Escape from New Orleans
** More on The Big Easy’s Selective Evacuation **
After stories of empty trains, flooded buses, and police blocking escape routes, we can now conclude that the surest way to a quick evacuation from New Orleans during the Katrina disaster was not about the color of your skin, but had more to do with where you were shacked up at!
Earlier it was reported how Mayor Nagin allowed guests of the Hyatt to board buses before local residents during the hurricane evacuation. Could you imagine if this would have been a white man doing this? Seriously! Now reader Robx informs me that the guests from the Fairmont were also given evacuation perks.
SPELLMAN: They are, but there’s — we’ve seen absolutely no FEMA, National Guard, police presence of any sort. People are awaiting boats or buses that we have no information and they have no information they come — or when they may come. They have no food, they have no water.
And what’s starting to become clear is the divide. There are hotel guests here on Canal Street. The Fairmont Hotel just evacuated. All the guests walked down the center of Canal Street to get on buses which they had waiting for them to take them out of town. The local citizens have not gotten that at the convention center, certainly.
KAGAN: So when you say a divide, do you mean an economic divide, a — what type of divide are you talking about?
SPELLMAN: Clearly an economic divide. People that were paying. Hotel guests have people looking out for them, people coordinating buses just for them.
You know, regular people on the street can’t get on these buses, only the hotel guests. People that are from here are left to fend — you know, largely fend for themselves at this point, at the convention center anyway. And more people are streaming down to the convention center, down Canal Street as we speak.
In fact, while the last regularly scheduled train out of town had left a few hours earlier, Amtrak had decided to run a “dead-head” train that evening to move equipment out of the city. It was headed for high ground in Macomb, Miss., and it had room for several hundred passengers. “We offered the city the opportunity to take evacuees out of harm’s way,” said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black. “The city declined.”