The owners of a New Orleans area nursing home where 34 residents died during Hurricane Katrina were arrested yesterday on negligent homicide charges for allegedly failing to evacuate the home despite warnings about the storm’s power and an offer by parish officials to send buses, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Mable B. Mangano, 62, and her husband, Salvador A. Mangano Sr., 65, turned themselves in. The couple own St. Rita’s Nursing Home near Poydras, LA., where Katrina’s massive storm surge flooded the one-story building to the ceiling in 30 minutes, overwhelming bed-ridden patients in one of the deadliest storm-related incidents.
The Manganos’ attorney, James A. Cobb, protested that, “It’s ridiculous to arrest these two people considering the problems with the evacuation at all levels of the government.” As the hurricane raged Aug. 29, neighbors and firefighters rescued about two dozen of the nursing home’s residents, many of whom were floated out on their mattresses. The waters rose too quickly to save the rest, said Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti. He said the Manganos “had adequate notice that the worst nightmare for the state of Louisiana was about to occur and they did nothing. Their inaction resulted in the deaths of these people.”