As previously discussed, Aaron Broussard evacuated the Jefferson Parish pump operators.
If "Jeff pump operators gone 24 hours" is to be believed, he might have been right in at least sending them out of harm's way, although whether he could have put them somewhere where they could have been brought them back sooner seems like a possible question to ask:
Jefferson Parish officials want to start the 2006 hurricane season with "safe houses" to shelter drainage station crews from deadly winds and storm surges, so they can keep the pumps operating during tropical storms and other heavy rains.
Design of the safe houses began this summer. But that was no help during Hurricane Katrina when the crews at Jefferson's 18 major pump stations were evacuated to the north shore for more than 24 hours, as part of the administration's new "doomsday plan" to safeguard critical equipment and essential personnel in event of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane.
But, according to a comment here:
I heard the pump operators were evacuated to Franklinton. They would have probably been safer staying in Jefferson Parish because Franklinton to a butt woopin from the storm. I recieved this news through the grapevine and I'm not sure of it's validity.
And, here's a statement (cache) from the mayor of Kenner, Jeff Parish's largest city:
THE CITY OF KENNER HAS ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL OVER THE PUMPING STATIONS, DRAINAGE SYSTEMS OR PUMPING STATION STAFF IN KENNER - ALL ARE ALL UNDER THE CONTROL OF JEFFERSON PARISH.
PRIOR TO HURRICANE KATRINA'S LANDFALL, JEFFERSON PARISH OFFICIALS MADE THE DECISION TO EVACUATE THE PUMP OPERATORS TO A LOCATION OUTSIDE OF THE PARISH. RUMORS ARE CIRCULATING THAT KENNER OFFICIALS MADE THIS DECISION. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE - JEFFERSON PARISH HAS TOTAL AUTHORITY OVER PUMPS AND DRAINAGE AND THEIR STAFF- NOT KENNER.
HOWEVER, WE ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AND WILL DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO MAKE SURE THAT THE SITUATION DOES NOT REPEAT ITSELF.
UPDATE: See "EJ Levee District president wants to explore pump operations":
Saying that he believes some of the flooding in East Jefferson from Hurricane Katrina was due to pump stations that were not running, East Jefferson Levee District President Pat Bossetta said Tuesday he's ready to explore the feasibility of assuming operation of parish drainage pumps...
Bossetta is among a growing number of officials who believe that dozens of neighborhoods and commercial districts north of Interstate 10, from the St. Charles Parish line in Kenner to roughly Bonnabel Boulevard in Metairie, flooded strictly because no one was operating the pumps designed to reduce or eliminate flooding.
"Maybe the pumping stations need to come under our jurisdiction,'' Bossetta said Tuesday during his agency's first post-Katrina board meeting. "Maybe our guys need to be trained to turn them on. The water in East Jefferson didn't come over the levee. The problem with water in East Jefferson - came through the pumping stations and into the canals,'' he said.
The Broussard administration declined additional comment Tuesday, but officials have previously said the evacuations were necessary to save lives. Parish spokeswoman Jacquie Bauer said parish emergency services director Walter Maestri is expected to make Katrina-related remarks to the Jefferson Parish Council, which
has scheduled a special meeting Wednesday to process emergency contracts related to the storms.
As essential personnel, Bossetta said pump station operators should be required to stay at their posts during emergencies or, at the very least, be housed somewhere within the parish so that they can quickly return to the pump stations once a hurricane passes...