No, this wasn’t meant to be a joke. Although many believe the 2005 response to Hurricane Katrina was a colossal failure at every level of government, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin appeared on MSNBC on Friday to offer preparedness advice for those in Hurricane Irene’s path.
Speaking with Martin Bashir, Nagin gave government agencies and their leaders high marks for their preparations. But he said only time will tell if the public follows their instructions.
“[I] think they’re doing an excellent job of alerting the public, which is one of the main things you need to do. One of the problems they’re having on the East Coast is that they have not experienced a storm like this in so long, so there are going to be many people who may not heed the warnings, or may move too late to try and evacuate. And that is when the drama will unfold.”
Nagin didn’t deny that he made some errors with Katrina in 2005. But he put much of the blame on New Orleanians themselves:
“Well, I would tell you this, Martin: It was a historic, catastrophic event … “[N]ow that I have had a chance to really go back and take a look, there are a number of things that I think that I could have done better. But in an evacuation situation where a catastrophic storm is approaching, the leader has one responsibility, but also the citizen has a responsibility to heed the warnings and act appropriately.”