September 02, 2005

An aerial view of flooded school buses in a lot, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in New Orleans, LA. The flood is a result of Hurricane Katrina that passed through the area last Monday.(AP Photo/Phil Coale)JUDGING FROM THIS PHOTOGRAPH, the New Orleans authorities had plenty of unused buses had they chosen to take people out of the city rather than coop them up in the Superdome or the Convention Center. Now, of course, they're flooded and useless for the purpose. I don't know why they didn't make use of them on Saturday and Sunday. Not enough drivers?

UPDATE: Brendan Loy -- who was calling for mandatory evacuation on Saturday -- thinks this was a tragic missed opportunity.

ANOTHER UPDATE: And it's not just school buses: "Before Katrina hit, the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority operated at least 364 buses, probably more. . . . Why weren't NORTA's 364 buses used to ferry poor people out of New Orleans before Katrina hit?"

We'll no doubt hear more about this in the coming days, but I think that constructive action should be the priority now.