Thursday, September 01, 2005

Some Good News

The art museum is okay, mostly. A bit of a problem with the evacuation order now, that's all -- the authorities want museum security, who have been staying on site taking care of the art, to leave, and museum security doesn't want to because, d'oh, who's going to take care of the art if they go?

Here's the story, from the site:

Floodwater stops short of City Park museum

By Dante Ramos and Doug MacCashStaff Writers

The New Orleans Museum of Art survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath without significant damage. But when Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives arrived in the area Wednesday, NOMA employees holed up inside the museum were left in a quandary: FEMA wanted those evacuees to move to a safer location, but there was no way to secure the artwork inside. Six security and maintenance employees remained on duty during the hurricane and were joined by 30 evacuees, including the families of some employees.

Harold Lyons, a security console operator who stayed on at the museum, said FEMA representatives were the first outsiders to show up at the museum in days.They immediately tried to persuade staffers to leave the building. That would have left no one to protect the museum’s contents, and no one inside the museum had the authority to give that order, Lyons said as he inspected the grounds.

Museum Director John Bullard was on vacation and assistant Director Jacquie Sullivan had taken a disabled brother to Gonzales.“We can’t just leave and turn out the lights on the say-so of someone we don’t know,’’ Lyons said.

The phones inside the museum had failed. Lyons asked a reporter to pass a message to Sullivan as soon as possible. Interviewed by telephone, Sullivan said she had been in close contact with emergency management officials all day Wednesday. State Police had promised to take her back to the museum at 7 a.m. Thursday, she said. City Park was littered with fallen trees, but evacuees’ cars, clustered around the museum’s walls, were mostly unscathed. The museum itself was spared any wind damage, and floodwater had not reached the building.

Inside, the museum’s generators whirred away, providing air conditioning to preserve the priceless artworks. Sullivan said museum workers had taken down some pieces in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden before the storm. But a towering modernist sculpture by Kenneth Snelson was reduced to a twisted mess in the lagoon.

This is the best news I've had since Sunday, I have to say.

1 comment:

Diane said...

New Orleans has 3 major art musems: NOMA, The CAC, and The Ogden Museum of Art. I haven't heard about the latter two, which are across the street from each other, but I suspect the worst.