David Smith, one of the group's organizers and the marketing director for Oleta Coach Lines, blames bureaucracy and says local government has been unwilling to jump in and offer help by contacting New Orleans officials directly to arrange help for the victims. Smith's company was under contract with FEMA to transport flood victims from New Orleans to Dallas in three buses. Afterward, Smith wanted the buses to come back to Williamsburg, carrying 159 people.
Local government officials from James City County and Williamsburg said they were not contacted about the plans until after the buses were sent to New Orleans. When Williamsburg City Manager Jack Tuttle found out about the plans, he contacted the state to see how the city could help hurricane victims.
Staff photo (color) by BUDDY NORRIS; Local Salvation Army Disaster Social Worker Patricia Dixon, center, with the Salvation Army Peninsula Command on Big Bethel Road in Hampton, helps Hurricane Katrina victims, Timothy, left, and his wife, Lee Eley, from Mississippi, load groceries into their car Tuesday afternoon.