Truly Bad Films

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Tears of Rage

This story at CNN really hit home for me. Hundreds of people have gathered at the New Orleans Convention Center on the Riverwalk to wait for rescue, but at this point there is no one, other than a few reporters, there. People are dying on the sidewalk in front of the Center.

These people are right on the Mississippi. Why can't any agency get to them?

I was at that Convention center in 1993, attending a library conference. It never once entered my head that 12 years in the future, people would be dying like Untouchables on the streets of New Delhi, right on the very sidewalk I traversed. And it makes me furious, for more than one reason.

1. It is, kind of, their fault. They were told to leave repeatedly, and transport to the SuperDome was provided by the city. But they elected to stay.

2. Why was there no emergency plan? If there had been a real plan, Portalets would have been set up inside the SuperDome and other Relief areas. Offical agencies would have already known where to set up in the aftermath. Water and other suppiles would have been stockpiled in these buildings, in preparation.

I don't know how long Ray Nagin has been Mayor, but someone needs to tell him that "planning is what you do before the storm is in the Gulf." Maybe I'm being harsh, but this man doesn't look like he could lead a trip to MacDonald's, much less take control of this horrific situation.

3. Again, where is the help? Yes, to be poor in New Orleans is to be staggeringly poor. I have the sneaking feeling that if these were white, Buffies and Biffs put out of their houses on Martha's Vineyard, someone in the White House would be popping an artery to get them help - and it wouldn't take 4 days.


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