Not that his publicist asked me, but…

So, Bush just held a press conference in Austin. In theory, it was to address the rescue and recovery efforts for Hurricane Rita, but in fact, it turned out to be little more than a photo op with Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tom DeLay, and other folks of dubious distinction.

I’m not saying that the press conference was a sham. I’m sure that somewhere deep down, Bush really does feel sorry for storm victims. I’m sure, however, that he’s equally sorry to see his public approval ratings hit the skids in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Still, if I were Bush’s publicist–and thank goddess I’m not–I might have cautioned him against appearing in an official capacity quite so soon. See, if I remember right, it was three days after Katrina before GW bothered to cut short his vacation for a fly-by of the Gulf Coast–in a jet plane, no less. (It was four days before he saw the area at closer range, by helicopter.) For Rita, though, Bush has set up camp in one of the affected states less than 12 hours after the storm made landfall. That leaves poor Georgie open to a number of critiques–all of which will soon follow, I’m sure:

  • Bush cares more about his home state than about his troublesome, eccentric neighbor to the east.
  • Bush cares more about the largely white, relatively affluent population of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana than the predominantly African American, relatively poor population of New Orleans (a critique that overlooks Houston’s HUGE African American and Hispanic populations, but whatever).
  • Bush cares more about shoring up support for his public policies than actually protecting and caring for the citizenry.

And sad to say, I think there’s a bit of truth behind some of those comments. ‘Cause while it’d be nice to believe that the press briefing was held to express hope for the rebuilding of damaged areas, it was pretty apparent Bush is even more anxious to rebuild his numbers at the polls. Not a great move, if you ask me.

But of course, you didn’t.

Update: Brian Williams has never been my favorite journalist, but he shares an interesting story about the various motivations behind another president’s response to a major hurricane in New Orleans.

32 Comments so far

  1. ann (unregistered) on September 24th, 2005 @ 9:44 pm

    excellent article – thanks for the link.

    Interesting juxtaposition, no?


  2. WALRUS (unregistered) on September 25th, 2005 @ 6:33 am

    Yes, Bush’s reaction to the Rita situation came off as overcompensation – a way to cover his butt over what happened with Katrina. The people here had the first reaction above: “Go figure, he’s in his home state before the hurricane even hits, but took 4 days to get to Louisiana!”

    The actions of the Bush administration have been ill-timed and just plain stupid since Katrina hit. Is Karl Rove in a coma or what?


  3. Richard (unregistered) on September 25th, 2005 @ 1:26 pm

    Wow, this is possibly one of the least thought out, and worst written articles ever.


  4. richard (unregistered) on September 25th, 2005 @ 1:57 pm

    Actually, the “least thought out” thing on this board is your comment. I mean, I’m totally open to critcism, but criticism without supporting points to back up an argument is just plain weak.

    So bring it, Mary…


  5. steve (unregistered) on September 25th, 2005 @ 4:51 pm

    I can totally agree with point one and three, and 1/2 of point two, but I dont think its that he could give a damn about a bunch of coonasses from Lake Charles, I think its like my wife says: “Some people just dont know how to do”.

    It’s sad, he has been given chances to be one of the greatest Presidents ever,he’s been handed two of the countries largest tragedies ever, he’s been given the chance to be an icon for freedom and social justice, but he just bumblef&#ks his way thru it like he’s half awake. I know its probably a nervous or unconcious thing,but he needs to work on controlling that smirk of his, it shows up at entirely innapropriate times.


  6. Linda (unregistered) on September 25th, 2005 @ 5:32 pm

    Hi Richard…Bush took a big hit (and rightly so) for not visiting Louisiana when the hurricane hit. Americans and the world…yelled and screamed out it. Remember that? I know you do. So…could it possibly be he listened and learned a lesson. The fact that Rita hit in his home state is not something he controlled.

    Whether or not he learned he needed to make an appearance the next time for purely political…or purely emotional reasons…we don’t know. But I’ll say this. Had he NOT made an appearance right away…no matter what state Rita hit…I’d say not only was he incapable of listening to us…but was full of it when he admitted he had made errors.

    As for saying he overcompensated…I think due to the devastation of Katrina…he won’t be the only government official to be overcompensating…and maybe thats a good thing. But I’ll tell you one thing…had he NOT shown up…I bet you or a million others would have been the first to put him down for it. Admit it…no matter what he does at this point…you will think he should have done the opposite.


  7. Ann (unregistered) on September 25th, 2005 @ 5:59 pm

    Actually, Linda, I think he should have done the opposite of just about everything he has done in the last 5 years. With Katrina, however, his arrogance and aloofness cost Americans their lives as well as one of the world’s truly unique cultural jewels. So – he can try to comepnsate, but it will never be enough to make up for the gutting of the Corps’ budget, the knucklehead appointments to FEMA, and his mother’s crappy comments. But like I said, I’ve known he was wrong for 5 years, so I really wasn’t surprised at the disaster he made of Katrina.


  8. BickDickDaddy (unregistered) on September 25th, 2005 @ 7:56 pm

    more bush bashing for the left! Get over it. the man did what he had to do on rita. staop trying to play the race game to make your idoit story work. you whata play the race game why did RAY NAGIN let those white people die. His a Racist.. oo i know what you are going to say what white people. there was there along with others not just black. and in rita also. so you just must be blind or maybe your self is a racist. everybody trying to blame one person with this indeed is across the board right down to the people living in the cities. yes people help people to get through things not sit and wait. would you sit and wait in a building that is going to explode or would you get out. me i would get out and help others who are uncapable of helping there self. life is like a snow flake every day its challeges are diffent.


  9. Linda (unregistered) on September 25th, 2005 @ 9:15 pm

    Sorry Ann…but it wasn’t Bush who cost people their lives…well at least not in the hurricanes. Its been established over and over and over that the responsibility began with local government. Now if you want to talk about staying on vacation…instead of coming down to New Orleans to check on one of his states in trouble…ok…then I’ll agree with you. It was stupid and irresponsible…but not doing that did not cost people their lives…only their peace of mind which was much needed at the time.

    His aloofness and arrogance as you put it also did not cost us one of the world’s truly unique cultural jewels. If you are talking about not giving New Orleans the money to fix the levees…first of all…it would not have been solely his decision to make. Secondly…I read today that the levees have been in disrepair for over 20 years and that they were incorrectly built to begin with. You may choose to ignore those facts…but they are facts.

    If you aren’t talking about the money to repair the levees…surely you aren’t saying his failure to visit cost lives and the City of New Orleans. The only thing left I can think you might mean were the people who died waiting for help.

    They did die…and it was horrible…but like I said…its been shown over and over that Bush was unable to give orders until the mayor and governor asked for help. The governor refused even after the disaster to order the troops in. Start researching and stop all the finger pointing. Although I am pointing out the mayor and governor failed to do what they needed to do in the beginning…I am not blaming them for all the deaths. This was a disaster that no one has had experience orchestrating…at least not to this magnitude.

    So much has been made about Bush being in Texas…and how the people were evacuated so early, etc. etc. etc. Well…if you ask me…I don’t think that evacuation went so well. With each disaster…government and the people are learning more and more where the mistakes are and how to avoid them. Have said it before…and bears saying here again…”Walk a mile in my shoes”.


  10. JAMES WILLIAMS (unregistered) on September 25th, 2005 @ 10:04 pm

    ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Its as if BUSH has the power by showing or not to speed up or slow down anything.
    He can’t win either way 62 billion dollars later no telling how much from everyone else in 40 or so years it will happen again.
    Lessons learned yes LOCAL,STATE Goverments make the difference.
    Race, why is it the goverment job to to tell you if you are single or un or under educated have six kids live in low income housing that they are to blame.
    Last I checked choice was one of the freedoms everybody screams loud about first.If you live below sea level around water and a storm is coming make a choice get out of the path any way you can. Waiting for the goverment to give a dam for people of any color,poor,non-voting is a pipe dream.
    Our hearts and prays are with you in your time of need.Blame has never fixed anything!


  11. BickDickDaddy (unregistered) on September 26th, 2005 @ 2:18 am

    hurican katrina is a racist. hmmm sounds like you need to take that up with GOD.


  12. BickDickDaddy (unregistered) on September 26th, 2005 @ 2:21 am
  13. walrus (unregistered) on September 26th, 2005 @ 9:18 am

    Puh-leeze. I know I am feeding the trolls here, but really, do you guys buy everything Rush & FoxNews tells you? I am not even a liberal, just someone with common sense.

    Anyone who has lived in the south knows how poor the area is, and New Orleans is one of the poorest cities in the US. How could it possibly have the resources and manpower to handle a tragedy of this magnitude? Federal help was necessary, and simply took too long. Whose fault is that? The FEDERAL government.

    Surely the locals made some mistakes too, Blanco was clearly in over her head. Nagin made a tactical error by telling people to go to the convention center before he knew for sure that the Feds had their act together. But the mistakes of Bush and the Feds were CATASTROPHIC in comparison.

    Please people, take off your partisan-colored glasses for once. Turn off the talk radio and learn to think for yourself. It’s not about politics, but about incompetence. Bush has proven repeatedly that he is not the man for the job.


  14. Ann (unregistered) on September 26th, 2005 @ 9:24 am

    Linda – I’m well aware of the “facts” about levees and flood control – I’m from Louisiana – that part that NEVER ever gets attention or money, the part that is NOT New Orleans, (yes there is more to Louisiana that N.O. and Acadiana) You know, north Louisiana, that flat part between Mississippi and Texas. My grandfather sandbagged the levees in the Great Flood of ’27; I’ve personally sandbagged the houses of friends and relatives; my husband took a flat bottom out to my Daddy’s in ’91 to try to salvage stuff from his house, which is not even in a flood plain. So, I’m well aware of how it all works, which generally means it doesn’t.

    The entire Corps plan as far as Louisiana levee systems is fatally flawed and they know it. (there are several good books – Rising Tide by Barry and another by McPhee – the name escapes me) The Corps is just trying to hold it together. BUT – it was not the levees that failed per se – it was the flood walls, which is another issue entirely. Where I fault Bush it not necessarily the failure of the Corps to receive full funding – that is partly Congress and yes, it does go back years and years. So while he and Congress bear some responsibility for the continued lack of funding, it is not entirely their fault.

    I do, however, exclusively fault Bush with appointing that idiot Brown as FEMA head. FEMA under Clinton was efficient and effective. Under Bush, it was gutted, told explicitly not to focus on disaster relief (even though that is its job) and headed by an imbecile. Based on his and Chertoff’s statements, they relied on the MSM to update them on the situation in N.O. on Tuesday morning rather than the experts and leaders on the ground screaming that the levees were breached Monday night.

    As for research and finger-pointing, I’ve done the research, some of which comes my family which lives all over that state, including N.O. and its suburbs, as well as the Times-Picayune and a host of other sources. The facts I found are the governor asked for aid BEFORE the storm hit. Three days before. Hmmm – not enough lead time, maybe? Nagin was crying out for aid and was told he essentially hadn’t filed the right form. He had no power, no phone, no nothing and he’s supposed to follow protocol and FAX something to them?! I’m not giving the gov and mayor a pass, they certainly made mistakes, which they have readily admitted, but they did what they could with what they had. The initial evacuation was the most successful in the city’s history – 80%+ left before the storm hit. Blanco and Nagin BEGGED for help, before, during and after. What did they get? Nothing. If Geraldo Rivera can get into N.O. and scoot around “rescuing” old ladies, then a freakin’ amphibious vehicle loaded with water and supplies can get in as well.

    The debacle that followed the storm, the chaotic diaspora of the people of New Orleans to all corners of the earth, that is the greatest loss. I value the culture (i.e. the people) of N.O. more than the buildings, although they are beautiful as well. The PEOPLE are the cultural jewel – that spectacular jambalaya of accents and customs, dress and religion that is N.O. So, yes, I do lay that at Bush’s feet, as well as a host of other things not necessarily connected to Katrina or Rita.

    It’s interesting that everyone assumes if you hold this president accountable, you are “blaming” him, or being mean to him. Even his own father said tough criticism goes along with the job of being president. And why do people assume you are a member of the “the Left” if you find fault with this administration? Why does there have to be some sinister cabal connotation to critical comments? Why is dissent so intolerable? That’s what this freakin’ nation was founded on. (Sorry – I’ll step off that soap box; it could last for days.) Anyway, how about rather that a member of the evil ubiquitous Left, I’m simply a concerned citizen who watched her home state, the lives of her family and friends, washed away like the dregs on Bourbon Street on Ash Wednesday? Why can’t I just be pissed off at, by Bush’s own admission, a less than adequate response?

    Bush is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t as for as any future responses. I can’t really fault him for overcompensating with Rita, (although I’m so glad they talked him out of going there. That would have been a logistical nightmare)Regardless, he made his own bed and I have no pity for him.

    p.s. BickDickDaddy – you said race, not me. Unlike the vast majority of Americans, I realize poor does not necessarily mean African American. I was insulted by Barb’s comment on a CLASS level, not a race one.


  15. Tyler (unregistered) on September 26th, 2005 @ 9:55 am

    I wonder how many national news organizations will pick up the story that the reports of sensationalistic reports of hundreds of bodies in the Superdome weren’t true.


  16. richard (unregistered) on September 26th, 2005 @ 2:23 pm

    Okay, I’m TOTALLY down with constructive criticism and healthy debate. That’s what this blog is designed to facilitate.

    I am NOT, however, down with asinine comments, especially poorly articulated ones. Flamings are bad enough. Flamings rife with misspellings are just plain sad.

    So, I’ve come to a decision: from this point on, if your comment borders on the asinine and/or inflammatory, I’m deleting it. No questions, no appeals. The bar has been placed low enough; I’m not letting it go any lower.

    Of course, this applies only to comments on my posts. Other Metblogs authors can do as they please…


  17. rudysdad (unregistered) on September 26th, 2005 @ 11:47 pm

    Good post, Ann.


  18. ann (unregistered) on September 27th, 2005 @ 9:34 am

    *blush* thanks!


  19. Mitzi (unregistered) on September 27th, 2005 @ 11:19 am

    Ann, you wrote one of the most logical and unbiased posts I have read in years. You said it like it REALLY is/was.

    I found your post very refreshing due to intelligence and research. Thank you

    Mitzi


  20. KB (unregistered) on September 27th, 2005 @ 12:01 pm

    Ray Nagin is the de facto Mayor of a major metropolitan area. This job comes with both perks and responsibilities. From what I’ve observed in the news, Ray Nagin has never, I repeat, NEVER taken responsibility for ANY of the problems that stemmed from the non-evacuation of NOLA. He has, like the consumate politician that he is, danced around and said MAYBE he might have done a few things wrong, and then he moves the conversation right back to what the Feds didn’t do. Same with Kathleen Blanco. This is the woman who mugged to the cameras and told everybody to PRAY! Sorry, but in light of how Rick Perry and the Mayors of Houston and Galveston handled things, Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco have been shown up for the bungling politicos they are, who seek to enjoy the perks of elected office, but where are they when their leadership skills were needed? Pardon me if I don’t call mugging for the camera and screaming for the Feds effective leadership. The fact that neither one of them did anything to save their own people made the Feds look worse, as their timeline for intervention is 48-72 hours, during which time the LOCAL and STATE authorities, i.e., Nagin and Blanco, are supposed to be prepared to fend for themselves for at least that long.

    As for the victims of Katrina….well, as far as I’m concerned, if you live off the government handout and do nothing to better your life, you ARE a second class citizen, and you deserve what you get. First class citizens pay their own way, earn their own livings, and don’t depend on a government handout for anything. It’s time poor people (black and white alike) take control of their own destinies, because the government won’t do it for them, just like the government didn’t rescue them from Katrina, the government isn’t going to rescue them from too many unwed children, drug abuse, alcoholism and crime. Nor is the government going to force them to go to school beyond the legal age of being able to drop out, or give them a work ethic, which should be inculcated by parents anyway.

    I am personally acquainted with many blacks who’ve pulled themselves out of that ghetto simply by practicing some birth control and getting an education. No matter how crappy the schools may be in LA, they still teach you how to read and write, and it’s a whole lot easier to get a secondary education when you don’t have 4 or 5 kids by your 21st birthday, and not a realistic clue as to how to achieve that house in the ‘burbs or that well paid career, or even how to go about becoming a rap star or music mogul. Even THAT takes an education. I’m sure P. Diddy didn’t get where he is by remaining ignorant, even if he started out that way. He has the one thing that seems to be missing among the poor and black….AMBITION to better his life. The government cannot inculcate ambition. You either have it or you don’t, and those who don’t have the ambition to better their existances will remain in the gutter where they are. God helps them who help themselves!


  21. Ann (unregistered) on September 27th, 2005 @ 2:02 pm

    KB – so only the poor are victims of Katrina? Only those that “live off the government handout and do nothing to better [your] lif[e]s” are left huddled in shleters? Have you seen the devestation on the Gulf Coast – Gulfport, Mississippi is obliterated. That’s not a major metro area and is in no way affiliated with the legacy of race and poverty in N.O. There is little to no federal response to those areas – nor to the areas in Alabama and non-N.O. Louisiana. They are STILL without power, water, food and shelter. I suggest you go to http://nola.com and read about the outlying parishes and the eastern Gulf Coast before passing judgement on the moral and economic virtues of the “victims” of Katrina.

    p.s. I glad the citizens of N.O. have “too many unwed children.” Child brides are so last millennia. =)


  22. Jon (unregistered) on September 27th, 2005 @ 5:36 pm

    Hi All,

    I have enjoyed reading your blogs. Several of you have made good points and some need to rethink and proof-read your comments before posting.

    Katrina and this continuing blog has incensed me to write. I was fine until I read that Katrina was racial!! Huh?

    I have a couple of comments to make. First, it is the job of LOCAL authorities to provide for their Parish/communities until FEDERAL help can arrive. Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco failed their people. Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance!! Had they prepositioned supplies before Katrina’s landfall, then many people wouldn’t have suffered and/or died.

    Second, regarding the press’s seemingly omni-presence in the region and their bias. It is a heck of a lot easier for a camera crew with a satellite-toting SUV to navigate the flooded waters of beautiful New Orleans than it is to mobilize a company of National Guardsmen (who are local citizens themselves dealing with the same Cat4 hurricane) complete with trucks, self-sustaining equipment, tents, MREs, water, supplies, communications, weapons, and people. To give you some perspective a company of soldiers is roughly 120 people with 20+ trucks and that is just an infantry unit. It takes a Guard unit several days to mobilize their people and heavy equipment. We are not on a 72 hour response! It takes time to allocate the required assets. Do not blame the Nat’l Guard for their delay. Blame Governor Blanco! Afterall, the Louisianna National Guard is her state militia. If she did not predict and use prior planning to ensure an adequate response to Katrina then it is her fault. Also, remember that the Fed’s can not send in relief until asked by the incompetent Governor Blanco.

    I’m a helicopter pilot for the California Nat’l Guard. We were activated when Katrina hit. Over 150 heliborne units from all over the nation responded to the catastrophe. We were the furthest so we collected supplies from our Guard armories and then flew them to the scene. We collected water, MREs, tents, litter stretchers, blankets, first aid, medicine and ammunition to support the Guard effort. Now we are sending several helicopters to support the rebuilding process. I will be there for a month. And yes, we are bringing ammunition and body armor b’c of the shootings at emergency assets. It has been two years since my tour of Iraq but I will not have trouble sleeping if I have to RETURN fire!! What are these people thinking?

    Some blame needs to be pointed to our President. Had he not gutted FEMA’s organization a more FEDERAL response would have been allocated. On the other hand, I didn’t hear as many fevered voices from the aftermath of Florida’s hurricanes. Maybe it was a family State and nepotism truely reigns or maybe it was just another hurricane and only when flooding occurred did an emergency and subsequent disaster ensue.

    Lastly, the people of New Orleans did survive a Cat4 hurricane with flooding during LBJ’s reign. Maybe this time they will learn to get the f**k out when an impending hurricane approaches the Big Easy.

    Support your Troops!!
    Jon


  23. Ann (unregistered) on September 27th, 2005 @ 7:11 pm

    No one, to my knowledge, has faulted the troops themselves. Y’all carry too much of a burden as it is. The leadership, maybe, but never the troops. As for Blanco, she did have the troops activated before the storm, but the logistics were/are a nightmare. She did ask for aid, BEFORE the storm hit, but was rebuffed by FEMA et al. She and Nagin both ordered evacuations 2-3 days BEFORE the storm hit. Whatever her handling after the storm as she watched her parts of her state literally being swept to sea, beforehand she did, as far as I can discern, all that she could have: She ordered an evacuation, she asked for federal aid, she followed the evacuation plans. She did her job; over a million people – 1,000,000 people!!! – from the southeastern part of the state evacuated.

    That’s a point I see people glossing over, or out-right omitting: the more than 80% of the population that did follow the evacuation orders that was issued Sat. and Sun. They, in other words Jon, “g[o]t the f**k out.” :-P Yes, some idiots stayed while others not could leave, and yet others came back too soon. Is that Blanco and Nagin’s fault? Were they supposed to go door to door and forcibly drag people out? and do what with them – shelters and hotels were full all the way to Memphis and beyond. Leave them sitting on the side of the road? No one is saying the LA response was perfect – it was far from it – but the role of the federal government in this situation is to be the support network, the infrastructure until the state and local officials can get a handle on it. The federal government/FEMA, according to a bipartisan panel today, gets “an F minus.” (http://nola.com)

    And you’re right, Jon, it was the ensuing flooding that caused the catastrophe, but to not prepare for flooding in an area that in general is barely above sea level (not just N.O., but the entire Gulf Coast) is absolutely unconscionable. For the head of agency whose name is “Federal Emergency Management Agency” to hear from a reporter about the situation at the convention center is a disgrace. (I think he was lying today when he said he “misspoke” because he was tired and really did know. That’s even worse, IMHO – he DID know, and yet continued to do nothing “because it wasn’t an official evacuation site.” Jackass. Sorry, I digress) Brown’s responses today were truly appalling. He not only insulted Louisiana in general (He said it was dysfunctional; while however true, is not an appropriate response for “Why did you screw this up so bad?”) He blamed everyone but himself, even the Department of Homeland Security. He believes he did “a pretty darn good job of it” when responding to Katrina. (http://nola.com) The two mistakes he admitted to were, get this, not holding ENOUGH press conferences, and not convincing Nagin and Blanco to get along. Not that the LA officials aren’t guilty of something as well, but it’s hardly their fault FEMA didn’t have the supply lines up and running, adequate equipment, or a clue.

    The overall pitiful excuse for a response by FEMA, not the solely the debacle of N.O., is the issue most are upset about. Moving troops is one thing, supply trailers are another. Canadian aid workers arrived before FEMA. CANADA! There is still no FEMA response in some areas hit by the actual storms as opposed to the flooding of N.O.; Four weeks out and not a sign of them in rural Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. According to the Times-Picayune, Terrebone Parish is being told they are not eligible for FEMA aid because they were declared a disaster area for Katrina, but not Rita, so tough s**t. Evacuees are being denied transportation vouchers to travel to stay with relatives. They can only go to assigned designated “temporary housing” areas. If they refuse, they are cut-off. Where’s the logic in that? Pay to have someone move someone to a strange place and rent an overpriced hovel rather than “allow” them go stay with family? It’s insane. There are evacuees here in Memphis that were told they were not eligible for aid because they were not staying in a shelter, but with friends. They were told to move to a shelter, apply for aid, stay there a few days, and then go where they were assigned, as opposed to staying with friends and family. They declined and are getting relocation assistance from private area groups. (and for those of y’all who play “blame the victims,” these two families evacuated before the storm, are middle class, college educated, married and, shocking though it is for some to believe, not white. :-P )

    There’s plenty of blame to go around – the N.O. police chief just resigned, whether under duress is yet to be determined. But I think it’s fair to say that Brown/Chertoff/Bush bear the bulk of it.


  24. Ann (unregistered) on September 27th, 2005 @ 8:16 pm

    Interesting article here about response planning pre-storm. Sorta bears out that Blanco et al were busy busy busy before the storm hit.

    http://www.nola.com/newslogs/tporleans/index.ssf?/mtlogs/nola_tporleans/archives/2005_09_27.html#083001>link


  25. Mark (unregistered) on September 28th, 2005 @ 1:33 pm

    Bush. Shit happens.


  26. MVM (unregistered) on September 29th, 2005 @ 11:06 am

    Perhaps I missed something, but I can’t for the life of me understand why a good cop like Eddie Compass would suddenly out of nowhere “quit” the police department he loves and has been a part of for almost 30 years, after all he and they have been through together. Can anyone tell me what really happened?


  27. Kat (unregistered) on September 30th, 2005 @ 11:37 am

    I’m personally sick and tired of hearing how bad New Orleans was treated during evacuation of Katrina and in her aftermath. I’m from NE MS, we have over 5,000 evacuees from New Orleans and surrounding areas. You could ask any of them and they would tell you that they lay most of the blame at the state and local govt. Yes, the federal govt. is slightly to blame.But, if LA gov. and NO’s mayor would have tried a little to get off their a**, alot of lives could have been saved.Has anyone heard Mayor Ray Nagin or Gov. Blanco apologize or try to help anyone from the poverty stricken areas? No. Ray Nagin is to worried about getting his business and campaign supporters back in the city. He could care less about the people who actually voted him in.If you want to make it a race issue it’s going to be a little hard seeing as your African- American mayor has put the “poverty/ govt. assisted living” on the bottom of his list.That’s why they didn’t find some bodies til 2wks after Katrina.Don’t you think if he really cared if would have fixed the levees by 9th ward and 17 st canal before he knew about Rita? He was to worried about getting the business district and uptown/garden district reopened.He’s scared that he won’t have a metropolitan anymore. And as for Compass resigning for the police dept. There is NO WAY that it was his decision to leave. This man devoted his life to that police force in a town that he loved. We had a sheriff’s officer from St. Bernaird Parish staying with us who helped out in NO before taking his 3 day leave. The were told that per Mayor Ray Nagin to check the ninth ward LAST!!! He said that NO police stated that because 9th ward was last that they would be finding bodies for months.You can’t ask a super. of police, who loves his city dearly, to leave people who could be strugling to survive or bodies who need to be taken care of. Compass did the best he could with 2 disasters, that were back to back,and a police force who were either looting or holding up in buildings and not helping. I can’t believe he did so well with all of that and some of his friends actually killing themselves. Trust me if you’ve ever had anyone close to you kill themselves then you know that it’s a time in your life that is a disaster. I’ve been thru that and I didn’t want to talk to anybody, much less work. Compass did the best he could with the situation he was in.So if anyone is to blame for the sh***y job the NO police force did(or were told to do)and the hundreds of lives that were lost it would be Mayor Ray Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Blanco.Just one last question. Did you see or hear of any of this happening in Mississippi? No, because what little bit of crime we had was put to a stop by martial law and our gulf coast region was evacuated 2-3 days before Katrina.Another reason you don’t hear many from MS complaining about being left behind is because the people who decided to stay behind and “weather the storm” aren’t there. Our citizens that stayed behind we might not ever hear from again.From Picayune to Mobile, AL the only poss. explanation we can come up with is that the hundreds(poss. thousands)were washed back out to the gulf with the 40 foot storm surge that MS got from Katrina.So, yes NO got it pretty bad, mainly because of flooding that could have been prevented. If you’ll remember- MS got the worst part of Katrina.I think a lot of people have forgotten about that.So, I’m truelly sorry about NO’s damage and lives lost, but to us( the citizens of Mississippi)we feel completely forgotten about by the press and federal govt. President Bush is getting so much grief from Louisiana that he has to devote most of his time to the state of LA.It’s a sad day when this country overlooks the worst hit areas because one metro. city is upset that they feel they were overlooked.I hope this makes some of you take a second look at the disaster in New Orleans and take a look at the surrounding areas- Mississippi and St. Bernaird Parish,LA. These are the truelly the FORGOTTEN AREAS that got the worst of Katrina


  28. A Texan (unregistered) on September 30th, 2005 @ 3:38 pm

    I have read all of the postings in this blog and have a few thoughts of my own about Katrina and Rita. I’m sure I’ll be blasted on a few but that’s ok. We all have differing views and agreeing to disagree without malice is one of the things I love most about America.

    I have a grandson that lives with his dad in Corpus so I pay VERY close attention to the hurricane season in Texas. Also, as I live in Austin, when hurricanes hit the coast around the Corpus area, we are on the tornado spawning side of the hurricane. I grew up in West Texas in “Tornado Alley” so I know about tornados and the precautions to take for them. However, after keeping my eye closely on things regarding Katrina and Rita, this is what I saw from a viewpoint somewhat removed from the danger of the storms.

    Katrina – If you have a city full of poor people that have no means to evacuate the city, then as a governor and/or mayor, why did you NOT put into service the school buses and mass transit to remove these people from the area, or at least give them an opportunity to evacuate? Even if it meant having people go from door to door knocking and warning people. Then if they choose to stay, the responsibility is theirs and they have no room to criticize what does or does not happen fast enough. (It’s like voting. In my book, if you don’t vote, then shut the hell up. You don’t have a right to complain about anything)

    I saw on CNN news that a parish east of New Orleans did not flood because the PARISH voted to raise taxes to maintain their levees when the government funding dried up. And because of their marvelous levee system, they did not flood. Not only that, the person in charge of the parish wrote a report EVERY YEAR and sent it to the Governor of LA about what danger they were in if they didn’t take local action to repair and shore up their levees.

    My heart goes out to those survivors of Katrina and yes, I donated and our city (Austin, Texas)had the largest amount of survivors, next to Houston and possibly San Antonio, relocate to shelters here after the floods. We don’t care about the color of your skin, we care that you don’t have a place to live, your kids don’t have schools, and you are struggling to survive. My daughter works for a management company that provides affordable housing (some of those complexes are so pretty I almost decided to leave where I am and try and get in to one of them) and she went to the convention center and passed out cards for her complex and to date, they have filled all the vacancies they had with survivors. As for the media, they make me sick to my stomach. What ever happened to unbiased reporting? I fear it went the same way “truth in advertising” went…..further south than any of us would like to venture.

    Rita – There has been a lot of criticism over the evacuation of Houston and the many problems that occurred when they first ordered evacuation. While they did have a problem with fuel shortages and the highways were a “parking lot” bear in mind that we were being told that it was “possible” that Rita could hook north and directly hit Galveston and Houston. The whole time we watched on the NOAA channel, it was bearing straight for Corpus or just in between Corpus and Houston until late Wednesday or Thursday when it started it’s movement northward. So I don’t blame them when they waited just a little too long to order mandatory evacuation. I do, however, find it ironic that there were fuel shortages in that area considering all the refineries that are concentrated in that area.

    When you think about the debacle that the evacuation appeared to be to the public, consider that fact that the Houston/Galveston area alone is home to 2,200,000+ people (not to mention any visitors that come to the coast on vacation) and a safe and timely evacuation would have to be orchestrated over a week in advance to avoid what happened. Now it could be that they might have avoided some of the congested traffic if they had implemented an evacuation based on say…..zip code or something. But then you face the inevitable blame should something terrible happen and a zip code gets wiped out. Personally, I find that the mayors of Houston and Galveston did a phenominal job in securing their cities. Houston had a total of 5 looting incidences and all were caught and jailed.

    Was this preparation a result of what happened with Katrina? Maybe some of it was, but in that short of a period of time you can’t do what they did without a good infrastructure for this type of disaster in place. We have hurricane evacuation routes, etc. Why? Because we have coastal cities. Any state that does not have a structure in place to make sure people are evacuated from their major cities, whether they be black or white, poor or rich, SHOULD be blamed for the death and distruction that occurs when a natural disaster of this magnitude hits our shores.

    As I said earlier, I live in Austin. Not likely to get a hurricane here. But we get the spawned tornados, being on the north east side of a hurricane that hits the coast can cause. As of Tuesday night, even my family was ready in case it hit the Corpus area. We had water, batteries, canned food, a survival bag prepared, and we had a place thought out where we could ride out any tornados that might hit. My husband took care of the provisions, I took care of calling my kids and parents that live in the area and making sure they prepared just as we had. I knew where each of their safe spots in their houses were in case I had to do the worst and search for them. I was prepared. If MY family can do that, then the states can do that, just on a larger scale.

    I know this posting is a bit long and I’ve rambled somewhat, but I just think more responsibility (notice I didn’t say blame?) for what has occurred should be shouldered by the state and local government. The most fortitude a person can show is when they say “I made a terrible mistake” and mean it, then learn from it.


  29. Ann (unregistered) on September 30th, 2005 @ 9:38 pm

    “A Texan” – I’m not sure if you’re attempting to imply that Louisiana doesn’t have posted evacuations routes or not – but just in case you are, umm – the evacuation routes are posted with blue signs that say “Hurricaine Evacuation Route” and those are the signs that 800,000 plus people followed OUT of N.O. BEFORE the storm and tens of thousands of others took out of SW LA for Rita. So anyway – just thought I’d clarify that.

    Oh and just to reiterate another point that is lost on so many people – it was not the state’s hurricaine preparedness that was faulty – it was the catestrophic flood preparedness.

    The flood could have happened from an unusually high spring runnoff from the Mississippi basin which encompasses 2/3 of the United States, from an especially rainy winter or a variety of other scenarios. The fact that it came from resdiual water from a hurriciane does not alieve the feds of their culpability for the poor repair of the levees and flood walls. (which are, BTW, THEIR responsibility – see the commerce clause of the Constitution). Nor does it relieve the state and local gov’t of their missteps. HOWEVER – it was NOT the lack of an effective HURRICIANE evacuation that caused the debacle – it was the sudden collapse of the levee system.

    So let’s repeat: (and yes, I realize my caps lock is on)

    THE HURRICAINE EVACUATION OUT OF NEW ORLEANS WAS A SUCCESS – MORE THAN 80% LEFT IN ADVANCE OF THE STORM.

    The problems came with the FLOODING which could have happened on a Wednesday in May when the sky was blue and Pooh was out of honey.

    A.

    P.S. Kat – I, and thousands of others, have sent money, supplies, and/or gone down to help the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We can’t control the media’s obsession with N.O. or the lack of coordinated federal or private response to the disaster in Mississippi. That said, while my heart aches for south Mississippi and I agree that is is being tragically overlooked, this blog is devoted to N.O. so that’s what’s being discussed. :-}


  30. telegra (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 2:28 am

    nice blog


  31. bangbus (unregistered) on February 14th, 2006 @ 7:06 am

    show me


  32. drunken editor (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 9:34 am

    Okay dear moderator,
    I corrected the one word that I had miss-spelled, cleaned up the punctuation a bit, and changed the two or three words that were a bit inflammatory. Now, please let your visitors decide if I am articulate or not. If you remove this again, I shall assume that you wish to protect your point of view by removing mine.

    I donated and I am sorry I did.

    I feel bamboozled.

    I marvel at the perception of entitlement demonstrated by a large contingent of individuals affected by the hurricane – the extent of this attitude makes clear, that it didn’t spring up out of nowhere the day after Katrina hit: this level of expectation must be grown and cultivated. It is now making a lot more sense why I have to work so hard to give 1/2 away; while also making sure to buy insurance and keep a few dollars in a bank account incase asteroid falls on my house. Although, now that I know the government gives away ATM cards with a balance, I may not bother.

    Meanwhile, I sit here still working at 3am while watching live news clips of our Katrina victims, drunk off their rear, stumbling to avoid the stream of million dollar floats going by, and, collectively adorned in what’s been reported as millions of dollars worth of beads. On top of that, as if the area wasn’t trashed already, the festivities are making a wreck of the one part of the city that wasn’t totally destroyed by Katrina. I’ve never been one to encourage anyone not to party; but, don’t party on my dollar while you trump up ridiculous race tactics in order to extort from the American bank.

    Don’t you all feel a bit bamboozled?

    Mexico got wrecked by 3 hurricanes not long ago and all is back to normal? I wonder how on earth they managed without the 100 billion dollars and billion man hours that apparently only blow in with American Hurricanes.

    It isn’t just Mardi Gras. Not even primarily Mardi Gras. The partying just puts a real visible face on what has been the underlying attitude since post Katrina day one. Like I said, I contributed, and I believe in the individual doing what they can to help their neighbor. How should a neighbor of good character respond to the assistance? Should your neighbor call you a racist in hopes of getting more help? Should they critically lash out at you for not mowing their back yard after you did your best to help them mow their front yard? Perhaps, for the sake of argument, you do go mow the back yard too, so that your neighbor doesn’t go door to door trying to convince the rest of the block that you are racist and/or heartless. Wouldn’t it be slick if your neighbor re-trashed the front yard while you were working on the back?

    I work very hard and don’t have a lot. That’s called being poor, not oppressed. Nobody is offering me help to get my own yard to begin with, let alone mow it for me. And farthest from my mind is blaming President Bush for my situation. You go ahead and take what you think you need in order to have the best life you can; however, even though this tactic of being ungrateful and hateful, like Mr. Nagen has championed throughout this whole crisis, might work on the local New Orleans government in getting more, but New Orleans is not going to guilt anymore out of me.



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