Katrina Lessons
Today at 2 p.m. is exactly 2 years since I evacuated my home for Hurricane Katrina.
Katrina Lesson #1 unfolded as we drove out of town, while listening to WWL Radio.
Around 4 p.m. we heard Mayor Ray Nagin on the radio. In his "I'm a hip cat" delivery, he said, "Now, I'm not ordering a mandatory evacuation. But I might be more forceful tomorrow."
Tomorrow was too late.
Katrina Lesson #1 is denial.
Ray Nagin was in denial of how bad things might get. As a result, he failed to communicate as forcefully as he should have to evacuate New Orleans. He obviously had no crisis communications plan to aid in what he should be telling his citizens to do and when to do it.
Katrina Lesson #2 is arrogance.
Ray Nagin’s arrogance caused him to second-guess and not follow the city's emergency evacuation plan.
Buses flooded. Trains went unused. Citizens who could have driven out of town instead drove to the Super Dome.
Do you realize that if those people had driven 1 hour further to the west they would have been safely out of the floods that were to come?
Denial and arrogance would eventually lead to Katrina Lesson #3, the post hurricane blame game.
Meanwhile in many other communities, leaders were exercising their duty and taking action, which resulted in citizens being responsible. Many other communities called mandatory evacuations on this day, just as their plans called for.
Gerard Braud
As we evacuated along U.S. Hwy 90 along the Mississippi Gulf coast, we  traveled passed stately southern mansions for 60 miles. Two days later everyone of those homes would be washed out to sea by the storm surge. All that remains is sand and tattered Live Oaks, as seen in the photo to the left.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Evacuation Day