The local media is all up in arms this week in New Orleans since hurricane season begins next Monday June 1. Tension is building and I am starting to stock the liquor cabinet, stock it very full. So the departments of transportation in Louisiana and Mississippi are putting their heads together to try and “fix” the coastal hurricane season contraflow conundrum. Today was a wrap up news conference in Picayune, Mississippi. Here is WWL’s 5pm version…
…but if you saw the 6pm story, there was a Mississippi official on video chastising a reporter, telling them “its not all about y’all, we have to keep things open on I-10 for Mobile evacuations”
So the best that they can come up with is “tweaking” contraflow by pushing the merge 34 miles up the road. This won’t alleviate the problem, it just backs traffic further up the road. Port-a-lets along I-59? Portable gas trucks to refuel cars? Intermittent detours to the rest stops and back roads to allow exits? What if you are in back of the last car allowed off the road, do you go to jail if you refuse to stay on the Interstate?
The fact that Mississippi will close the I-10 to Louisianians is a bullshit argument – if they want to keep it open for Mobile evacuation, then Mobile should also evacuate north just like New Orleans. Southeastern Louisiana should get the most consideration, having to evacuate 2.5 million people, as opposed to 400,000 in Mobile. And what exactly will Mississippi keep I-10 open for, Biloxi’s 50,000 or Gulfport’s 72,000 residents? They should be headed north as well according to their argument. The politicians should just let New Orleanians, many who own property in the Florida panhandle to travel east on I-10. All thats in play is a bunch of bitter wannabe Mississippians putting Louisiana residents in a chokehold. We ALL pay for the federal interstate system, for individual states to say they will block access is wrong.
The more the states and the DOT’s meddle in this contraflow, the worse it gets. I was lucky for Gustav, but for Katrina on the return trip I was a victim of the St. John Parish sheriff department’s traffic light vindictiveness. The traffic on eastbound Airline Highway stopped around Sorrento, and by the time we made it to LaPlace 4 hours later, the St. John sheriff’s deputies were only allowing 10 cars at a time to drive through the traffic lights, and opening the cross street for 5 minutes between. It was completely infuriating to witness this game. What is law-enforcement supposed to do – protect the public or implement their little twisted turf games at will?
Let the games begin with Mississippi, should make for fun times come July-August-September.