke and the city flooded severely. Based upon that happenstance, priority would have gone to SAR for those remaining in their homes under water. Since there was an intense SAR going on, it would have been nearly impossible for the initial deployment of Guard to do any aid distribution. Other military would have been deployed in damage assessment of the levees. One could fault the city, parish and state admins for not being able to deploy public safety personnel who could assist with aid distribution and maintain order. However, since these people also were severely affected by the same tragedy, it is defensible that they could not deploy enough people timely. The deployment of additional help today, only 60 hours or so after the extent of the troubles fully became known, is really a major accomplishment. I doubt if anyone could have done better based on the circumstances which quickly evolved out of control early Tuesday. If there is anything to blame for the lack of coordinated effort, it should be that of a lack of effective command and control infrastructure among those public safety people who were in the field. Accurate, reliable information is critical in handling any emergency. It was not the case here.

Nor did the mayor have the city busses engage in evacuation of the citizenry. They had to be commandeered by the citizenry in the absence of any functioning civil governance.

Relief was/is late due to hurricane debris slowing down the convoy's not a lack of concern by the federals.

It is sad and pathetic that the increasingly hysterical NY TIMES and RFK, Jr. were attacking Bush while the hurricane was still blowing. Maybe they should study some U.S. History--by historical standards Bush was "moving ahead of the curve" According to the Dem Gov. of La. Bush declared an emergency and began sending help days before the storm struck. But the totally unprecedented damage completely devastated their operations.

Leave a comment

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

John Schultz

You write, we post
unless you state otherwise.


OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on September 2, 2005 8:36 AM.

Strategy was the previous entry in this blog.

Still looking for the right organization to give to? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.