Anaology Check: 2 Cities, 2Stadiums

History repeats itself, but not without a few wrinkles. We make the connections—then pick them apart.

The housing of 10,000 fire evacuees at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium drew comparisons with New Orleans's post-Katrina chaos. The Superdome had death and mayhem; Qualcomm had Starbucks and free massages. The unspoken (and bogus) insinuation: affluent, white San Diego behaved better than poor, black New Orleans.

New Orleans tragically assumed citizens would flee the area altogether rather than stay in the stadium, even though 100,000 residents didn't have cars or any transport out. San Diego planned much better, using Reverse 911 calls to urge residents to flee. Qualcomm evacuees had ample space and more food than they could eat.

The Superdome offered no escape. Surrounded by water, evacuees could not leave for days, even after electricity, food and water supplies dwindled. The storm blew part of the roof off the Superdome itself. Qualcomm was never in fire danger. Most shelter seekers arrived in their own cars and could leave at any time.