MOSAIC NOLA:The Gentilly Project

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Sad Aftermath of Katrina: Death in streets took a back seat to dinner

Originally Posted At and Written For Blog For America

A Chronicle of FEMA’s Internal Interactions on the Evening of Aug. 31, 2005 (2 days Post-Katrina)

Marty Bahamonde, New England FEMA regional director and FEMA’s only body in the Superdown, e-mailed Michael Brown, then FEMA director and point person in Baton Rouge, to tell him that thousands of evacuees were gathering in the streets with no food or water and that "estimates are many will die within hours." He continues, "Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical…The sooner we can get the medical patients out, the sooner we can get them out."

Micheal Brown’s press secretary, Sharon Worthy, emailed her colleagues

“He [Micheal Brown]needs much more that 20 or 30 minutes [to eat dinner]. Restaurants are getting busy. We now have traffic to encounter to get to and from a location of his choise, followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you."

Bahamonde messaged a co-worker

”OH MY GOD!!!!!!! I just ate an MRE [military rations] and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern about busy restaurants."

This chronicle demonstrates why my disgust does not have appropriate words. I can only support the sentiment expressed by Bahamonde in an email on September 3rd.
”The leadership from top down in our agency is unprepared and out of touch. ... I am horrified at some of the cluelessness and self concern that persists”


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