Federal Response Time 30 percent Better than Planning Assumptions
According to a November 2004 article in the "Natural Hazards Observer," the estimates were that it would take 10 days to rescue people stranded in the city after a catastrophic hurricane. Regardless of the fact that the mayor of New Orleans only issued a "forced" evacuation order yesterday, rescue efforts kicked off on Tuesday a week ago, and by this morning (Wednesday) appear largely complete. 10/7, looks like a 30% improvement in estimated response time.
See Natural Hazards ObserverVol. XXIX No. 2 November 2004 "...If a hurricane of a magnitude similar to Ivan does strike New Orleans, the challenges surrounding rescue efforts for those who have not evacuated will be different from other coastal areas. ...Regional and national rescue resources would have to respond as rapidly as possible and would require augmentation by local private vessels (assuming some survived). And, even with this help, federal and state governments have estimated that it would take 10 days to rescue all those stranded within the city. No shelters within the city would be free of risk from rising water."
Found after following a linked from this excellent article by Chris Regan & Bryan Preston over at National Review