The Issue: Hurricane Katrina relief point

On Aug. 26, a hurricane near the tip of Florida took a wide right turn and headed into New Orleans. Non-stop media coverage of Hurricane Katrina since that point has brought us pictures and stories of the city of New Orleans. Contrary to most media coverage, the federal government is not to blame; the mayor and the governor are the ones who let the people of that city down.

According to a Sept. 2 Reuters report, more than 40 federal, state, local and volunteer organizations participated in a five-day simulation code-named “Hurricane Pam” in July 2004. In this scenario, these organizations were faced with an imaginary storm that hit New Orleans and forced the evacuation of a million residents.

How was New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin unprepared for this?

If Nagin cared so much about his people, he wouldn’t have waited until Aug. 28 to issue a mandatory evacuation order. The Bush administration wanted the order to be issued earlier.

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco shares some of the blame as well. According to a Sept. 4 Washington Post report, the Bush administration sent Blanco a proposed legal memorandum Sept. 2 asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans. Bush’s offer, however, was rejected.

So before people continue blaming President Bush, they should take a look at the local and state officials – both Democrats – who decided not to follow his requests.

My prayers are with the people of New Orleans.

Their local leaders failed them, and they paid the price.