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September 4, 2005


It’s hard to care much about Rehnquist or the Supreme Court while New Orleans implodes. It’s also hard to think of a better assessment of the situation than this, from a Tim Russert interview with Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans, on NBC’s Meet the Press (via Think Progress):

RUSSERT: You just heard the director of homeland security’s explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?
BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast. But the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. … Whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chainsawed off and we’ve got to start with some new leadership. It’s not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now.

Broussard then discussed the difficulties local authorities had with FEMA:

Three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA, we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. When we got there with our trucks, FEMA says don’t give you the fuel. Yesterday — yesterday — FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards and said no one is getting near these lines…

At the end of the interview (which you can see at Crooks and Liars), Broussard broke down completely as he described how a colleague’s mother had drowned after waiting five days for a rescue that never came.

Every official at FEMA should be fired.

Posted by Stephen at 1:30 PM in Humanity | Politics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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