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FOX News Channel "America's Election Headquarters" - Interview re: Hurricane Gustav Emergency Preparations


Location: New Orleans, LA

MR. GUTIERREZ: Bobby Jindal here, governor of Louisiana here, to kind of update us on what's going on. Let's set the scene for the folks across the country. We are outside a bus terminal here in downtown New Orleans, kind of the epicenter of what's going on. Tell us what's going on right here.

GOV. JINDAL: Right here you've got the early evacuation, voluntary evacuation for the city of New Orleans. Literally, we have city buses bringing folks from all over the city here. These are people who don't have their own means of transportation. They called literally 311, they let the city know they need help. They'll get picked up. If they're homebound, they can even get picked up at their home, otherwise they're picked up at the corner. They're brought here. Literally, they're being loaded on the Amtrak trains. They'll be going to Memphis, Tennessee.

They're also being loaded on -- we've got hundreds of buses. We've got privately contracted buses with the state. We've got hundreds of school buses we've brought in from all over the state. We've got hundreds of buses that will take them to shelters. We'll take them out of New Orleans, take them out of harms way, take them to Red Cross shelters all over Louisiana. We have 68,000 spaces here and then also in neighboring states as well.

In addition, we're also taking people by bus from this train center. We're taking them to the airport. Literally, we can take 700 people per hour out of the city by air. We've got 20,000 evacuation slots lined up for people that we'll fly out of harms way.

And then finally, we've got medical teams here as well assessing the situation, doing triage. We've got special-needs patients. We've got people that show up with special medical needs. They're being taken to what's called a PMAC. It's a center in Baton Rouge. They'll get medical care there. We've got medical shelters -- 2,000 now, we've added 500 new beds, 2,500 beds in the state, in the central and northern part of the state, where folks can be evacuated to as well.

The point of today, we're trying to evacuate as many people as possible before we go to contraflow tomorrow. We've got 19 parishes at least that have declared emergency declarations. Many of them are in voluntary evacuation starting yesterday and today. They'll go to mandatory evacuations, many of them this afternoon, many of them at noon or 4:00 central time.

At the latest, tomorrow morning, 6:00 a.m., we'll start contraflow. What that means is for the first time in Louisiana's history, we can literally be evacuating our coastal parishes. In 2005, by contrast, the state evacuated southeast Louisiana from Katrina, evacuated southwest Louisiana for Rita. By doing both simultaneously, that's twice what we did in 2005, it's unprecedented. What that literally means is we'll turn the interstates into one-way exit avenues to get people as quickly as possible. We'll have 900 state police and National Guard securing the exits, helping direct traffic, providing fuel. We'll make sure that people don't break down along the way.

So what you're seeing today is a rapid mobilization to get our folks out of harms way.

MR. GUTIERREZ: We didn't see this three years ago before the storm. We're seeing it before the storm this go-round. We have, what, 30,000-plus people looking to leave today. What do you say to folks? It's hot here in New Orleans. It is humid today. What do you say to folks whose patience may be running thin? They realize they're here for a reason. They want to get out of Dodge. What do you say to those folks? You talked to them today.

GOV. JINDAL: Absolutely. A couple of things. Look, one, I'd much rather people be a little inconvenienced today but safe next week. I'd love for this to be a false alarm. I hope next week we think this was a great practice run. People's lives are at stake, though. I'd rather they be a little inconvenienced, end up in a shelter hours away from home then try and shelter in place. We saw in 2005 it makes no sense for people to stay here. There will be no shelter of last resort, no sheltering in place. We want to evacuate people.

The second thing I've said, we've got 1,750 National Guardsmen in the city of New Orleans fully mobilized, the state's Guard. By doing that, we want to give people confidence. Don't worry about looting or vandals. Don't worry about your property. Take care of your lives. This is that important.

MR. GUTIERREZ: We're praying for you, Governor. Thank you for your leadership. Thanks for everything that you guys are going behind the scenes that a lot of us don't realize.

GOV. JINDAL: Thank you.

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