Katrina Lessons
Doing what’s right.
Some do what’s right; other’s wait for permission.
The time lost between doing what is right and waiting for permission is the difference between life and death.
Two years ago today at around 10 a.m., New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin finally called for an evacuation of the city. Within 12-16 hours hurricane force winds would move in. Within 21 hours, the city would start flooding.
Why did he wait so long to call for an evacuation? He was waiting for lawyers to tell him what his liability was if he called a mandatory evacuation? He was waiting to find out his liability for the poor, the elderly and the hospitalized.
Such a decision should have been made years before through proper emergency planning.
Even after a personal phone call from the director of the National Hurricane Center, Nagin failed to make the call to evacuate in a timely manner.
Another Katrina Lesson unfolded as I watched Nagin that morning on television, from my evacuation post three states away.
Sometimes you need to do what is right, no mater the penalty.
He waited, and the penalty was perhaps higher. Tens of thousands were stranded at the convention center and Super Dome. Tens of thousands stayed in their homes as they flooded. More than 1,000 drowned because they didn’t leave and they couldn’t swim.
A leader is someone who does what is right.
The flooded Lower 9th Ward is in the foreground with New Orleans in the background. Hundreds died in this neighborhood because their elected officials failed to make the right decisions... failed to lead... failed to plan ahead... failed to communicate.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
A Leader Does What is Right