Mayor of New Orleans tells residents to evacuate ahead of hurricane

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Map highlighting location of New Orleans within Louisiana.
Image: Rsg.

Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city ahead of Hurricane Gustav.

Nagin states that residents "need to be scared" in what he calls "the mother of all storms". Residents are to be out of the city by Sunday evening. Even before the announcement, tens of thousands of people had already began to flee the city on Saturday. Nagin also stated that as many as 10,000 people were taken out of the city by buses they provided, trains and planes.

"This storm is so powerful and growing more powerful every day. I'm not sure we've seen anything like this," said Nagin to reporters during a press conference Saturday.

"If you are stubborn enough, if you are not taking this as seriously as we need you to take it, and if you decide to stay; you are on your own. Anyone who decides to stay, I'll say it like I said it before Katrina: make sure you have an axe, because you will be carving your way, or busting your way out of your attic to get on your roof with waters that you will be surrounded with in this event," said Nagin during a press conference yesterday.

Members of the Louisiana National Guard prepare for operations

Along with the issuing of the mandatory evacuation order, Nagin detailed a dawn-till-dusk curfew and said that emergency services would be unavailable after 4am Monday, south of Highway 22. He continued, explaining evacuation plans for the 500,000 residents of the New Orleans area, including the use of contraflow lanes on major highways and the use of over 1000 buses to aid the evacuation effort. He also detailed the relief preparations including over 1500 National Guard personnel being deployed in the area and the medical care provisions.

In 2005, New Orleans was devastated when levees broke during Hurricane Katrina. Nearly 2,000 people were killed when the storm made landfall along Louisiana's coast.

Below are photos showing the evacuation of New Orleans. (Click images to enlarge)