The politicians and the press, it seems, were far more effective at whipping up hysteria than they were in communicating useful information. Forgot all those buses lined up, unused. Lewis says that people could have walked to food and shelter.
The old houses were also safe. There wasn’t a house in the Garden District, or Uptown, that could not have been easily entered; there wasn’t a house in either area that didn’t have food and water to keep a family of five alive for a week; and there was hardly a house in either place that had been violated in any way. And the grocery stores! I spent some time inside a Whole Foods choosing from the selection of PowerBars. The door was open, the shelves groaned with untouched bottles of water and food. Downtown, 25,000 people spent the previous four days without food and water when a few miles away – and it’s a lovely stroll – entire grocery stores, doors ajar, were untouched. From the moment the crisis downtown began, there had been a clear path, requiring maybe an hour’s walk, to food, water and shelter. And no one, not a single person, it seemed, took it.
There were no sheepdogs, apparently, to lead the people at the Convention Center across the high ground to food, water, and shelter.
And also missing: a little common sense and initiative, too.