August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina's Harsh Sentence

As of 10:50 AM eastern time, Hurricane Katrina has just be upgraded again, with sustained wind speeds of 175 MPH. Of Atlantic hurricanes, only Hurricane Camille (1969) and Hurricane Allen (1980) have higher confirmed wind speeds in the 190 MPH range.

Citizens of New Orleans have been ordered out in a mandatory evacuation, but interestingly enough, a "captive audience" doesn't seem to be factored into evacuation plan, or if they have, the mayor is not talking about them publicly.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered an immediate mandatory evacuation Sunday for all 485,000 citizens, during a press conference just broadcast on CNN, but ignored repeated questions asking whether or not they intend to evacuate prisons in the area.

This is significant: as of 2000, that state of Louisiana:

...locks up more men, women, and children than anybody else in the United States. And in a ranking of U.S. jails by an average daily population, OPP came in at No. 9.

While current data is hard to come by the situtation for Orleans Parish Prison is likely similar to this from five years ago:

...the average daily population at OPP -- 6,381 inmates -- is much lower than its booking rate. Most of his inmates are either going to or coming from a court date at Orleans Parish District Criminal Court, says Foti. He also holds 50 juveniles. The rest are people that OPP is being paid for: a few hundred federal prisoners and 2,700 Louisiana state inmates sleeping in parish prison beds until space becomes available in the state system.

Police and fire assets are dedicated to moving a half million people, including 100,000 that rely on public transportation, There may not be enough law enforcement officers available to move the prison population, and if they can be moved, it remains to be seen where they could be moved.

I sincerely hope that Mayor Nagin is just keeping prisoner transfers quiet. I fear, however, that he has been caught flat-footed, and that hundreds or thousands of prisoners may have to ride out an extremely powerful hurricane from behind bars.

8/30/05 Update: CBS News just reported that Orleans Parish Prison was forced into an emergency evacuation this afternoon as the prison was rapidly filling with water.

has more on the evacuation. Nice job, guys. It only took you 48 hours to get on this. We're damn lucky you're not reporting about 4,000 water-logged corpses.

9/2/05 Update: Prison Riot was bogus, but now it appears the convicts got out before the children, the elderly, and the ill. See here for more.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 28, 2005 11:26 AM | TrackBack

I've been researching this today and will try to have an update tonight.

The prison is roughly 1 mile northwest of the Louisiana Superdome in one of the lowest-lying areas in the southern part of the city.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 30, 2005 03:59 PM

They need to bring in some dutch engineers for the rebuilding. Check downtown Sacramento for a method.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis, P.E. at August 31, 2005 12:10 AM

I agree with Wallis.

Posted by: Michael Hunter at August 31, 2005 02:42 AM

Have any prisoners died as a result of hurricane Katrina??? Does anyone have a record of this??

Posted by: Jullette K. at August 31, 2005 04:00 AM

Trial lawyers are on the way, but I sure hope all of the prisoners were removed. Custody or not they should have been removed.

Posted by: TG Boxmann at August 31, 2005 08:47 AM

The looting is a big problem down here. I can undestand stealing food, baby supplies, but not $100 nikes, morphine pills from the drugstore. And a black man looting a clothing store shoot a cop who tried to stop him. The white people are all behaving fine. The blacks are robbing homes and motels all over canal street. Black complian that too many of them are in jial--why easy anser dont do the crime. Or is it--no its not an easy anser becouse blacks are natural criminals. Two black men and one black women took all the silver jewlery from my tommy's giftshop

Posted by: AJ Sochaczewski at August 31, 2005 07:54 PM

You are all a bunch or racist and I hope you rot in hell

Posted by: at September 1, 2005 07:34 PM

I don't think it is right to blame the looting on one race of people. We all know that there are no good people in every race. We all also know that white as well as black were all involved in the looting. Why I wouldn't doubt if there were some brown and red people doing some
looting of there own. The point is that ther are good in bad in every race.
I am still wondering what ever happened to the prisoners ?

Posted by: Liberty C at September 5, 2005 03:58 PM

keep posting answers and questions regarding all prisoners in way of katrina and future response to ALL prisoners in any emergency in the future.
Keep caring for ALL man kind.
It is time for Unity!

Posted by: cheri at September 6, 2005 03:29 AM

Radio gives answers!
KLSP (FM 91.7 on the dial) is operated on a low watt basis, which limits its broadcast area to Louisiana State Penitentiary. With the assistance of outside supports from the Radio Training Network, KLSP operates with state of the art equipment allowing us to have the capability to attract Moody Broadcasting to welcome us into their national religious broadcasting family. KLSP is the only FCC licensed radio station run from the grounds of a maximum security prison.

Posted by: cheri at September 6, 2005 03:32 AM

I am relaying information for a young women evaced to Utah from New Oleans..she is looking for her relitives and friend houses inthe Orlanes Parish faclity. Her name is Marie Collins, her grandmother is Bessie Collins..looking for
Richard Hampton,,Steven Pierce, and Chio Collins..any Idea how i can locte these men?

Posted by: Catherine at September 11, 2005 06:31 PM