by Kevin Allman
The Times-Picayune has info about reentry into Orleans Parish, including the news that the city hopes to open on Wednesday to "tier one" people:
On Tuesday, only essential city workers and utility personnel will be allowed back in to the city. On Wednesday, New Orleans will begin welcoming back what Nagin described as "tier one" companies: retailers and other major companies who need to check on their stock and begin preparing to re-open.
While Nagin said citizens trying to re-enter would be stopped and turned around, he did not provide specifics on how many police or national guardsmen would be devoted to enforcing the provision.
Nothing at all in the story about "tier two" -- who are they/we? Is there a "tier three"? And when will the lower tiers be allowed back? More to the point: how will they know at the checkpoints who needs to come back to "check on their stock" and who just wants to come home, period?
Is there a secret "Tier One" ID card that nobody told me about?
Varg at The Chicory ain't happy:
I saw folks leaving with kids and old ladies and everything else in the most miserable looking jalopies who are getting by out there with who knows what finances. There are poor residents in shelters all over the South and retailers and major companies are going to be given first right of entry so the profiteering can commence? Wow, he really does run the city like a business.
Is Southern Scrap one of the companies being considered for Wednesday reentry? After the danger they put folks property in?
Guess what? I sell folk art in New Orleans. I need to check stock and re-open.
Most of us in the New Orleans metro area should be grateful that the storm wasn't worse for us, and of course there are good reasons to stay out of the way of the people who are working hard to clear roads and restore power. But staying away is an expensive, inconvenient proposition (I'm thankful that I'm not stuck in a hotel room with a couple of bored kids). And New Orleans people are, by and large, not wealthy, nor do they have a surplus of time. For those who are 12 or 14 hours away...how will they know when to hit the road?
I wonder if some people might be so aggravated at being "tier two" folks that they would think twice about leaving the next time someone declared that "the mother of all storms" was on its way. That could be more than inconvenient; it could be tragic.
Edit: Dianne de las Casas at the Story Connection points out that Jefferson Parish has online registration for its "tier" reentry at Jump Start Jefferson. Looks like applicants will need to be on the Jeff tax rolls and meet certain qualifications:
Tier-2 re-entry placards will be issued to businesses that are essential to the return of residents of the parish and/or for the restoration of the economy of the Parish and to pre-approved humanitarian relief agencies. Approved Tier-2 businesses will be provided with a limited number of re-entry placards for damage assessment and recovery teams.
Examples of Tier-2 businesses are fuel distributors, food and grocery stores, pharmacies, insurance companies, health care providers, hardware and building supply stores, facilities with fragile inventories such as, chemical processing and storage, laboratories, etc., large retailers of household goods and construction industry trades (carpentry, electrical, plumbing, roofing, etc.).
"Tiering" seems like a useful plan after a Katrina-type disaster (here's the equivalent page on the City of New Orleans Web site), but in the aftermath of a storm like Gustav, I think the parishes are going to have trouble keeping people out by, say, Thursday. Folks want to go home.
(And is it just me, or was this "tier" plan not widely publicized before the storms?)