Sunday, August 31, 2008

City Assisted Evacuation from Hurricane Gustav

Written from City Hall

Dear Family and Friends,

By now you've heard.

What you may not have read however, amidst the impending danger, was New Orleans' ability to evacuate 18,000 people without alternative transportation. Homeless, elderly, special needs, you name it, they came through the assisted evacuation program.

There were guys like Jerry, 51 from the Carrollton neighborhood. There were thousands of people like Jerry actually, all scared about what lies ahead yet sensible enough to leave. The process is called the CAEP and the city, state and federal government have been planning it for three years.

We hoped it would never be needed.

Over the last 41 hours I spent 20 of them at the Union Passenger Terminal.

You might be wondering why I was there? Backstory, 25 words or less. Been here 18 months. In AmeriCorps. Coordinate volunteers for Mayor's Office. Needed volunteers for this plan.

---- Original Message -----
From: Robert X. Fogarty
To: xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Sun Aug 31 15:11:05 2008
Subject: Volunteers at UPT

Over the last two days concerned and invested New Orleanian Citizens and AmeriCorps members displayed incredible passion, knowledge and unlimited willingness to do whatever incident commanders at the UPT needed to successfully run the CAEP.

Working a minimum of 12 hours with shifts often more, loaded buses with a highly effective counting system taught to the by the La Natl Guard. By O70
0 Sunday AmeriCorps members from around the country who have moved to New Orleans after the storm were running the bus loading process along side state employees.

AmeriCorps members also embedded with Red Cross personnel to distrbute thousands of bottles of ice cold water.

Concerned citizen and AmeriCorps volunteers also were the first to greet evacuees and afix tracking bracelets to their wrists. When special needs citizens needed help getting off buses AmeriCorps members were their to provide wheelchairs.

A special team of bilingual volunteers who were on site to translate and calm anxiety of non-english speaking latinos.

Bilingual translators were community leaders who were calling with bus updates on the hour to local spanish radio stations

With a drastically reduced help from city and state organizations who had large numbers on Saturday,
citizen and AmeriCorps volunteers were vital to the CAEP on Sunday.

Incident Commander John DeMartini and Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed are cc'd'on this email.

Over the last 72 hours citizens and post-K AmeriCorps transplants now living in the City accounted for over 700 hours of service to this evacuation.

30 individual New Orleanians

25 AmeriCorps members provided by sponsoring organization Rebuilding Together a local non-profit whose mission is to restore homes or elderly and disabled citizens. Rebuilding Together executive director Kristin Palmer were on site to lead. 16 AmeriCorps National Civilian Community members
10 AmeriCorps members sponsored by the Tulane University Center for Public Service.

So there's the skinny. I'm hunkered down at City Hall with the Office of Emergency Preparedness and their command center. It's the safest place I could be.

I hope to be able to do these things at least once a day, but sleep may become a priority.

Know this about the people yo
u see in these photos. They are safe and sound outside of the City. No matter what happens, remember that.

Best to everyone,

(8/31/08 23:40)

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