Skip to comments.Blanco Refused To Act... Governor’s Indecision Cost Precious Time
Posted on 09/14/2005 4:32:12 AM PDT by Ellesu
Just before midnight on August 26, three days before Katrina was to make landfall, Kathleen Blanco received a phone call from George Bush. The president had been through a series of briefings from Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin and knew the potential dangers to New Orleans and the surrounding area from a storm the size of Katrina. Now he was attempting to convince the Governor of Louisiana that she needed to take immediate action.
His pleas fell on deaf ears. It seemed that the Governor was more concerned with the legalities of accepting federal assistance, and the appearance that her office could not handle the emergency.
Despite Governor Blancos reluctance to coordinate the states efforts with federal assistance, President Bush declared a state of emergency for Louisiana two full days before Katrina hit the Louisiana coast. The move allowed FEMA to begin staging relief supplies for immediate distribution in New Orleans once the storm had passed.
The president's emergency declaration also allowed FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts and to provide appropriate assistance in a number of Louisiana parishes. All that was left to do was wait for Kathleen Blanco to request Federal assistance. Under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which was revised after 9/11, the Federal Government and FEMA are not allowed to interfere with local operations unless they are authorized by state and local leaders.
Meanwhile Blanco had her own advisors insisting that the President was actually making a request for federal takeover of the Louisiana National Guard, and asking to put Louisiana State Police under federal control. They were concerned that this would be the same as martial law and lead to abuse of power by the federal government.
The next day, August 27, Bush called Blanco again and urged her to order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, she refuses.
By August 28, with Katrina less than 24 hours away, Governor Blanco had not made the decision to allow FEMA workers to assist with relief efforts. On this same day, Max Maxfield, the National Hurricane Director, called Mayor Ray Nagin and educated him on the force of nature was bearing down on his city.
He stressed to Nagin that this storm could clean New Orleans off the map. A storm this size and intensity will destroy the levees in New Orleans, they were not built for this, he said. Apparently Maxfield made his point, Mayor Nagin issued a mandatory evacuation order for New Orleans on Sunday, August 28.
At 6:44am on August 29, Hurricane Katrina crossed Caprien Bay and slammed into Buras, Louisiana packing winds of 144 miles an hour and pushing a 24 foot wall of water ahead of her. The tidal surge fanned out in a cone ahead of the eye wall. As she crossed the Biloxi Wildlife Management Area and into Lake Borgne, the wall of water entered Lake Ponchartrain and began to affect the levee system of New Orleans.
The eye continued north and made landfall again at the Mississippi/Louisiana border. As Katrina progressed inland the wind shifted, forcing additional pressure on the 17th Street Canal levee.
On the afternoon of August 29, in downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter, the brunt of the high winds had passed. Residents began to peek out and discovered the city was mostly intact. There was wind damage, and some water in the streets, but they had seen this before and weren't concerned. Sometime during the night of the 29th or early morning of the 30th, water began to poor through the 17th Street Canal levee. New Orleans began to flood.
By Tuesday, August 30, the federal relief effort began shipping food, water and medical supplies toward Louisiana for use in New Orleans. The same operation was underway in Mississippi and Alabama. The governors of those states had a already signed on to federal help and relief was pouring in. Governor Blanco was the lone holdout. She had still not made a decision.
The Department of Defense sent search and rescue experts, doctors, nurses and support personnel. FEMA was there to help as much as they could but local and state officials would not allow them to participate because Governor Blanco still had not given her permission .
Residents of New Orleans watched as the flood waters continued to poor through the breach in the 17th Street Canal levee and by Wednesday their frustration began to boil. The summer sun baked survivors on rooftops. Those who made it to the Superdome were now wandering through the gutted building, waiting for relief supplies and help which never came. Mayor Ray Nagin cursed everyone who failed to move fast enough, but Kathleen Blanco toured the stricken city in a helicopter while she conducted a news interview for CBS. On the ground, state officials were struggling with the magnitude of the disaster, but were rapidly being overwhelmed.
Federal officials were on standby, ready to move, but Governor Blanco had still mot made a decision to ask for federal help.
That evening, Blanco watched as reports of rapes and looting poured into the command center. National news agencies began to run video of looters breaking into stores and making off with garbage bags of goods. One policeman was shot in the head.
Other rescue workers reported hearing bullets zinging around them as they tried to save lives. New Orleans was out of control, and the media was wondering who was in charge.
On Thursday, September 1, amid a growing clamor of questions about the lack of action being taken in New Orleans, Blanco finally signed Executive Order KBB-2005-23, giving permission for the federal government to enter Louisiana with military assistance.
FEMA began to move supplies into the stricken parishes along the path of Katrina. The Red Cross was finally given permission to deliver the food and water it had stockpiled in the area. Lt. General Russel Honore arrived and began to take command of the military assets which were already in place. As he barked orders, things began to happen, rapidly. Mayor Ray Nagin said, "He came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussing and people started moving. Nagin called Gen Honore a John Wayne kind of dude!
In the first 12 hours after Governor Blanco relinquished control of the rescue and relief effort in New Orleans, military helicopters flew more rescue missions than in the previous three days. Un-official count of those taken out of the flooded city topped 10,000.
By Friday September 2, the federal relief effort was in full swing. Gen. Honore was now totally in charge and the effects of a firm leader were evident. A convoy of about 50 military vehicles arrived at the Convention Center where 7,000 storm survivors had waited for 4 days without food or water. When the convoy arrived military police quickly took charge and began to assist the survivors. State officials had halted the evacuations from two New Orleans hospitals, however, under Gen Honores command, the Army and National Guard began ferrying the injured and sick to safety.
State Police, along with Military Police and other federal law enforcement agencies began restoring order. President Bush visited command posts in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to personally make sure that everything that could be done, was being done. When he returned to Washington on the evening of September 2, he signed a temporary spending bill directing 10.2 billion dollars in aid be sent to Katrina affected states. The situation was beginning to improve.
When the sick and injured are evacuated, the looters arrested, and the water drained, New Orleans will begin the enormous task of clean up and reconstruction. Already there are those in Congress who recognize that Louisiana has a reputation for being the most corrupt state in the country. They are strongly advocating that any federal money sent to Louisiana NOT be put into the hands of Louisiana officials.
Rep. Tom Tancredo suggested that all federal money be funneled through a House Committee. Given the long history of political corruption in Louisiana, I am not confident that Louisiana officials can be trusted to administer federal relief aid.
Currently, three officials with Louisiana State Office of Emergency Preparedness are under indictment for mis-handling of 30 million dollars in FEMA funds. In typical Louisiana fashion, Mark Smith of the Louisiana Homeland Security office said, Really, its not that the money was misspent here or misspent there...its just a case of improper paperwork.
Justice Department officials have said that 30 million dollars is a lot of misfiled forms. Reports state the money was spent on professional dues, up-scale leather briefcases, large screen T.V.s, stereo equipment, and a trip to Germany.
As coastal Louisiana begins to recover from this disaster, the voters in Louisiana are beginning to re-evaluate their choice of leaders. The voices for change in a state that has been called the nations only banana republic are growing louder. They vow to rebuild, both their beloved New Orleans and the political system that failed her.
We need confirmation of this!
1) Just before midnight on August 26, three days before Katrina was to make landfall, Kathleen Blanco received a phone call from George Bush. The president had been through a series of briefings from Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin and knew the potential dangers to New Orleans and the surrounding area from a storm the size of Katrina. Now he was attempting to convince the Governor of Louisiana that she needed to take immediate action.
2) The next day, August 27, Bush called Blanco again and urged her to order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, she refuses.
3)By August 28, with Katrina less than 24 hours away, Governor Blanco had not made the decision to allow FEMA workers to assist with relief efforts.
4) Federal officials were on standby, ready to move, but Governor Blanco had still mot made a decision to ask for federal help.
That evening, Blanco watched as reports of rapes and looting poured into the command center. National news agencies began to run video of looters breaking into stores and making off with garbage bags of goods. One policeman was shot in the head.
Nothing here. Move on.... /s
Closer scrutiny reveals the lies surrounding Katrina evacuation and recovery
By Linda Prussen-Razzano
web posted September 5, 2005
Having lived on Long Island for most of my life, I weathered only the most minor effects of hurricanes. Typically, their devastating strength drained along the coastline as they churned northwards. When I was a child, my father comforted me through Hurricane Belle; not by holding me and telling me everything would be alright, but by his activity in securing our house, his purchase of supplies and preparations, and his explanations of hurricanes and their threats.
While the storm whipped overhead, my piqued curiosity prompted me to ask about all different kinds of natural disasters. We passed the time discussing typhoons, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods. I never thought I would use this information, but I did; twice.
At 19, my passenger and I found ourselves caught in the only flash flood in the history of Long Island. What started as a heavy rain became an overwhelming downpour within minutes. Not unlike the City of New Orleans, the patch of road on which I traveled was nestled in a natural funnel. In the space of minutes, we experienced more rain in that small bit of road alongside Eisenhower Park than all of Long Island had received in a year. With traffic surrounding me, I had not choice but to inch forward to the overpass that would take me to higher ground. Just moments before my car cleared the water now pouring in under my doors, the engine stalled, and my Monte Carlo sank back down the embankment, eventually to be completely submerged.
We had to wait until the water rose inside the car and the pressure stabilized before we could get out.
The gas pumps at the corner station began bubbling up, turning the water so black you couldnt see your hand just two inches under the surface. An elderly man, trapped in his car, didnt want to leave. Plodding through chest deep water, my passenger and I managed to get his door open and help him slog back to safety.
Everyone caught in that mess experienced a loss, but it is nothing compared to Katrina.
The second time I used my fathers sage advice came when I moved to Texas. In the bottom tip of the tornado belt, I knew what to do when the sky turned an ominous shade of green, the clouds started rotating above my head, and where to seek shelter to maximize my potential for living. It was in those few moments, when the doors and windows rattled and I imagined that my new house would be reduced to kindling around me, that all my priorities changed forever.
The folks in Louisiana and Mississippi experienced wide scale devastation during Katrina. New Orleans, and other parts of the coast, experienced a second, even more devastating blow from the horrible flooding. One is bad enough, but both? Its a catastrophe beyond comprehension, and our fellow Americans need our compassion, our generosity, and our understanding as they rebuild their entire lives.
We should be coming together, as we did after other catastrophic events in the last decade, to help and heal.
Sadly, that is not the case.
What I find astonishing is the almost immediate response from Bush Bashers to blame everything that happened, from the actual hurricane itself, to the anarchy that quickly erupted, on the President and his administration. When they do so, they not only distort the truth, they outright lie to the public, and they are doing so daily through any media venue that will give them the opportunity.
Lie #1: President Bush doesnt care about the people of New Orleans.
This outrageous lie is thoroughly debunked by the fact that it was President Bush who pushed for a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans.(1) Governor Blanco issued only a voluntary evacuation order, but admitted that she received a call from the President on August 27, 2005, urging her to make it a mandatory one. He wanted as many people as possible out of the path of the storm.
So much for the President not caring.
Despite the fact that New Orleans own Emergency Response Guidelines call for a mandatory evacuation of the City if a strike by a Category 3 Hurricane is projected, with 72 hours advance notice to all residents, Mayor Nagin didnt order a mandatory evaluation until Sunday. Further, he only did so after Max Maxfield, the National Hurricane Director, called Nagin at his home to plead that he empty the City. (2)
Why did Nagin wait so long? He was worried about the legalities. If people want to affix blame, perhaps they can look at lawyers.
How ironic, that The Drudge Report (3) and Free Republic (4) have pictures of dozens of New Orleans submerged and now useless school buses, buses that could have been used to transport residents out of the City prior to the storm, bring in supplies after the storm, and help evacuees escape the flooding. Meanwhile, Governor Blanco issued a request to the State of Louisiana to provide her with buses from local school districts.
According to a Washington Post report on Sunday, September 4, Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday.
Bushs offer to have the federal government aid in the evacuation was rejected. (5)
Lie #2: The Bush Administration was slow in coordinating help.
Mike Brown, Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for Emergency Response and Preparedness, received the order from President Bush on August 27, two full days before the storm hit the region, to prepare for Katrina disaster relief. (6) The President also declared the entire region under a State of Emergency, so that FEMA could coordinate efforts at the request of the Governors. (7) Under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, the Federal Government and FEMA are not allowed to interfere with local operations unless they are authorized by state and local leaders.
Blanco did not authorize this until September 1, 2005.
Further, according to an Association Press report on August 30, The federal government began rushing baby formula, communications equipment, generators, water and ice into hard-hit areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, along with doctors, nurses and first-aid supplies. The U.S. Defense Department sent experts to help with search-and-rescue operations. (8) FEMA was there and helping, in the capacity that was allowed by local officials, but could not swing into full gear until after Blanco gave them permission.
Lie #3: The Bush Administration did nothing to control the anarchy.
The local and state governments have control over law enforcement activities in their state, and such activities could only be coordinated through the federal government with their permission. It was not until terrible reports of rapes and violence, videos of looting, and reports of shoots being fired at rescue workers did Governor Blanco relinquish any claim of control on an out-of-control city.
An August 31, 2005 Fox News Report reveals, The looting prompted authorities to send more than 70 additional officers and an armed personnel carrier into the city. One police officer was shot in the head by a looter but was expected to recover, authorities said. Blanco said she will ask President Bush for military troops to help keep looting under control. (9) Almost immediately thereafter, FEMA, the military, and the Bush Administration began to restore order.
Further, on September 2, 2005, the Bush administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. (10)
Lie #4: The Bush Administration did nothing to prevent the flooding.
Predictions of wide spread devastation have been known since Hurricane Camille in 1969. Despite these, it was local officials who reportedly appropriated funds designated for levee improvements towards such necessary purchases as a casino, hotel, and other projects.
Amazing, isnt it?
From the carnage inside the Superdome, to the massacre of the truth on television, this is a sad time for all of America.
Just dont forget who helped all this to happen .because despite what the media wants you to believe, it wasnt President Bush.
Linda Prussen-Razzano is frequent contributor to Enter Stage Right and a number of other online magazines.
1. Associated Press, Mandatory Evacuation Ordered for New Orleans, August 28, 2005, 10:48 a.m. CT.
2. Knight Ridder Newspapers, National Hurricane Director had to call Nagin at home Saturday night to plead: "Get people out..." by Marc Caputo, David Ovalle, and Erika Bolstad, August 28, 2005
5. Washington Post, Many Evacuated, but Thousands Still Waiting, White House Shifts Blame to State and Local Officials, Manuel Roig-Franzia and Spencer Hsu, Washington Post Staff Writers, Sunday, September 4, 2005; Page A01
6. FEMA Press Release, Emergency Aid Authorized For Katrina Emergency Response In LA August 27, 2005
7. Associated Press, Bush Declares Emergency in Louisiana, August 27, 2005
8. Associated Press, Federal Government sent emergency supplies to Louisiana as early as Tuesday, August 30, 2005
9. Fox News.com, Its Not Safe In New Orleans, August 31, 2005
10. Washington Post, Ibid
Gov. Blanc-hole, bany brother Lt. Gov. Landrieu, and their hirelings are radioactive and must be prosecuted/sued for the human and dollar losses because of their gross negligence. Real adults do better, but incompetent devious politiocal manuverings and preposterous "male fides" deserve ruinations for these bad actors and the Landrieu dynasty. Big sis Senator Hillary-Lite is a mean b!+ch on a power trip to la Cover-up always with the media darlings' help.
Blanco after the storm: "It's taking way too long to gather our dead! I should have issued the order to evacuate and probably used the buses! Huh! What's that? Amtrak offered to ferry the folks from New Orleans with special trains, too?! Oh! Sh*t! I really f*cked up!"
An absolute case study of "deer in the headlight" syndrome!
And why don't they care? Because they know that even if someone in their district dies, they still have that person's vote, one way or another, at election time.
This is the first time I've heard of the 26th...yikes.
The madness continues..
"It seemed that the Governor was more concerned with the legalities of accepting federal assistance, and the appearance that her office could not handle the emergency."
The Governor was somebody's puppet, she did not know what she was doing, sure would be interesting to find out exactly who was giving her advice.
bump later read
I just want to be sure my cannon are sound and properly charged before I start firing them.
She will certainly be sued. She is probably going to be charged with criminal negligence since citizens died needlessly in hospitals and public housing, since evacuation was not ordered, since police did not do the job, since the plan was not activated....Doubtful that she can avoid jail.
Blanco = Edith Bunker
This is saying Blanco had not asked for assistance on Tuesday Aug. 30. Yet the state's website has a document showing that she made the request on August 28.
Some pretty "pour" spelling in this article.
Well now, things are finally starting to point in the right direction. She's been in a major CYA mode yesterday by blasting FEMA for not removing the bodies fast enough, although if she had been better prepared, maybe, just MAYBE, there wouldn't be as many bodies to remove!
I heard on fox and friends this morning that someone from Fox called FEMA to ask why they were so slow on body recovery....FEMA told them that the Governor's office had said last week that the State was going to be taking care of all body recovery. The good Governor has no idea what is going on in her own office. Are we surprised......NO!
It's as clear as black and white Blanco Hates poor blacks -
and the rest of her decieved clan of pointee eared politicians HATE every American that is not on their plantation ruled by Soviet Communist Despots and their useful idiots.
I wish Bush didn't say anything about accepting responsibilty.....IT WAS NOT HIS FAULT!
O-NO NO Edith Bunker was not a HATER -nor a petty despot.
Gene was an excellent actress and Edith a character that can
only in a most superficial way be compared to Blank -Oh.
A sure sign of incompetent leadership is to switch attention from self created problems by always blaming others.
I agree- but in certain captive corners of America--the
braying Jacki will Never cease to blame Bush for everything. The demented and decieved and criminal mind simply cannot admit that despite their efforts at vote scams G.W. still won the popular vote and was NOT "selected " by the US supreme Court. He has his faults .
But he is still better than any living -and most dead Democrats.
I sure heads are rolling at the NY Times because they were scooped on this by the Northside Journal. /sarcasm
I believe all she requested was $900,000 in federal funds for clean-up et al
I think that's the most charitable assessment of Blanco's inaction that we can make.
Purely polictical premeditated murder in the interest of 2008. Blank-0 belongs in Levenworth.
She'll just have to siphon off some of those pre-misappropriated federal funds, to settle out of court with anyone who tries to sue her.
bump for later reading
And, rather than apologizing and accepting the blame that is being directed at him, GW should have simply told the truth about who failed in their duties?
And his supporters should have been out there 24/7, as the socialists were, outlining what went wrong.......
So now we have these idiot Democrat Coingresscritters asking for an independent commission to investigate. The investigation couldnt take more than 15 minutes in Free Republics archives to find the cause of all the screw ups.
Now would be a good time to post the picture of Hitlery holding up the NY Post Headline "BUSH KNEW"
...but I can't seem to find it.
In their search for a monster (Bush), they have become monsters themselves.
When your one goal in life is revenge against another .. it will come back to bite you.
Bump for follow-up.
bump for later
This is exactly what I thought happened.
The dems blew it .. and decided to blame it all on Bush.
However, if Bush had gone ahead and usurped her authority - the dems would be hollering even louder.
And .. we have to remember .. the dems operate under the premise that the repubs are evil and have only evil intentions. It's the same ole same ole .. projection technique.
So when does the Louisiana Attorney General plan to file criminal charges against Blanco and Nagin as he was so quick to do against the owners of the nursing home. Charges would be the same, but the victems of Blanco and Nagin are more than ten times as many.
Poor comparison. Edith Bunker was an inept and long suffering angel with a heart of pure gold. On the other hand Blanco..........
Will Blanko Blanco be sued like the owners of the nursing home are being sued?