MOSAIC NOLA:The Gentilly Project

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Are There Words...?

I am having difficulty putting into words what I feel watching Hurricane Rita bear down on Texas. People who were evacuated from New Orleans to Houston are being evacuated yet again. And many residents of Houston, the fourth largest metropolitan region in America, are now evacuees.

Someone who works in my building brought up a good point. In rapid mass evacuations like this, everybody escaping in cars isn't such a great option due to the traffic. Why haven't more of us thought of buses and trains to evacuate, even for those who have cars?

When I was in New Orleans this past July and contemplating evacuation to escape a pre-Katrina hurricane, I learned a bit more about hurricane season. In the aftermath of Katrina, it occured to me (as I'm sure to many others) that hurricane season still had about two months to go. I hope this occured to FEMA as well, and that they acted with the urgency that this possibility suggested.

Is it sufficient to trust bureaucratic organizations under circumstances that are extraordinary? How might a community of people organize themselves to fill in the gaps that a bureaucratic organization might miss? My course this fall term is "Organizations, Technology, and Management," and for the next 10 weeks I will spend a lot of time with my students addressing these questions and how to act upon them - focused specifically on the evacuees from Katrina. And Rita too?


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