National Evacuation Conference to feature General Honoré as keynote

January 29, 2010

BATON ROUGE - Retired Gen. Russel Honoré, who served as commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, will headline an impressive lineup of keynote speakers and panelists set to appear as part of the 2010 National Evacuation Conference. The conference will be held Feb. 3-5at the JW Marriott in New Orleans, La., and is being organized by the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, or SDMI, and the Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency, which is housed at both LSU and the University of New Orleans.

"The recent earthquake in Haiti reminds us all again of the critical nature of this work," said SDMI Interim Executive Director Thomas Anderson. "General Honoré is currently in Haiti and will most certainly be able to provide firsthand accounts of ongoing operations. Learning from complex disasters such as this one is vital for improving the practice of disaster management and helping others survive future incidents. This is the heart of SDMI's mission."

Honoré, who has authored "Survival: How a Culture of Preparedness Can Save You and Your Family from Disasters," will also host a book signing during the conference.

Designed for academics and professionals with an interest in the development and modeling of comprehensive evacuation plans, the conference will bring together experts in the fields of transportation and emergency management to discuss more efficient and effective evacuation planning. Specifically, the event will focus on addressing challenges facing special-needs populations during disasters, improvements in evacuation planning and modeling, national evacuation policy development and the evacuation of animals.

"We are in the business of saving lives," said Gulf Coast Center for Evacuation & Transportation Resiliency Director Brian Wolshon. "LSU is part of the organizing effort to bring this mix of academics, practitioners and government agencies to address a significant issue and develop solutions for emergency management needs."

In addition to Honoré, speakers for the conference will include: For speaker biographies, visit Additionally, those wishing to learn more can follow the conference on Facebook using the link provided on the conference's Web site.

"Even though this is the National Evacuation Conference, there are ramifications for the state, in the academic arena and internationally," said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. "In fact, the conference will have an international tone considering 12 senior government officials from Sweden will be in attendance. Part of their contingency will lead a panel regarding the Swedish National Air Medivac unit's experiences during the 2008 Mumbai attacks in India."

Following registration and a welcome reception that will be hosted by the AARP on Wednesday, Feb. 3, the conference will reconvene the following morning for its opening session. Twenty-five panels, each lasting one hour and 15 minutes, will be held over the second two days of the conference. The complete panel agenda can be viewed using the "Program" link on the conference's Web site.

Along with premier partner AARP, the National Evacuation Conference is being supported by the following governmental, educational, corporate and organization partners:
The Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, an integral part of LSU's E. J. Ourso College of Business, was established to help save the lives of people and animals by continuously improving disaster response management through research and education. Vision and a generous donation by LSU alumni Emmet and Toni Stephenson were responsible for the creation of the institute. For more information, visit or call 225-578-0238.

The Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency is a collaborative effort between the LSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the University of New Orleans' Department of Planning and Urban Studies. The LSU-UNO Center is focused on evacuation and transportation resiliency in an effort to address the multitude of issues that impact transportation processes under emergency conditions such as evacuation and other types of major events. This area of research also addresses the need to develop and maintain the ability of transportation systems to economically, efficiently and safely respond to the changing demands that may be placed upon them.

As the only accredited urban planning school within the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, UNO's Department of Planning and Urban Studies, or PLUS, has been an important regional institution helping to train leaders in urban issues for more than 40 years. Now, as New Orleans and the Gulf Region rebuild after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, PLUS faculty and staff continue this tradition of leadership by being at the forefront of rebuilding planning. With a range of programs from the undergraduate program in urban studies to the masters in urban studies and masters in planning to the advanced level of the urban studies Ph.D. program, PLUS provides comprehensive training to prepare students for careers in urban studies.

The tradition of excellence in the LSU College of Engineering is continuous from commencement to commencement. As the alma mater of 56 percent of engineering and construction management graduates in the state of Louisiana, the LSU College of Engineering demands the best from its students in order to prepare them to continue building this great state.

Louisiana State University

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