Testimony reveals late evacuation notice

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The local official responsible for issuing a pre-hurricane evacuation order failed to do so until Hurricane Katrina was within 24 hours of striking New Orleans. The testimony is expected to help the defense of two nursing home operators charged in the deaths of nearly three dozen residents.

Despite the pleas of Larry Ingargiola, St. Bernard Parish's former emergency preparedness director, Parish President Henry "Junior" Rodriguez would not issue an evacuation order two days before Katrina hit land, Ingargiola testified. Also, Rodriguez never signed documents declaring a mandatory evacuation.

Ingargiola also said Tuesday that St. Bernard officials communicated with the public through emergency alerts and news conferences on a community-access cable channel. They said they didn't use a reverse 911 system to make automated calls and play a recorded message for Parish residents because no one knew the password.