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Mayor Orders Mandatory Evacuation of New Orleans 712

Posted by Soulskill
from the everybody-out dept.
Pickens writes "City officials ordered everyone to leave New Orleans beginning Sunday morning — the first mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Katrina flooded the city three years ago — as Hurricane Gustav grew into what the city's mayor called 'the storm of the century' and moved toward the Louisiana coast. 'This is the real deal. This is not a test. For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life,' said New Orleans mayor, C. Ray Nagin. Already, hundreds of thousands of residents had begun streaming north from New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas stretching from the Florida Panhandle to Houston. Bush administration officials took pains not to be caught as flatfooted as they were in Hurricane Katrina, announcing that President Bush had called governors in the region to assure them of assistance and that top federal emergency officials were in the region to guide the response. 'We could see flooding that is worse than what we saw with Katrina,' said Louisiana Governor Jindal." The US Geological Survey will be running a real-time "Map of Hydrologic Impacts" to monitor flood levels, and the National Weather Service has charted direction and wind-speed probabilities. Reader technix4beos points out the need for IRC transcription of FEMA and NOAA feeds.
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Mayor Orders Mandatory Evacuation of New Orleans

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  • what the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:36AM (#24819323)

    It's below sea level in one of the most hurricane prone places on earth. Why are rebuilding and living there?

    Make it an industrial zone and be done with it. Use the money to permanently relocate the population, not rebuild their soon-to-be blown away homes again.

    • Re:what the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:50AM (#24819425) Homepage

      It's below sea level in one of the most hurricane prone places on earth. Why are rebuilding and living there?

      Economics - New Orleans is a major port that services nearly 2/3 of the land area of the US. Not to mention the petroleum industry, fishing, cruise ships, etc... etc...
       
       

      Make it an industrial zone and be done with it. Use the money to permanently relocate the population

      This isn't Sim City where you can just 'declare something an industrial zone' and call it good. Where you have industry, you also have to have (nearby) the people to operate the industry and the people who support them. Which means in turn, the whole infrastructure enchilada - roads, schools, hospitals, etc. etc.

      • Re:what the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Zerth (26112) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:59AM (#24819509)

        This isn't Sim City where you can just 'declare something an industrial zone' and call it good.

        Apparently you've never heard of a zoning commission. Those morons do it all the time.

        Where you have industry, you also have to have (nearby) the people to operate the industry and the people who support them.

        Apparently you've never heard of New York or LA. Can't afford to live with an hour of some places.

        They should go ahead and rebuild the port and industrial infrastructure, then build some mass transit(light rail, it's cheaper per tile:) to the nearest STABLE and ABOVE SEA LEVEL region and put the residential & commercial there.

        That way they just have to repair the tracks and the "stupid end" of the rail system when it floods and nobody drowns.

    • Re:what the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eebra82 (907996) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:52AM (#24819439) Homepage

      It's below sea level in one of the most hurricane prone places on earth. Why are rebuilding and living there? Make it an industrial zone and be done with it. Use the money to permanently relocate the population, not rebuild their soon-to-be blown away homes again.

      Although New Orleans had its share of tough hurricanes, Katrina was the first big one that turned it into the costliest hurricane in US history. It was also ranked the sixth strongest hurricane to hit the US.

      Your comment is insightful, but I'd only argue like this if this troubled area was hit by hurricanes more frequently than it currently is. Forcing people to leave their homes is more than just a material loss. There's history, lost ones and more.

      At the same time, you could easily use this argument for places like Tokyo and other areas that are and will be struck by tremendous earthquakes.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:56AM (#24819473)

        At the same time, you could easily use this argument for places like Tokyo and other areas that are and will be struck by tremendous earthquakes.

        And monsters. Don't forget the monster attacks.

      • Re:what the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by snoogans126 (1092313) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @12:03PM (#24820005)

        At the same time, you could easily use this argument for places like Tokyo and other areas that are and will be struck by tremendous earthquakes.

        I get real tired of hearing the earthquake or {Insert misc. disaster here} argument. It's generally rather large areas that are vulnerable to earthquakes, the same can be said for tornadoes and hurricanes. The difference is that while there is a wide coastal area that is vulnerable to destruction from hurricanes, New Orleans is the one that's frigging underwater.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mistshadow2k4 (748958)
        Exactly. By that logic, we should abandon most of California and the eastern coast, not to mention a huge swath of Texas, and the towns in what's called "Tornado Alley". That's a hell of a lot the entire US when you add it up. And I'm only talking the areas as disaster-prone as New Orleans, not those that occasionally get hit.
  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:45AM (#24819379)
    Get the freaking hint - New Orleans is in one of the worst possible places, stop spending federal money rebuilding it. If people want to live there, let them suffer the entire burden of living there! If you want to spend federal money, spend it on relocation allowances and get people permanently away from the problem!
  • The Shock Doctrine (Score:3, Informative)

    by slashflood (697891) <flow@howflow.ERDOScom minus math_god> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:50AM (#24819417) Homepage Journal
    Make sure to read Naomi Kleins book "The Shock Doctrine" or at least one of her online articles: The Shock Doctrine in Action in New Orleans [naomiklein.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HertzaHaeon (1164143)
      Also make sure to read some criticism against The Shock Doctrine. It's full of errors and outright lies. Take a look at this video series [youtube.com], for example. Yes, I know it's Cato, but give it a chance. I was skeptical at first, but now I don't think Klein is someone I want on my side at all.
  • by sveinungkv (793083) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:50AM (#24819421)

    Are the mayor really allowed to do this? Last time New Orleans had an evacuation there where looting of the abandoned properties. Should it not be up to the owners to them self decide if staying behind to defend it is worth the risk or not?

    Disclaimer: I am European. I don't think the government would have any problem doing it here. But are not Americans more concerned about their liberty (for example to risk drowning and looters) then we are?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by introspekt.i (1233118)
      In America, your mileage can vary when it comes to powers of local governments. In theory, as long as they don't interfere with the constitution and other overarching federal rules, they can vary quite a bit...though I digress.

      Typically emergency powers like evacuation orders falls within the branch of the executive powers like the mayorial types or the governor types. I'm not sure of the exact specifics of this in New Orleans, but I am pretty sure that the Mayor can tell the city staff (firefighters,
    • by schnikies79 (788746) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:59AM (#24819505)

      It's a bit of a misnomer. They can't and don't force you to leave. They sweep the area and strongly suggest you leave, but they won't make you. In Florida at one time they (Charlie) had you list your next of kin so they knew who to contact.

      It basically means that if you decide yo stay, you are on your own.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShakaUVM (157947)

        It's a bit of a misnomer. They can't and don't force you to leave. They sweep the area and strongly suggest you leave, but they won't make you. In Florida at one time they (Charlie) had you list your next of kin so they knew who to contact.

        It basically means that if you decide yo stay, you are on your own.

        Don't worry, it'll still be Bush's fault when people don't leave, and drown.

    • by satoshi1 (794000) <satoshi@sug a r d e a t h .net> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:59AM (#24819511) Homepage Journal
      Well, think about it this way: How many people will be upset at the governor/government if NO evacuation is ordered? A TON of people will be because this country is full of idiots who can't think for themsleves and NEED the government to think for them.
  • by Smivs (1197859) <smivs@smivsonline.co.uk> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @11:00AM (#24819515) Homepage Journal

    So New Orleans is likely to be flooded yet again, but this is not a unique occurance. Florida is often trashed by hurricanes, and here in the UK much of our housing is on flood-plains, and some of our villages are crumbling into the sea due to coastal erosion.
    You can't beat nature, but we've all got to live somewhere, and there is normally a very good reason for a settlement to be where it is.
    It's a balancing act. Sometimes you need to put resources into sustaining a town/city, and elsewhere this may be inappropriate. The big question is 'Who decides?'

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lewko (195646)

      The big question is 'Who decides?'

      Obviously you don't watch Fox News.

  • by technix4beos (471838) <cs@cshaiku.com> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @11:05AM (#24819551) Homepage Journal

    We do have a pressing need for personnel who can type fast, have a good ear for "American" dialect, and is willing to spend several hours transposing into IRC.

    Please head to the linked wiki (either wiki.interdictr.com [interdictr.com] or gustavwiki.com [gustavwiki.com] ), or directly to the irc.freenode.net and join #interdictor

    Cheers, see you there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bigbigbison (104532)
      Maybe I'm a bit dense but I looked at the internictr link and read your post but I still can't tell what exactly is it that you are asking people to transcribe and why?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @11:34AM (#24819771)

    http://www.dshield.org/diary.html?storyid=4954 (dshield.org)

    "Here we go again - Hurricane Relief Sites

    Remember three years ago when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the US Gulf coast? On the day Katrina hit New Orleans hundreds of donation sites appeared online, many if not most were scam sites. Well this time around it looks like the people who like to register domain names in anticipation of a storm's arrival have already started registering them for Gustav and Hanna. I'm not suggeting that they are up to no good, but simply pointing out that the rush has started and we need to make sure our users are aware of the potential for scam sites appearing online in the next few days."

  • Sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amdurak (994897) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @11:43AM (#24819849)
    It is truly saddening to read some of the comments. You write about wanting to displace people just because New Orleans is below sea level. You say that people are themselves responsible if they continue to live in a city which is below sea level. Let me remind you that there are locations in the Netherlands which are more than two times below sea level compared to that of New Orleans. New Orleans is of course much more prone to storms than the aforementioned place but I do not see why technology could not solve this [reinforcement] issue. New Orleans is after all an important city.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by papabob (1211684) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @12:10PM (#24820057)

      Because the last time a hurricane hit the Netherladns was... uhh... never? The fact that it's deep below sea level is not what makes new orleans problematic, but its proximity to one of the few places in the world that have big big storms.

      Ok, katrina was the first big one, but now is coming the second one, and maybe in five years we'll see the third and so on. I call it basic survival instinct to leave and put your family in other place.

      • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Informative)

        by antientropic (447787) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @01:21PM (#24820709)

        Because the last time a hurricane hit the Netherladns was... uhh... never?

        The Netherlands doesn't get hurricanes, but it has a long history of disastrous storms [wikipedia.org], the last one being the 1953 flood [wikipedia.org] (over 1800 casualties, about the same as Katrina).

        The solution for New Orleans is not to give up on living there but to fix the damn levies. Surely it can't be that hard for the richest country on Earth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MtViewGuy (197597)

      However, in the Netherlands they suffered their Katrina moment in the 1953 when a series of storms killed 1,800-plus people, forcing the Dutch government to go on an enormously expensive program (Deltaworks) building numerous water barriers to prevent that type of flooding--a program that took 30 years to complete.

  • by Xenolith (538304) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @11:48AM (#24819889) Homepage
    The forecasted track for Gustav is very similar to Andrew (1992). If I recall correctly, no formal evacuation of New Orleans was done for Andrew. Looks like we are having a Katrina induced over-reaction.
  • North Shore (Score:3, Informative)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @12:53PM (#24820449)
    If you look at the whole area, you'll notice that New Orleans is just a small suburb of a much larger inhabited area. There are cities all around Lake Pontchartrain. The north shore is much higher and safer. In the greater scheme of things, New Orleans is not important and can easily be abandoned to the sea. There is no good reason for anybody to live there and I suspect that the only reason they do, is because the accommodation is cheap. So, yes New Orleans keeps getting the news attention, but it really isn't important and should be abandoned.
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @01:04PM (#24820555) Homepage

    The National Hurricane Center [noaa.gov] did an excellent prediction job, just as they did with Katrina. The storm is almost exactly on the predicted track from the last three days. It's all done on Linux [computerworld.com]. The forecaster's desktops run Red Hat Linux. The back end systems run Linux. The supercomputing clusters run Linux.

  • by Slugster (635830) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @03:39PM (#24821973)
    Discussing the matter of disobeying police orders on another unrelated forum, I ran across this particularly interesting story concerning a wildfire in California:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7503327.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Saturday, 12 July 2008 13:12 UK

    Charred body found in California

    One person has been found dead inside a burned-out house as wildfires continue to sweep through California.

    The victim is thought to have been a resident of Concow, Butte County, who did not follow a police evacuation order on Thursday as the blaze neared.

    In the past three weeks, hundreds of fires, most started by lightning, have burnt 1,100 sq miles (2,850 sq km).

    Some 20,000 people - many of them volunteers - have been battling fires which have destroyed 1,000 homes.

    "Unfortunately not everyone chose to leave and you cannot force them to," said police spokesman Sgt. Steven Pelton when asked why the victim had not obeyed a mandatory evacuation order.

    "This appears to be one of those people."

    But he said a post-mortem examination would be conducted on the charred body to confirm the cause of death.

    Stretched thin

    California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger summoned an additional 2,000 National Guard troops to assist the firefighting efforts across the state.

    Help has also been drafted in from Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    "We are stretched thin, and our firefighters are exhausted," said the governor.

    A thunderstorm on 21 June sparked some 800 wildfires across Northern California, which have been exacerbated by drought and particularly high temperatures.

    Officials have described the combination of dry brush and trees, dry weather and windy conditions as a "perfect storm".

    Mr Schwarzenegger said the state's fire season, formerly lasting from late summer through the autumn, was now year-round.

    He said the state now needed more resources to battle the increase in wildfires.

    Of particular interest is the part where it speaks of how "the victim had not obeyed a mandatory evacuation order"....

    If you don't have to obey it, then what exactly does it mean when they say it's "mandatory"? Does it mean that you are legally required to evacuate? Or is it just an official admission of sorts that if you stay, no immediate help will be available should you need it?

    (,,,of course--the other time, Nagin did his "mandatory gun confiscation" and we all saw how legal that turned out to be...)
    ~

  • What I'm sick of (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nilbog (732352) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @05:21PM (#24822915) Homepage Journal

    I'm sick of people calling out Bush for a slow response to Katrina. There's plenty to dislike about Bush we don't need to make crap up.

    For anyone who for some reason doesn't know this: The federal government cannot go in and provide aid in a place like post-Katrina New Orleans unless the governor asks for it. It's against the law and the very basic nature of our country for the federal government to just go and do that kind of stuff. The governor in Louisiana was slow to ask for aid and was therefore slow to get it.

    Bush actually tried to pass a law that would allow the federal government to quickly respond to such disasters and he was accused of trying to take over with an oppressive hand.

    Seriously, I dislike Bush as much as the next guy but I'm not so stupid that I can't see the reality of a situation.

  • Evacuation over (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @06:55PM (#24823687) Homepage

    The evacuation is over. The airport has closed, the buses have stopped running, the last train is gone, and the roads are empty. 5% - 10% of the population remains.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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