The powers that be in New Orleans have new evacuation plans in place to get people out of town if there's a hurricane coming.
They sound very elaborate. FEMA and local and state officials plus
transportation peeps are all involved. None of which bodes well for
There's no mention of installing a siren or some other warning device
to let people know if and when the levees break. That would go a long
way to helping people feel safer. In late May I talked to a cab driver
who said he almost drowned because there was no warning and he woke up
with water next to his bed. And he barely made it onto the roof of his
A siren seems like a simple thing to do.
Lots of playing fields have lightning sirens to warn baseball, soccer,
football, and lacrosse players and fans that a strike could be
imminent. The siren sounds an all clear too.
A siren just to warn that the levees are being strained would come in
handy. If the levees don't break, there could be an all clear. At
least a siren tells folks that things are getting dangerous. So they
get out of town before the water starts climbing up the stairs to their
Mayor Nagin made a
disparaging comment about New York not re-building The Towers since
911. "Let's be fair," he said when some reporter challenged him about
how much had been done in New Orleans since Katrina.
Here's the difference between New
York and New Orleans: New York was CLEANED UP very quickly. The
buildings haven't been rebuilt yet, but the mess is long gone.
In case you haven't noticed, Mr. Mayor, New Orleans still has debris
from destroyed houses all over the place. There were flooded and
abandoned cars still sitting in highway underpasses when I was there in
May. Once you get beyond the front porch -- the tourista spots -- the
neighborhoods look like a tornado went through.
The Mayor was defensive because
they haven't really started rebuilding the destroyed neighborhoods. But
he ought to have his feet held to the fire. Because right now it isn't
a matter of rebuilding the city. It's a question of just getting
the mess cleaned up from a yearago. And that still hasn't happened.
Not to mention the billions lost to fraud. Turns out FEMA didn't have a
way to check identification. How about fingerprints so the prisoners
who collected fraudulent paychecks could have been sorted out?