A couple of weeks ago, officials arranged for a Carnival cruise ship to house first responders - but it turns out it wasn't such a good deal as it appears FEMA paid the company about $46,000 per guest when only about 100 people ended up staying on board.
Our media partners at The Advocate/Times Picayune are reporting that, when Hurricane Ida threatened to create a housing crunch in the New Orleans region, government officials arranged for a Carnival cruise ship to stay in port and house as many as 2,600 first responders, hospital staffers and other essential workers.
But by the time the mission ended last Friday, only 103 people had stayed on the Carnival Glory. Even so, the costs footed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency topped $4.8 million -- or about $46,600 per guest, the newspapers are reporting.
The few people who did take advantage of the ship’s space -- and power, which was in short supply after Ida decimated Entergy’s electrical grid -- worked for Ochsner Health System, the Red Cross or emergency departments in the New Orleans area, Mike Steele, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness told the newspapers.
Steele told the Picayune that officials had cut down the total number of available spots on the ship from close to 3,000 to about 1,500, because of COVID restrictions. Just 489 people requested reservations, and most of them didn’t show up.
The costs to FEMA totaled $4.7 million for use of the ship for two weeks, including wrap-around services, and $140,000 for parking, FEMA spokesperson Debra Young said. FEMA didn't respond to further inquiries, the newspapers report.
To read the Picayune's full article, click here.