Officials may evacuate New Orleans as Gustav nears

Posted by Kendall Harmon

National Guard troops stand ready, batteries and water bottles sold briskly, and one small-town mayor spent a sleepless night worrying. The New Orleans area watched as a storm marched across the Caribbean on the eve of Hurricane Katrina's third anniversary.

With forecasters warning that Gustav could strengthen and slam into the Gulf Coast as a major hurricane, a New Orleans still recovering from Hurricane Katrina's devastating hit drew up evacuation plans.

"I'm panicking," said Evelyn Fuselier of Chalmette, whose home was submerged in 14 feet of floodwater when Katrina hit. Fuselier said she's been back in her home one year this month, and called watching Gustav swirl toward the Gulf of Mexico indescribable. "I keep thinking, 'Did the Corps fix the levees?,"Is my house going to flood again?' ... 'Am I going to have to go through all this again?'"

Taking no chances, city officials began preliminary planning to evacuate and lock down the city in hopes of avoiding the catastrophe that followed the 2005 storm. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin left the Democratic National Convention in Denver to return home for the preparations. Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency to lay the groundwork for federal assistance, and put 3,000 National Guard troops on standby.

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Filed under: * General InterestWeather

Posted August 28, 2008 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Creighton+ wrote:

And they should.

August 28, 8:49 am | [comment link]
2. Karen B. wrote:

Really hard to read this from an emotional standpoint, but I’m glad to see the officials taking the storm seriously.  At this point it’s totally impossible to know what Gustav will do.  It could miss N.O. entirely. And then the officials might be blamed for over reacting.  But they’ve GOT to prepare as if they’re going to be hit…, especially with so many in the city so extremely vulnerable, and that’s got to be so hard for all the Katrina survivors to face.  Praying…

August 28, 9:10 am | [comment link]
3. Katherine wrote:

This is the sort of planning that should have been done by the state and the city before Katrina.  If it had been, the storm’s effects would have been less disastrous in human terms, although not in property terms.  Florida has standing hurricane disaster plans and this sounds like Louisiana is getting itself organized to follow suit.  If you’re right in the middle of the Gulf Coast AND below sea level, this only makes sense.

August 28, 10:01 am | [comment link]
4. Cathy_Lou wrote:

We pray for mercy for all God’s people in New Orleans, as well as minute-by-minute strength, peace, wisdom, provision and blessing for His servants there, including Fr. Jerry Kramer and church family at Church of the Annunciation.  We pray especially against the spirit of fear, anxiety and despair, and pray that God would replace it with power, love and a sound mind (II Tim 1:7

Here are links to Fr. Kramer’s and Grace Notes blog  and church blog with recent updates on the situation.

August 28, 10:02 am | [comment link]
5. Chris wrote:

the cone has shifted westward quite a bit over the last few days (at one point it included almost all of Florida).  yesterday evening the track was for 50 miles north of Jamaica and then this morning it’s projected along the southern coast of Jamaica.  I would think we’ll have to wait until the weekend to know where it will make landfall - at this point it could be the Yucatan peninsula…..

August 28, 10:10 am | [comment link]
6. teatime wrote:

Oh, Lord, PLEASE spare N.O. Those poor people have suffered enough. We have fabulous emergency planning here in Texas so send it to our northern coast, instead, and we will be ready.

August 28, 12:52 pm | [comment link]
7. Christopher Johnson wrote:

Ray?  If you need to evacuate, New Orleans has a whole bunch of school buses you can use.  Assuming they’ve dried out by now.

August 28, 1:56 pm | [comment link]
8. Will B wrote:

Hopefully, this time the evacuation plan will work better than the last one.  My guess is that instead of “Run dammit run!”, FEMA say “run, dammit, run.  We really mean it”.

August 28, 2:48 pm | [comment link]
9. Chris wrote:

here’s a good resource on the hurricane guessing game:

August 28, 3:29 pm | [comment link]
10. Billy wrote:

I heard Ray say this morning on the radio that the new governor of LA and the President have a better relationship than they did last time, so hopefully things will work out better this time.  So ... Ray had nothing to do with the problems last time.  It was all because the Pres and the Gov were from different parties.  Wow!  Who knew?

August 28, 3:33 pm | [comment link]
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