Why not evacuate?

One more post on this for the night.

I'm seeing various people wonder why anyone would have not evacuated given the situation and would have risked getting caught by this sort of hurricane. Well, some of it probably was stupidity, and a lot of people did say that they thought they'd be okay because their structure survived Camille. However, in New Orleans in particular, it's important to realize the situation.

New Orleans was a city with excellent mass transit, one of the cities in which it was entirely practical to live without a car. In fact, 100,000 of the inhabitants of New Orleans did not have cars, in the statistics that I've heard. On top of that, the mayor's evacuation order was desperately late (and that was widely commented on at the time, before the storm struck).

Or, as an example is worth a thousand words sometimes, see scyllacat's LJ, which someone on a private mailing list just pointed people at. There's a person who didn't evacuate. She could have gone to the Superdome, but from what I'm hearing about the Superdome (30,000 people, no air conditioning, no working plumbing, 100 degree weather, and no clear evacuation plan from it), I'm not sure that I'd be willing to go there rather than risking riding out the storm.

Also, I've lived through a natural disaster (forest fire rather than hurricane, but some of the principles are similar), and I can tell you from first-hand experience that "just evacuate" isn't anywhere near as easy as it sounds when you're actually in the middle of it. Even if there are no logistical challenges, it is desperately hard to just leave everything and go.

Moral of the story: Not everyone has the same opportunities, not everyone has the same transportation choices, and sometimes it just isn't as simple as it sounds.

Posted: 2005-08-30 22:07 — Why no comments?

Last modified and spun 2017-05-21