If you’re a resident of New Orleans and you’re feeling a bit of anxiety and trepidation about the upcoming hurricane season – well, who could blame you? But honestly, you can relax now because Mayor Ray “chocolate city” Nagin and emergency officials have just outlined a broad plan to evacuate and secure the city in the event that another major hurricane threatens.
That’s right. They’re all over this thing like white on rice – er, that is, like brown on cocoa. You can get a good idea about the comprehensive new plan from the headline in Time magazine: “New Orleans’ Plan for the Next Hurricane: Everybody Leave.”
Excellent! Splendid! A plan so utterly beautiful in its simplicity.
Actually, there’s a bit more to it. The public is now being assured that city transportation will be available to help with an evacuation the next time a major hurricane threatens. That’s all very comforting, but there is something oddly familiar about this plan. In fact …
Oh yes, now I remember. It’s basically the same plan that existed before and during Hurricane Katrina, but was somehow (Gasp!) bungled by local officials, like Mayor Nagin, for instance.
The plan then — which was called the State of Louisiana Emergency Operations Plan and which was freely available on the Internet for anyone to see — specifically stated that “local transportation resources should be marshaled and public transportation plans implemented as needed. Announce the location of staging areas for people who need transportation.” It also said that the governor of the state should “mobilize state transportation resources to aid in the evacuation of people who have mobility and/or health problems.”
The only problem was, somebody forgot to actually implement the plan. Well, you know how things can get neglected during a crisis, even when it’s all written out what to do. Perhaps the plan got lost in the vault of some government building somewhere. Or maybe it was just a simple case of incompetent people not carrying it out.
I know, I know, according to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Spike Lee, 95 percent of the African-American community, 99 percent of the Hollywood community, and left-wingers everywhere, it was all Bush‘s fault. And even after the video was shown of row upon row of unused buses sitting in flooded parking lots, people still couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that Democratic and black local leaders were the ones whose screw-ups had the most immediate and catastrophic effect on the residents of the city, the majority of whom happened to be — guess what? — Democratic and black. Nope, somehow it still had to be the fault of the genocidal racist and willfully nefarious promulgator of global warming, George W. Bush.
Third-rate rapper Kanye West, whom I’d never heard of before Katrina, went so far as to say that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” But Bush wasn’t the one who was supposed to provide the transportation out of New Orleans for those who had none. That was on the black mayor of the city and the Democratic governor of the state. That being the case, one might have reasonably asked if either one of them cares about black people. Lo and behold, nobody asked.
But that’s all water over the levee now. The important thing is that they have a new plan for the next major hurricane. And given what happened the last time, surely local and state officials won’t be criminally negligent again.
On the other hand, there is one nettlesome little detail in the new plan. As Mayor Nagin, along with others, presented the new plan to the public, he did mention that those who didn’t evacuate would be on their own and there would be no “shelter of last resort,” no Superdome or Convention Center, however unappealing those might be, in which to take refuge.
What that means is, some people who refuse to evacuate will probably die. And on that astronomically tiny chance that something goes awry with the plan to provide city transportation for those who need and want it, even more will die.
If one didn’t know better, one might think it sounds like a racist, right-wing Republican plot to take advantage of a major hurricane in order to depopulate New Orleans of its poor blacks. But since the plan was presented by a left-wing black Democrat who is on record vowing that New Orleans will remain a predominantly “chocolate” city, then hey, nothing to worry about.