Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA August, 2008. Evacuation buses line the closed off street ready to begin City Assisted Evacuation Plan.
Evacuteer.org is a non-profit organization incorporated by the State of Louisiana on June 8, 2009, and approved as a 501©3 tax-exempt entity by the IRS on August 17th, 2009. Evacuteer.org recruits, trains, and manages evacuation volunteers (evacuteers) who assist with New Orleans’ public evacuation option called the City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP). The CAEP activates when a mandatory evacuation is called in the city of New Orleans and is designed to move 25,000-30,000 New Orleanians without transportation. The City has successfully implemented the plan once, in advance of Hurricane Gustav (Sept. 2008), when 18,000 residents utilized the CAEP. Evacuteer.org is an organization created out of lessons learned from that experience. Through an existing agreement with the City of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP), the City of New Orleans has authorized evacuteer.org to manage all volunteers who work within the CAEP at 17 neighborhood pick-up points, at the Union Passenger Terminal (hereafter UPT) for evacuee processing, and at City Hall to assist with hotline operation.
The organization has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, the Huffington Post, the Times-Picayune, The New York Times, The LA Times, the Associated Press, ABC 26, Fox 8, WDSU and the Gambit for its community and citizen engagement strategies and preparing New Orleanians for future storms. To date, the organization has 27 non-profit, faith based and neighborhood based partner organizations and trains 500 citizens each hurricane season.
Long term projections for the organization include a nationwide proof of concept in New Orleans to export to other American cities. The organization also develops academic, peer reviewed emergency preparedness research, new and social media emergency preparedness campaigns and its current flagship initiative is working with the City of New Orleans and the Arts Council of New Orleans to commission public art to double as hurricane evacuation pick up point markers.