October 04, 2005

The Wheels on the Bus Go "Squish, Squish, Squish."

It just gets worse for incompetent New Orleans Mayor Nagin.

Paul at Wizbang! discovered Monday (10/3) that not all New Orleans buses went swimming in the Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool. At least 60, maybe more, were above water and under Nagin's control across the Mississippi in Algiers, LA.

According to Paul's estimates, which seem reasonable, Nagin could have completely evacuated the Superdome on his own by sundown the day after the storm, just by using assets under his control.

But it doesn't end there, kids.

Via Google Maps,we have this image showing three areas of primary importance.

  • The area marked "1" is the bus parking lot in Algiers.
  • The area marked "2" is Algiers Landing on the West bank of the Mississippi river
  • the Area marked "3", as you may have guessed is the Superdome.

The unmarked bridge at the bottom of the picture is the Crescent City Connection, the bridge where civilians trying to escape downtown New Orleans were turned away by the Gretna Police Department.

Dr. Rusty Shackleford over at The Jawa Report dug up photographic evidence that these same buses in area 1 in the photo above were used to evacuate a large number of people from area 2, Algiers Landing, but we don't know at this time who was evacuated, or to where. None of these buses apparently ever made it across the Crescent City Connection to attempt an evacuation of the Superdome in area 3, even though they apparently had unobstructed, multi-lane, dry road access according to overhead the imagery.

The questions raised by Paul and Rusty are many:

  • Was Ray Nagin aware that these buses were available? If not, why not?
  • Were these buses used in an evacuation in Algiers as apparently shown by Rusty, and if so, who was evacuated, and to where?
  • Even if under Nagin's control and requested for an evacuation, would Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson have allowed these buses to pass over the bridge he had shut to pedestrians trying to get out of New Orleans?

This new information provides no answers, but it does raise even more troubling questions about the competency of the local government in New Orleans surrounding the landfall of Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 4, 2005 10:49 PM | TrackBack

From conversation w/ the Orleans Parish Fire Department, and my personal contacts in Algiers on those dates (Aug 30/31), I believe those buses were put into motion to support the evacuation efforts of the Fish and Wildlife folks.

I wrote about it here.

Posted by: Polimom at October 5, 2005 12:59 PM


The Canal Street RTA Bus Yard had a ready crew of bus drivers post-Katrina. They watched the buses flood. Then evacuated to Baton Rouge.

Per 10/1/05 NOLA quote - from RTA spokesperson - Rosalind Blanco Cook -

"Although many of RTA’s buses flooded in Katrina, the agency has enough to begin the limited run, Cook said.

And staffing isn’t a problem, she said. Many bus drivers stayed at RTA’s Canal Street office during the storm and evacuated on the Tuesday after the hurricane for shelter in Baton Rouge, Cook said."

Meanwhile... 170 buses were parked high and dry at the Poland St Wharf, just a short drive down a dry street from the French Quarter.

Per 9/12/05 NOLA - quote -

"Some 150 buses that were moved to the Poland Avenue Wharf in the Lower Ninth Ward appear to have fared well, but about 70 of those vehicles were commandeered by the police and fire departments, the National Guard, and in a few cases by individual citizens who used them to evacuate family members, friends and neighbors."

See 8/31/05 - Google Map - Poland Street Wharf - w RTA buses - NOT cargo containers - see pre & post Katrina & compare w Canal St buses.

Per - NOAA 8/31/05 - River Sector - Pics of Poland Street Wharf - w 170 RTA buses -

Row 4 - 5 from right - N is right - 24428406.jpg

Row 4 - 6 from right - N is right - 24428410.jpg

Row 4 - 7 from right - N is right - 24428415.jpg

For visual comparison - See Canal Street Buses - Row 3 - 14 from right - North is Left - 24427963.jpg - middle of pic -

See - Google Map - of Canal Street Bus Yard -
2817 Canal St, New Orleans, LA -

Feel free to copy, edit and re-post.

Posted by: Tom T at October 6, 2005 10:22 AM