"Would better preparedness on a neighborhood level have made up for the lapses in official response that marooned thousands of New Orleans residents in hellish â€œsheltersâ€ like the Superdome? Does it help make Los Angeles better equipped than the Gulf Coast to handle a disaster?
Certainly, it canâ€™t hurt. Elected officials and emergency preparedness professionals here have repeated now for more than a week that Los Angelesâ€™ disaster infrastructure is second to none in the nation, tightly coordinated, well rehearsed. But most also fell back on the grim reminder that for the first three days after a catastrophe that severs communication lines and evacuation routes, residents should expect to be on their own."