New Orleans

New Orleans
New Orleans

First off, if you haven’t yet read the Interdictor blog, go there now and read it from the beginning. This guy has been in New Orleans since before hurricane Katrina hit, and working at a web service provider company with a backup generator and whatnot, has been able to be online throughout the entire thing. It’s a fascinating and sobering look at the disaster as it unfolds.

Now, I’m hearing things that really make me mad (both via MeFi), for instance:

As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters – his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week – a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta. Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers. Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.

And at the end of the article:

Firefighters say they want to brave the heat, the debris-littered roads, the poisonous cottonmouth snakes and fire ants and travel into pockets of Louisiana where many people have yet to receive emergency aid. But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew’s first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

Then, the icing on the cake— Barbara Bush said today while visiting relief efforts at the Houston Astrodome:

“Almost everyone I’ve talked to said we’re going to move to Houston. What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. (Said with concern.) Everybody is so overwhelmed by all the hospitality. And so many of the peoples in the arena here, you know, they’re underprivileged anyway, so this—this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.

Does anyone in the federal government, present or former, actually care about helping these people?