I’m With James O’Byrne September 3, 2008Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: editorial, evacuation, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Ike, James O'Byrne, New Orleans, NOLA, Times Picayune
James O’Byrne posted a signed editorial on the NOLA.COM/Times-Picayune website that has since been taking down. In it he states what many in New Orleans are feeling: that the ball of confusion of re-entry gives us one clear message.
Next time, don’t leave.
The editorial has been taken down by the Picayune, but Gambit Weekly’s Blog of New Orleans has an excerpt.
I’m with Byrne. I cannot imagine leaving under the current city, state or federal administration. They have demonstrated a level of incompetence that forces us to stand on our own.
Here’s the excerpt of Byrne’s signed editorial. Someone at the Picayune certainly wishes it would go away, but that person is apparently unfamiliar with how the Internet and blogging work.
News flash: We know it’s dangerous to live here. We accept the possibility of no gas, no power, no readily available food. We’re Katrina survivors. We’ll figure it out.
But if the enduring image of Gustav is a U.S. soldier with an M-16 denying a citizen the right to return to his home, then you can pretty much write off the next “mandatory” evacuation. Leaving your home in advance of a storm is an extraordinarily stressful, difficult, traumatic and expensive proposition. The one thing that must be honored is that people must be allowed to return to their homes as soon as humanly possible.
As a journalist, I spent the past two days driving around reporting on the storm. And by Tuesday afternoon, this city was as safe as it needed to be. Indeed, all those tree branches and debris would be picked up and stacked neatly on the curb by lunchtime on Wednesday if people had been allowed to come home.
I fully appreciate the risks of letting my family stay. But I have to weigh that risk against the alternate risks, of getting trapped in an endless evacuation traffic jam, of being stranded on a highway far from help, of not being able to return in a timely manner, to secure our property and come back to as much of a normal life as possible.
New Orleans is my home. I love it, and I choose to keep living here. But if you are a public official who wants me to leave for the next storm, then you have to hear what I am telling you. It’s time to rewrite the contract.
Update: You can read an image of the full editorial here.
Editor’s Note: Any copyrighted material presented here is done so for the purposes of news reporting and comment consistent with USC 17 Chapter 1 Title 107.