Saturday, December 03, 2005

Several different takes on yesterday's document handover

Gov. Blanco provided more than 100,000 pages of documents on Louisiana's actions during Hurrican Katrina. State press provides more than one perspective on them.

This Times Picayune article concentrates on the timeline of the buses
On Aug. 31, when the FEMA buses don't arrive, Blanco reiterated her need to federal officials for transportation to get the thousands of people out of the Superdome, Convention Center and off the Interstate 10 overpass. That day she issued an executive order to commandeer private buses to "cope with the disaster." Ultimately 1,500 would be seized, and about 800 used, the document said..

A second TP article concentrates on Blanco's attempts to keep from being smeared by a White House spin machine already in full blame-shifting mode:
"(Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael) Chertoff is now saying that the federal government 'is in control of New Orleans,' " Blanco Communications Director Bob Mann wrote in response to Kopplin. "(Brig.) Gen. (Mike) Fleming (of the Florida National Guard) is ready to say at the 11 a.m. briefing that that is not correct. The LA Natl Guard is in charge."

A third TP article concentrated on the disagreement between Blanco and Bush over who would be in charge.
On Aug. 30, Blanco asked Louisiana Adjutant Gen. Bennett Landreneau, head of the state Guard, "to ask for all available assistance from the National Guard and the United States government, specifically federal military assistance," the timeline says.

On Aug. 31, "the expected and promised federal resources still have not arrived," and Blanco places an urgent call to the White House. She eventually reaches Bush and tells him "40,000 troops would be needed."

The Lafayette Daily Advertiser concentrated on the efforts by several legislators to rescue the survivors of Katrina.
Later, an exasperated Boasso wrote, "It is beyond belief. Water 13 feet plus. People on rooves no supplies people screaming for help. Nothing we can do. Need major help tomorrow."

Ty Brommel, director of Rural Affairs in the governor's office, told Boasso a few days later, "Honestly, no one could have been prepared for something like this. However, that is no excuse not to be innovative. On tomorrow, we will begin to evacuate between 60,000 and 100,000 people from New Orleans and Jefferson. That situation is deteriorating. Disease will start to spread and there is no point in sheltering them there."

The Baton Rouge Advocate concentrates on Blanco's reaction to federal inaction, and on the hundreds of requests for assistance that were pouring in from New Orleans.
Just days after Hurricane Katrina pummeled Louisiana, there was concern within Gov. Kathleen Blanco's administration that she was succumbing to fits of anger instead of looking like a leader. "She must temper her anger and frustration," the governor's assistant chief of staff, Johnny Anderson, lamented in an e-mail to other administration officials on Sept. 2 after Blanco stormed out of a news conference. "Ten four. Right on," responded Andy Kopplin, who was the governor's chief of staff at the time.

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