Evacuteer.org’s mission is to support the effective and respectful evacuation of communities during times of major crisis. We recruit, train, and manage volunteers to assist in New Orleans’ public evacuation efforts.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the Federal Government mandated the City to establish an evacuation assistance program to provide transportation for residents who would otherwise not be able to evacuate by their own means. In 2006, New Orleans unveiled its City-Assisted Evacuation (CAE) plan: a low-barrier public evacuation program that provides a free ride to anyone seeking safe shelter during a mandatory evacuation. This plan also includes for pets to be evacuated with their people.
The CAE plan remained untested until August 30, 2008, when a mandatory evacuation order was issued ahead of Hurricane Gustav. By the next afternoon, 1.9 million people had evacuated Southern Louisiana, including 200,000 from New Orleans. Robert Fogarty, Evacuteer.org’s co-founder, recruited 400 spontaneous volunteers during this evacuation effort to support the work of government officials. However, these volunteers had no prior training nor was there clear leadership to define their roles and responsibilities.
The first launch of CAE successfully evacuated 18,000 people with their pets in two days- and once the storm had passed, returned everyone home. In the after-action report, the City determined that well-organized volunteer support would be invaluable in future evacuations, to not only expedite CAE, but to bring comfort and compassion to our residents during a time of dire need.
Evacuteer.org was established as 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2009 to help fill critical staffing needs for the City of New Orleans during CAE. Our organization’s primary purpose is to augment the capacity of overstretched government agencies during a mandatory evacuation of the City by deploying pre-trained volunteers to fill out registration paperwork for evacuees using CAE, and to help guide people, pets, and their luggage onto buses bound for shelter.
In partnership with the City of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Evacuteer.org coordinates all volunteers who serve during CAE at the 17 neighborhood pick-up locations (called Evacuspots) and at the central processing center to help residents make transportation connections. We also coordinate volunteers for the re-entry process, once the storm has passed and the City is deemed safe to return home.
Throughout the year we conduct outreach and give presentations to apartment homes, businesses, churches, and community groups. At heart, our organization believes in a safer, more prepared New Orleans, now and forever.