Across the Southeast

Fewer would flee from hurricanes, study says


MIAMI - About one in three people in Southern coastal areas said they would ignore government hurricane evacuation orders, up from about one in four last year, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The most common reasons respondents gave for not evacuating were the same ones that topped last year's Harvard University poll: believing that their homes are safe and well-built, that roads would be too crowded and that fleeing would be dangerous.

Robert Blendon, the Harvard professor who directed the survey, said he expected more people to say they would not evacuate after a mild 2006 Atlantic hurricane season.

"It just shows how people can become complacent if they're not immediately threatened," Mr. Blendon said.

This year's survey differed from last year's by including more respondents and restricting the survey area to within 20 miles of the coast instead of 50.

The survey also looked specifically at about 500 residents of the New Orleans metropolitan area. The survey found that six in 10 people there did not know the location of an evacuation shelter, compared with four in 10 elsewhere.

Couple says prosecutor has conflict of interest

ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA. - Lawyers for a couple charged with negligent homicide in the deaths of 35 nursing home residents after Hurricane Katrina asked a state judge Monday to bar Attorney General Charles Foti from prosecuting the case.

Defense counsel filed two motions in the case against Salvador and Mabel Mangano, owners of St. Rita's Nursing Home. One seeks to have Mr. Foti recused, claiming conflict of interest. The second motion asks that his federal court actions regarding flooding from Katrina be made part of the St. Rita's record. Mr. Foti has filed a $200 billion claim against the corps, contending faulty levees caused floods.

On Monday, the state said the Manganos also face 24 counts of cruelty to the infirm.

- Edited from wire reports