Since today marks the 5th anniversary of this terrible tragedy, I along with the rest of these states that are united [well, the people for that matter], continues to mourn with you and your loss. May God and peace be upon you and your hearts.
Just as a reminder, New Orleans wasnt the only city affected by this natural disaster.
Early Tuesday morning, August 30, a day after the hurricane struck, President Bush attended a V-J Day commemoration ceremony at Coronado, California while monitoring the situation with his aides and cabinet officials. 24 hours before the ceremony, storm surges began overwhelming levees and floodwalls protecting the city of New Orleans, greatly exacerbating the minimal damage from rainfall and wind when the hurricane itself veered to the East and avoided a direct hit on New Orleans. Initial reports of leaked video footage of top-level briefings held before the storm claimed that this video contradicted Bush’s earlier statements that no one anticipated the breach of the levees. Transcripts revealed that Bush was warned that the levees may overflow, as were Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin.
Bush was criticized for not returning to Washington, D.C. from his vacation in Texas until after Wednesday afternoon, more than a day after the hurricane hit on Monday. Many claimed that on the morning of August 28, the president telephoned Mayor Nagin to “plead” for a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, and further claimed that Nagin and Gov. Blanco decided to evacuate the city only in response to that request. These claims were never substantiated with any recordings, however Blanco did tell reporters the President had called and spoken with her (but not Nagin) before the press conference.
Bush overflew the devastated area from Air Force One as he traveled from Texas back to Washington, D.C., and subsequently visited the Gulf Coast on Friday and was briefed on Hurricane Katrina. The president showed optimistic resolve for the pending reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, noting particularly, “…that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house — there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.” .
Vice President Dick Cheney was also criticized in his role in the aftermath. On the night of August 30, and again the next morning, he personally called the manager of the Southern Pines Electric Power Association and ordered him to divert power crews to electrical substations in nearby Collins, Mississippi that were essential to the operation of the Colonial Pipeline, which carries gasoline and diesel fuel from Texas to the Northeast. The power crews were reportedly upset when told what the purpose of the redirection was, since they were in the process of restoring power to two local hospitals, but did so anyway.
In January 2006, the President gave his 2006 State of the Union Address:
As we renew the promise of our institutions, let us also show the character of America in our compassion and care for one another… A hopeful society comes to the aid of fellow citizens in times of suffering and emergency — and stays at it until they’re back on their feet. So far the federal government has committed $85 billion to the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We’re removing debris and repairing highways and rebuilding stronger levees. We’re providing business loans and housing assistance. Yet as we meet these immediate needs, we must also address deeper challenges that existed before the storm arrived. In New Orleans and in other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our country. The answer is not only temporary relief, but schools that teach every child, and job skills that bring upward mobility, and more opportunities to own a home and start a business. As we recover from a disaster, let us also work for the day when all Americans are protected by justice, equal in hope, and rich in opportunity.
In January 2007, the fired FEMA director Michael D. Brown charged that partisan politics had played a role in the White House’s decision to federalize emergency response to the disaster in Louisiana only rather than along the entire affected Gulf Coast region, which Brown said he had advocated. “Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House were thinking, ‘We had to federalize Louisiana because she’s a white, female Democratic governor, and we have a chance to rub her nose in it,'” Brown said, speaking before a group of graduate students at the Metropolitan College of New York on January 19, 2007. “‘We can’t do it to Haley [Mississippi governor Haley Barbour] because Haley’s a white male Republican governor. And we can’t do a thing to him. So we’re just gonna federalize Louisiana.'” The White House fervently denied Brown’s charges through a spokeswoman and Brown’s comments have never been substantiated.[
Discussion of the recovery efforts for Hurricane Katrina took a back seat to terrorism and Iraq in his 2006 State of the Union Address. In that speech, Bush did not mention any human suffering caused by the storm or its aftermath, and did not acknowledge any shortcomings in his administration’s response. Some media sources criticized Bush for failing to mention hurricane recovery in his 2007 State of the Union Address.