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KATRINA TIMELINE

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"KATRINA TIMELINE"

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Friday, August 26

GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA [Office of the Governor]

GULF COAST STATES REQUEST TROOP ASSISTANCE FROM PENTAGON: At a 9/1 press conference, Lt. Gen. Russel HonorĀ©, commander, Joint Task Force Katrina, said that the Gulf States began the process of requesting additional forces on Friday, 8/26. [DOD]

Saturday, August 27

GOV. HALEY BARBOUR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN MISSISSIPPI [Office of the Governor]

5AM CDT — KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE [CNN]

GOV. BLANCO ASKS BUSH TO DECLARE FEDERAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: “I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster.” [Office of the Governor]

FEDERAL EMERGENCY DECLARED, DHS AND FEMA GIVEN FULL AUTHORITY TO RESPOND TO KATRINA: “Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.” [White House]

Sunday, August 28

2AM CDT — KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE [CNN]

7AM CDT — KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE [CNN]

MORNING — LOUISIANA NEWSPAPER SIGNALS LEVEES MAY GIVE: “Forecasters Fear Levees Won’t Hold Katrina”: “Forecasters feared Sunday afternoon that storm driven waters will lap over the New Orleans levees when monster Hurricane Katrina pushes past the Crescent City tomorrow.” [Lafayette Daily Advertiser]

nagin.jpg 9:30 AM CDT — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES FIRST EVER MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS: “We’re facing the storm most of us have feared,” said Nagin. “This is going to be an unprecedented event.” [Times-Picayune]

AFTERNOON — BUSH, BROWN, CHERTOFF WARNED OF LEVEE FAILURE BY NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER DIRECTOR: Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center: “‘We were briefing them way before landfall. … It’s not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped.’” [Times-Picayune; St. Petersburg Times]

4PM CDT — NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES SPECIAL HURRICANE WARNING: In the event of a category 4 or 5 hit, “Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. … At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. … Power outages will last for weeks. … Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.” [National Weather Service]

LATE PM — REPORTS OF WATER TOPPLING OVER LEVEE: “Waves crashed atop the exercise path on the Lake Pontchartrain levee in Kenner early Monday as Katrina churned closer.” [Times-Picayune]

APPROXIMATELY 30,000 EVACUEES GATHER AT SUPERDOME WITH ROUGHLY 36 HOURS WORTH OF FOOD [Times-Picayune]

LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD REQUESTS 700 BUSES FROM FEMA FOR EVACUATIONS: FEMA sends only 100 buses. [Boston Globe]

Monday, August 29

7AM CDT — KATRINA MAKES LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE [CNN]

7:30 AM CDT — BUSH ADMINISTRATION NOTIFIED OF THE LEVEE BREACH: The administration finds out that a levee in New Orleans was breached. On this day, 28 “government agencies, from local Louisiana parishes to the White House, [reported that] that New Orleans levees” were breached. [AP]

8AM CDT — MAYOR NAGIN REPORTS THAT WATER IS FLOWING OVER LEVEE: “I’ve gotten reports this morning that there is already water coming over some of the levee systems. In the lower ninth ward, we’ve had one of our pumping stations to stop operating, so we will have significant flooding, it is just a matter of how much.” [NBC's "Today Show"]

11:13 AM CDT – WHITE HOUSE CIRCULATES INTERNAL MEMO ABOUT LEVEE BREACH: “Flooding is significant throughout the region and a levee in New Orleans has reportedly been breached sending 6-8 feet of water throughout the 9th ward area of the city.” [AP]

MORNING — BROWN WARNS BUSH ABOUT THE POTENTIAL DEVASTATION OF KATRINA: In a briefing, Brown warned Bush, “This is, to put it mildly, the big one, I think.” He also voiced concerns that the government may not have the capacity to “respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe” and that the Superdome was ill-equipped to be a refuge of last resort. [AP]

MORNING — MAYFIELD WARNS BUSH ABOUT THE TOPPING OF THE LEVEES: In the same briefing, Max Mayfield, National Hurricane Center Director, warns, “This is a category 5 hurricane, very similar to Hurricane Andrew in the maximum intensity, but there’s a big big difference. This hurricane is much larger than Andrew ever was. I also want to make absolutely clear to everyone that the greatest potential for large loss of lives is still in the coastal areas from the storm surge. … I don’t think anyone can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but there’s obviously a very very grave concern.” [AP]

MORNING — BUSH CALLS SECRETARY CHERTOFF TO DISCUSS IMMIGRATION: “I spoke to Mike Chertoff today — he’s the head of the Department of Homeland Security. I knew people would want me to discuss this issue [immigration], so we got us an airplane on — a telephone on Air Force One, so I called him. I said, are you working with the governor? He said, you bet we are.” [White House]

mccainbirthday.jpg MORNING — BUSH SHARES BIRTHDAY CAKE PHOTO-OP WITH SEN. JOHN MCCAIN [White House]

11AM CDT — MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY REQUESTS THAT DHS DISPATCH 1,000 EMPLOYEES TO REGION, GIVES THEM TWO DAYS TO ARRIVE: “Brown’s memo to Chertoff described Katrina as ‘this near catastrophic event’ but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, ‘Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.’” [AP]

LATE MORNING — LEVEE BREACHED: “A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new ‘hurricane proof’ Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina’s fiercest winds were well north.” [Times-Picayune]

11AM CDT — BUSH VISITS ARIZONA RESORT TO PROMOTE MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “This new bill I signed says, if you’re a senior and you like the way things are today, you’re in good shape, don’t change. But, by the way, there’s a lot of different options for you. And we’re here to talk about what that means to our seniors.” [White House]

4:30PM CDT — BUSH TRAVELS TO CALIFORNIA SENIOR CENTER TO DISCUSS MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “We’ve got some folks up here who are concerned about their Social Security or Medicare. Joan Geist is with us. … I could tell — she was looking at me when I first walked in the room to meet her, she was wondering whether or not old George W. is going to take away her Social Security check.” [White House]

8PM CDT — RUMSFELD ATTENDS SAN DIEGO PADRES BASEBALL GAME: Rumsfeld “joined Padres President John Moores in the owner’s box…at Petco Park.” [Editor & Publisher]

8PM CDT — GOV. BLANCO AGAIN REQUESTS ASSISTANCE FROM BUSH: “Mr. President, we need your help. We need everything you’ve got.” [Newsweek]

LATE PM — BUSH GOES TO BED WITHOUT ACTING ON BLANCO’S REQUESTS [Newsweek]

Tuesday, August 30

11AM CDT — BUSH SPEAKS ON IRAQ AT NAVAL BASE CORONADO [White House]

MIDDAY — CHERTOFF CLAIMS HE FINALLY BECOMES AWARE THAT LEVEE HAS FAILED: “It was on Tuesday that the levee–may have been overnight Monday to Tuesday–that the levee started to break. And it was midday Tuesday that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake was going to start to drain into the city.” But later reports note that the Bush administration learned of the levee breach on Aug. 29. [Meet the Press, 9/4/05; AP]

PENTAGON CLAIMS THERE ARE ENOUGH NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN REGION: “Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs.” [WWL-TV]

MASS LOOTING REPORTED, SECURITY SHORTAGE CITED: “The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked,” Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. “We’re using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops.” [AP]

U.S.S. BATAAN SITS OFF SHORE, VIRTUALLY UNUSED: “The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore. The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents. But now the Bataan’s hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty.” [Chicago Tribune]

bushguitar.jpg2PM CDT — PRESIDENT BUSH PLAYS GUITAR WITH COUNTRY SINGER MARK WILLIS [AP]

BUSH RETURNS TO CRAWFORD FOR FINAL NIGHT OF VACATION [AP]

Wednesday, August 31

1:45AM CDT — FEMA REQUESTS AMBULANCES THAT DO NOT EXIST: “Almost 18 hours later, [FEMA] canceled the request for the ambulances because it turned out, as one FEMA employee put it, ‘the DOT doesn’t do ambulances.’” [Wall Street Journal]

11:20 AM CDT — FEMA STAFF WARNED BROWN THAT PEOPLE WERE DYING AT THE SUPERDOME: Three hours later, Brown’s press secretary wrote to colleagues complaining that Brown needed more time scheduled to eat at a restaurant: “He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes. We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you.” [AP]

NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS ARRIVE IN LOUSIANA, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, AND FLORIDA: Troops arrive two days after they are requested. [Boston Globe]

superdome2.jpg TENS OF THOUSANDS TRAPPED IN SUPERDOME; CONDITIONS DETERIORATE: “A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers. ‘We pee on the floor. We are like animals,’ said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. … By Wednesday, it had degenerated into horror. … At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for. There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming.”” [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/05]

PRESIDENT BUSH FINALLY ORGANIZES TASK FORCE TO COORDINATE FEDERAL RESPONSE: Bush says on Tuesday he will “fly to Washington to begin work…with a task force that will coordinate the work of 14 federal agencies involved in the relief effort.” [New York Times, 8/31/05]

JEFFERSON PARISH EMERGENCY DIRECTOR SAYS FOOD AND WATER SUPPLY GONE: “Director Walter Maestri: FEMA and national agencies not delivering the help nearly as fast as it is needed.” [WWL-TV]

waterisrising22.jpg 80,000 BELIEVED STRANDED IN NEW ORLEANS: Former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy “estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged President Bush to send more troops.” [Reuters]

3,000 STRANDED AT CONVENTION CENTER WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER: “With 3,000 or more evacuees stranded at the convention center — and with no apparent contingency plan or authority to deal with them — collecting a body was no one’s priority. … Some had been at the convention center since Tuesday morning but had received no food, water or instructions.” [Times-Picayune]

PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY DECLARED FOR ENTIRE GULF COAST: “After a natural disaster, short and long-term medical problems can occur. Diseases like cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and mosquito-borne illnesses tend to break out under these conditions.” [WCBS-TV]

bushplane.jpg BUSH SURVEYS DAMAGE FROM AIR FORCE ONE: President Bush flew over New Orleans on Air Force One. “During the 35-minute tour, Bush clearly saw from his vantage point the damage to the football stadium in New Orleans as well as the flooded neighborhoods, wiped out bridges and slabs of foundations where houses used to stand.” [Fox News]

CHERTOFF “EXTREMELY PLEASED WITH THE RESPONSE” OF THE GOVERNMENT: “We are extremely pleased with the response that every element of the federal government, all of our federal partners, have made to this terrible tragedy.” [Department of Homeland Security]

EARLY AM — BLANCO AGAIN TRIES TO REQUEST HELP FROM BUSH: “She was transferred around the White House for a while until she ended up on the phone with Fran Townsend, the president’s Homeland Security adviser, who tried to reassure her but did not have many specifics. Hours later, Blanco called back and insisted on speaking to the president. When he came on the line, the governor recalled, “I just asked him for help, ‘whatever you have’.” She asked for 40,000 troops.” [Newsweek]

4PM CDT — BUSH GIVES FIRST MAJOR ADDRESS ON KATRINA: “Nothing about the president’s demeanor… — which seemed casual to the point of carelessness — suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.” [New York Times]

7PM CDT — CONDOLEEZZA RICE TAKES IN A BROADWAY SHOW: “On Wednesday night, Secretary Rice was booed by some audience members at ‘Spamalot!, the Monty Python musical at the Shubert, when the lights went up after the performance.” [New York Post, 9/2/05]

8PM CDT — FEMA DIRECTOR BROWN CLAIMS SURPRISE OVER SIZE OF STORM: “I must say, this storm is much much bigger than anyone expected.” [CNN]

Thursday, September 1

7AM CDT — BUSH CLAIMS NO ONE EXPECTED LEVEES TO BREAK: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” However, as former FEMA Director Michael Brown told CNN, “the president knew from our earlier conversations that that was one of my concerns, that the levees could actually breach.” [Situation Room, 3/2/06]

CONDOLEEZZA RICE VISITS U.S. OPEN: “Rice, [in New York] on three days’ vacation to shop and see the U.S. Open, hitting some balls with retired champ Monica Seles at the Indoor Tennis Club at Grand Central.” [New York Post]

STILL NO COMMAND AND CONTROL ESTABLISHED: Terry Ebbert, New Orleans Homeland Security Director: “This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can’t bail out the city of New Orleans.” [Fox News]

2PM CDT — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES “DESPERATE SOS” TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: “This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention centre and don’t anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention centre is unsanitary and unsafe and we’re running out of supplies.” [Guardian, 9/2/05]

2PM CDT — MICHAEL BROWN CLAIMS NOT TO HAVE HEARD OF REPORTS OF VIOLENCE: “I’ve had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they’re banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I’ve had no reports of that.” [CNN]

katrina7.jpgNEW ORLEANS “DESCEND[S] INTO ANARCHY”: “Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. ‘This is a desperate SOS,’ the mayor said.” [AP]

CONDOLEEZZA RICE GOES SHOE SHOPPING: “Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, ‘How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!’” [Gawker]

MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY LEARNS OF EVACUEES IN CONVENTION CENTER: “We learned about that (Thursday), so I have directed that we have all available resources to get that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water and medical care that they need.” [CNN]

Friday, September 2

ROVE-LED CAMPAIGN TO BLAME LOCAL OFFICIALS BEGINS: “Under the command of President Bush’s two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan…to contain the political damage from the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina.” President Bush’s comments from the Rose Garden Friday morning formed “the start of this campaign.” [New York Times, 9/5/05]

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES DEMAND THAT DHS TO PAY ATTENTION TO WORKER-SAFETY: “By Friday, experts and officials from NIH, the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency began to make frantic calls to the Department of Homeland Security and members of Congress, demanding that the worker-safety portion of the national response plan be activated.” [Wall Street Journal]

EARLY AM — BUSH WATCHES DVD OF THE WEEK’S NEWSCASTS CREATED BY STAFF WHO THOUGHT BUSH “NEEDED TO SEE THE HORRIFIC REPORTS”: “The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.” [Newsweek]

10 AM CDT — PRESIDENT BUSH STAGES PHOTO-OP “BRIEFING”: Coast Guard helicopters and crew diverted to act as backdrop for President Bush’s photo-op.

10:35AM CDT — BUSH PRAISES MICHAEL BROWN: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” [White House, 9/2/05]

BUSH VISIT GROUNDS FOOD AID: “Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.” [Times-Picayune]

LEVEE REPAIR WORK ORCHESTRATED FOR PRESIDENT’S VISIT: Sen. Mary Landrieu, 9/3: “Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.” [Sen. Mary Landrieu]

firefighters2.jpgBUSH USES 50 FIREFIGHTERS AS PROPS IN DISASTER AREA PHOTO-OP: A group of 1,000 firefighters convened in Atlanta to volunteer with the Katrina relief efforts. Of those, “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.” [Salt Lake Tribune; Reuters]

12PM CDT — BUSH “SATISFIED WITH THE RESPONSE”: “I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with all the results.” [AP]

PM — FEMA’S NO. 2 OFFICIAL “IMPRESSED” WITH GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: “I am actually very impressed with the mobilization of man and machine to help our friends in this unfortunate area….I think it’s one of the most impressive search-and-rescue operations this country has ever conducted domestically.” [Time]

BUSH COMMENTS ON SEN. TRENT LOTT’S HOUSE: “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.” Time called the remarks “astonishingly tone-deaf to the homeless black citizens still trapped in the postapocalyptic water world of New Orleans.” [White House; Time]

CONGRESS APPROVES INITIAL FUNDING: Congress quickly approves $10.5 billion in initial aid for rescue and relief efforts. [AP, 9/4/05]

Saturday, September 3

SENIOR BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL LIES TO WASHINGTON POST, CLAIMS GOV. BLANCO NEVER DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY: The Post reported in their Sunday edition “As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.” They were forced to issue a correction hours later. [Washington Post, 9/4/05]

9AM CDT — BUSH BLAMES STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS: “[T]he magnitude of responding to a crisis over a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need.” [White House, 9/3/05]

8:05PM CDT — FEMA FINALIZES BUS REQUEST: “FEMA ended up modifying the number of buses it thought it needed to get the job done, until it settled on a final request of 1,335 buses at 8:05 p.m. on Sept. 3. The buses, though, trickled into New Orleans, with only a dozen or so arriving the first day.” [Wall Street Journal, 9/13/05]

kanye.jpg KANYE WEST TELLS AUDIENCE, “GEORGE BUSH DOESN’T CARE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE.” [BBC, 9/3/05]

CHERTOFF CLAIMS THAT NO ONE COULD HAVE PREDICTED KATRINA: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argues that “government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur.” However, scientists and others had warned of the possibility for years. [CNN, 9/5/05]

THE LOUISIANA SUPERDOME IS FULLY EVACUATED: By the time the evacuation was finished, the Superdome was in such a poor state that “inside and outside…[it] was a sea of trash up to 5 feet deep. [AP, 9/3/05]

Monday, September 5

FORMER FIRST LADY PATRONIZES POOR REFUGEES: Former First Lady Barbara Bush says, “Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them.” [American Public Media, 9/5/05]

Thursday, September 8

BUSH SUSPENDS DAVIS-BACON ACT: Bush halts the enforcement of a law that sets the minimum pay for workers on federal contracts. AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney blasted the move as “outrageous.” [Washington Post, 9/9/05]

CONGRESS APPROVES MORE RELIEF FUNDING: Congress appropriates an additional $51.8 billion relief funding, six days after approving initial funding of $10.5 billion. [Washington Post, 9/9/05]

Friday, September 9

BROWN STRIPPED OF RELIEF DUTIES: FEMA chief Michael Brown is removed from his duty overseeing relief operations. He is replaced by Vice Admiral Thad Allen, chief of staff of the U.S. Coast Guard. [CTV, 9/9/05]

Monday, September 12

FEMA DIRECTOR RESIGNS: FEMA head Michael Brown resigns. Brown was “under fire over his qualifications and for what critics call a bungled response to Katrina.” [CNN, 9/12/05]

Tuesday, September 13

BUSH TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR FLAWED RESPONSE: “Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government,” Mr. Bush said. “And to the extent that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility.” [New York Times, 9/13/05]

Wednesday, September 14

INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIVE PANEL REJECTED: Senate Republicans voted down an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton “to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate” the government’s failures following Hurricane Katrina. [AP, 9/14/05]

Thursday, September 15

BUSH ADDRESSES NATION, SAYS HIS ADMINISTRATION WILL “LEARN THE LESSONS” OF KATRINA: “This government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. We are going to review every action and make necessary changes, so that we are better prepared for any challenge of nature, or act of evil men, that could threaten our people.” [Bush, 9/15/05]

HOUSE ESTABLISHES KATRINA COMMISSION: A day after the Senate rejected an independent panel, the House of Representatives approved legislation to create the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina. Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) was named as Chairman of the Committee. [House, 9/15/05]

Tuesday, September 20

ALLSTATE REFUSES TO REIMBURSE VICTIMS: Insurance giant refuses to pay those filing Katrina flood claims. The storm may end up costing insurers as much as $60 billion. [MarketWatch, 9/20/05]

October

3rd — IRAQ WAR HINDERS KATRINA RELIEF: An inquiry into the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina finds that the effort suffered “near catastrophic failures due to endemic corruption, divisions within the military and troop shortages caused by the Iraq war.” [Independent, 10/3/05]

10th — BUSH VISITS REGION FOR THE 8TH TIME SINCE KATRINA HIT [Situation Room, 10/10/05]

13th — 600,000 REFUGEES LIVING IN HOTELS: Spending $11 million a day, the reliance on hotels has been necessary because FEMA “has had problems installing mobile homes and travel trailers for evacuees.” [New York Times, 10/13/05]

19th — CHERTOFF TESTIFIES, CLAIMS ADMINISTRATION WAS PREPARED FOR KATRINA: In his testimony, he says, “The idea that this department and this administration and the president were somehow detached from Katrina is simply not correct. We were acutely aware of Katrina and the risk it posed.” Despite Chertoff’s claim, Bush wasn’t made aware of the failed response until four days after the storm hit. [Chertoff, 10/19/05]

    November

    1st — BUSH APPOINTS “KATRINA CZAR”: Donald Powell, head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., is tapped by President Bush to become the hurricane recovery czar. He will work to coordinate recovery and rebuilding efforts. [U.S. News & World Report, 11/3/05]

    10th — VICTIMS SUE FEMA FOR AID [New York Times, 11/10/05]

    16th — EVACUEES GIVEN 15 DAYS TO LEAVE: 150,000 evacuees are given until December 1 to leave government-subsidized hotels and find other housing. “Housing advocates criticized the announcement, saying that FEMA failed to spell out long-term housing plans, ignored existing federal housing programs and will push some poor evacuees into shelters for the homeless because of lack of planning.” [Washington Post, 11/16/05]

    23rd — THOUSANDS REMAIN MISSING: Nearly three months after Katrina hit, the National Center for Missing Adults says over 6,500 people are unaccounted for in the hurricane’s wake. In addition, “more than 400 bodies remain unidentified.” [ABC News, 11/23/05]

    December

    4th — “THE DISASTER IS STILL REALLY GOING ON, IN TERMS OF HEALTH CARE”: “Many hospitals in the New Orleans area are short-staffed and struggling to care for a growing population of patients who are returning to their homes three months after fleeing Hurricane Katrina.” [USA Today, 12/4/05]

    13th — VICTIMS TAKE OUT AD TO GET CONGRESS’ ATTENTION: Homeless victims of Hurricane Katrina took out ad space to “[plead] with Congress to pay for stronger levees.” See the ad here. [New York Times, 12/13/05]

    14th — HOUSTON ENDS VOUCHER PROGRAM: Houston Mayor Bill White said today he will stop giving Katrina refugees vouchers for a year’s worth of rent and utilities. With more than 100,000 displaced persons flocking to Houston, White declared, “Houston is full.” [Houston Chronicle, 12/14/05]

    21st — PRESIDENT BUSH SIGNS SUPPLEMENTAL OF $29 BILLION FOR KATRINA RELIEF [Brookings, 3/21/06]

    2006: JANUARY

    4th — NEW ORLEANS STILL NOT SAFE FOR DISPLACED: “The bottom line: it continues to be a very risky decision for many of the displaced households to return to the area, since all of the key necessities are in scarce supply, and it is not at all clear when or if they will be brought back online.” [Brookings, 01/04/06]

    12th — PRESIDENT BUSH TRAVELS TO NEW ORLEANS; SPENDS LESS THAN 24 HOURS IN THE REGION: He congratulated Mayor Ray Nagin for getting the city’s infrastructure “back on its feet,” but he met the locals in an area that wasn’t flooded and saw little of the city, save for the view from the interstate as he arrived. “I will tell you, the contrast between when I was last here and today…is pretty dramatic,” he said. “It’s a heck of a place to bring your family.” [WSJ, 01/13/06]

    24th — WHITE HOUSE REFUSES TO COOPERATE WITH A SENATE INVESTIGATION OF KATRINA: “The Bush administration, citing the confidentiality of executive branch communications, said Tuesday that it did not plan to turn over certain documents about Hurricane Katrina or make senior White House officials available for sworn testimony before two Congressional committees investigating the storm response.” [New York Times, 1/24/06]

    25th — ADMINISTRATION REJECTS RECONSTRUCTION PLAN: The White House rejects a Congressional reconstruction plan — the “most broadly supported plan for rebuilding communities,” and instead backs $6.2 billion in block grants that Congress provided last year, which Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) called “unacceptable.” [Times-Picayune, 1/25/06]

    31st — PRESIDENT BUSH DOES NOT MENTION KATRINA ONCE IN HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS [Bush, 1/31/06]

    FEBRUARY

    1st — GOVERNMENT AUDITORS “LAMBAST” SECRETARY CHERTOFF’S RESPONSE TO KATRINA: Congressional investigators on Wednesday lambasted the U.S. government for its response to Hurricane Katrina, saying a lack of a clear chain of command hindered relief efforts and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff or another top official should have been the point person on relief efforts. [CBS News, 2/1/06]

    10th — MICHAEL BROWN TESTIFIES: Brown called “a little disingenuous” and “just baloney” assertions by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and other top administration officials that they were unaware of the severity of the catastrophe for a day after Katrina struck on Aug. 29. [New York Times, 2/11/06]

    13th — GAO REPORT CONCLUDES THAT FEMA’S DISASTER AID PROGRAM IS RIDDLED WITH FRAUD [USA Today, 2/13/06]

    13th — HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY MICHAEL CHERTOFF ANNOUNCES REFORMS FOR FEMA [CS Monitor, 2/14/06]

    15th — BUSH, SENIOR ADMINISTRATION LEADERS SINGLED OUT IN “BLISTERING” HOUSE REPORT ON KATRINA: The House of Representatives releases a 600-page report that further criticizes the White House’s response. [The report] lays primary fault with the passive reaction and misjudgments of top Bush aides, singling out Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security Operations Center and the White House Homeland Security Council. [Washington Post, 2/12/06]

    23rd — WHITE HOUSE ISSUES OWN “LESS SCATHING” REPORT [ABC, 2/23/06]

    27th — ONLY ONE-THIRD OF KATRINA CHARITY DONATIONS REMAIN [Washington Post, 2/27/06]

    28th — MARDI GRAS FINDS A QUIET NEW ORLEANS: “The lack of revelry reflects the lack of people — New Orleans’s black middle class is gone.” [Washington Post, 2/25/06]

    MARCH

    1st — TAPES SHOWING BUSH BEING WARNED OF A POTENTIAL BREACH IN THE LEVEES ARE RELEASED [Washington Post, 3/1/06]

    2nd — UNCERTAINTY STILL REIGNS IN NEW ORLEANS: “Now six months since Katrina made landfall, New Orleans remains primarily in a gut and wait mode. Homeowners have gutted their houses, but are waiting to invest in their homes until they receive greater signs of certainty.” [Brookings, 3/2/06]

    5th — CONSERVATIVE CRITICIZES RESPONSE TO KATRINA: Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol said that Bush’s handling of the disaster had become “an emblem of the administration that just isn’t as serious about the competent execution of the functions of government as it should be.” [Fox News Sunday, 3/5/06]

    8th — TIM McGRAW AND FAITH HILL, NATIVES OF LOUISIANA, CALL RECOVERY EFFORTS “HUMILIATING”: McGraw specifically criticized President Bush. “There’s no reason why someone can’t go down there who’s supposed to be the leader of the free world … and say, ‘I’m giving you a job to do and I’m not leaving here until it’s done. And you’re held accountable, and you’re held accountable, and you’re held accountable.’” [ABC, 3/8/06]

    15th — A STUDY FINDS THAT THE WHITE HOUSE HAS REJECTED HURRICANE DISASTER-RECOVERY LOANS AT A HIGHER RATE THAN ANY OTHER ADMINISTRATION IN THE LAST 15 YEARS [USA Today, 3/15/06]

    19th — THE BROADEST COUNSELING PROGRAM EVER GETS UNDERWAY: An estimated 500,000 people need some form of mental health service, but “even people trained to offer solace break down easily and often.” [Baltimore Sun, 3/20/06]

    21st — THE LARGEST CHILD-RECOVERY EFFORT IN U.S. HISTORY ENDS: Six months after Katrina, 5,192 children are reunited with their family members. [USA Today, 3/21/06]

    30th — BUSH ADMINISTRATION MISCALCULATES COST OF REBUILDING LEVEES: “The Bush administration said yesterday that the cost of rebuilding New Orleans’s levees to federal standards has nearly tripled to $10 billion and that there may not be enough money to fully protect the entire region.” [Washington Post, 3/31/06]

    APRIL

    4th — MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA) THREATENS TO PLACE HOLDS ON THE PRESIDENT’S NOMINEES: “Mr. President, the piecemeal approach that has marked your administration’s response to providing adequate levee and flood protection for Louisiana has not worked,” Landrieu wrote. “It needs to be replaced by a comprehensive approach that is both more effective and cost-efficient.” [The Hill, 4/5/06]

    6th — BUSH NOMINATES R. DAVID PAULISON TO HEAD FEMA: Seven other candidates turned down the post. [CBS News, 4/6/06]

    12th — THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION ISSUES LONG-AWAITED CONSTRUCTION GUIDELINES FOR KATRINA-AFFECTED REGIONS [WP, 4/13/06]

    14th — THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY FAULTS ITSELF: “After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, [Homeland Security's] prevention and preparedness for terrorism have overshadowed that for natural hazards, both in perception and in application,” the report reads. [CBS News, 4/14/06]

    17th — “KATRINA KIDS” SING FOR LAURA BUSH: Today at the White House Easter Egg Roll, dozens of children “from the stricken Gulf Coast region serenaded First Lady Laura Bush with a song praising the beleaguered Federal Emergency Management Agency.” To the tune of “Hey Look Me Over,” the kids from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama sang:

    “Our country’s stood beside us
    People have sent us aid.
    Katrina could not stop us, our hopes will never fade.
    Congress, Bush and FEMA
    People across our land
    Together have come to rebuild us and we join them hand-in-hand!” [ThinkProgress, 4/17/06]

    24th — HOUSING SECRETARY SAYS ONLY THE “BEST RESIDENTS” SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO HOUSING COMPLEX: Alphonso Jackson added: “I don’t care what color they are, if they are devastating a community, they shouldn’t be allowed to return.” [USA TODAY, 4/25/06]

    25th — BUSH ASKS CONGRESS FOR ADDITIONAL $2.2 BILLION TO REPAIR LEVEES: The move comes after the government announced it had initially underestimated the amount needed to repair New Orleans’ damaged levees. Bush, however, said that this request should come out of FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund. [Bush, 4/25/06]

    27th — SENATE RELEASES 800-PAGE REPORT: The only national bipartisan inquiry in the country faults the Administration for “bungling the storm response by neglecting warnings, failing to grasp Katrina’s destructiveness, doing too little or taking the wrong steps before the Aug. 29 landfall.” [hsgac.senate.gov, 4/27/06]

    27th — BUSH MAKES 11TH TRIP TO DAMAGED GULF COAST SINCE KATRINA LANDED: “If you are interested in helping the victims of Katrina, interested in helping them get back on their feet, come on down here.” [Washington Post, 4/28/06]

    MAY

    2nd — FEMA CLOSES ITS LONG-TERM RECOVERY OFFICE IN NEW ORLEANS [AP, 5/2/06]

    katrinadebris.jpg 8th — 7.2 MILLION TONS OF DEBRIS YET TO BE REMOVED AS LANDFILL DEBATE RAGES [New York Times, 5/8/06]

    10th — LOUISIANA LAWMAKERS APPROVE $7.5 BILLION AID PROGRAM FOR HOMEOWNERS [Boston Globe, 5/10/06]

    18th — DEATH TOLL OF LOUISIANA REACHES 1,577: “A continuing rise in reports of out-of-state deaths” has increased Louisiana’s official Katrina toll by 22 percent. [The Times-Picayune, 5/19/06]

    20th — NEW ORLEANS MAYOR RAY NAGIN IS REELECTED [ABC, 5/20/06]

    JUNE

    1st — FEMA CLOSES THE LAST FOUR CAMPS THAT HOUSE AND FEED RECOVERY VOLUNTEERS [The Times-Picayune, 5/31/06]

    5th — THE FIRST CRIMINAL TRIALS SINCE KATRINA OPEN [Fox News, 6/6/06]

    15th — PRESIDENT BUSH SIGNS ADDITIONAL SPENDING OF $19.4 BILLION FOR KATRINA RELIEF: $4.2 billion goes towards housing. The package brings the total allocated by the federal government for recovery efforts to around $107 billion. [Brookings, 7/1/06]

    16th — DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SAYS THAT NEW ORLEANS IS NOT PREPARED FOR ANOTHER DISASTER [DHS, 6/16/06]

    19th — NEW ORLEANS CONVENTION CENTER REOPENS [mccno.com, 6/20/06]

    26th — $2 BILLION IN TAX DOLLARS FOR RELIEF LOST TO WASTE AND FRAUD: “The estimate of up to $2 billion in fraud and waste represents nearly 11 percent of the $19 billion spent by FEMA on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as of mid-June, or about 6 percent of total money that has been obligated.” [New York Times, 6/26/06]

    JULY

    3rd — SEXUAL ASSAULTS AMONG KATRINA EVACUEES CLIMB ALARMINGLY: “We have families doubling and tripling up in substandard housing, families living with extended family members they wouldn’t normally choose to live with,” said Alisa Klein, a public health and violence prevention specialist with the nonprofit National Sexual Violence Resource Center in Harrisburg, Pa. “We’re seeing this increased vulnerability to sexual violence…” [Women eNews, 7/3/06]

    11th — DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT APPROVES $4.2 BILLION FOR LOUISIANA’S REBUILDING PROGRAM [USA Today, 7/11/06]

    21st — NEW ORLEANS RESIDENTS FACE HIGHER ELECTRICITY PRICES AMID BLACKOUTS: “Ten months after Hurricane Katrina, the city still does not have a reliable electrical system. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of repairs are still needed on a system devastated by flooding, the local utility is in bankruptcy and less than half the system’s prestorm customers have returned.” [New York Times, 7/22/06]

    26th — MAYOR RAY NAGIN OUTLINES 100-DAY PLAN TO REBUILD NEW ORLEANS [BayouBuzz.com, 7/26/06]

    28th — U.N. CRITICIZES THE U.S. FOR FAILING TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE POOR: A panel of 18 UN poverty experts said it was concerned that the poor, especially African-Americans, “were disadvantaged by the rescue and evacuation plans implemented when Hurricane Katrina hit the United States of America.” [Mississippi Sun Herald, 7/28/06]

    AUGUST

    3rd — GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION OF NEW ORLEANS POLICE DEPTARTMENT IS LAUNCHED: Law enforcement officials from Gretna prevented the evacuees, most of them black, from crossing a Mississippi River bridge into the predominantly white suburb. [Los Angeles Times, 8/4/06]

    7th — FIRST WAVE OF NEW ORLEANS SCHOOLS OPEN: Eight new public schools open giving 4,000 students an early start on the school year. [CNN, 8/7/06]

    8th — NEW ORLEANS STILL NOT BACK ON TRACK: One year after Katrina, New Orleans is showing signs of early rebirth…but the majority of indicators are troubling, pointing to much-needed progress in basic city services, infrastructure, and affordable housing for workers in order to boost market confidence and move the region’s economy affirmatively forward. [Brookings, 8/06]