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Hurricane Prep & Evacuation Plans

When a hurricane threatens New Orleans and the City government calls for an evacuation, not everyone in the City has the means or ability to travel to a safe place. The 2019 RTA Hurricane Preparedness Guide outlines evacuation procedures and tips on how to stay storm-ready. The guide is also available in Spanish and Vietnamese

Public Meeting

Due to Hurricane Barry, the 2019 Hurricane Prepareness Meeting has been postponed. 

City-Assisted Evacuation

The City of New Orleans has developed a program called the City-Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP) to help people who cannot evacuate on their own.

To read the official CAEP brochure, click here

During an evacuation, the RTA assists the City of New Orleans by doing the following:

  • Putting all available vehicles, drivers, and other resources into use in order to help the City with its evacuation plan.
  • Transport evacuees from designated pick-up points to the the Smoothie King Center.

From the Smoothie King Center, residents are then taken out of town on other transportation arranged by the City of New Orleans.

How to Participate in the City-Assisted Evacuation Plan

1. Register with the City

The City of New Orleans requires everyone who will need assistance during an evacuation to register with the CAEP. People should register well before any hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico. 

  • You can register through the City’s 311 Call Center by simply dialing 311 on your phone. For more information about registering, visit the NOLA Ready website here
  • If you do not register in advance, you will not be turned away during an evacuation. Registering early will help the City prepare better and will make your evacuation experience go more smoothly. 

2. Go to an evacuation pick-up location

The City of New Orleans has designated 17 evacuation pick-up locations around the City.

  • These locations are at public places such as parks, libraries, schools, and community centers.
  • Four of the 17 are senior-citizen centers that have been designated as evacuation pick-up locations. At these locations, senior citizens and disabled residents will receive extra assistance. 

Additionally, a map of the evacuation pick-up locations is included in the CAEP brochure (Spanish and Vietnamese).

During the evacuation process, there is no regular RTA service. You will not be able to take an RTA bus to any pick-up location, because the RTA will be using all available buses to bring passengers from pick-up locations to the Smoothie King Center. You will need to find your own way to the closest pick-up location. 

Please note that Evacuspots are not general bus stops. They are utilized only during a mandatory evacuation to evacuate residents to the Smoothie King Center. 

3. Board the bus

Police officers and other officials will be present at each pick-up location to assist with the boarding process. The ride to the Smoothie King Center is free. When you get off at the Smoothie King Center, other officials will be there to direct the next stage of your evacuation out of the City.

What You Can Bring on Board


During a City-assisted evacuation, the RTA allows one medium-sized suitcase (no more than 45" total Dimensions) per person on board. You will be asked to carry your luggage on your lap or at your feet during the ride.

RTA buses do not have storage areas, and there is simply no room for large amounts of luggage. 


If you have a small pet (about 15 pounds) in an extra-small or small carrier it can ride with you on the RTA bus. 

If you have a larger animal, an aggressive animal, or a pet that is hard to control, it can’t ride with you on the RTA. Likewise, if you have a number of pets, they cannot all ride with you on the bus to the the Smoothie King Center. When you have a pet that is not allowed on an RTA bus, a police officer at the pick-up location will arrange for a vehicle that can bring your pet to the UPT. You will be asked to stay at the pick-up location with your animal. When the pet transport vehicle arrives, you and your pet will ride separately. 

At the time you register with the CAEP, you will be asked to register your pet’s information as well. You and your pet will be assigned an ID number that will allow state officials to track where everyone in your family is going, including your pet.

For Disabled Riders

Paratransit vehicle are placed in service to bring disabled passengers to the five senior citizen centers that have been designated as CAEP pick-up locations. For citizens with severely limited mobility who cannot ride paratransit buses, the City uses ambulances to help them evacuate.

At the time you register with the CAEP, you will be asked if the City will need to assist with any disabled family members during the evacuation process.

RTA Service Before a Hurricane

When a hurricane threatens New Orleans, the RTA starts its process of shutting down service and securing its vehicles and facilities. There is no strict timeline outlining when services stop, because we make adjustments according to the hurricane’s path, strength, speed, and predicted time of landfall.

Generally speaking, we follow these overall guidelines:

  • The RTA begins transitioning from normal service to emergency mode between 54 and 72 hours before landfall.
  • Streetcar service stops around between 54 and 72 hours before landfall.
  • Regular bus service stops about 30 and 54 hours before landfall.
  • At the same time RTA buses are put into service of the City-Assisted Evacuation Plan.
  • All RTA services stop approximately 30 hours prior to coastal landfall.

Hurricane Planning Meeting

RTA is scheduled to host the annual Hurricane planning meeting. Check back for details on future meeting date and time.

Stay Connected

The RTA encourages the New Orleans community to stay alert and be prepared. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated. Additionally, we recommend following the City of New Orleans and these organizations: 


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