Sunday, September 14, 2008

Louisiana: Full of Whiners

When a hurricane threatens Louisiana, more specifically the New Orleans area, contraflow goes into place. In Mississippi, this means two interstates, I55 and I59 are no longer available to those in south Mississippi. Louisiana also closes off I10 going west. Lately, there has been much whining and complaining from those in Louisiana that Mississippi should open I10 to evacuees from Louisiana. The Times-Picayune was full of those complaints. An excerpt:

In Wolshon's opinion, the controversial decision to close down Interstate 10 east at its junction with Interstate I59 in St. Tammany Parish -- preventing most Louisianians from evacuating eastward -- is also worth another look.

The decision has been second-guessed by many Louisianians, led by Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, who recently insinuated that Mississippi officials were thinking of money, not people, when they made that call

Aaron Broussard, Aaron Broussard, where have I heard that name before? Oh yes,, he's the one that lied about the nursing home incident during Hurricane Katrina. But I digress. I'm just sick and tired of the sense of entitlement that permeates those in Louisiana. Below is my response via email to the articles author:

There have been many in Louisiana complaining about Mississippi closing I-10 east to those in Louisiana evacuating. What you guys seem to forget that in threats like Gustav, there are many in south Mississippi who need to evacuate as well. We in south Mississippi can't travel on I55 and I59 because of contraflow. That leaves a population of 400,000, almost the same as the New Orleans metro area, with two options: I10 and Highway 49.

I can understand the concerns of those trying to evacuate from Louisiana, but we in south Mississippi need to have avenues of evacuation as well.

You state in your article that those from Louisiana didn't want to go west because of Gustav's direction. Are there not any Louisiana highways going north that can be accessed from I10 and other highways in Louisiana?

Can't officials in Louisiana stagger evacuation orders so that those in the most dangerous areas can leave first?

Can't more from Louisiana use just one car when evacuating? I know many many families who take two cars. Wouldn't using just one car help ease traffic?

Also, there were a few Louisiana evacuees who helped themselves to shelters in Jackson County. Those shelters are for Mississippi coastal residents. Doesn't Louisiana have shelters of its own?

Also, Louisiana closes I10 to those in Mississippi when contraflow is in effect. Like I stated before, this leaves two options for those in south Mississippi to evacuate: I10 and Highway 49. Considering that the population of south Mississippi almost equals that of the New Orleans metro area, I consider that to be very generous.

When Ivan threatened, we in Mississippi faced tens of thousands evacuating from Alabama and Florida. They used I10 to gain access to Highway 49. There were long waits. There was no contraflow in place. Yet, I've heard few complaints from those in Alabama that Mississippi should exclusively provide for those evacuees by the closing of interstates and other roads.

We in Mississippi want our neighbors in Louisiana to be safe but we also need to be able to evacuate in a timely manner. However, those in Louisiana need to remember we need to be able to get out as well. The closing of I10 had nothing to do with it being the Labor Day weekend. The casinos closed on Sunday. We had major flooding from Gustav and Ike. Mississippi tries to be a good neighbor to Louisiana. It works both ways. Those in Louisiana need to be mindful that they are not the only ones at risk and need to evacuate.

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