Mr. Judkins is one of the officials in charge of evacuating the Hampton Roads region around Newport News, Va. These coastal communities, unlike New Orleans, are not below sea level, but they're much better prepared for a hurricane. Officials have plans to run school buses and borrow other buses to evacuate those without cars, and they keep registries of the people who need special help.
I guess New Orleans has a similar plan, but it wasn't implemented. But here's the kicker in the Virginia plan:
Instead of relying on a "Good Samaritan" policy - the fantasy in New Orleans that everyone would take care of the neighbors - the Virginia rescue workers go door to door. If people resist the plea to leave, Mr. Judkins told The Daily Press in Newport News, rescue workers give them Magic Markers and ask them to write their Social Security numbers on their body parts so they can be identified.
"It's cold, but it's effective," Mr. Judkins explained.
That simple strategy could have persuaded hundreds of people to save their own lives in New Orleans. What the city needed most was coldly effective local leaders, not a president in Washington who could feel their pain.
UPDATE: Or maybe just an "addition": Apparently the New Orleans police were told not to come in to work on the day the hurricane hit, to save money on the budget. Is that crazy? It seems backwards to me--you have this huge potential emergency, and you tell your police not to come in. I've never been in a hurricane, so maybe this is just standard operating procedure. But it seems...stupid.