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RSS icon Comments on Gustav, Katrina: Storms of the Century


Maybe this is just another "signal" that people shouldn't live in flood plains....

Posted by NT | August 31, 2008 11:26 AM

Exactly. These people had 3 years to move somewhere else. How many times are they going to be evacuated?

There is plenty of cheap housing and jobs in places like Indianapolis and Omaha. Living in NO is a luxury for the very rich...people who want to be "by the beach" but don't have the cash to fund their pleasures should not expect the rest of us to foot the bill.

The good news is the Bush Administration recently made it so that those living within levees have to have mandatory flood insurance (this includes the Kent Valley Briscoe Meander Levee on the Green River) until such time as they install (expensive) reinforced levees of sufficient durability that they will not breech in storm.

This should elevate real estate costs to their normalized level that includes the hazards of being in a flood plain with minimal protection.

Posted by John Bailo | August 31, 2008 11:32 AM

Good points have been made. Building below sea level in regions where coastal flooding can be and often is a problem shows a great lack of common sense. Build below sea level by the sea and expect to get wet.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | August 31, 2008 11:41 AM

Backing up what John pointed out, the issue during Katrina wasn't a lack of money. It was incompetent leadership on all ends, in FEMA, in the LA State Government, in the NO Mayor who bungled evacuation, and in a thousand other little ways.

This has nothing really to do with "taxes".

Posted by UW Student | August 31, 2008 11:43 AM

Indeed, John Ballo. Why can't they just eat cake?

Posted by Doctor Memory | August 31, 2008 11:45 AM

NOLA actually got a contract together for buses for 70,000 people who can't evacuate on their own to get them out of the city, and has trains ready for others. In this aspect, they aren't being caught as flat footed, and they've already begun the evacuation of the elderly and the sick.

Posted by Gitai | August 31, 2008 11:46 AM

Hey NT, where do you live?

If you live herein Seattle, or Washington, or Caligornia, or Alaska, or Hawaii, when the big one comes just suffer and die, OK? I am sure your attitude will be "gee we don't have electricity all the hospitals are nonfucntioning 1/4 of the buildings are down and thousands are dying, but we won't be so greedy as to ask for help for out stupidity in living in a well known earthquake zone.

Same if you live where there are fires. Or floods on rivers. Volcanos. Hey let's just carve Cal., the midwest AND New Orleans out of the USA!

Unity. Nation. Who needs that crap, eh?

Posted by PC | August 31, 2008 11:47 AM

Um, state, federal and local officals have staged to evacuate and have more than enough capacity to evacuate everyone. NOLA is empty. The coasts are preparing. Everything is going to plan.

This is probably the most wrong blog post I've seen. I usually love the Slog, but this is pussy hand wringing WHEN EVERYTHING IS GOING TO PLAN.

Katrina was a failure. Thankfully our government learns from mistakes.

Posted by dangergirl | August 31, 2008 11:51 AM


You are totally right, of course. A much, much better job was done this time.

I'd claim that the combination of avoiding the pretense of any sort of safe shelter within NO, along with the buses and trains hopefully will make a difference.

To John Ballo et al:
Let's say I told you the planet Earth was about to be struck by a series of asteroids.
"Leave the planet, you idiot," I admonish you, "don't you have a rocket?"
Tsk tsking over your smoldering remains, I could say "well, that adjusted real estate prices properly. Why didn't these fools just leave? I gave them an evacuation order!"

If you think that willingness to leave, that exaggerated property values, are the major limiting factors stopping those born into the impoverished neighborhoods of New Orleans from moving to a safer place or better economy, you are beyond salvation in your ignorance.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | August 31, 2008 11:56 AM

Wait a second, are you subtly implying that an increase in severe storms is somehow related to man-made climate change? What an irresponsible and insensitive allegation to be making at a time like this! Oh, wait.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 31, 2008 12:15 PM

There's some sweet quotes to be found from Idaho Republicans crying tears for their dumb redneck constituents when the feds announced, back in the 90's, they'd stop rebuilding their houses in flood plains. It was getting old, putting up the same house ever couple years, with your money. They were seriously on the war path that Bill Clinton was "telling them where to live." Git ma gun! Git ma gun!

But the Spokesman-Review wants $2.95 per article in their archive, and it's not worth it just to prove that Republicans are hypocrites. You knew that already, right?

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2008 12:39 PM


Hey, you're right! The government has gotten so much better at evacuating New Orleans. And it only took one failed try, 1500 dead and a hundred billion dollars in damage!

Go Team!

We should do this every few years, just be sure we're still good at it. So much learning to do!

I'm sure on the third try--probably in about four or five years--we'll be even better! Practically genius at evacuating New Orleans. A few of what used to be every hundred year storms per decade should really help us get prepared. It'll be great practice for evacuating Manhattan when it starts to flood!

Posted by Jonathan Golob | August 31, 2008 12:53 PM

@2: Exactly. These people had 3 years to move somewhere else. How many times are they going to be evacuated?

More proof, folks, that "compassionate conservatism" is just douchebaggery with a new name.

Do we really want hypocrites like this in control of the country again? Eight IS enough.

Posted by demo kid | August 31, 2008 12:56 PM

Just wanted to let you know that the part about people not having resources to evacuate isn't true. More than 30,000 have been evacuated via bus or train. They started those evacuation on Thursday, and they are ongoing.

I live in Baton Rouge. I can tell you that as of this about half an hour ago, the interstates both east and westboud were viturally empty. Baton Rougeans are staying home, respecting those who are evacuating, and those who are evacuating got out way before it became mandatory.

Also, the shelters this time are further north (Shreveport, Arkansas, Memphis, etc.). Part of the problem with Katrina is that so many people were evacuated to Baton Rouge, but we sustained significant damage ourselves. Nothing like New Orleans, or the coastal parishes in the western part of the state during Rita, but it was bad enough.

People here started preparing early, too. The state is ready this time, and, though it pains me to say it, it seems like the federal government is, too.

Posted by Sheryl | August 31, 2008 12:57 PM

@14: I think the debate was more about how people that can barely afford rent should just decide to leave and move elsewhere. Jindal and Bush would be decimated by anything going wrong here with Gustav.

Posted by demo kid | August 31, 2008 1:10 PM

John Bailo, will it be your fault if and when a massive earthquake ruins your fault-line-residing home?

Posted by tsm | August 31, 2008 1:11 PM

The Katrina disaster could have only happened in NOLA. I have never seen a city with so many corrupt, incompetent politicians and so many ignorant, lazy people.

It's pretty hard to evacuate people who are too stupid or lazy to leave. Happens with every hurricane.

Posted by Will | August 31, 2008 1:15 PM

@15 - Be that as it may, it didn't read that way. Granted, now that those folks are out of the city...well, it may be another three years before they can find their way back.

@17 - What an incredibly ignorant comment. Yes, there is corruption in the city and in the state. Guess what? There is corruption in every major city and in every state. And yes, people will again refuse to leave. It isn't laziness. It's stubborness and hardheadness, though.

But I can tell you there are whole lot of people who didn't leave for Betsy, Camille, Andrew, or Katrina, who left this time around.

Posted by Sheryl | August 31, 2008 1:24 PM

I wonder if ECB will be posting an argument that the people fleeing the storm danger should walk or ride bikes instead of escaping in cars and buses.

Posted by Smarm | August 31, 2008 1:31 PM

Dude, Golob,

I just took offense to your whining that the state and federal gov weren't doing a good job again, when they very much are. I'm very glad journo's are trying to play hard hitting and questioning preparedness- and being assured again and again that the Gulf Coast is prepared.

So yeah. GO TEAM USA.

Posted by dangergirl | August 31, 2008 1:31 PM

Where do I start?

First, John B #2 - there's no fucking beach near New Orleans. Get some fucking geography lessons. Or better yet come visit and learn something about New Orleans.

I am so fucking tired of fucking idiots from elsewhere chiming in with their worthless opinions. New Orleans is here for reasons that are much more important than most of you can apparently comprehend. And since I'm kinda busy here on this end I don't have the time to educate you.

Oh, btw, the state and local governments are rocking right now. Evacuations are going smoothly and what's more impressive is that much larger areas are being evacuated than were during Katrina.

Tornadoes, wind storms, blizzards, ice storms, earth quakes, dust storms - name one place in this country not affected by these things. If you can, my question is why don't you live there?

Posted by Chris from N.O. | August 31, 2008 1:47 PM

@19, dude, you forgot evacuating by Zipcar.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | August 31, 2008 2:08 PM

John Bailo lives in the shithole known as Kent and is insanely jealous of anyone who lives anywhere cool.

Posted by John Bailo Is Bitter And Resentful | August 31, 2008 2:43 PM

googling for j bailo/john bailo and kent turns up this:

check out more moronic commentary from John Bailo of Kent, Washington here!

Posted by turkey | August 31, 2008 3:39 PM

"Should you design for a once-in-a-century storm every few years, or for the more typical storm?"

I hope that you will reflect on this sentence at some point and realize exactly how little sense it makes.

Posted by Furcifer | August 31, 2008 4:11 PM

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway," she said, "so this is working very well for them."

Posted by patrick | August 31, 2008 4:47 PM

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas..."

Posted by patrick | August 31, 2008 4:49 PM


We'd rather not moderate your comments, but off-topic, gratuitously inflammatory, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate remarks may be removed, and repeat offenders may be banned from commenting. We never censor comments based on ideology. Thanks to all who add to the conversation on Slog.

Posted by Dan warmonger Savage | August 31, 2008 6:23 PM

The money spent to "rebuild" the Gulf Coast should have been put toward relocating those citizens to another area that is not below sea level. How many times does nature need to teach us this lesson. That entire area should never have been built on in the first place, let alone billions spent to rebuild it. Absolutely nothing makes sense about building below sea level. If extensive damage occurs again with Gustav, the American public should put their foot down regarding their tax dollars being spent on this literally sinking ship.

Posted by Tax Payer | August 31, 2008 8:53 PM

To Chris and others from New Orleans:

Good luck, people. Hang in there. We'll be thinking about you and wishing you safety in the storm.

Posted by Sondari | August 31, 2008 8:58 PM


It reminds me of FDR's decision to support the residents of the Dust Bowl. He gave them more money to stay than to leave. That land is completely worthless. It was briefly fertile due to an unusual wet period at the beginning of the century, but, over the long term, only buffalo can survive on that land. Once the Oglalla aquifer runs out, the people who stayed, and their descendants, will be up shit creek.

If New Orleans is decimated again, the government should give huge handouts to people who are willing to leave. If any rebuilding occurs, it should be exclusively privately funded.

Posted by keshmeshi | August 31, 2008 9:29 PM

To all suggesting that New Orleans ought to be abandoned to save money: you are ignorant and wrong.

Posted by evacuee in austin | August 31, 2008 9:52 PM

Thank you for providing the link. I'd been meaning to donate to the RC.

Posted by Julie | August 31, 2008 9:55 PM

As a current coastal resident, I can say that things are definitely proceeding much smoother than they did three years ago. The truly coastal homes have been evaced and lots of others have as well. As a medical student, I'm expected to remain for clinical duties, so I'm riding it out as best I can. Depending on the track of the storm, I'm either holing up in my Inner Refuge (aka the bathroom) or the morgue (probably the only option that's worse).

The evacuation plans have run efficiently and thoroughly. Those that have remained seem to be well-provisioned and cognizant of the risks and the coming difficulties. Here's hoping things go better this time around.

Posted by On the Gulf | August 31, 2008 10:13 PM

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