Thousands feared dead in New Orleans; corpses everywhere

The identities of the dead may not be known for weeks or even months, and some of the bodies may never be recovered if they float out onto Lake Pontchartrain through a breached levee.

I’ve blogged extensively elsewhere about Hurricane Katrina and the swath of destruction it’s left in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. One thing I haven’t really talked much about is the mandatory evacuation order.

New Orleans major C. Ray Nagin ordered everyone to leave the city fully 24 hours before the hurricane hit, and most did. Thousands, however, could not evacuate.

The airport had been closed down Sunday morning, preventing tourists from leaving, even though it easily could have operated through the afternoon or early evening, allowing people to escape.

Thousands more residents simply don’t have cars, or were left behind by friends and relatives who did have cars and did evacuate.

And untold thousands did have cars, and refused to leave.

An evacuation order in New Orleans is a very unusual thing. It’s not ordered unless it looks like a hurricane will pretty much directly hit the city. Which it did, and it did.

There’s stupidity enough for a week right there. And most of the stupid people are now missing or dead. To be completely fair, those who could not evacuate were simply caught in a terrible circumstance; it’s those who could leave, and refused to, to whom today’s post is dedicated.

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