Skip to comments.The Times-Picayune Undresses a Blowhard(Broussard)
Posted on 10/14/2005 9:44:14 AM PDT by Pikamax
In the days following Hurricane Katrina, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard leapt into the white-hot media arena and became one of the most eloquent, savage, and ubiquitous critics of the Bush administration's lackluster, stutter-step response. As we noted earlier, Broussard's gift of gab had quote-hungry reporters lining up for tart samples.
But weeks later, at least one paper has remembered that Broussard is not only a political critic but also a politician -- and one who played a not-insignificant role in the failed evacuation. Unfortunately for Broussard, that paper is the one his constituency reads -- the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
As it turns out, in the hours prior to Katrina's arrival, while Broussard was busy pumping out memorable one-liners, his administration was neglecting something else -- specifically, the water pumps that protect the east side of Jefferson Parish.
Today the Times-Picayune published an editorial criticizing Broussard for his porous judgment. "Much of East Jefferson, like much of the rest of greater New Orleans, was built on drained swampland," noted the paper. "An elaborate network of drainage canals and pump stations is crucial to keeping water off the streets." But for 36 hours on August 28 and 29, the Times-Picayune continued, Jefferson pump stations sat silent, simply because parish officials had sent a total of 1,100 workers and 700 vehicles to Mount Hermon, near the state line, including the men and women who operate the pumps.
"Lots of people in Jefferson Parish are furious over ... Broussard's decision to evacuate more than 200 pump station workers as Hurricane Katrina loomed in the Gulf of Mexico," noted the editorial. "And while Mr. Broussard has vehemently defended that move ever since, residents have ample reason to be upset."
In an article, published in the Times-Picayune last week, upset residents did more than second-guess the decision -- they channeled their Inner Broussards.
"This wasn't an act of God," resident Danny Callahan told the paper. "It was an act of stupidity, and we're the little guys now stuck between the parish and the insurance companies. We are the ones who have to pay for the decisions politicians make. Higher insurance rates, deductibles, financial ruin. I don't want any politician deciding what they think is best for me. When he pays the mortgage on my house or takes my place in filing for bankruptcy, then he can make the decisions."
"For bedridden people, flooding is a matter of life," another resident told the paper. "I believe our homes would not have flooded in Hurricane Katrina had the pumps been running at the proper time. Now we have the agony -- yes, agony -- of trying to meet with insurance adjusters, fighting mold and mildew, and throwing our treasured possessions in a heap on the curb. ... What kind of faith can we have in our public officials to protect us?"
And while Broussard famously wept on NBC's "Meet the Press" while discussing the Bush Administration's failures, at the same time, others were shedding tears over Broussard's failures.
"I couldn't believe it," Debbie Settoon, a former East Jefferson Civic League president told the Times-Picayune. "I just screamed when I heard [that the pump stations were closed], and then I started crying. It was the first time I cried. It was the straw that broke the camel's back, because I knew what it meant."
Still, it's not easy to out-Broussard Broussard. When it was time to criticize the Bush Administration for its handling of the hurricane, Broussard delivered the best quotes. Now that the spotlight has turned to Broussard himself, the quote-maestro is not about to recuse himself from the proceedings.
"I am not an analysis paralysis guy," Broussard recently told the Times-Picayune. "I'm an action guy. If you manage a crisis by committee, you are hopelessly inept in reacting to the needs of the citizens. ... I was absolutely a salmon swimming upstream on this one."
Perhaps. But to hear the citizens of Jefferson Parish tell it, while Broussard was swimming upstream, their homes, dreams and possessions were being swept downstream. And now, thanks to the Times-Picayune's reporting, Broussard can no longer blame the flooding on management-by-committee at FEMA.
It's finally dawning on some of them. Now, if this would just occur all over the country, we might finally have some decent governing.
I first heard him on the radio, and thought it was "Reverend" R.G. Stair.
That guy bawled and whined more than an Anaheim Angels fan.
Everybody pays for the decisions politicians make. Nobody thinks about this in the election years.
What a clusterflux.
Well, we've learned one valuable lesson from Katrina...no ethnic group has a monopoly on stupidity.
This sounds like a perfect situation for a class action lawsuit...
Jefferson Parish still has email blocked.
His rediculous lying crybaby face belongs on the seal of the democrat party.
Jimmy Lee should have took advice from his cousin Jerry Lee and simply killed the woman and hid the body. ;-)
And LSU fans will be crying tomorrow after the Gators take care of the Tigers.
Of course, my alma mater's Chess Team would destroy the Gators on the board. Go Maroons!
nice post - hard to believe that Columbia Journalism Review did this story. Wish a few of the MSM had the guts to follow up with the pump portion of this tradegy. By the way time for a little forgivness to Mike Brown @ FEMA.