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I agree that to compare the two events is futile. Just the scale alone of the disaster that Katrina wrought makes that impossible.

BUt I had been puzzling over why so many people stayed in New Orleans v. all the people evacuating downtown after 9/11. It finally hit me when I realized that on 9/11 (I was working downtown south of the Trade Center) most everyone that I knew from work left because they weren't from downtown - they went back to the outer boroughs, or Jersey, Westchester or CT. I don't think we needed to be told to leave - we just went back home. For the people in New Orleans, that was home - where were they expected to go? That's just one difference.

In addition, on 9/11, as I was making my way to Grand Central, I had a wallet full of credit cards, a bank card, and cash. If I had to, I could have used any of those to get out of the city that day. How many of the people in New Orleans could say the same? I doubt the ones that stayed had those same options.

And it is embarrassing that in this day and age, with all the talk about being prepared for the next big event, we weren't.

I apologize for rambling. I am emotionally exhausted just watching the suffering of the people down south and wishing I could do more.



Amen, Moxie.


Sara and Tracy covered about everything I would have said...except:

Seems a lot of finger pointing and blame placed at the feet of the Feds. They *should* have known enough to prepare. They *should* have done more to start. Ok, fine, but then let's really talk apples to apples here.

If we must use 9/11 as a comparison, it was not FEMA or the anything else Federal marching into town to organize and execute any sort of rescue/restoration plan. It was local and state.

If you must point a finger at Bush and FEMA, then you must also point the same blaming finger at the local city and State officals. Where was THEIR plan? They knew that storm was coming. they KNEW they lived miles below sea level. Where was their plan? Where were the points of contact on the ground to coordinate immediate response? Where was the plan for communication when the phone lines went down (satellite phones?) Where was the plan to control the crowds and crime? Where was the plan to feed the tens of thousands left homeless? Where was the plan to get them out?

But all that of that moot. ALL of that is hindsite and NONE of it does a damn thing to help the people who have lost everything -- including, I'm willing to bet, their sense of security and self.

What those people need now is not a lot of anger and political bashing. What they need is compassion and prayers. They need our money. They need our contribution. I hate to say it, but if all those wagging a finger today took 10th of that energy and poured it into doing something construction (even if they already have - fine, do more) that maybe there would be some light at the end of the tunnel.


I don't know if Jenex came back to read Christy's comment, but I have also read of the many offers of help from other countries - including some of the middle eastern countries with whom we're still on speaking terms. It was in our local paper days ago...Christy if you really want that link I can send it to you and you can search their archives.

I agree that now is not the time to start the finger-pointing (although I've noticed that every level of government has already started blaming everyone else), but how much different would things have been if someone, ANYONE in charge was on the ground there to let people know that they were working on getting them to safety? How much of the relative calm after Sept. 11th was because the mayor and others were visable and reassuring that things would get figured out? I agree with the poster above - people need information and they need to know that even if it's going to take a few days, help is coming.


Well said.

I am ashamed to say that I voted for the man twice. Oh, the regret.


I'm from Mexico and I can tell you that it has boggled everybody's mind the lack of organization regarding this disaster. USA is a first world country for crying out loud. USA HAS money! it has infrestructure and military and technology.
When I read about the Convention Center I couldn't believe it. And half the world hasn't grasp the whole idea yet. The most powerful country in the world seems like a little third world country that has never had a natural disaster.

So when you tell that other countries have not offered help you have to realize the position USA has in the world. Your country is not a country that emerges first when you think in a country that needs help after a natural disaster. Of course, now that several days have passed, everybody everywhere in the world knows better than that.


I came back to talk post about the very same thing Sandy posted about. There is all of this Bush bashing because he wasn't quick enough to respond. Yes, there should have been a *general* catastrophe plan from FEMA in place for something like this, but it is impossible for FEMA to have a specific outline drawn out for every city in every state for every type of situation that could possibly occur. That is where the LOCAL and STATE officials failed, not ALL Bush's or FEMA's fault. EVEN MORE so i think the responsibilities lies with N.O. local gov't and the state of LA than with the white house. THEY should have been the ones that had this planned out a LONG time ago. They KNEW the big one was coming for years and it is QUITE evident that THEY didn't prepare either.

So when the mayor of N.O. and the governor of LA point their fingers at Bush, they need to remember they have 4 other fingers pointing squarely back at them.



Your commentary is brilliant. Thank you for this summary, this post.


You know, I've heard a lot of people say that this is not the time for finger-pointing. I say, for those of us too far away to be physically involved in the relief effort, that now is the perfect time--our wounds are fresh (as are theirs, literally). These are, as Moxie said, our brothers and sisters. We should be screaming from the roof tops that we will not let this happen again, that we will move heaven and earth to make sure it doesn't. It's not going to do to try to elect the right people anymore. It just won't do.

Let the screaming commence.

Jenn in AK

Moxie, you are so damn on target it's scary!

As for questions "where would the gas come from," "who would coordinate," etc. for Moxie's "people-based response" hypothesis...the answer is: someone would have stepped up and done it. The gas would have come from strangers cyphening (sp?) their cars - it just would have happened.

Instead, we thought we had a government organization in charge who would head all this up, so we, the people, waited.

It has taken so lnog to get volunteers in there, they have to deal with looting, shooters and disease.

Our President has shown his stupidity and impotency yet again. Even he got on t.v. and said "they should have left." Does he live in $12K a year and use public transport? And this crap about "don't buy gas if you don't have to," is he going to sit on his ass and not use his limos and transportation because of gas? Yeah, we aren't buying gas not because of what he said, but because we can't fricking afford it!

FEMA is commandeering buses set up by private citizens. There are 70 people in the nursing home of the French Quarter. Buses were set up to take them to Houston, and FEMA told the buses to go to the Superdome. And for anyone who wants to say "they should wait for FEMA to get them out," they have no food, no water and they're elderly. Do the math.

If anyone wants the details on the above situation, email me.



People, it's not about what Bush is doing or not doing. When castrophies happen it is the jurisdiction of the STATE (written in the L.A. constitution). The FEDS step in when either one of two things happen: The GOVERNOR asks for help or the feds take over due to security risk. GOV. BLANCO and city of N.O. had NO diaster or evacuation plan for those that chose or had to stay. When the levee broke, that is when Bush saw that the STATE officials weren't doing THEIR job, that is when he put together plans.

So for those playing politics, since it is easy to blame republicans when things screw up, you better FIRST look at how things in the state's *constitution* are written out. If you want to blame people, BLAME THE *DEMOCRATIC* governor of Louisiana.



I am a democrat--I can't stand Bush but Ashley has it right. FEMA does not and should not have disaster plans for every city. The local gov't is #1 in responsibility, state is #2--FEMA just provides assistance. I'll take any opportunity I can to blame the Bush administration, he is at fault for ALOT of things, but this is just simply not one of them.


Anyone who wants to absolve Bush from blame in the debacle of New Orleans should realize that Bush budgeted less than 20% of what Louisiana requested for levee maintenance. (The Times-Picayune commented on this nine times in the past 18 months.)

Presidents have been undercutting state funding requests forever, but Bush's budget was especially harsh because he had to pay for his war and his tax cuts.


Yes, Ashley, exactly. And thank you Lurker for pointing that out & it means alot coming from a "democrat". The local & state governments always have primary responsiblity for their own jurisdiction to protect them from the federal government stepping in for every issue. This is exactly why we were "spoiled" (as Moxie put it) by 9/11. The local and state government immediately took action and took responsibility for it's people. Again, the size & scope of this disaster far exceeds our 9/11 tragedy, but our local officials stepped up to the plate.



I'm not absolving Bush of any of the blame. I have never said that I do as you can see by my first post here. I hold some conservative views but that does not mean I blindly support any republican leader. I make judgement calls for the good or bad, no matter what party.

I have also read about the levee problem. It makes me ill to think that alot of the water could have been prevented by fixing this and I don't ignore that fact. I think it's sick that neither Bush nor Clinton did anything about it.

However wrong that may be, that doesn't mean the state and local officials didn't have to prepare the big one they knew was coming.



The mayor in N.O. is no Rudy Giuliani, that's for sure.

I do find it interesting that he takes none of the blame himself, nor do the state officials. Always easier to pass the buck.

I do find it interesting that after all of this hell on earth the mayor wants to rebuild the city?!

Very very interesting.



Eloquently put, sara. I couldn't agree more. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges.

I love the blog, Moxie. You were the first to comfort me after I lost one of my twins. That meant SO much to me. So thank you!


Sandy, Ashley and lurker,
I have been feeling the same thing. It maddens me so much when the state officials point their fingers at Bush. I am not absolving him either, but, what were they doing before the disaster hit? Playing parcheezi? Why were they elected then?

I am going to the Red Cross to make my donation now. I wanted to offer our home to a family to come and live with us, but it isn't very big. I suppose the money will have to do for now. And the prayers.



Oh, honey, that was so dead on.


Thank you for putting into words exactly what I've been thinking the past week. I am horrified by our government and its response to this incredible tragedy. I was watching the news last night and someone said "we wonder how many victims there will be of Katrina, and how many victims there will be of our inaction."


Coming back for an addition to this discussion.

Everyone seen this by now?

IEM, Inc., the B aton Rouge-based emergency management and homeland security consultant, will lead the development of a catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana and the City of New Orleans under a more than half a million dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

best seen discussed at :

Who was in charge of coming up with disaster plan? A private company who received a FEMA grant to do so. A private company whose CEO was a prominent donor to certain political campaigns. A company who has a certain history with pentagon contracting and causing other emergency planning agencies problems:


Beter late than never. On September 2nd compiled a list of international aid offers.
I hope the link works. The entry is titled "One world"

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