Thursday, September 01, 2005


That's a question that is going to be asked a lot about the aftermath in New Orleans. Part of the answer is the level of the devastation, but there is another component that may not be really identified for a while, and that is the lack of local leadership. I'm not just talking about people like the mayor and the chief of police. I'm talking business people, doctors, etc. The evacuation of New Orleans was actually pretty successful, but it created another problem. Once things started going poorly, there were not enough citizen-leaders left in the city to take control of situations in their local areas, to set up triages for the injured and dead, and to generally hold social order together. The glue was gone, and the city quickly came apart. The evacuation in New Orleans saved many lives, but it created a vacuum of civic leadership that, combined with weak leadership from local government, doomed this city to the near anarchy we saw today.

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