RTA and city leaders urge seniors to have hurricane plan ready

It's still early in hurricane season, but city leaders are pushing to make sure families have a plan in place.

This year, they're making extra efforts to keep seniors and those with disabilities informed. The Regional Transit Authority brought together homeland security, EMS, the New Orleans Fire Department, and more to answer question and educated the public. The panel talked about things like medical care and pets when evacuating.

"It's important information to know," said Patrice Bell-Mercadel, Director of Marketing and Communications with the RTA. "This community is a community we need to make sure are taken care of."

In the event of an evacuation, authorities expect around 35,000 people will be relying on the City Assisted Evacuation Plan. City leaders want to make sure everyone knows what their options are.

The city has large silver statues set up outside each of the 17 evacuation pick-up spots. The RTA will provide local transit, moving evacuees from those spots and the neighborhood to the Union Passenger Terminal or the Armstrong International Airport. From there, they'll be bused or flown out of New Orleans.

The goal of this meeting is to make sure seniors and those with disabilities have a plan in place. Betty Eby runs the Arthur Mondy Center and works with the New Orleans Council on Aging. She knows this particular group will have special needs.

"Most of the seniors I have are in their 80s and 90s," said Eby. She says many of those seniors have mobility issues so planning their evacuation starts early. "We plan in advance, we start at the first of the year."

And for those who haven't started planning yet, city leaders say now is their chance.

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