New Orleans' city-assisted evacuation plan changes

Smoothie King center will stage evacuees

Chris Miller
May 22, 2019 - 5:53 pm

The City of New Orleans held an exercise today to prepare for hurricane season, and the possibility that the city will have to evacuate under the threat of a major storm. It includes some changes to the assisted evacuation plan for seniors and people without their own means of transportation.

The buses that pick people up from the city's 17 "evacuspots" will bring evacuees to the Smoothie King Center, instead of Union Passenger Terminal.  The city said this was necessary because of an increasing population that will need help fleeing the city.

"The Smoothie King Center was an ideal candidate," according to the city's statement. "Officials began to develop a plan in the summer of 2018 that has been finalized for the 2019 hurricane season.  Today, the City estimates that use of the new processing location will nearly quadruple the throughput, or number of people that can be evacuated at one time, during a mandatory evacuation."

Otherwise, an evacuation will work largely the same way -- residents will gather at one of 17 locations (listed below) where RTA buses will take them to the SMoothi King center, then motorcoaches will bring evacuees to shelters out of the city.

The city has not called for a mandatory evacuation since 2008's Hurricane Gustav, the first and only time the city-assisted evacuation plan was enacted.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said it's best for residents to make their own evacuation plans.

“It is important to remember that this plan is an option of last resort, but we do know our responsibility as a City in making sure that we can accommodate the needs of our people,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. “Priority will always been given as it relates to individuals who need evacuation assistance due to transportation, financial and/or medical needs.”

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