Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

September 7, 2005

The Hurricane Blame Game

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:43 am

Many on the left have claimed that New Orleans flooded after the hurricane because the federal government failed to provide enough funds for adequate levees to protect the city. The sometimes-implied-sometimes-stated claim is that this is because New Orleans’ population is (was?) two-thirds Black the Republicans in Washington don’t care about Black folks.

Turns out the truth is a bit different: The federal government provided plenty of funding for levees, but Louisiana officials stole the money or diverted it for other purposes.

And this is not exactly news — three officials of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness were indicted over nine months ago.

Nine months before the Hurricane Katrina disaster, three Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness officials were indicted for obstructing an audit into flood prevention expenditures.

In a November 2004 press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana announced:

“A federal grand jury has returned two separate indictments charging three members of the State Military Department with offenses related to the obstruction of an audit of the use of federal funds for flood mitigation activities throughout Louisiana.

“The two emergency management officials were senior employees of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Both were charged with conspiracy to obstruct a federal audit.”

Gov. Kathleen Blanco told Louisiana’s News-Star at the time that she was disturbed by the indictments. She said the National Guard is cooperating with the investigation “as I expect them to do.”

Reports of rampant corruption among Louisiana’s state and local agencies have been cited in recent days to explain why officials were so ill-prepared to deal with the Katrina disaster.

Note the ambiguity of Gov. Blanco’s reaction. Was she “disturbed by the indictments” because she was disturbed that her officials were corrupts and might have stolen the money, or was she disturbed by the fact ther her officials were being indicted?

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