Think local officials are less to blame for deaths in New Orleans than federal officials? In the most jaw-dropping story of the week, UPI has the police chief of Gretna, Louisiana, admitting that he closed off one of the major arteries out of New Orleans on Monday, before the storm hit:
“We shut down the bridge,” Arthur Lawson, chief of the City of Gretna Police Department, confirmed to United Press International, adding that his jurisdiction had been “a closed and secure location” since before the storm hit.
“All our people had evacuated and we locked the city down,” he said. The bridge in question — the Crescent City Connection — is the major artery heading west out of New Orleans across the Mississippi River.
He added that the small town, which he called “a bedroom community” for the city of New Orleans, would have been overwhelmed by the influx. “There was no food, water or shelter” in Gretna City, Lawson said. “We did not have the wherewithal to deal with these people. If we had opened the bridge, our city would have looked like New Orleans does now: looted, burned and pillaged.”