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La. relied on individuals to flee flooding

Aug. 28, 2007 at 4:26 PM

ST. FRANCISVILLE, La., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- In the negligent homicide trial of nursing home operators, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said the state relied on private citizens to flee Hurricane Katrina.

Mabel and Sal Mangano, owners of a St. Bernard Parish nursing home where 35 residents drowned during Hurricane Katrina, each face 35 counts of negligent homicide in the deaths at St. Rita's nursing home. The facility was swamped by floodwater.

Blanco conceded the state evacuated nursing homes and hospitals during Hurricane Rita, which struck several weeks after Katrina, the New Orleans Times Picayune said.

Asked by the defense why the same procedure wasn't used during Katrina, Blanco said, "We were relying on individual responsibility during Katrina,'' she replied.

She also conceded that individual responsibility didn't work.

The Manganos say the government should be held responsible for failed levees and they shouldn't be held accountable individually.

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