I am still just a little furious about the incompetence, arrogance, and stupidity of the politicians in New Orleans and Louisiana who failed to do their jobs causing this human disaster and trying to blame everyone else, especially telling us we should be ashamed because they didn't do their jobs. I did not see one of them in the streets with their people working to help those people get through this ordeal. You can bet that all of those fat, pompous, babbling cats ate steak and lobster while their people starved to death and were drinking fine wines while their people died from thirst. Their mismanagement was far worse and more devastating than even ENRON. They all belong in prison for their crimes against their people.
What should they have done? I will explore some of the possibilities to cover the basics in getting their people through this mess. You politicians need to know this stuff because it will take that big Fed machine time to get rolling and you can't just stand around with your hands in your pockets crying and whining while your people die. Do your job and manage the problem instead of pushing it off on the Fed's. You will find that the military will be more than glad to help you plan the logistics for such a disaster.
First, knowing the human potential for this disaster, they should have put together an effective plan of evacuation for everyone, especially those who couldn't get out on their own. You would be surprised at the resources a every large city has available to them if their management has any functioning brain cells. For example, every major city has school buses and gas they would not be using to send their children to school during such a crisis which could be used to get their people out of town to pre-designated safe areas. The human crisis should have never happened and every New Orleans and Louisiana politician should be ashamed of themselves for permitting it to happen.
The military has a large inventory of equipment they would be more than willing to share to help the people. They have very strong tents which could be placed in pre-designated fields a safe distance from the storm that include things like kitchens, bathrooms, showers, and other such facilities. As soon as the people begin to arrive at such emergency camps, you need administrators to begin organizing them into work teams so the people can help save themselves because, as we have seen, large groups of idle people cause trouble so you need to keep them busy helping provide and serve food, keep the area clean so the locals will welcome you back in the event of another disaster, work with the police and military on patrols to prevent crime, and other required tasks.
All of the top politicians need to frequent these camps daily, talk to the people to explain what is going on in detail to squash rumors which cause problems, and even eat with them to put them at ease. They need to know you are working for them and what is being done. It would be good to have an intelligence officer in every camp to provide up to the minute information about the project and its progress.
The most important thing is communications. The military have great mobile command units they will provide along with the people to run them including communications systems. The military will gladly help you design a communication and control system for your entire armada. You can also work with you local ham operator clubs for additional mobile communications.
The next thing you need to do is set up an "invasion" task force using what resources you have available to retake your town from the disaster. This task force should hit the ground running before the last rain drop hits the ground. I would position my street maintenance crews and equipment a safe distance from town ready to clear and repair the streets, highways, and airport run ways so, when the big Fed machine did get rolling, it could roll right into town unimpared. The Army Corps of Engineers has a large stock pile of pontoon bridges that can be used to quickly bypass any downed bridge and they should go in right behind your street crews to reopen key bridges. Today's pontoon bridges can be thrown up within hours.
For cities like New Orleans where you have a large boating community and a high risk of flooding and drownings, you need to organize with your boating, fishing, and yachting clubs to send their members with small craft to safe areas outside of town so they can be quickly rushed back in to help save stranded people. They will need communications, maps showing their search and rescue areas, and should do some organization and training drills. You will probably get a lot of cooperation from such groups. These groups should go in immediately behind the street clearing crews so they can get to saving lives as soon as possible.
For those people who did get left behind for what ever reasons, you need to start evacuation with your school buses to the camps, providing food, water, and medicine, and keep them from things like looting. If most of the people had been evacuated, then this should be a minor but important task. The rest of what you will need to do is start getting your city back on its feet and you will have the resources in camps to get that started most quickly so you can get people back in their homes faster.
New Orleans could have brought people back into the city along with supplies obtained from surrounding areas to begin repairing damaged levies and water pumps to get the water out of the city faster so they could start rebuilding sooner. In the case of New Orleans, they would also have to send in HASMAT teams to identify and neutralize any biological or chemical hazards to the people.
After the city has been made safe to reenter, you use your workers to set up camps in the city to begin rebuilding the city. Then you bring in workers who begin helping the construction teams to get their homes back to the people as quickly as possible. It is important to understand that the best thing you can do is to keep large groups of people from becoming idle and causing more problems by using them as part of your task force to retake your city. It also instills pride in people who help rebuild their own city instead of waiting for the big government to change their diapers for them.
But let's say that you just got elected as Mayor of New Orleans and your predecessors were all idiots who didn't do their jobs so that the disaster strikes before you can plan and organize for it. You would be amazed at the resources you will have available to you to save your people and city.
The first thing you have to do is get your butt in the street and hit the people with the attitude that WE will work together to get through this. You want them to start thinking we instead of government from the start so they will help themselves. You send some of the able bodied people to get school buses to begin transporting the very old, very young, sick, and injured out of town while you organize the rest into a task force to first secure the area and its resources from looters. You will need to secure all supplies of food and water very quickly and find any form of cooking devices lying about such as barbecue grills, propane hot plates, and such to set up kitchens to begin preparing food and beverages for the people. Other team will be sent around looking for and securing housing or shelters for people. You may have to start by building a temporary shanty town to get people out of the weather and keep people busy. After all, their should be plenty of building materials for temporary shelters lying around every where. Use what resources are available to get the job done.
While you are doing this, you send anyone who can drive a truck or heavy equipment out to begin clearing roads out of town and then reopening the airports. Some of these people can learn on the job if experienced people are with them.
Mean while, you send some of your city staff members out with groups of people in city trucks to near by communities to get supplies such as water and food to keep your people until the big Fed machine gets to town. Then you organize your police and deputized citizens into patrols to protect the remaining people and begin rescuing survivors. You may need to use busted lumber to build rafts which can be rowed or poled to rescue people. You also coordinate to set up emergency medical treatment near the people and some of the people can help with the more menial tasks in caring for the sick and injured to help keep people busy. You can also begin putting people to work by sending people to begin sand bagging the levies and working to repair the pumps. Anything that needs to be done gets done but the most important thing is for the people to see you and your staff every day working for them so they will work for themselves.
With that little bit, you will have taken care of the most important things in surviving until the big Fed machine rolls into town. I don't know about you, but, if I were the Mayor of New Orleans or any town, I would want to be able to proudly call up the President of the United States and tell him that we don't need his help and we are doing fine by day three or four because my people are good people and worked hard to save themselves. It works but you didn't see any of the New Orleans or Louisiana politicians doing any of that. All you saw was them doing was setting around crying because they couldn't do their jobs, blaming everyone else, and saying we should be ashamed of ourselves because they didn't do their jobs.
If I were the citizens of New Orleans, those politicians better not come back to my town because I would have some designer tar and feathers waiting for them.