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  • #2257501

    Katrina – reprise – three questions


    by deadly ernest ·

    OK before the two questions. I just finished watching a Discovery Channel special on Katrina. It mostly dealt with the problems at the Super Dome and the Convention Centre, and the delays in relief support. I got the impression that many people saw the problem as mostly the bureaucrates not getting off their rear ends when they should have.

    1. Why are the government and its employees getting the blame for a bunch of excetra heads who would rather steal and rape people than help them? Part of the problem was resources being redirected to deal with lootres and other criminals instead of relief.

    2. Why were so many people NOT helping themselves the day after the hurricane? They just sat there waiting for help and bitching that it wasn’t coming fast enough.

    3. Why did the USA have such a big problem dealing with this when they had the example of Darwin Australia 30 years before hand? Did they not see and learn any lessons from that?

    Admittedly Darwin did NOT have the extensive flooding that New Orleans had, and it had a lower population. However, when cyclone Tracey struck, the whole city got totaled. And it was a good 24 hours drive from any where that a relief force could come from. It was even too far for helicopter support at first. Yet the Australian emergency services were there within 12 hours of the news getting out – yes it was so remote and the systems so damaged that it took a few hours for the news to reach the rest of the country.

    We have what we thinks is one of the most hide bound bureaurocracies in the world, yet in what was a bigger disaster (in relative populations terms, i.e. the percentage involved, distance, per capita resources, and older level of resources) we managed a lot better. There are only two reasons why I can think we did so much better:

    a) We do NOT have a huge bureaurocracy like FIMA to deal with these things. We have a State Emergency Service who handle these things (organised at regional levels) and a federal body that does emergency planning and scenario work, it supplies no other services worth talking about. When Tracey it, the matter was handed over to the military and the politicians (local, state and federal) had to keep out of the way.

    b) When the relief forces arrived they found the vaste majority of people had either got themselves out of the danger area, or getting themselves out, or helping others out. Many walked out of the areas that were health risks due to the damage, and those that could were on the way south to other towns etc.

    What really frightens me about the Katrina special is that it showed up how the political infighting between the various levels of government and the stupidity of having a bureaucracy trying to manage an emergency; and yet the answer is to build a BIGGER bureaucracy. What they need is to blow most of it away, and just have a few people with authority to call the military services in, and then let make everyone else keep out of their way.

    Comments please, especially from anyone who was actually there. I kow what we get on the TV and documentaries is just a fraction of what really happens, so your input would be most valuable.

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    • #3229513

      Ernest, this is what you get when. . . . . .

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      …people refuse to take personal responsibility for their lives, and they expect (strong emphasis on expect) the government to rush in and take care of whatever it is that afflicts them. It doesn’t matter what it is, big or small, or whether it’s a natural disaster or normal day-to-day issues; the result will always be the same. And then people further expect (again, strong emphasis on expect) more of the same.

      Making a society more dependent on government only breeds more dependency. And pretty soon, there are more dependents than providers. It’s no coincidence that New Orleans, one of the most dependent-ridden cities in America, failed so miserably in every aspect. They’re pointing a finger at other people — anybody and everybody — but they only have three more pointing right back at them.

      • #3229508

        Hey Max, that was the impression that I got at the time

        by deadly ernest ·

        In reply to Ernest, this is what you get when. . . . . .

        and it’s been greatly reinforced by these specials. But I wondered if it was just the media. What really got me was one of the specials (there’s three on the various Foxtel/Austar networks at the moment) showed a scene in the Super Dome on the day after the hurricane itself stopped. Big burly able bodies men, bashing the beejays out of a drink vending machine and whining about no buses to take them away. If they put one tenth of the nergy they were using on the machine into walking, they could’ve walked to Texas in two days. But not, bash and bemoan is all they did.

        On top of that if the majority of the people insisted on enforcing law and order, instead of leaving up to the few police and National Guards, I doubt they would have had the crime problems in the Dome that they had. A few rectums, did something nasty, no one objected so more started in. If the first few had been stomped on by the general public, then I doubt any more would have happened.

        But I wasn’t there and I’m trying to second guess from the few media and first hand reports I have.

      • #3229490

        I agree.

        by stress junkie ·

        In reply to Ernest, this is what you get when. . . . . .

        Some Americans expect the government to fix all of their boo boos. They think that the government exists to smooth out the hardships that anyone is likely to experience. It makes me sick.

        I was talking about this the other day. The person that I was speaking with brought up issues that Lyndon Johnson spoke of when he instigated affirmative action in the workplace. She was saying things like “You can’t expect people who have been hobbled all of their life to act responsibly in an emergency.” I disagree. Niether of us persuaded the other to change our opinion.

        Prior to Franklin Roosevelt people didn’t expect the government to take care of their daily personal hardships. If you built your home in a flood plain and got flooded out then you had to absorb that loss and get on with your life. Several decades ago I was watching some travel log type program about New Orleans. They showed an ocean going ship sailing up the Mississippi. The levy was above the tops of the buildings. I thought then, as I do now, that having a city on a river or ocean that is below sea level is idiotic and the people who live there are idiots.

        But that’s too real. It requires that individuals take responsibility for their actions. It’s better to blame emergency services that didn’t work properly. It’s better to blame people half a continent away, in Washington D.C., for all of the problems that happened during and after the hurricane. Sure! That’s the ticket! It couldn’t be the fault of the people who live there. That’s not the American way!

        Six months later when the federal government was saying that they wouldn’t pay for the hotel bills of disaster refugees I thought “Hey!. It’s been six months. It’s about time that these people started to take their own steps to put their lives back together.” Apparently this is also not a popular point of view. Do gooders raised the hue and cry, “We have to keep paying for these people to live in hotels. We cannot expect hurricane refugees to help themselves. That’s just not the American way!”

        I am sick to death of people who expect the various levels of American government to take care of them on a daily basis.

        There. I said it. (Any David Spade fans out there?) 🙂

        • #3229485

          “…people who have been hobbled all of their life…”

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to I agree.

          A simple — and very true — retort is that I give people more credit than that. People have within them the wherewithal to overcome just about any obstacle they face, if only they’d believe it. Unfortunately, there are too many people who continually try to convince them otherwise. And to a person of faith, one only has to suggest that God didn’t give anyone a problem without also giving that person the ability to solve it. Moreover, for him to suggest that [i]”people who have been hobbled all of their life (can’t) act responsibly in an emergency[/i] is to suggest that nobody has ever done it. How silly is that? And since it’s obviously not true, neither is the generalization. In so many cases, a person can either be a victim, or he can be his own rescuer. The choice is totally his.

        • #3229481

          How do you define hobbled – the only person who

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to “…people who have been hobbled all of their life…”

          can truly hobble a person, is themselves.

          In emergencies I’ve seen late 20’s early 30’s people with Down Syndrome take action and save lives while others, with no problems, dither and worry. It was almost funny to see some Down Sydnrome people hussling workers out of a govt office block because the fire alarm had gone off. The general workers were ignoring it as another false alarm. But the Special Care Assistants (as they were called) were saying the alarm had gone, you go and they weren’t taking no for an answer. Some people were shocked to find the back half of the building ablaze when they got outside.
          Since starting this thread I’ve discussed the programs with y 18 year old son and a few points that came up in the discussion but not yet mentioned were:-

          1. Home video footage on the morning of day 2 after the hurricane, shows big burly mid 20s people at the dome bashing vending machines for drinks. If they put that energy to walking, they would have been safely out of the area by nightfall. Most of the people in the dome and the convention centre were reasonably fit and could have walked 15 to 20 miles a day. How far did they need to go to get out of the disaster area and to fresh food and water? One day two days walk.

          During every military conflict refugees have walked hundreds of miles in a few days. Many of the USA pioneers walked across the country to set up new homes. But the vaste majority of those in New Orleans were able to walk about bitchin’ and lootin’ but not fit enough to out of the city.

          I wonder if part of this was Robert Heinlein’s quote of “Think of it as Evolution in action.”

          2. The weather reports had been talking about the hurricane hitting New Orleans, or there abouts for a ten days before it did, why didn’t people take action earlier? Just reminds me of one of my favourite quotes:

          “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”

        • #3229475

          Disregard – Double Post

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to How do you define hobbled – the only person who


        • #3229474

          This is a typical retort

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to How do you define hobbled – the only person who

          Not that I’m suggesting you’re doing it; you’re probably playing devil’s advocate.

          You listed the exceptions, not the rule. Most people are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves in such (or any) situations. Not only are such people relying on others — make that EXPECTING others — to take care of them, but in the process, they are diverting assistance from the truly needy.

          The same argument applies to the myriad social programs sold to the public under the guise of “helping the needy”.

        • #3229478

          Maxwell I think that it’s a sign of the times

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to “…people who have been hobbled all of their life…”

          Recently my sisters pet dwarf pig escaped by digging under part of the fence that had not been concreted in to stop it getting out. The fact that the kids had let it into the area where it wasn’t supposed to be was beside the point. But what I couldn’t get over is the way that so many people driving up the road had to stop and look but not consider getting out of their cars. The thing was walking up the footpath and looking for a way back in but by this time had moved up a few houses so when it finally found an open gate the person who lived there panicked because the pig wanted to get into the house. This thing is fully grown and only stands about 12 inches at the shoulder so it’s obviously [b]A Dangerous Animal[/b] all it could do was go from door to door looking for a way in and then cry when it couldn’t get back into the house.

          I can not but wonder how these people would survive not having light when they flick a switch or what type of panic they would be in when no water comes out of a tap when they turn it on. These people just expect things to be there without a second thought and panic when it’s not.

          Sometimes I just give up on people as they are always looking for someone else to blame when things don’t work out the way that they want. Personally they drive me nuts with their constant whining and pathetic attitude.


        • #3209319


          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to I agree.

          [i]If you built your home in a flood plain and got flooded out then you had to absorb that loss and get on with your life.[/i]

          Nowadays it depends. If a single house gets flooded, it’s no big deal, and the goverment will be less likely to help. Make it 100 homes though, and see what happens.

        • #3284976

          Lyndon “Great Welfare Society” Johnson

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to I agree.

          New Orleans has forever been divided into two groups. Those who make it work and those who are waiting for the government to drop off a check.

          Katrina has shown us, if nothing else, where the water wants to go when Lake Pontchartrain becomes disturbed. Much like Los Angeles, New Orleans should build concrete ditches to direct the runoff the way it wants to go. And if that means the substandard housing in the Lower Ninth does not get rebuilt, so be it.

          If you ever want a scare, read Atlas Shrugged, then read LBJ’s “My Hope For America” and realize that there are still true believers that one can tax “them” to provide for all of “us”.

      • #3284661

        One of my former Marine buddies …

        by too old for it ·

        In reply to Ernest, this is what you get when. . . . . .

        … who is the same general skin color as Ray Nagin called me up shortly after Katrina just to say what an embarrassment Hizzoner was.

        Called him quite a few things that only he could, and can’t be printed here. My favorite included the pronoun “yard”.

        In summary, thought he should have stayed in business, and leave government to those who have the stamina to say “A hurricane is coming, get the hell out [b]NOW![/b]” and mean it.

    • #3229509

      As one of the many wearing the Orange Overalls

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      In January 1974 here in Brisbane I can say for certain that people where helping themselves out of the problems that we all where facing due to flooding which reached it’s peak on 26-1-74 with at least 60 feet of water over the lower lying areas of Brisbane.

      No one including our leaders expected the waters to rise so quickly and at one place that I was sent into to save some of the occupants stuff we started around 7.00 AM walking in a small amount of water and by midday the water was up under our shoulders it was at that stage that we where pulled out for our own safety. But not before we had moved things like Fridges and Freezers up high in a high set place so that they where less likely to be affected by the flood waters. They actually punched their way through the ceiling before the water started going down again over a week latter.

      Or a few days latter we where getting people out of another area which was supposed to be [b]Flood Proof[/b] well as it was at least 60 feet above the normal height of the river it was considered as safe till the water got up and started running into the homes. That one was fun going in around midnight and dragging people out of the area across a bridge to higher ground with all that they and we could carry of theirs only to see a barge that had broken free during the night come down the river at an alarming rate and it wasn’t going to go under the bridge which was the only way out. As it was whoever called out we just dropped everything and ran like hell to get off the bridge most of us didn’t and we where lucky that the bridge didn’t disappear along with the barge but it did move at least 10 feet sideways sending most of us sprawling and was a good 6 feet out of alignment when things settled down again. Needless to say we strung ropes across that bridge while we got the people out as what had started off as a minor inconvenience had very quickly turned into a life & death situation and we had to get everyone out and just leave their possessions in there for the flood waters. We couldn’t even risk taking out our vehicles or the police cars there as the bridge could have washed away at any time so we just stood back and watched all our equipment go under for the last time after we had moved it all to the highest ground possible.

      It felt really great to be bussed out with the people we where supposed to be rescuing as nothing more than more rescued people who had lost everything. We left on the last buss after we had watched all out equipment go under water and headed to the next problem place to clear out what we could and this time hopefully not lose any more equipment. The idiot thing is that if we had of left the vehicles on the bridge they would have been unaffected by anything but no one was allowed to drive across the bridge just in case it washed away as they would have died and there would have been nothing that we could have done to prevent it from happening.

      But back in those days we controlled the Police and if we told a Police person that something was [b]Too Dangerous[/b] they had to listen to the [b]SES[/b] as we where all much better trained then they where and we didn’t have a single complaint from any Copper as if we told them that they couldn’t do something they just accepted what they where told by us and got on with what they could do.


      • #3229506

        Hey Col, it was a similar situation in Sydney

        by deadly ernest ·

        In reply to As one of the many wearing the Orange Overalls

        In the mid 1970’s I was a NSW Cop, for a while, and we had some bad storms, one place I was at there were power lines down trees down and roofs off. I was first there with two junior officers just out of the academy, the class after me. The SES blokes are standing there trying to calm people down and plan things. The look on ths SES Team Leader’s face when I walked up and said “OK, this is your game not mine, what do you want us to do?” He was so relieved that we weren’t going to try and take over (there was a big arguement at that time between cops and SES, about who was in charge at minor situations) – he got us moving the people back and out of the way. Since I’d established the pecking order at the start things were easier when more cops senior to me arrived. Seeing what we were up to , they just helped out and left the SES to do what they did best.

        Some years later I was living in the Blue Mountains when some bush fires started. What I couldn’t understand was the turkeys who drove up to the mountains to watch the bloody fires, we who lived there were flat chat making sure our houses were as safe as possible. Most of us, had the cars ready to go and when things got within a few kilometres, we told the cops on anti-looting / clearance that we were headed out, he ticks our house number off, and we go wait on the highway to find out if we sould go and find a motel or not. Many of those places were one road in and once it was cut (and usually the first to be cut) it was good night Irene, see you in the morgue.

        One thing that got me about Katrina was the buses, which they knew would probably be needed after the hurricane, were left parked at the depot, in a low laying area. Why did they not park them at the super dome etc. At the very least, parked in the higher level car parks, they would have provided a bit more shelter, and comfort for the refugees.

        • #3229476

          Ernest I actually hatted attending collisions

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Hey Col, it was a similar situation in Sydney

          You constantly had the Cops trying to tell you how to do things that where down right dangerous and they where not the slightest bit concerned that it was our lives that where being put at risk to get one or more corpses out of a overturned bus or something similar. All to often they had to supervise us instead of blocking off the road to prevent anything coming down barrelling into us as we worked away.

          I’ll never forget rescuing a cop that was riding escort for a house mover apparently he was [b]Tail End Charlie[/b] when the house snagged the power lines and brought them down as he was on a motorcycle at the time he didn’t stand a chance and was lying on the ground wrapped up in live wires which at the time where not insulated. Worse still it was my house that the power lines where pulled off from so I knew all about it by being thrown out of bed around 2.00 AM in complete darkness. I rushed outside to see what had happened and just went over to where the Cop was lying expecting him to be dead, instead he was trying to get out and didn’t like it one little bit when I told him to stay put till I could get some help in there I suppose the way that I spoke to him was enough as he settled down and just lay there until I could get dressed and grab a fuse puller out of the back of the truck that I had at home that night. I ripped the fuse on the power pole out and extracted him from the mess that he was in and then got an ambulance to take him away for a check up. About 45 minutes latter the Power Company showed up and where complaining that I had pulled the fuse as I wasn’t supposed to do things like that without supervision from the power company. Of course they stopped the house a bit further up the road when they realised that something had gone wrong and I had to put down one of the more senior cops who was insisting that he be allowed to get his officer out of a potentially life threating situation. I just told him to stay put stop any traffic and not allow the downed officer to move till I got back. If he had of had his way there would have been several dead officers there instead of the one affected virtually walking away form something not so nice.

          After I got the officer out I cleared the road way and picked up the motor cycle and took it inside till they could send someone out to pick it up and told them to get the house off the roadway and park it somewhere where it wouldn’t be a problem as we where on a main road and by the time that the mess had been cleared there was no chance of going much further with the slow moving high load. I did get the Power Company guys to hit the Truck Driver as they where supposed to lift the wires and not just drive through tearing things down at will.

          But I can fully understand you when you ask about people it never fails to amaze me just how many people suddenly appear out of nowhere to look and just how often they place themselves in harms way without realising what it is that they are doing. I actually caught one guy trying to take a cutting off the mains as a souvenir while they where sill live they frighten me no end most of the time the way that they just have to stop and look no matter what and how they will travel for miles to get a look.

          But what I really love about them is the total disregard that they have for emergency vehicles they just will not get out of the road to allow us through to where we are needed they most likely figure if they hold us up they will get to see more of the rescue or body recovery than if we are let through to do our job. Sometimes I really wanted to run them off the road but I couldn’t as that would have been someone else that we would have had to extract from a wreck.

          As for the buses being parked in the depot that was most likely a [b]Bureaucratic Decision[/b] as there they where safe from theft and damage and would have been covered by insurance or at the very least not have left the City or whoever responsible for any damage that they may have done when Katrina hit. You can never accuse Bureaucrats of having any [b]common sense[/b] as that is trained out of them from the very beginning and they don’t make decisions that they can push up to a higher level if at all possible. It would only have been common sense to have the buses spread around the city on the higher areas in case they where needed but knowing how bureaucrats work that wouldn’t happen as they could produce hundreds of reasons not to do something that would be useful in the aftermath that could have made things easier. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ordered all the fuel to be drained from the buses as well just in case that something fell onto them so there would be no chance of a fire spreading. Of course with the fuel tanks under ground and the pumps needing electricity to work there would have been no possible way to fill them up even if the fuel hadn’t of been water affected. 😀


    • #3229500

      Many reasons

      by nicknielsen ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      Questions 1 and 2 can be answered together.

      As Max has already pointed out, the culture of expectation is very strong in New Orleans and many people sat on their behinds and waited for help. No matter what happened to them as a result of their actions or inaction, it was somebody else’s fault.

      Question 3 is a little more difficult to answer. FEMA used to be a reliable agency until they were folded under the Homeland Security umbrella in the wake of 9/11. FEMA went from being a stand-alone agency to being just another cog in the machine. It then became more fashionable to plan for terrorist-induced disasters than for natural disasters.

      In addition, Louisiana authorities caused problems through their inaction. The day before Katrina struck, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour declared a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard, placing them on standby well back from the coast. As I understand, no such action was taken in Louisiana until the day after Katrina, much too late for a rapid response.

      Edited for clarity and spilleng

      • #3229493

        Mississippi governor Haley Barbour. . . .

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to Many reasons

        ….compared to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. The former took “personal responsibility” for his own state. The latter did not.

    • #3229494

      To specifically answer your questions. . . .

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      ….at least the way I’d answer them:

      You asked, [i]”Why are the government and its employees getting the blame for a bunch of excetra heads who would rather steal and rape people than help them?”[/i]

      Because the government is to blame for everything. Don’t you know that? No one takes personal responsibility anymore, and everyone’s a victim of something or someone. Moreover, many others have no respect for the lives and property of others, which is really a subset of taking personal responsibility. These values should be taught in the home and at school. And while it’s the public schools that have been given the task to take responsibility to teach “our children”, can they teach “values”? Nope. It’s a never-ending cycle of passing the buck of responsibility to others, competing with another never-ending cycle of being dictated exactly how it’s done; and values simply are not being taught in school, because they can not be taught in school. That’s “religious”.

      You asked, [i]”Why were so many people NOT helping themselves the day after the hurricane?”[/i]

      Same answer — because the government is responsible for everything. No one takes personal responsibility anymore, and everyone’s a victim of something or someone, waiting — and expecting — the government to take care of them.

      You asked, [i]”Why did the USA have such a big problem dealing with this when they had the example of Darwin Australia 30 years before hand?”[/i]

      It wasn’t the “USA” that had the problem, per se, but the people in that region.

      You asked, [i]”Did they not see and learn any lessons from that?”[/i]

      Nope. Nor do they see and learn any lesson from doing the same thing over and over again. Instead of seeing the failures of creating dependency on the government, and perhaps try something different (duh!), they just want more of the same. (Let’s get out of this hole we’re digging ourselves into by digging even deeper!)

      Yep, the common denominator answer to all these (and more) questions and problems is that people are not responsible for themselves anymore; the government is. It’s a sad state of affairs, if you ask me.

      Please, someone tell me, who teaches taking personal responsibility for one’s life and one’s actions? Yes, many families do, but all too many don’t. Neither do the schools. Neither do the politicians (by what they espouse). And neither does the news media when influencing the public. When was the last news story, for example, that focused on people’s misery being a direct result of their own failure to take personal responsibility? I can’t remember the last one. The “punch line” is always, what’s the government doing about this?

      And then, to even exacerbate the problem, when people (like me) speak out against such things, we’re labeled as either mean-spited or some whacko survivalist or separatist. It’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy!

      • #3229491

        I think you can trace a lot of it to certain civil rights groups

        by deadly ernest ·

        In reply to To specifically answer your questions. . . .

        Since the 1960s I’ve noticed that more and more people know about and claim their civil rights. But less and less do they know about or acknowledge civil responsibilities. The civil rights and civil liberties groups tech people about rights but never about responsibilities, yet the reality is that each right comes with a balancing responsibilities – can’t have one without the other.

    • #3229489

      Don’t you know…

      by tonythetiger ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      [i]1. Why are the government and its employees getting the blame for a bunch of excetra heads who would rather steal and rape people than help them? Part of the problem was resources being redirected to deal with lootres and other criminals instead of relief.[/i]

      …that we pay our government billions of dollars to know these things? I mean, with all of those illegal spy programs and all, you’d think they’d have advanced to the point where they could simply read the criminals’ minds then be there to stop them before it happens…

      [i]2. Why were so many people NOT helping themselves the day after the hurricane? They just sat there waiting for help and bitching that it wasn’t coming fast enough.[/i]

      …that the government is supposed to do all of our thinking for us? That’s their job isn’t it?

      [i]3. Why did the USA have such a big problem dealing with this when they had the example of Darwin Australia 30 years before hand? Did they not see and learn any lessons from that?[/i]

      I think they’ve made some signigficant improvements since Katrina. Why, just the other day I stubbed my toe on the coffee table and within minutes 14 ambulances and two helicopters arrived, and the head of FEMA himself came to kiss it and make it better.

      [i]What really frightens me about the Katrina special is that it showed up how the political infighting between the various levels of government and the stupidity of having a bureaucracy trying to manage an emergency; and yet the answer is to build a BIGGER bureaucracy. What they need is to blow most of it away, and just have a few people with authority to call the military services in, and then let make everyone else keep out of their way.[/i]

      I agree with this. There are too many little kingdoms within the bureaucracy, and I think they spend more time defending their ‘turf’ than they do working for the people! I was a passer by not long ago when a car was pulled over and being searched for drugs. The city police and the county sheriff’s office were both there and I watched them yelling and shoving [b]each other[/b] arguing over who was going to get credit for the bust!

    • #3229482

      Native Thoughts

      by matt ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      My workplace is located right across the street from the Superdome so this discussion is very close to me. All of us who live in the New Orleans area knew that one day “the big one” would happen. I believe after so many close calls people started getting apathetic to the possibility. Personal responsibility was eaten away by a reliance on someone else namely the Federal, State and Local Government. It amazes me to hear our mayor state that “next time he won’t wait for the calvary” when he should not have done so in the first place. Not much has changed….I was driving around the city and noticed “homeless” people on the street with signs that read “will work for food” which is ridiculous because you can’t walk 3 feet without some contractor looking for someone to wield a hammer. I suppose these are just the jobs that Americans won’t do.

      • #3209130

        Curious dichotomy there…

        by a_greiner ·

        In reply to Native Thoughts

        I rarely enter these discussions, but this one got to me.
        I wonder where you were during the storm?
        I live in Mississippi, 30 miles inland, just to the east of the track of the eye (which incidently never touched Louisiana).
        I was on the coast doing search and rescue as a National Guardsman DURING the storm (as I have for the last three) and afterwards. I did not even get word from my family (wife, 2 kids, whom I had evacuated to a shelter) until 36 hours later. It took a logging crew three days to cut a mile and a half down a county road to reach the remains of our home.
        I did not get to see it for three weeks.
        I was on disaster duty until the end of December, without the ability to do do more than take a couple of days off here and there to take care of critical problems.
        However, in that time, I got my family into emergency shelter and then into temporary housing, got the debris dozed and removed, and got a new home, albeit a double wide mobile home, purchased and placed on my property.
        My neighbor repaired my well, and I did all of the electrical, plumbing, and associated work myself or with the help of friends.
        My regular job near the coast had disappeared, the building nothing but a slab. I have worked as a commercial electrician since January to pay the bills. I know only a very few people that do not have stories similar to mine, and who have not risen above expectations to repair their lives and help others do so in some way.
        Those people around here who sat back and expected a handout either got shamed into getting off their duff or were given the government handouts, assisted into some form of shelter, and turned over to whatever agency or charity would take them.
        Did we make mistakes? Yes. Did we have problems with state and local governments fighting over resources and equipment? Yes. Did we depend on the federal government, namely FEMA, to bail us out and pay for everything possible? Yes! Did we wait for the government to come in and fix everything and hold our hand? NO!
        The MS gulf coast lost nearly 3/4 of it’s housing and over 40% of it’s business and tax base. Today, we have recovered nearly 50% of that loss and are still rebuilding.

        I have heard enough about New Orleans to want to puke. Louisiana took 15-20% of the damages and got 50-60% of the mandated funding and 90% of the media coverage.
        Why? because the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

        Mississippians for the most part came together and restarted our lives. Those ‘jobs that Americans won’t do’ are the jobs we took on because we had to to survive, and are still doing, and pretty profitably for the most part.

        Be happy that your job across the street from the Superdome was still there. Must not have had too much damage in N.O. if it was. I guess that explains why we have so many contractors from Louisiana doing jobs here in Mississippi.

    • #3229997

      In Florida…..

      by gilsbugs ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      I got hit here in southwest Fl, what a pain, but it comes with living in hurricane alley.
      What I’m pissed about is that HUGE gator they killed. It was a big old guy and all he was doing was cleaning up the filthy area called New Orleans.
      The amount to rebuild the levies is an outrage, but what can we the tax payers do about it? Zero, Nada, Just put another Dollar in. Do WE have a say in our government? Sure and the tooth fairy will make it all ok. There is nothing you can do, it goes beyond political lines. If you still believe in “our government”, Please visit the wailing wall in Jerusalem and stand VERY CLOSE as you bend, REPEATINGLY………

    • #3201638
    • #3231020

      What we have here is failure apon the part of average people

      by mjwx ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      to think for them selves. Despite what Mr Edison has said this is not so much about reasonability as it is about being able to make decisions for ones own self (this bit comes [b]before[/b] the part about taking responsibility for that decision which is something I don?t disagree with).

      Why did people not think? The failure here is two fold. The first is lack of educations they didn?t know what to do. I assume this is because there is little education about what to do in an emergency. The second failure is the lack of an adequate and well known (easy to figure out) warning system.

      I spent 10 years living in Australia?s cyclonic zone, there is an average of two cyclones a year in that approach the north western Australian coastline. First of all there is a public warning system that informs you that 1. There is a cyclone incoming and 2. How far away it is. this uses a colour coded system of alerts which are broadcast on television and radio as well as local police who will tour the town to make sure people are following cyclone procedures (and if you miss all of this, someone who hasn?t will tell you).

      Heres a quick run down of the three alert levels.
      Blue alert – a cyclone is could approach within 72 hours tie down anything that could become a projectile.
      Yellow alert – a cyclone could be at your location within 24 hours, fill the bath with water (and any other containers) and ensure that you have any other emergency provisions (like food and a transistor radio for public announcements).
      Red alert – a cyclone is imminent get inside immediately.

      I have been to yellow alert 4 times and red alert once (I slept through it as a low category cyclone passed within 30 KM’s). I do realise that a hurricane is different to a cyclone but you still had 24 hours warning.

      Secondly, people should have some basic common sense when it comes to a survival situation but the general consensus of New Orleans seemed to be sit and wait for the cavalry. When the cavalry didn?t show up, thing fell apart. This is mainly because everything in their lives is used to prevent independent thought (Mindless reality TV, pop culture, social structure built around popularity). I do realise that there are exceptions to this mindset but they are exceptions not the rule.

      Now some people will blame FEMA for a poor response but I would chastise them for poor preparation and all I want is for FEMA to learn from this experience. No point in blaming anyone for a force of nature.

      Cyclone education is one of the first things you learn when move into a cyclonic zone, every October for 10 years we received a “cyclone readiness pack” from the SES (State Emergency Service) in the mail which consisted of, a brochure that informed you of exactly what to do before, during and after a cyclone as well as a cyclone map which you can use to map a cyclone from position and category (measure of the cyclones destructive power) information given frequently on the radio and TV.

      BTW – cyclone season from November to March in Australia.

      • #3230997

        What you say is true, but the Katrina incident is

        by deadly ernest ·

        In reply to What we have here is failure apon the part of average people

        much more than being prepared. News here In australia had reports on where Katrina would hit, with New Orleans as a high probability, for ten days before it hit. Many locals ignored the news reports. The New Orleans mayor was encouraging people to leave the city for days before it struck.

        What really got me is the way most people acted AFTER the hurricane left. Very, very few tried to get out on their own. Noe reports mentioned anyone, repeat ANYONE, trying to WALK out – they were all waiting for cars and buses to take them. OK you need vehicles for the injured and ill and ol, but healthy single adults should have been formed up in columns and marched out, just to relieve pressure on the resources.

        BTW According to the climatologists, the only difference between a hurricane and a cyclone is the location. The categorisations of them are the same, a cat 5 hurricane is the same as a cat 5 cyclone.

        • #3230993

          And they spin the opposite direction

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to What you say is true, but the Katrina incident is

          at least they do south of the Equator. I believe that the biggest Pacific cyclones can be bigger than the biggest hurricane.

        • #3230980

          I was thinking of the difference between a cyclone and tornado

          by mjwx ·

          In reply to And they spin the opposite direction

          Posted first thing in the morning, brain was not completly awake.

          Now it the end of the day and my brain is going back to sleep. 🙂

        • #3230972

          The only real difference is that one develops

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to I was thinking of the difference between a cyclone and tornado

          over land and the other over water. I’ve seen footage of a tornado that went out to sea and ti looked the same as a hurricane of the same category, ditto when a hurricane has been on land for several hours. But to be sure check in with a climatologist, I’m to busy doing some job apps to worry about confimring that at the moment.

        • #3230985

          Like I said DE

          by mjwx ·

          In reply to What you say is true, but the Katrina incident is

          It was a failure of the average person to think for themselves. A bit of common sense would have told the average person to start heading towards the city limits where help would be more easily found.

          In school, we were given exercises that would test common sense in a survival situation like being given a list of 50 or so items and picking 15 to survive in the desert/moon/island. We treated it pretty much like a game. We also would get the local Ranger to come in and talk about what you would do if you were lost in the bush. something like that would happen every year until they covered the basics of CPR and treating snake bites (Keep the wounded area immobilised and use a tourniquet to restrict blood flow, just to prove it 🙂 ). By the age of 14 I possessed enough in the way of survival skills to handle a few nights in the bush (not that I want to). I grew up in the bush so I am probably an extreme case but I’m sure the city kids got some kind of an education.

          If these kind common sense/initiative exercises fail to get even a mention in US schools I now see why some are calling for the Education Departments dismantlement but unfortunately no education is worse than bad education.

        • #3230971

          I have to agree with your assessment of most of the people,

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to Like I said DE

          as I did agree about that in your first post – I just commented that my focus was post event not preparation. As for what they tech kids in the city. I grew up in Sydney in the 1950s/60s and we did not have much on emergency and bush living in the school activities themselves. But the many compulsory museum trips ended giving us some coverage on some items, as did interesting shows at the Royal Easter Show and circuses. Add in a few ABC and BBC shows along similar lines and I had a fair education on how to survive in the bush etc.

          I could even manage on that Survivor show – first starngle canera crew and roast – there’s your firstfood source, after you half throttle the first one, the rest are prpeared to pay to have hot pizza delivered.

        • #3230914

          Now be fair the Yanks get it all

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Like I said DE

          Here recently we had a Cyclone hit North Queensland and all we managed to get was [b]Expensive Bananas[/b] The Yanks on the other hand got a lot of babies out of Katrina the birth rate shy rocketed after that single event and things got so bad on some days that when the womens water broke there was so much that it caused [b]Localised Flooding[/b] in some areas.

          After living in North QLD for many years I lived through the one that hit Townsville and I swear that the house that I was in 2 back from the water at North Ward wouldn’t have suffered any damage if it wasn’t for some Southerners in the next place closest to the water not bringing in their garbage can. It took off like a rocket and demolished a garage and the roofing iron from that demolished the house that I was in looking out the window at the approaching storm.

          I decided that living on the beach wasn’t such a great idea so I moved inland from there the other side of the Great Dividing Range where anyone with any brains will tell you that Cyclones don’t get past this as the mountain range is [b]Too High[/b] but no I got lucky the only time that a Cyclone has hit Charters Towers had to happen in the first month after I moved there. The Bloody thing lost intensity after crossing the coast and then sunk through a pass in the mountains and intensified again only to hit Charters Towers a day latter. The sum total of the damage there was some fallen trees and a few downed power lines.

          I’m just really glad that I was busy for the 98 Sydney Hobart Race otherwise I would have been crewing on one of the yachts that went down. But even here in Brisbane we are at the lower end of the Cyclone Watch area and while not getting hit often it does occasionally happen. Now that I’ve put that down we’ll probably get one next season. 🙁


        • #3230904

          They’ve had it easy this year – so far

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to Now be fair the Yanks get it all

          We’re only up to Tropical Storm Debby. This time last year Katrina was in the Bahamas – as yet unnamed – and winding up to f**k New Orleans.

          Plenty of time yet.

        • #3230803

          Our DOE does little but push mandates for tracking to the local level.

          by x-marcap ·

          In reply to Like I said DE

          Federal DOE is a waste.

          What the do provide is propaganda. Channel One Video for example.

          I was at the local high school when Al Gore was announced on Channel One, the “rightful” president of the U.S.A. and the video stated “Bush is usurping Gore’s presidency.”

          When I heard this I complained and was told to stay away. I pay taxes, but I cannot prevent the Federal Government from brainwashing local children or opt my children out of Channel One.

          So I had it audio taped and started to Opine about it in the Newspapers. That caused more trouble. not for the schools, but for me. My two youngest will never be in Public school if I can help it…
          We now homeschool…

        • #3230765

          It seems your education department is very different from ours

          by mjwx ·

          In reply to Our DOE does little but push mandates for tracking to the local level.

          Ours is run by educators; whist there is a bit of bureaucracy a lot of actual education gets through.

          The main advantage provided by centralised education system is that you will have a nationally accepted standards and qualifications. For example an “A” in Nebraska is the same as an “A” in California. For any nation that requires a highly skilled workforce this is a must.

          Down here, we have organisation called TAFE (Tertiary And Further Education) that is actually a series of independent collages that adhere to a centrally provided standard, they all have different methods of teaching but the outcomes are the same. With a TAFE diploma, I could move to QLD (Queensland) and get a similar job to the one I have in WA (Western Australia) without having to be retested any kind of qualification. Not that I would want to move to QLD 🙂 but like everyone else in the free market I go where the money is.

        • #3283960

          You have TAFE

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to It seems your education department is very different from ours

          We have “No Child Left Behind.” This law makes it mandatory that all children learn the same things at the same speed to the same level. :0 Special Education (mentally & emotionally challenged) students are included.

          Two schools in the school district in which I live are failing to make “Adequate Yearly Progress” for this reason. 😐

          Edit: Speling, as usal

        • #3283784

          I think I’ve gotten you confused

          by mjwx ·

          In reply to You have TAFE

          TAFE is voluntary education. Only up to year 10 (10th grade) is mandatory education, the 11th and 12th year (4th and 5th year of secondary education) are voluntary as well. In TAFE (which is tertiary education) you pick a subject (engineering, IT, arts, sciences), pay your fees (or arrange to pay them) and attend classes all of your own accord. This is all above secondary education, TAFEs are private institutions, only the standards come from the Education Dept, which work closely with industry to sort out the tertiary standards.

          The goal of mandatory education is not to ensure that everyone has the same level of understanding but to ensure that all people meet basic literary/science/math standards. Of course some people will advance further and faster than others the same as some people are better sportsmen, the system should recognise that different children learn at different speeds and be flexible. We have “special” classes for “special” children which gives them extra-curricular activities to ensure they meet minimum standards. Hate to sound mean but we can?t help the children that are just dumb and I mean those who don?t have a mental illness (nobody asks for Down syndrome).

          In our system children meet minimum standards (at the primary school level) which are quiet low and if they get left behind from there it?s their own fault (this happens in secondary school). We can?t help those who won?t help themselves.

          The more I hear the more I understand how your system is broken, you need to get the educators back in to the education system (and get the lawyers and bureaucrats out).

        • #3283779

          TAFE originally stood for Technical & Further Education

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to You have TAFE

          These used to be state run and where the place that all apprentices when for their yearly Schooling for their apprenticeship board approved schooling.

          These places also offered Further Education Courses for Older Age Students but the Federal Government stepped in many years ago and turned all the TAFE Colleges into Universities as there was a major shortage of University places available at the time but the basic structure remains the same the price of the courses has just risen dramatically.


        • #3283751

          No confusion

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to You have TAFE

          I understood that TAFE is (was?) a vocational system.

          Unfortunately, the problem here is multifaceted. The politicans and lawyers think the system is broken because the educators were running it. The parents think the system is broken because the media, politicians and lawyers tell them so. Industry think the system is broken because almost nobody outside vocational education is listening to them. And having been in education for five years, I can tell you (IMHO) the system is broken because the politicians and lawyers are involved and the parents aren’t.

        • #3283749

          Further Education Courses for Older Age Student?

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to You have TAFE

          Sounds like Special High Intensity Training to me. 😀

        • #3283719

          The Aussie Education System

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to You have TAFE

          TAFE – Technical and Further Education (equals USA Tech College) handles apprentice training, some community courses and tertiary education courses. Many of which have a more hands on approach than the universities. For example, most uni IT courses are high in theory and low in practical work, the TAFE IT course have some theory and high on practical work. Both styles have their places. Want some one to design a new computer chip, get a uni grad with a BSc(IT). Want someone to write code or fix PCs get a TAFE IT grad.

          In primary, and mroe so in secondary schools. There are multiple levels and students progress at the level appropriate to their current knowledge and skills. Sadly, if they miss something in the early grades, they usually get pushed up a grade, but at a lower level. Too many students get dropped to lower levels because the teaching practices do NOT accommodate anyone who is not 100% capable of learning with quick notes and plenty of lectures. test for people who need non-standard teaching styles do NOT occur early enough to have matters corrected in time to provide them with real help.

          There are time when Special ed students should be in general classes and times whent hey shouldn’t.

          Regarding my point about the teaching methods. The system here as the teacher write lots on the backboard and provide limited time for the students to copy it. At the same time they arre speaking, giving additional information at a fast talking speed. If the child has a problem with writing and needs to concentrate on that, they will miss most of the oral presentation, also they may not get everything copied before it’s gone from the board.

          I was one such child, never really understood what the teachers were saying most of the time, it was said too fast for me to follow. Also I always ahd my hand up as ‘not yet finished copying from the board’. A natural left hander, forced to write right handed, meant I was a very slow writer. I got around this problem because I’m an avid and fast reader. So, early on, I developed the habit of ignoring the teacher and the board, I only noted the only thing that was left up long enough fro me to copy – the homework assignments. I ended up missing a lot of classes, sent outside or to the office for ‘not paying attanetion’. Well sheet, if they speak so I can’t understand them, then how am I supposed to pay attention. If I ask them to repeat anything I get into trouble for being a smart arse. I spent all the time out of class in the library, reading the text books and any other relevant material I could get about what we were studying. The librarians usually helped with advice on what was the compulsory part of this year’s carriculum, and the optional stuff.

          Want to piss a teacher off. Pay no attention in class, and maintain a 95% or better exam average all year. Gets them no end.

          The general teching style for most teachers has not changed since I left school 36 years ago.

        • #3283685

          It works the other way to Ernest

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to You have TAFE

          The so called [b]Gifted Children[/b] get bored Shi##ess and just give up on the entire thing and play around as it’s far more fun. 😀

          I did exactly the same thing when I was at Uni I never attended lectures but spent most of my time with the fitters when I did Mech Engineering and was always getting every answer correct. It really Pissed Off the Head of the Department particularly when I put him down at about the third lecture that I ever attended and then decided that going there was a waste of time & energy I could learn far more working with the Fitters. :^0

          At the first exam I was accused of cheating so I had to redo the exam which I obviously cheated on again as I got everything right so after I had sat that exam 4 times it was finally decided to give me an Oral Exam that was made up on the spot. I loved the look on the good old Pro Face when I continually answered all his questions and no matter what he tried I had the right answer. I think he would have accused me of [b]Cheating by Reading His Mind[/b] if he thought that he could have got away with it. 😀


        • #3282427

          DOE is Full of education PHDs`

          by x-marcap ·

          In reply to Our DOE does little but push mandates for tracking to the local level.

          That is why they dictate so much, and get so poor measured results.

        • #3284845

          DoE fought No Child Left Behind

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to DOE is Full of education PHDs`

          As well they should have. “All children can be taught to the same level in the same amount of time.” Tear away the fancy legalese, and that is the gist of NCLB. DoE is not trying to make the best of what they had shoved down their throats.

          And now, after essentially mandating that teachers teach to the test to be considered “fully qualified,” the Republican Congress wants to blame teachers because they are teaching to the test?

          Hypocrisy. Stupidity. Cupidity. Whatever. IMO, the hidden agenda is to close down the public schools to get the rich white kids back into private schools where they belong and have the poor people pay for it. And those others can go to heck.

          That said, given the current configuration of public education, I don’t think we need a federal-level education department. With standards set at state level, if the Congress wants to fund public education, all it needs do is set a per-student aid amount and send that to each state with no strings attached.

        • #3200067

          The poor people pay for it?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to DoE fought No Child Left Behind

          When have the “poor people” ever paid for anything for the “right white kids”? Can you provide an example of this?

          Are you refering to vouchers, where the money that the family pays in, can follow their child to whichever school they want their child to attend? This (dispite obvious lies by the Teachers union) does not “take money away” from the poor poor.

          Schools get their funding based on the number of students that attend a school. If the evil rich white devilspawn does not attend that school, but goes to a private school instead, NO ONE gets that money. Vouchers say if the government is going to be in the business of paying towards education, let that amount per child follow that child.

          Why should teachers not have to have a basis for their job performance? Everyone else that has a job gets evaluated based on how well they do their job. If you do it poorly, you get fired. When you are talking about something as important as our children, why would we not have the same kinds of performance expectations out of the teachers?

          The teachers don’t like it because they are not allowed to just push uneducated kids through the system like they used to do all the time.

          The schools don’t like the feds rules? then they can fund the schools themselves and run them anyway they wish.

          The feds have always used funding to control things, and always will. Remember the horrible 55 mile per hour speed limit? You lowered your speed limit or you did not get federal funds for your roads.

          And yes, federal funding for education is at an all time high under Bush.

          Teach to the test, or teach the kids so they can pass a test. We all know which is expected out of teachers. If the kids LEARN the subjects, they will pass the tests. That is how that works, remember?

      • #3284889

        The average people

        by tonythetiger ·

        In reply to What we have here is failure apon the part of average people

        leave when Mardi Gras is over 🙂

    • #3209138

      A Limited Reply to Katrina Response Tactics

      by rellis1949 ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      I find interesting the questions asked about Katrina recovery at this first anniversary of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s most major catastrophe. Answering the three questions of “Deadly Ernest” can not be accomplished in this forum because the answers are not really known and the answers presented are not and cannot be representative of the body of peoples that were involved in the hurricane and the on-going recovery.

      I must premise my answers with the suggestion that I live on the Mississippi Coast, stayed during and after Katrina, but was among the lucky ones that did not lose their homes or a large portion of their possessions. Thus, I cannot and will not be a representative of those that have gone through such a greater level of suffering. Further, each of the questions offered by “Deadly Ernest” are important but demand very long and complex answers to be valid.

      My perceptions of the immediate recovery response to Katrina are (per the questions asked):

      1) The concern for government support and lack thereof is relative to the level of loss and amount of resources available to those that did lose their possessions. I have seen signs where residents give thanks to FEMA for providing temporary housing and limited financial support. However, those giving the greatest thanks appear to be those that have had the internal resources to recover more quickly and return to more normalcy relative to their pre-Katrina life. Regretfully, there are hundreds of thousands on the Mississipi Gulf Coast (including New Orleans) that did not and do not have the resources to build again. The scope and diversity of those that lost so much are beyond the definition of the resource recipient provided by FEMA and, as such, many have suffered losses with no way to regain any form of normalcy for years to come.

      Relative to the immediate aid offered by the government; the breadth and depth of the catastrophe was so extensive that one government agency could not handle the recovery process. As suspected by “Ernest”, the organization of the varied governmenrt agencies was so poor that aid was delayed for weeks and months. Further, the bureaucratic rulings and inflexibility presented by many of the rules and policies provided by FEMA made recovery a much greater challenge than just providing existing resources to the needy.

      The media concentrated heavily on New Orleans and the scope of looting, rape, and criminal activities portrayed in New Orleans was not at the same high proprotion to the east of New Orleans (where the hurricane did the larger scale damage). The Mississippi Coast counties were hit harder by the hurricane and, I believe, the community was more immediate in their attempts to pursue recovery. However, one must consider that the types of catastrophe (primarily large scale flooding in New Orleans and total annihilation in Mississippi and other parts of Louisiana) required different levels of resource allocation to assist those in need.

      Not considered in Mr “Ernest’s” questions was the time of year and breadth and depth of the components of the catastrophe. Hurricane Katrina hit in late August (the heat and humidity were at extreme levels) and the immediate effects of the hurricane presented utility losses throughout most of central and Southern Mississippi for seven to ten days (longer for rural communities). Compounding the losses created by Katrina were the complementary losses resulting from tornadoes spawned by Katrina. Communications were out for at least that same period and longer. I personally could not communicate with my family for the first week and the media gave such great emphasis to New Orleans that Mississippi Coast residents were anonymous to much of the outlying public.

      With resources unavailable, we could not call or transition from our neighborhoods. Luckily, I had 3 five-gallon gas containers filled and available to take my family to Shreveport Louisiana for several days about a week after the hurricane. The six hour trip to Shreveport found travelers without access to gas stations for many miles and several hours. Again, this is days after the hurricane.

      2) The suggestion that the victims were whining and sitting around waiting for help is absurd. The victims were not whining, they were without food, water, and, in some cases, shelter. We were proud to see trucks coming into our communities with drinkable water and ice. The media showed you pictures of the poor and homeless (again, primarily New Orleans) that had no basis for recovery. Those people were later shipped across the United States in an attempt to disseminate the extreme poor to multiple reestablishment zones.

      Those in Mississippi and other parts of Louisiana, with homes or at least a place to sleep, started recovery as soon as daylight was available and as soon as materials and utilities allowed cleanup and rebuilding to be accomplished. New Orleans posed different problems with the flood waters having to recede and the community without basic services to allow the citizenry to return to a safe community.

      3) People forget quickly, diverse social structures require more complex management, the scope of the catatrophe was beyond belief: these are all possible answers as to why America was not prepared. Lack of organization and multi-government involvement is why immediate recovery actions were so bad. New Orleans did not start immediate recovery until the Army was allowed to take controls of the city. City, state, and federal government bodies were in contrast as to who should be blamed and/or praised for recovery actions and, subsequently, the citizens suffered. The Army organized, controlled, and started the recovery process in New Orleans.

      The Mississippi Coast was left to fend for themselves more so than New Orleans and, as such, there appeared to be greater cohesion between the city and state governments. Access to resources was more readliy available because we did not have the flood waters that contained New Orleans. However, delays in regaining communications was unbelievable and access to utilities (although very expediently processed by the utility companies considering the barriers presented to them) took days to accomplish. The loss of utilities was the basis for spiraling problems: no electricity meant no pumps which meant no gas and, at times, no drinking water. Lack of electricity meant no access to fresh foods. Stores were destroyed or were not opened due to utility problems. Logistics were hampered by downed trees, damaged roads, and an inability to know where one was traveling in some parts of the state.

      Hurricane Katrina presented such a breadth and depth to problems that the Coast will be attempting recovery for 5 to 10 more years. The social structure of the Coast will never return as it was in pre-Katrina days. The ecnonomic structure of the Coast has changed so radically that many cannot afford to stay much less return to their pre-Katrina homeland.

      Poor organization and insane rules kept the federal government from assisting at the level that resources could have been made available. The thrust of the recovery fell to two groups of people: the locals that have and continue to work hard to rebuild their lives and the thousands of wonderful volunteers that have come to the Coast to assist the poor and to assist those who have lost all and need a helping hand.

      • #3209125

        Well Said!

        by a_greiner ·

        In reply to A Limited Reply to Katrina Response Tactics

        Although I do have a somewhat different outlook to the situation in New Orleans, I do agree with the vast majority of your points made about the early post-Katrina situation. I personally have nothing but praise for the local utilities and the amazing speed with which they they recovered power, water and everything else, considering the massive task confronting them.
        I was witness to some of the interagency squabbles among government agencies, but am gratified that, for the most part, they managed to iron them out and work together within a day or two.
        Finally, let me admit that, had it not been for the amazing volunteer response from the rest of the nation, The gulf coast would not have been able to recover at anywhere near the speed needed to prevent a much higher loss of life to our residents. Kudos and blessings to all who came to our aid in our time of need!

      • #3209116

        Thank you for your well thought out response

        by deadly ernest ·

        In reply to A Limited Reply to Katrina Response Tactics

        From the media coverage we got here in Australia, we knew that there was damage elsewhere, but it was presented (by the USA media services) as being minor compared to New Orleans. I’m glad to hear that large numbers actually helped themselves. As you may have realised in my original post, and other responses, I was amazed and shocked that few people were trying to help themselves.

        What you say happened in your area is more like what I would have expected to happen, and did happen when Tracy took out Darwin, ten years later many sections of housing were still empty slabs. It takes time to recover from any disaster of that magnitude, but the recovery really has to start within you.

        Godd luck to you and your neighbours.

    • #3209119

      A NOLA Evacuee’s View

      by cq_nola ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      Answers to your questions in order:
      1. The vast majority of the stranded people were not of a criminal element – albeit the majority were poor. You may not know that a large percentage stranded were wealthy, many of them tourists who rode out the storm in their hotels. A later analysis revealed that the looting, rape, etc. were vastly overblown in the media.
      2. When the entire city is under 6-14 feet of water for almost two weeks, there weren’t many help-yourself options. For the first week, there was only one navigable road into the city and it entered the city via the bridge over the Mississippi river. There were armed police on the other side of the bridge preventing people from crossing. Many people were stuck on their rooftops (elderly, children, etc)and would have had to swim 6 to 15 miles to reach the non-flooded areas. Add to this the fact that there was no electricity (still isn’t in a large part of the city). These people had no idea what had happened – they didn’t know the levees failed, they didn’t have any communication from the outside world – cell phones didn’t work there for weeks. They were in sweltering heat without food and water and not even knowing if someone was going to ever come. When help came, they would airlift people to the center of the city (the Superdome area) and just drop them off on a dry elevated highway – they still weren’t rescued and weren’t being told when they would. The U.S. was able to air-drop milllions of leaflets into Iraq informing the population of the situation along with tons and tons of relief supplies. None of this happened in NOLA. My friend at Charity hospital was there for 8 days helplessly watching patients die in 110-115 heat while the doctors, nurses, etc were rationed a small bottle of water and a sandwich each day. ALL THIS TIME THE NATIONAL GUARD, FEMA WORKERS, FOOD AND WATER WAS POSITIONED NO MORE THAN 45 MILES FROM NEW ORLEANS FOR DAYS WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO GIVE THE ORDER TO ENTER THE CITY.

      There were many, many citizens who commandeered small boats, etc. and went house to house helping rescue people. A lot of heroicism was on display, but it was overshadowed by media frenzy about the looting.

      I lived in a very nice area, where homes sold for $250k to $2million. I have neighbors who did not live through the aftermath. Today, there are thousands of homes in the area still sitting in ruin.

      We were always told that the levees could hold for a storm of that level. It simply was a lie. The levees were never built anywhere near to spec. The Army Corps of Engineers has issued a report admitting this. Lesson learned.

      3. I would like to know the answer to your third question myself.

      It hurts to return to the city, as I constantly do. Such a vast area is still in shambles. Government help is trickling in like a leaky faucet. The very special character of the city took a wicked blow. The city will return, and its character will be new and old at the same time. But the underlying SOUL of that city will be the fabric that brings it back to vitality. A lot of that soul and character was born out of our poorest neighborhoods. Certainly our most famous artists, musicians and chefs will all confirm this. I look forward to the day I can return for good.

    • #3282492

      As a resident of a hurricane-ravaged state…

      by jck ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      I’d like to reply…

      [i]1. Why are the government and its employees getting the blame for a bunch of excetra heads who would rather steal and rape people than help them? Part of the problem was resources being redirected to deal with lootres and other criminals instead of relief.[/i]

      Because the government is established in the United States to do many things, one department of which is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under which lies the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Part of their charter is:

      [b]…helping equip local and state emergency preparedness…[/b]

      It was obvious…neither New Orleans, nor their parish or the state…had been properly prepared by anyone…including FEMA. So the answer is, it was their assigned duty to prepare themselves and prone areas for such an event. It was not done well at all. That’s why blame has been laid for no preparedness.

      As for not properly having adequate manpower, it is difficult to mobilize your National Guard or law enforcement when most of them evacuated the area.

      [i]2. Why were so many people NOT helping themselves the day after the hurricane? They just sat there waiting for help and bitching that it wasn’t coming fast enough.[/i]


      a) The majority of residents who remained in New Orleans were (1) at the Superdome (some 12,000) or (2)the Convention Center (some 10,000).

      b) Both the Superdome and Convention Center were surrounded by several feet water. They could not get out to go anywhere to help themselves.

      c) After 2 days, there were other citizens out who were armed and looting. Not a smart thing to do to go out on the street and risk being killed or raped when you are in a facility with armed law enforcement present to protect you.

      [i]3. Why did the USA have such a big problem dealing with this when they had the example of Darwin Australia 30 years before hand? Did they not see and learn any lessons from that?[/i]

      This one I can’t answer, especially when the USA also had Camille in 1968 and an even larger hurricane hit the Keys in 1938 and killed almost everyone there. You’d think they’d realize now that coastal areas need to be better prepared…especially a city that sit 6-9 feet below sea level like New Orleans.

      The biggest thing to me is…

      The government here partisanly squabbled incessantly and stupidly about $6-8M being given to the Army Corps of Engineers to reinforce the levees along the canals in New Orleans because they were afraid it would be “squandered”.

      Now, they have $75B in damage that the taxpayers will have to absorb the cost of repairing via higher insurance premiums, higher taxes due to Federal funds going to help rebuild infrastructure, etc.

      It would have taken 9,375 years at $8M a year to blow $75B.

      Not a smart move fiscally.

      Now, Americans are paying out because of bureaucratic and political stupidity.

      • #3282433

        The local, State politicians, and the people blew it big time.

        by x-marcap ·

        In reply to As a resident of a hurricane-ravaged state…

        1. Governor of LA refused to request Federal Aid until it was two late. Quote “I am not letting that Republican get credit for saving our @#$*$@#”
        By the time she asked for help the levees had broken.

        2. Evacuation order never given.

        3. Busses never used to evacuate.

        4. Millions across the years for Dams squandered on other projects.

        5. Build below sea Level on the coast? This isn’t Holland. Let’s do some planning…

        6. local government wouldn’t let FEMA trailers in for housing. Even though the trailers were nicer than the squallor of that area, “No trailers”

        7. Mayor of NOLA reelected. The people deserve the leadership they had if they won’t change it.

        8. The people should have started walking north. Then maybe the mayor would have seen the issue.

        9. Acquiring food and water was OK. TVS, Stereos, etc were shooting offenses.

        • #3282425


          by jck ·

          In reply to The local, State politicians, and the people blew it big time.

          1. She did not refuse federal aid. Blanco didn’t turn over her National Guard because she didn’t want the federal government to decide what to do with her troops, and Bush was unwilling to deputize them federally and let her tell them what to do. Again…too much political bull$hit.

          2. It was shown on a Discovery-Times TV special that Nagin wanted to order it, but legal for the City of New Orleans stopped him and said they did not have the legal authority to call for and enforce that mandatory evacuation he wanted to order. His hands were tied.

          3. The school buses belong to the PARISH…not the City. Therefore, Nagin could not order the parish to use the buses to move people.

          4. Millions have been squandered…by all the rat politicians…at the local, state and federal level…for years…including several million Bush took out the year before Katrina that was earmarked for securing the levees.

          5. New Orleans has been below sea level for decades…this isn’t a new thing since 2000 or something.

          6. Never heard about that…

          7. Yes he was…

          8. Most of the people who were stranded in New Orleans couldn’t walk north…they would have had to SWIM…there was several feet of water left in New Orleans (especially the 9th district) after the hurricane was inland and past. And, the water in the city had gone stagnant and was filled with raw sewage, oil and gas from cars, and dead bodies. Would you wanna swim in that?

          9. I agree…every one of the schmucks who stole anything other than food, diapers, water from a store…should be shot. I saw a chick rolling an entire cigarette rack down the street hip deep in water…what the hell good is a rack of cigarettes gonna do you when your kid is starving?

        • #3283638

          Parish buses

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to hehe

          Are you going to say the city could not have taken control of the buses in an emergancy situation?

          We both know better than that.

        • #3283545

          jd – it doesn’t matter who they blame. . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Parish buses

          …on the local level, they’re all Democrats and are all products of the failed Democrat mindset. Blame the governor, or the mayor, or the Parish leaders, or the people themselves — it’s all the Democrat “I’m not responsible” mindset. And they all blame President Bush, as if he should have gone down there and driven the busses himself.

          They’re victims, alright. Victims of their own Democrat Party leadership and failed policies.

        • #3283419


          by jck ·

          In reply to jd – it doesn’t matter who they blame. . . . .

          and Bush and his guys running FEMA did any better?

          See my previous post. It’s part of FEMA’s duty to help prepare state and local authorities, and to aide in recovery.

          Both were done horribly on all parts…including Bush’s FEMA for which he had 5 years of administration over.

          So you can’t vindicate Bush either, Max. He did a piss poor job too.

        • #3283421

          Yes, I’m saying that…

          by jck ·

          In reply to Parish buses

          The Parish, in the State of Louisiana, is equivalent to a county in other states. They have their own law enforcement, etc.

          The City of New Orleans would have been legally at fault and under terms of prosecution for doing that. The City of New Orleans can not declare “state of emergency” within another governmental jurisdiction.

          Nothing would have stopped them from asking, but taking control of the buses would be illegal under law.

          You should know better, jdclyde.

        • #3283322

          equivalent to another country?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Yes, I’m saying that…

          Where do you get this stuff from?

          The government can appropreate what it needs in a state of emergency.

        • #3283300

          C – o – u – n – t – y . . . no “r”

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to equivalent to another country?

          In the rest of the country, the governmental hierarchy is city/town, county, state.

          In Louisiana, the hierarchy is city/town, parish, state

          The city of New Orleans has no administrative authority over Orleans Parish. Unlike some large cities where the city and county are the same adminstrative entity, in this case they are different.

          Should Nagin have asked? Yes. Should Orleans Parish have offered? Probably.

        • #3283280


          by jck ·

          In reply to equivalent to another country?

          I meant county…sorry for mistyping, ok great king of the misspelling? :p hehe

        • #3283312

          Any government official, at any level

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Yes, I’m saying that…

          can commandeer any vehicle to use in the performance of his duties in an emergency. One example of this is when a policeman is chasing a fleeing bank robber and wrecks his car. He can take yours to continue the chase. (the legal theory is the same as that of emminent domain).

        • #3283298

          Yes, but

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Any government official, at any level

          Government entities don’t practice eminent domain on each other, especially when outranked.

        • #3283278

          One big difference

          by jck ·

          In reply to Any government official, at any level

          I’d let a cop wearing/showing me a badge take my car for use.

          Mayor Nagin or any other “official” tries to take my car, he’s gettin his ass whipped til I get confirmation.

          I respect a badge…not a driver’s license.

        • #3200121

          Unless there was a direct order in place

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Any government official, at any level

          NOT to take the busses, he should have. Lacking proof of such an order, his inaction was criminal.

        • #3200078

          Stop it Tony

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Any government official, at any level

          everyone knows that this was all Bush’s Fault. I bet he was even responsible that there was even a huricane in the first place! Then he MADE it knock out New Orleans because everyone knows that he hates the poor blacks. Then when he bombed the levees to flood the poor sections of town to save his rich oil buddies was just the final straw!

          Did I miss any of the stupid “blame bush for everything” talk” Sorry if anyone has a pet “I hate Bush” platform that I forgot to add.

      • #3282281

        A couple of points

        by deadly ernest ·

        In reply to As a resident of a hurricane-ravaged state…

        1. Your comments re the emergency service resposne are valid, but it still doesn’t explain why people blame them for the looters. Some of the specials about what happened, clearly state that the looters and looting are a direct result of the emergency services not being quicker. Regardless of how quick, or slow, they take to respond, the people themselves are the only ones responsible for the deicsion to loot.

        2. Regarding the people not being able to walk out, if the water was such that they couldn’t walk out some how. Then how the hell did they expect evacuation buses to get to them? Police and National Guard were moving about in vehicles, and some people did drive out, so it was possible. There were some reasonably dry routes out.

        • #3284837


          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to A couple of points

          “…2. Regarding the people not being able to walk out, if the water was such that they couldn’t walk out some how. Then how the hell did they expect evacuation buses to get to them? Police and National Guard were moving about in vehicles, and some people did drive out, so it was possible. There were some reasonably dry routes out…”

          I don’t know anything about Katrina that I didn’t see in the news. But, reports were that people were told to go to the Super Dome and Convention Center and were not permitted to walk out. Reports were that the only bridge out of that place was guarded and people were not allowed to walk over it to get out of there. This was part of the problem.

          Read this eye-witness post:

        • #3284672

          vehicles moving in and out

          by jck ·

          In reply to A couple of points

          after 3 days…yes…they got vehicles in.

          The bed of a 2.5 ton military truck is also much higher than the interior of a school bus.

          Personally, I think it was a muck-up on all levels. However, FEMA definitely did nothing to help the situation.

          Go look at the pictures of the MS gulf coast today…then find out how many people in LA, MS and AL are still unaccounted for a year later.

          It’s a sad day when a wealthy country doesn’t spend the money to prepare itself properly.

        • #3284973

          In some of the reports at the time, and later stories

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to vehicles moving in and out

          They mention people leaving New Orleans in their private cars. Much of what I’ve seen about the police etc on the bridges and roads, was to stop people going in to sight see or whatever. Also people can swim where cars can’t.

          However, lets (for the sake of discussion) say that it wasn’t physically possible to walk in in the first few days, it was a few days later (not weeks). And even those who waere staying around, the majority either acted like vandals, or ignored the vandals.

          In one interview a fellow spoke about how bad the toilets at the SuperDome were. Did he make any effort to clean it up a bit, no, just pissed from the doorway to avoid entering the room.

          Which ever way to try to slice the issue, large numbers of physically healthy people sat around doing squat because they were to lazy to do anything. Some did work hard, but most didn’t.

        • #3283631

          But Ermest.

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to In some of the reports at the time, and later stories

          that is why you vote Democrat in the first place, so you WON’T have to accept any responsibility for your own actions. “It isn’t your fault you didn’t win the lottery of life”.

          That is why N.O. was one of the poorest regions of the country, under democrat rule for many decades. I have heard 50 years and sometimes 100 years, between the gov, Mayors, and represenatives.

          Read the article I posted at the end. It was a subartical to a link M_A_R_K posted elsewhere, and it explains why there was even a problem in N.O. in the first place.

        • #3283576

          Down here, many of us spell that D word used

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to But Ermest.

          in the name of political parties Dumbocrap – as it describes their policies and non-thought processes better.

          That Dallas morning news item is very interesting. But the 20th and 21st century screws ups appear to be more the cause of the elected politicans giving the Engineering Corps directives and priorities at odds with what they should have been doing. The moment you tell and engineer that you want a project for safety to be guided by economic imperatives, is the moment you totally dispose of safety.

        • #3283443

          Putting a value on human life

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Down here, many of us spell that D word used

          While I would have a hard time deciding the monitary value of a life, it seems our elected officials have found a way. From the top of the line, all the way down to the local board.

          Yeah, I can see how this would all be Bush’s fault….. to someone completely devoid of thought.

        • #3283306

          re:value on human life

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Down here, many of us spell that D word used

          Of course they have. For example, there are criteria that include how many people are killed or injured at an intersection before the expense of a traffic light is justified.

        • #3283397

          Vandals and such

          by jck ·

          In reply to In some of the reports at the time, and later stories

          I can’t argue…there were lots of idiots in New Orleans who looted and vandalized.

          However, you can’t blame people for not going in and trying to stop a looting mob. They could have been beaten, raped, or killed. That would not be a smart move…especially when police officers were seen to have been looting as well:

          [i]”At the Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street, an initial effort to hand out provisions to stranded citizens quickly disintegrated into mass looting. Authorities at the scene said bedlam erupted after the giveaway was announced over the radio.

          While many people carried out food and essential supplies, others cleared out jewelry racks and carted out computers, TVs and appliances on handtrucks.

          Some officers joined in taking whatever they could, including one New Orleans cop who loaded a shopping cart with a compact computer and a 27-inch flat screen television.”[/i]

          – Times-Picayune newspaper

          As for cleaning up a bathroom…I have to tell you…it would do no good, as the drains and toilets were probably backing up into the facility, whether because they’d shut them off from the outside…or because the water from the levee breeches had flooded the outside system back into the building.

          By the way…I have to say…the majority didn’t loot…the majority didn’t have the facilities with which to do anything, and I don’t know about you…but, I wouldn’t go bossing other people around if I wasn’t a cop or military in a high-tension environment. So, I can’t blame the majority for not stopping angry mobs of looters.

          I hope you never are faced with being in that situation. I think you’d find acting the way you propose others should have (i.e.- confronting looters, etc) would get you harmed.

        • #3283350

          A coward dies a million deaths, while a brave man dies just once.

          by x-marcap ·

          In reply to Vandals and such

          “It has been said that it is better to be a live jackal than a dead lion. I say it is preferable and easier to be a live lion.”

          I wonder if Mr. Chamberlain regrets hearing those words…

        • #3283336

          Did you see the video of the cops in Borgmart?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Vandals and such

          Two black women, IN UNIFORM, were taking things on camera. When they saw the camera, they dropped what they had and tried to walk away.

          The funny thing about the looting/murders. The number of crimes stayed consistant with what their normal rate of crimes was. Business as usual for the crime element that saw an opportunity.

          The only “LOOTER” I could relate to is here!

        • #3283326

          Staff of life for some.

          by x-marcap ·

          In reply to Did you see the video of the cops in Borgmart?

          He needed the alcohol to sterilize utensils for sterile dining…

        • #3283325

          “Louie the looter”?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Did you see the video of the cops in Borgmart?

          Wow, some people just have way too much time on their hands!

        • #3283011

          Having, in the past, been in situations of controlling

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to Vandals and such

          unruly crowds, it’s not as hard as many think. It is even much easier if there are three or four of you prepared to stand together.

          Many of the looters were NOT armed, yes some were, and would require careful handling (ie with a baseball bat from behind).

          BTW In a situation like that I would not class anyone taking food, soft drink, or needed items like nappies, as a looter.

        • #3200140

          I would say

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Having, in the past, been in situations of controlling

          the definition of “looter” is generally understood by all except for the people trying to make a natural disaster a racist issue.

          If you are taking jewelry or tvs, it doesn’t matter what color you skin is. You are scum and they should have declared martal law and dealt swiftly and harshly with these people.

        • #3200111

          Hey JD being on the other side of things once

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Having, in the past, been in situations of controlling

          When the 74 Floods hit here we where not allowed to move anything if we did we where classed as [b]Looters[/b] even if all you did was pickup something as it floated past. 😀

          One place that I used to do some work for found a set of Aircraft Wings all sealed up in their Wooden Crates in their Yard after the waters went down and besides moving them to a safe place they where not allowed to touch then. 6 Years latter they where still sitting in that Yard, I’m not actually sure what happened to them in the end but no one wanted them and the owners of the place couldn’t dispose of them or even hand them to the Police without being Declared & Charged as [b]Looters[/b] even 5 years after the event. You can never beat Bureaucrats no matter what. :^0


        • #3283327

          Corporate HQ was in NO, now in Houston…

          by x-marcap ·

          In reply to In some of the reports at the time, and later stories

          I was at the edges of Katrina. Rental cars were gone, Feet were the only means of transportation possible.

          I picked up my suitcase and walked across several days until the I was safe. It could be done, It was done. Several other people in IT made the forced march with me. We bought about 10 bottles of water and carried only the bare necessities. I strapped my suitcase on my back and became a ploughfoot. Once we got about 30 miles from NOLA with the wind howling rain sheeting, we rented a car and drove to St. Louis.

          I had the luxury of running from the weather… I bought bottled water, and headed out of there. Most people could have done it. I knew enough to run. I also was in South Carolina for Ophelia. That Sucker did a 360 and more to come back after me.

          I was on Oak Island SC on vacation. (it is a lovely place. I highly recommend it for the beach and peace and quiet.) Ophelia turned around and we ran to Columbia SC for Shelter. Then I headed to Charleston. When Ophelia gave out, I headed back to SC to continue the vacation.

          At all times from May to October America’s Southeast to Texas has to be aware of all Atlantic tropical storms… Sometimes the storms cross Mexico and give much needed rain to the desert Southwest… Personally, I list Hurricanes as one reason not to live in the Southeast.

    • #3284893

      The History of the levees themselves

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Katrina – reprise – three questions

      A good artical that explains why there was a problem with the levees in the first place, and the reason that New Orleans ended up underwater.

      How has there NOT been criminal neglect charges brought yet?

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