Scattered throughout New Orleans are large, silver statues that look like stick figures hailing a cab. But, they’re not just works of art.


Each statue marks a so-called “evacuspot.” If the mayor calls for a mandatory evacuation, as happened during Hurricane Katrina, people can wait by one of these statues to catch a bus to a state or regional shelter.

Jennifer Hardin is executive director of — a nonprofit that trains citizen volunteers to assist the evacuees.

Hardin: “Once they arrive at that evacuspot, our teams will be there. They’ll have blue vests on. So that means that the evacuee will have instant access to information and the process ahead.”

Hardin says the program fills a critical gap. The city’s 2,100 personnel cannot fulfill their other duties and help the 35,000 New Orleans residents who lack their own transportation.

Hardin: “It is the best practice to involve the local community at a very grassroots level. It’s not only how you can ensure preparedness year-round, but also how you have instant boots on the ground.”

It shows how artists, scientists and communities can work together to protect human lives.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: An “Evacuspot” location. (source:

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