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NOLA Sprouting Evacuspots

With hurricane season already underway, the city encourages citizens to start preparing for the worst.  As Mayor Mitch likes to say, “the locusts are coming,” and this year part of the city’s preparedness plan includes 14 feet of stainless steel.


“It’s always time to get ready,” said the Mayor.  “You can’t be ready enough.  This about getting ahead of the game.”


While some citizens can pile into a Sedan full of bottled water, kids and the family canine, others rely on the city in the event of a mandatory evacuation.  In an effort to highlight these city assisted evacuation points, Evacuteer has marked 17 evacuation sites from New Orleans East to Carrollton with large sculptures.


“We combine emergency preparedness with public art,” said the Mayor. “It’s clearly identifiable.  We want to make sure everyone knows where to go.”


Although difficult to miss, the minimalist sculptures by Cambridge, Mass., artist Douglas Kornfield depict a large figure pointing one arm toward the sky, probably signaling the impending deluge.  While people should meet at these statues— most of which will stand at RTA locations— those who have special needs should call 311 to sign up for the special needs registry to get a ride to the evacuspots.


“We a need a place to evacuate that’s inviting, that’s not intimidating, that’s humanizing, and can also celebrate the life of our people.  And that’s really what art does.  That’s why it’s so important to incorporate the two,” said Councilwoman Palmer.


A collaboration of the Arts Council, city government and, the idea initially evolved nearly three years ago from Evacuteer co-founder Robert Fogarty.  Fogarty noticed the impracticability of the previous evacuation signs, just as small as a two-hour parking sign, and proposed a change.  With large donations and encouraging feedback the project took off.


“These sculptures signify an evacuation plan I hope we never have to use,” said Fogarty, who helped assist one of the largest U.S. evacuations in response to Hurricane Gustav.  “They’re our answer to what our parents used to say all the time: when you make a mistake you fix it.”


The entire project should wrap up at the end of this month, just in time for the heart of hurricane season.


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