A lot of people are wondering why everyone didn’t evacuate New Orleans. According to this article from today’s New York Times, nearly 100,000 people had no cars. Their option was to go to evacuation centers, like the Superdome, and await bus transportation out of the city. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the busses made it through.
“An initial examination of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath demonstrates the extent to which the federal government failed to fulfill the pledge it made after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to face domestic threats as a unified, seamless force. >snip< (The busses) were an obvious linchpin for evacuating a city where nearly 100,000 people had no cars. Yet the federal, state and local officials who had failed to round up buses in advance were now in a frantic hunt. It would be two more days before they found enough to empty the shelters.”
At this point, the drivers refused to take the busses into the city.
Governor Blanco said the bus drivers, many of them women, “got afraid to drive. So then we looked for somebody of authority to drive the school buses.”
Some of those who tried to walk out were prevented from doing so. At least one evacuation route was blocked. Read “Police in Suburbs Blocked Evacuees, Witnesses Report“
Police agencies south of New Orleans were so fearful of the crowds attempting to leave the city after Hurricane Katrina that they sealed a crucial bridge over the Mississippi River and turned back hundreds of desperate evacuees, according to two paramedics who were in the crowd.
The paramedics and two other witnesses said officers sometimes shot guns over the heads of fleeing people.