You are on page 1of 12

36 Public Administration Review December 2007 Special Issue

Te governmental response to Hurricane Katrina was not

the unalloyed failure that is often portrayed. Te response
was a mixture of success and failure. Successes occurred
when a foundation had been laid for intergovernmental
cooperation, as with the largely successful pre-landfall
evacuation of Greater New Orleans, the multistate
mobilization of the National Guard, and the search and
rescue operations of the U.S. Coast Guard and the
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Postmortems should draw lessons from such successes
rather than concentrate entirely on the numerous failures.
It is now clear that a challenge on this scale re-
quires greater federal authority and a broader role
for the armed forces the institution of our
government most capable of massive logistical
operations on a moments notice.
President George W. Bush, September 15, 2005
I can say with certainty that federalizing emer-
gency response to catastrophic events would be a
disaster as bad as Hurricane Katrina. Te current
system works when everyone understands, accepts,
and is willing to fulll their responsibilities . the
bottom-up approach yields the best results.
Florida governor Jeb Bush, October 19, 2005
n Spike Lees HBO documentary about Hurri-
cane Katrina, After the Levees Broke, someone asks
why, if the U.S. government could quickly deliver
massive aid to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after a tsunami
struck there on December 26, 2004, it failed to do so
in New Orleans eight months later. Te answer, which
might seem perverse to the average American, is that
quick action in Indonesia was possible precisely be-
cause it is half a world away, within easy reach of the
aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.
As a superpower in
international politics, the United States had been
patrolling the Pacic, and its chief executive, who is in
charge of conducting the nations foreign relations and
serves as the commander-in-chief of its armed forces,
could quickly deploy U.S. naval forces to the Indone-
sian shore. Within a week, television broadcasts were
showing navy helicopters dropping supplies to survi-
vors in remote, isolated areas.
From the perspective of the presidents o ce, con-
ducting domestic aairs in an emergency is more
di cult and his powers are more constrained. By
constitutional tradition and by law, the responsibility
for managing emergencies, including natural disasters
such as Katrina, rests initially with state and local
governments. Te federal government provides relief
at their request. Even then, the president is restrained
by the Posse Comitatus Act, which since 1878 has
limited use of federal troops for domestic law
Since its creation in 1979 by an executive order of
President Jimmy Carter, the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) has been charged with
coordinating federal assistance to state and local gov-
ernments during disasters. It is a small agency at the
time of Katrina, it had only 2,500 full-time employees
and a vacancy rate of 15 20 percent ( U.S. Senate
2006 , chap. 14). With some exceptions, of which more
will be said later, the theory of FEMAs disaster func-
tion has been that it receives requests for assistance
from state and local governments and transmits them
to the appropriate federal departments such as the
Departments of Health and Human Services,
Defense, Transportation or to private organizations
such as the American Red Cross, which has a quasi-
governmental character.
Te job of interagency coordination is a hard one at
best, and FEMAs performance has never been
judged very favorably. Tey were more concerned
with scoring well on agency performance reviews than
in meeting the needs of suering individuals, Repre-
sentative Tom Ridge said in 1988 following a tornado
that killed 65 Pennsylvanians ( CQ 1990 , 495). After
Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Senator Fritz Hollings of
South Carolina, a man not given to restrained speech,
Martha Derthick
University of Virginia
Where Federalism Didnt Fail
Martha Derthick is professor emeritus
of government and foreign affairs at the
University of Virginia and former director of
the governmental studies program at the
Brookings Institution. She is the author of
numerous books on American political
institutions and public policy, including
Keeping the Compound Republic: Essays on
American Federalism (Brookings, 2001).
Part IThe
Setting: Roots of
Where Federalism Didnt Fail 37
called FEMAs sta the sorriest
bunch of bureaucratic jackasses
[he had] ever known ( Roberts
2006 , 65). Te federal govern-
ments poor performance during
Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was
thought to have contributed to
the defeat of George H. W. Bush,
the incumbent, in that years
presidential election.
During the 1990s, however, the agencys reputation
rose. James Lee Witt, President Bill Clintons director,
excelled at entrepreneurship and relations with Con-
gress, and for his part Clinton declared a record num-
ber of disasters 379 between 1993 and 2000 and 75
in the 1996 election year alone which enabled
FEMA to send welcome post-
disaster aid to local places
( Cooper and Block 2006,
59 62 ). Under Witt, the agency
began giving mitigation grants
money to help localities harden
infrastructure in order to reduce
vulnerability to disasters and
this practice continued after he
left. For example, Louisiana
received $20.5 million in mitiga-
tion grants in scal year 2003, of
which $13.5 million was allo-
cated to Terrebonne Parish for
the elevation of private structures
(U.S. House 2006 , 381). All of
this activity enhanced FEMAs
standing, and no major hurricane occurred between
1993 and 2000 to damage it. An East Coast blizzard
in 1993 was the only major domestic natural disaster
to occur during the Clinton years (White House
2006 , 6).
On the basis of the historical record, one would not
have been very condent that FEMA could respond
eectively to destruction of the magnitude that struck
New Orleans, which left 80 percent of the city under
as much as 20 feet of water. Indeed, a student of the
U.S. executive branch might have been especially
apprehensive in 2004 because the federal govern-
ments emergency management functions had just
undergone a major redesign and reorganization fol-
lowing the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the creation of
the Department of Homeland Security. Although
FEMA survived the reorganization, it was incorpo-
rated into the new federal department, which meant
that it lost direct access to the White House. Te
FEMA director now had to report to the secretary of
homeland security, whose department was placing
heavy emphasis on protection against terrorism. In the
face of this change, President George W. Bushs rst
FEMA director, Joseph Allbaugh, a tough, towering,
and abrasive Texan who had
headed Bushs successful guber-
natorial and presidential cam-
paigns, resigned. His successor,
the less imposing Michael
Brown, fought the changes in
organization and disaster plan-
ning that were under way and
did not have a good relation with
Secretary of Homeland Security
Michael Cherto. During the
Bush administration, FEMA lost sta, money, and
morale and would come to Katrina in a weakened
state ( Cooper and Block 2006 , chap. 4).
Te o cial and uno cial postmortems on Katrina
have emphasized the failures of government perfor-
mance at all levels of the federal
system. Undeniably, much went
wrong, and much would have
gone better if governments had
met the elementary responsibili-
ties that they knew in advance
were theirs. I will argue, none-
theless, that Katrina presents a
complicated mixture of failure
and success. More went well than
most accounts acknowledge. In
trying to sort out the successes
and failures, I will argue, consis-
tent with my task of analyzing
lessons for federalism, that the
successes of Katrina built on
intergovernmental cooperation
among the various parts of the complicated federal
system by which the United States is governed. Where
glaring failures occurred in ood control above all
the performance of individual agencies was defective,
and the basis for eective intergovernmental collabo-
ration was correspondingly weak.
I will focus exclusively on Louisiana and New
Orleans, not because the damage occurred only there
but because that is where governmental failure was
judged to be greatest. Te American public, instead of
seeing their governments rushing aid to the victims
of disaster, saw on television desperate residents of the
poorest sections of the city waving banners pleading for
help, tearful husbands searching for lost wives, and
bloated corpses in the lthy water, strewn with wreckage,
downed power lines, and drowning dogs. My analysis
will proceed in rough chronological order of the
events that occurred during Katrinas rst week.
Success Mixed with Failure: The Pre-Landfall
Except for the oldest part of the city, which rests on
naturally high ground, New Orleans sits in a swamp.
It straddles the Mississippi River, with the Gulf of
Te federal governments poor
performance during Hurricane
Andrew in 1992 was thought to
have contributed to the defeat
of George H. W. Bush, the
incumbent, in that years
presidential election.
Te o cial and uno cial
postmortems on Katrina have
emphasized the failures of
government performance at all
levels of the federal system.
Undeniably, much went wrong,
and much would have gone
better if governments had
met the elementary
responsibilities that they knew
in advance were theirs.
38 Public Administration Review December 2007 Special Issue
Mexico to the south, Lake Borgne to the east, and
Lake Pontchartrain to the north. Only three highways
lead out of New Orleans, and one of these goes east-
ward, to the adjacent state of Mississippi. In the two
days before Hurricane Katrina struck, an estimated
1 1.2 million people out of a population of 1.4 million
reached safety by leaving Greater New Orleans in
motor vehicles ( U.S. Senate 2006 , 243; Cooper and
Block 2006 , 122).
Tis was an astonishing achievement, for which state
and local governments deserve much credit. Tra c
congestion plagues urban America, and to overcome it
in a coastal city threatened with destruction required
careful planning and a high degree of intergovernmen-
tal cooperation. Because the southern parishes of St.
Bernard and Plaquemines (called counties in most of
the United States) were most exposed to danger, they
needed to be evacuated rst. Ten they could be
followed by the residents of Orleans and Jeerson
parishes, situated farther to the north ( U.S. Senate
2006 , 242 45).
A plan for doing this by turning the exit routes into
one-way roads, called Contraow, and sequencing
the departures emerged between 1998 and 2005. It
was a result of hurricane experience and cooperation
between the governors and state police forces of Loui-
siana and Mississippi and the Louisiana governments
successful brokering of an agreement among 13 par-
ishes in the southeast part of the state. Te agreement
was concluded, providentially, in April 2005.
Once Louisiana governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
had approved the plan, the states O ce of Homeland
Security and Emergency Preparedness initiated a
public education campaign using media outlets, the
Red Cross, and mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart,
Home Depot, and Lowes to distribute more than 1.5
million copies of the Louisiana Citizen Awareness and
Disaster Evacuation Guide. It included a Contraow
evacuation map showing the routes that would be
available and how the entrances and exits would work.
Study this map and CHOOSE YOUR ROUTE
WISELY, it instructed, with the capital letters in red.
Tere will be many restrictions on the Interstate
System. Upon entering the Contraow area, it may
not be possible to change routes. If you do not wish to
evacuate under the Contraow restrictions, your best
strategy is to LEAVE EARLY before Contraow is
As Katrina approached, the governor initiated the
Contraow plan at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 27.
On Sunday morning, after some hesitation, New
Orleans mayor Ray Nagin called for a mandatory
evacuation, the rst in the citys history ( U.S. Senate
2006 , 68 69). Contraow ended at 5:00 p.m. on
Sunday, August 28, half a day before Katrina came
ashore, with no vehicles waiting in queues. It is im-
possible to say how many people left before the Con-
traow was initiated and how many departed in the
25 hours during which it was in place. Whatever the
precise details, immense credit far more than they
have received is due the state and local o cials who
put this plan in place and broadcast it to the public, as
well as to the citizens who acted on it.
Immense credit for this early and life-saving success is
due also the o cials of the National Hurricane Center
in Miami, an agency of the federal government, who
urgently warned state and local o cials of the danger.
Max Mayeld, the centers director, began tracking
the storm as early as August 11, 15 days before it
became a named storm. Te center issued its rst
advisory on August 24, but at rst the storm seemed
not to be heading for New Orleans. Ten it shifted
direction, and Mayeld placed personal calls on Satur-
day to emergency directors and governors in both
Louisiana and Mississippi. Governor Blanco needed
no prodding. On Friday, even in the absence of a
prediction that Katrina was headed for New Orleans,
she cancelled a trip planned for Saturday and put the
states National Guard on alert. When she heard on
Saturday from Mayeld, she urged him to call Nagin,
who had been reluctant to order a mandatory evacua-
tion ( Cooper and Block 2006 , chap. 5).
Governments might have received more credit for the
evacuation that did take place if they had been more
successful at completing the job. More than 70,000
people remained in the city, some of them unwilling
to leave even though they were physically able, while
others were unable to evacuate because of disability or
lack of private transportation (U.S. House 2006 ,
115). Using buses, the city government helped thou-
sands of residents reach its designated refuge, the
Superdome. Although o cials had considered provid-
ing public transportation to those who lacked cars,
none of the necessary arrangements had been com-
pleted before Katrina struck ( U.S. Senate 2006 ,
248 54). For this, they have been rightly criticized.
Failure: The Collapse of Flood Protection
New Orleans was a city at extreme risk, sitting in its
swamp, mostly below sea level, gradually sinking, and
failing to face up to these facts. In the space of a few
hours, the storm stripped away the security blanket,
two journalists wrote. Giant waves rising as high as 27
feet hit the city, and miles of massive earthen levees
crumbled. Floodwalls were breached in dozens of
places, their concrete and steel components bent,
broken, and scattered into the backyards they had
once protected. Floodgates were ripped from their
hinges . In the aftermath, only a narrow rim along
the natural high ground of the riverbank was still
inhabited and functioning the approximate bound-
aries of New Orleans in the mid-1800s. Te city was
Where Federalism Didnt Fail 39
once again open to the sea
( McQuaid and Schleifstein 2006 ,
7 8, 246).
Historically, governments might
have limited the risk by restricting
the citys growth. Instead, as popu-
lation spread south and east, the
risk increased. But limiting growth
would have gone against the grain
not only of the devil-may-care city
but also of the rapacious capitalism
that characterizes the whole coun-
trys approach to land use. New
Orleans was encouraged to sprawl,
and ood protection projects were justied partly on
the economic grounds that they would make swamp
reclamation and development possible ( McQuaid and
Schleifstein 2006 , 64). At its peak in 1960, the city
had a population of 627,525, ranking 15th among
American cities, just behind Dallas. By 2003, the
population had fallen to 469,000, and the citys rank
dropped to 34th, just below Albuquerque.
A critical moment came, tellingly, during the expan-
sive administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Hurricane Betsy struck New Orleans in 1965, causing
a ood that killed 81 people and left thousands home-
less. Cajoled by Louisiana senator Russell B. Long,
Johnson came to the city and was moved by what he
saw. Six weeks after the storm, Congress passed the
Flood Control Act of 1965, which authorized a U.S.
Corps of Engineers project called the Lake Pontchar-
train and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Plan (the
Lake Pontchartrain project for short). Te new levee
system was to be completed by 1978 at a cost of $85
million, making the city safe for many years to come.
It was still under construction when Katrina struck,
with a cost that had reached $750 million ( McQuaid
and Schleifstein 2006 , 63; U.S. Senate 2006 ,
133 34).
When congressional investigators set out to nd out
what had gone wrong with the citys ood protection
system and who was in charge of it, they encountered
a virtual parody of American federalism. Te system
was a hodgepodge of stone and earthen levees, con-
crete and steel oodwalls, drainage canals, more than
200 oodgates, and huge pumps. Tese numerous
parts were of varying origin, age, design, and quality.
Some of the barriers fell short of design height in
one case by as much as 3 feet or they had sunk
below prescribed levels. One of the oodgates had
been damaged in a railroad accident in 2004, causing
a breach in a levee, and had yet to be repaired in
2005. It was hard to say who was to blame. Tere has
been confusion about the basic question of who is in
charge of the levees, Senator Susan Collins of Maine
remarked as she opened a hearing of the Homeland
Security and Governmental
Aairs Committee. Key
o cials at the Army Corps [of
Engineers] and the Orleans
Levee District have demon-
strated this confusion by tell-
ing Committee sta one thing
during interviews and then
another later ( U.S. Senate
2005 ).
Te Corps of Engineers had a
central but not exclusive role.
Even for what it built, it did
not retain responsibility after
construction was done. It turned the operation and
maintenance of completed projects over to local levee
districts, the rst of which were authorized by state
law in 1879. In metropolitan New Orleans, there was
a levee district for each parish. In Orleans Parish, there
was also a sewer and water district that was in charge
of the pumps, whose purpose was to push rain and
oodwater out of the city northward into Lake Pont-
chartrain. Tat agency originally built the canals
through which the pumped water owed, and it still,
in the eyes of the Orleans Levee Districts chief engi-
neer, had responsibility for inspecting the canal walls
( Carrns 2005 ). Te Louisiana Department of Trans-
portation was also involved. By law, it was supposed
to approve any activity that might compromise the
levees and administer training sessions for levee dis-
trict board members and inspectors ( U.S. Senate
2006 , 131).
Even after one paints this familiar American picture of
extremely fragmented public responsibility, two agen-
cies stand out the Corps of Engineers and the
Orleans Levee District. Tey were the major players, and
there was confusion and tension between them. Some
of the confusion occurred over when or whether a
project had been turned over to the levee district.
Did turnover occur piecemeal, with each section of
the decades-long Lake Pontchartrain project, or did it
await completion of the whole thing? ( U.S. Senate
2006 , 135). And there was also uncertainty over the
scope of local responsibility once turnover occurred.
Te levee district held to the view that major prob-
lems remained the responsibility of the Corps,
whereas minor problems belonged to its own
jurisdiction, an informal distinction with no founda-
tion in law and obviously subject to misunderstanding
( U.S. Senate 2006 , 137).
What to do about the levee that was 3 feet below
design height illustrates the confusion. Levee district
o cials considered the x to be the responsibility of
the Corps of Engineers. Te Corps said that it lacked
money. Te levee district had sometimes paid for
repairs itself and then sought reimbursement from the
Historically, governments might
have limited the risk by
restricting the citys growth.
But limiting growth would have
gone against the grain not
only of the devil-may-care city
but also of the rapacious
capitalism that characterizes
the whole countrys approach
to land use.
40 Public Administration Review December 2007 Special Issue
Corps. In this case, it sent letters to its congressional
delegation asking for federal funding. It is a nice ques-
tion whether this represents tension between the two
agencies, as the Senate committee report on Katrina
implies, or is instead an example of implicit political
collaboration between them. In any case, it did not
achieve the repair of the levee ( U.S. Senate 2006 ,
131). Te confusion over responsibility that was evi-
dent prior to the hurricane extended into the actual
emergency, during which it was not immediately clear
who had what role in repairing the breaches.
Underlying the aws in intergovernmental collabora-
tion was a much deeper problem that was manifest in
the performance of both the Corps of Engineers and
the Orleans Levee District. Flood protection was not
their only function. If both organizations had been
dedicated to that purpose alone, cooperation would
have come more easily and the function would, of
course, have been better performed.
For the Corps, ood control competes with naviga-
tion projects, whose purpose is to promote the indus-
trial economy. Te prosperity of New Orleans
depends on its port. To aid the port, the Corps builds
and dredges shipping channels. Navigation projects
do not merely compete with ood control projects for
funds. Te clash can also be physical and hydrologic,
as illustrated by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet,
which the Corps completed in the 1960s. Tis is a
76-mile canal built as a shortcut for ships and barges
heading from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of
Mexico. Environmentalists have long claimed that by
admitting salt water, it destroyed coastal marshes that
helped protect the city from the Gulf. Scientic stu-
dents of hurricanes argued as well that it would serve,
quite destructively, as a path for storm surges heading
north toward the city, increasing their velocity. Tis
appears to have happened during Katrina, and early in
2007, a federal district judge ruled that residents of
New Orleans whose neighborhoods were ooded
could sue the Corps with claims that the government-
built navigation channel was
largely to blame ( Cooper and
Block 2006 , 26 28; Schwartz
2007 ).
Te Orleans Levee District also
was far from single-minded in its
pursuit of ood protection. It
had more distractions than the
Corps. A brochure issued by the
district in 1995 boasted that We
protect against hurricanes, oods
and boredom ( Carrns 2005 ).
Te origin of the claim to relieve
boredom goes back to 1928,
when Governor Huey Long got
the legislature to give the board
authority to ll portions of Lake Pontchartrain and
use the land thus created for places of amusement
and recreation. Te board, with a majority composed
of the governors appointees, eventually morphed into
a major developer. Tracts sold in the 1940s and 1950s
became some of the citys most expensive real estate.
Te board constructed parks, walking paths, marinas,
an airport, a casino, and more. Tese activities often
consumed more of the districts attention than ood
control ( Cooper and Block 2006 , 34 38).
As one proceeds with analyzing the failure of ood
protection, the more federalism recedes and politics
comes to the fore, as practiced by governments that
recklessly encouraged residential development and
then gambled residents safety on the national legisla-
tures willingness to protect one low-lying city. Insofar
as governments and human agency mattered, as op-
posed to the forces of nature, New Orleans safety
rested on the large but not unlimited inuence of the
Louisiana congressional delegation and on the priori-
ties that Louisianas politicians set. Tey determined
the purposes of appropriations to the Corps of Engi-
neers. No U.S. government agency is more subject to
congressional inuence. If ood protection failed, one
has to look to Congress as well as the self-confessed
technical failures of the Corps that emerged after the
ood ( CQ 2006; McQuaid and Schleifstein 2006 ,
341 44; Grunwald 2005 ). Beyond that, beginning
with the fabled Huey Long, Louisianas politicians
stood behind the evolution of the Orleans Levee Dis-
trict into an entrepreneur that oversaw prot-making
enterprises and tended rather casually to ood control.
Its periodic levee inspections were conducted quickly
and ended with a good meal.
Success: Search and Rescue
Search and rescue teams were needed to save from the
oodwaters the large number of people who had not
evacuated before Katrina struck. Tat nearly all of
them survived is Katrinas second big success in public
administration. Federal, state, and local agencies were
all involved, not to mention a
47-man team of Canadian
Mounties that came to the rescue
of St. Bernard Parish, southeast
of the city ( Cooper and Block
2006 , 181). Once again, inter-
governmental collaboration was
crucial to success.
Te outstanding performers,
accounting for most of the res-
cues, were the U.S. Coast Guard
and two Louisiana agencies, the
Department of Wildlife and
Fisheries and the National
Guard, which acted with out-of-
state help. Te FEMA teams
Te outstanding performers,
accounting for most of the
rescues, were the U.S. Coast
Guard and two Louisiana
agencies, the Department of
Wildlife and Fisheries and the
National Guard, which acted
with out-of-state help. Te
FEMA teams brought from out
of state have been credited with
a smaller but still signicant
number of rescues.
Where Federalism Didnt Fail 41
brought from out of state have been credited with a
smaller but still signicant number of rescues. An
unknown but probably quite small number of people
were rescued by local agencies, the New Orleans
police and re departments, which were overwhelmed
by the catastrophe and underequipped in any case.
Te police department had only ve boats and the re
department none. Many volunteers came to help,
with what results it is impossible to say.
Te city ooded on Monday, and the Coast Guard
achieved its rst rescue at 2:50 that afternoon. To
explain the Coast Guards outstanding performance,
the Senate committee report mentioned the careful
positioning of assets, near enough to be useful but far
enough to be safe; training and equipment for water
missions; an organizational culture of rapid, aggressive
response to emergencies; and familiarity with the
locality and its public agencies ( U.S. Senate 2006 ,
332 33). Because New Orleans is a major port, the
Coast Guard, which protects the nations waterways,
is a major presence there. Te headquarters of its
biggest single district is in New Orleans. It regularly
conducts exercises with state and local agencies,
and in particular it had worked closely with the boat
forces of Louisianas Department of Wildlife and
Louisianas agencies were on alert as early as Friday,
August 26, when Governor Blanco declared a state of
emergency. Te Department of Wildlife and Fisheries,
like the Coast Guard, deployed on Monday after-
noon. Whereas the Coast Guard worked both from
the air with helicopters and on water with cutters, the
Wildlife and Fisheries teams worked only on the ood
surface. Like the Coast Guard, W&F [Wildlife and
Fisheries] o cers, trained for water-rescue missions,
were adequately equipped, had pre-positioned search
and rescue assets close enough to be useful on the day
of landfall, and were composed of men and women
familiar with the aected area
and other federal, state, and local
agencies involved ( U.S. Senate
2006 , 333).
Te Louisiana National Guard
made the mistake of not moving
high-water vehicles from its
headquarters, Jackson Barracks,
which was under water, but it
nonetheless had access to boats
and helicopters, and even before
landfall it had solicited assistance
from other states under the
Emergency Management Assis-
tance Compact, through which state governments
have collaborated since 1996 in responding to emer-
gencies. National Guard helicopters from both Louisi-
ana and out of state began search and rescue missions
on Monday as soon as wind conditions permitted
( U.S. Senate 2006 , 340, 343).
Te contributions of FEMA to the search and rescue
eort also illustrate the uses of intergovernmental
collaboration, but in a less eective form. FEMA has
under contract search and rescue teams composed of
state and local employees, mostly members of re
departments, that it can mobilize in emergencies. It
had pre-positioned three such teams in Shreveport,
which is 340 miles from New Orleans. It activated 16
others on Tuesday and 10 more on Wednesday. Its
teams began work later than others and, because
they lacked their own equipment, had to join the
boats of volunteers or other agencies ( U.S. Senate
2006 , 334).
Tanks to the twin successes of pre-landfall evacuation
and post-ood rescue, the loss of life in Katrina,
though deeply shocking to Americans who saw
corpses on their television screens, did not remotely
approach in severity what had been anticipated. Hur-
ricane Pam, a hypothetical exercise in hurricane plan-
ning for New Orleans nanced by the federal
government and conducted in 2004, had predicted
that 60,000 would die (U.S. House 2006 , 81). An
article in Scientic American in 2001 said that New
Orleans is a disaster waiting to happen . A direct hit
is inevitable . Scientists at Louisiana State University
predict that more than 100,000 people could die
( Fischetti 2001 , 78). In 2002, the vice president for
disaster services of the American Red Cross had pre-
dicted a toll of 25,000 100,000 ( McQuaid and
Schleifstein 2002 , 1). An article in National Geo-
graphic in 2004, in many respects quite prescient,
predicted 50,000 deaths ( Bourne 2004 ). Even during
the ood and the week after, o cials continued to
predict as many as 10,000 deaths. Te actual toll,
based on bodies found, was around 1,100 for Louisi-
ana, and for the whole Gulf Coast 1,300 1,500,
although because these gures
take no account of victims
washed out to sea or otherwise
irretrievably lost, they are pre-
sumably low ( Cooper and Block
2006 , 223; U.S. Senate 2006 , 2;
AP 2006 ).
Perhaps the very high predictions
were meant to be frightening and
should not be taken literally.
Presumably, the number for
Louisiana could have been lower
had the city government of New
Orleans done a better job of pre-
landfall evacuation. However all of that may be, the
performance of governments in planning the pre-
landfall evacuation and achieving the post-ood res-
cue stands as a signal accomplishment and proof that
the performance of
governments in planning the
pre-landfall evacuation and
achieving the post-ood
rescue stands as a signal
accomplishment and proof
that the fragmentation of
federalism was not an
insuperable handicap.
42 Public Administration Review December 2007 Special Issue
the fragmentation of federalism was not an insuper-
able handicap.
A Compound Case: Evacuation after the
Saving lives by rescuing people from the oodwater
was one thing. Caring for them afterward proved to
be another. By midday on Tuesday, local, state, and
federal o cials realized that they must evacuate the
city, and Governor Blanco called Governor Rick Perry
of Texas to ask whether he would open Houstons
Astrodome for Louisiana evacuees, as all 113 of her
own states shelters were full. Perry agreed, and by
Wednesday, Texas had opened 47 shelters ( Cooper
and Block 2006 , 172 73). But it took until Friday to
put in place the necessary buses, air transportation,
and acceptable destinations to achieve an evacuation.
In the meantime, many displaced residents lacked
adequate food, water, and sanitation.
Te Superdome, with failed plumbing, became unin-
habitable. Tousands gathered at an alternative refuge,
the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which was
on dry land but had not been stocked with food,
water, and medical services or given National Guard
protection, as had the Superdome. Other thousands
milled around the dry parts of the city or were
camped on interstate overpasses, exposed to the in-
tense late summer heat. Te inability of governments
to provide for these many thousands of homeless
people has to be counted as an o cial failure. Emer-
gency management, which presumed that local and
state o cials would ask for help and that FEMA
would be able to procure it from federal sources,
broke down. On the other hand, after several days the
evacuation was achieved. Tese victims of Katrina
were bused or airlifted out of New Orleans to destina-
tions in Texas, Utah, Arkansas, and elsewhere. Te
post-ood week was a chaotic compound of failure
and success.
Te saga of the buses illustrates the point about aws
in emergency management. On Tuesday morning,
FEMA director Brown, Governor Blanco, and Louisi-
anas two senators, Mary Landrieu and David Vitter,
arrived by helicopter from Baton Rouge to view the
drowning city. Te governor, seeing hundreds of peo-
ple wading through the water to reach the Super-
dome, declared, We have to get these people out of
here. We need buses. Everyone agreed. And Brown
said brightly, If theres one thing FEMAs got, its
buses ( Cooper and Block 2006 , 162). Brown then
made the rst of a series of calls to Washington saying
that Louisiana needed 500 buses. As he looked over
the paperwork that afternoon, the states director of
emergency preparedness noticed that FEMA head-
quarters had reduced the number to 455. Te reduced
request went forward to the U.S. Department of
Transportation at 1:45 a.m. Wednesday, and Louisi-
ana o cials were told that buses would arrive at 7:00
a.m., whereupon they halted independent eorts to
commandeer buses locally from schools, churches,
and other sources. But the buses did not come. Tey
had to be procured from contractors all over the coun-
try, hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Some
arrived in the city on Wednesday evening and began
evacuation of the special needs population and those
who were marooned on highway overpasses. A more
general evacuation began on Tursday, but it was not
until Friday that a sizable eet arrived hundreds of
buses lined up on New Orleans remaining dry land
and prepared to evacuate, escorted by the Louisiana
State Police ( U.S. Senate 2006 , 70; Cooper and Block
2006 , 172, 184 87, 210).
In the aftermath, local and state o cials would re-
main frustrated that FEMA did not know what it
could deliver or when and made promises that were
unreliable. Tis was true not only for buses, which in
the complicated world of American government were
not directly under the control of either FEMA or the
Department of Transportation, but also for supplies
that FEMA supposedly did control, such as genera-
tors, food, water, and ice, which had been positioned
in large amounts in the region but were slow to reach
the disaster site. Te agencys logistics were poor, and
communications generally had been impaired by the
hurricane. Te FEMA emergency communications
center, a truck nicknamed Red October, had re-
mained in Baton Rouge until Friday rather being
placed near city hall, a delay that Brown, who was
hunkered down in it, would later concede was a mis-
take ( Cooper and Block 2006 , 185, 213).
Recognizing that FEMA was unreliable, everyone
groped for alternatives. Tis included FEMA itself,
whose o cials began acknowledging that they were
overwhelmed and hinting that maybe the Department
of Defense should take over, although FEMA was
slow to initiate formal requests for help from the
department ( Cooper and Block 2006 , 161, 166 67;
U.S. Senate 2006 , 482). Governor Blanco, who bri-
dled at the suggestion that Louisiana was incapable of
command, called the White House directly on
Wednesday, failing on her rst attempt to reach the
president or his chief of sta, Andrew Card. Instead,
she talked to an aide to Karl Rove, the presidents
chief political advisor, though later in the day, after
the president had returned to Washington from his
ranch in Crawford, Texas, Blanco did reach President
Bush and pleaded for help with transportation
( McQuaid and Schleifstein 2006 , 269, 276).
O cials at the top of the federal government were
slow to comprehend that a catastrophe had struck
New Orleans. Tis may have been partly attributable
to the fact that they were scattered around the country
on vacation: the president in Texas (with a detour to
Where Federalism Didnt Fail 43
Southern California to make a
speech), the vice president in
Wyoming, and the White House
chief of sta in Maine. But com-
munication with them did not
fail, and the slowness seems to be
traceable more to the reluctance
of Matthew Broderick, head of
the recently created Homeland
Security Operations Center, to
believe what he was being told by
sources in New Orleans. He was
skeptical of reports from the
ground, a peculiarly inapt metaphor for a city that
had given up its ground to a ood ( Cooper and Block
2006 , 131 33, 145 51). Washington lacked situ-
ational awareness, according to the later congressio-
nal assessments. In plain language, it was slow to grasp
reality, but by late Tuesday, Secretary of Homeland
Security Cherto was beginning to get a grasp. Erro-
neously believing that he was following the National
Response Plan, he declared Hurricane Katrina an
incident of national signicance, a classication to
be found there. Te National Response Plan was a
400-page document prepared by the RAND Corpora-
tion under contract in the aftermath of 9/11, by
which the federal governments actions supposedly
would be guided during national emergencies. It had
been released in January 2005 and nominally went
into eect in mid-April, but as Vice President
Cheneys o ce acidly observed, it was not easily
accessible to the rst-time user ( U.S. Senate 2006 ,
551 58). Katrina would be its rst serious test, and
the test was not going well.
Cherto, though in a rage at Brown, designated him
to be the principal federal o cial, another category to
be found in the National Response Plan, but in prac-
tice began relying on his deputy secretary, Michael
Jackson, who was a former deputy secretary of trans-
portation. Cherto ordered Jackson to set up an airlift
from New Orleans Louis Armstrong International
Airport. Tough FEMA had been working on this, it
had been unable to work out destinations and sched-
ules. Now that was done, but the federal Transporta-
tion Security Administration, created in the aftermath
of 9/11 to ensure the security of passenger aircraft,
insisted on screening all passengers and baggage before
the planes could take o. And the Department of
Homeland Security also decided that undercover air
marshals would have to be present on the departing
ights. Fighting terrorism was a federal goal of utmost
priority in the Bush administration, and here it con-
icted with the need to achieve a swift evacuation of
New Orleans ( Cooper and Block 2006 , 202 3).
As o cials tried to get an evacuation organized, it
remained necessary to provision the citys displaced
population. Here, too, people discovered ways to
work around FEMA and the
failing o cial plans for emer-
gency management. One work-
around was to loot Wal-Mart,
which became de facto a substi-
tute for FEMA. Te people of
New Orleans did this on their
own initiative, but they had help
from the National Guard, which
recognized the necessity of seeing
that people were supplied with
food and water. A homeland
security o cial assured Wal-Mart
that the federal government would reimburse it if it
acceded to this urgent function rather than try to
protect its stores and warehouses. Tis turned out to
be a promise on which the o cial could deliver only
the modest amount of $300,000 ( Cooper and Block
2006 , 260 62).
A continuing question, arguably the most problematic
for federalism, was what role the armed forces of the
United States should play. As early as Tuesday morn-
ing, the acting deputy secretary of defense, Gordon
England, ordered the U.S. Northern Command, a
unit of the armed forces created after 9/11 to protect
the continental United States, to move forces and
materiel to the Gulf Coast and authorized it to
provide assistance in support of FEMA. Te U.S.
Northern Command created a Katrina task force
headed by Lieutenant General Russel Honor and
based at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, to coordinate the
military response to the disaster. Honor turned up in
Baton Rouge and New Orleans on Wednesday night
to look the situation over ( U.S. Senate 2006 , 69,
chap. 26; White House 2006 , 42; Cooper and
Block 2006 , 192).
In her phone conversation with President Bush, Gov-
ernor Blanco had asked for 40,000 troops an ex-
traordinary number to take control of logistics and
to oversee the continuing search and rescue eort so
that the National Guard could concentrate on law
enforcement. No such number was promised, but it
was nonetheless a great disappointment to Louisiana
o cials when Honor appeared on Wednesday with
about a half-dozen people and a CNN crew ( Cooper
and Block 2006 , 192). Before long, though, the mili-
tary was delivering large amounts of food and water to
both Louisiana and Mississippi.
Who should be in charge of law enforcement was a
question that was much more urgent at the time than
it seems in retrospect. Rumors of violence and crowds
out of control were beginning to spread and intimi-
dated o cials, inhibiting their response. At the Super-
dome on Tursday morning, the head of FEMAs
small task force ordered members to take o their
FEMA t-shirts for fear of being attacked, and the
O cials at the top of the federal
government were slow to
comprehend that a catastrophe
had struck New Orleans. Tis
may have been partly
attributable to the fact that they
were scattered around the
country on vacation
44 Public Administration Review December 2007 Special Issue
team departed New Orleans for Baton Rouge ( Cooper
and Block 2006 , 196 97). We now know that the
rumors were much exaggerated. Some indisputably
criminal looting did occur early in the disaster, con-
centrated downtown along Canal Street, and there
were a few incidents of gunre during the search and
rescue operations. But considering their dire situation,
the impaired state of the New Orleans Police Depart-
ment whose chief was hysterical and many of whose
members were AWOL plus the citys reputation for
lawlessness in the best of times, the crowds were re-
markably well behaved. Situational awareness in
government was no better on this point than it had
been on Monday regarding the collapse of levees and
oodwalls. Arguably it had grown worse because the
media, which initially had underplayed the disaster,
perceiving too slowly the dimensions of the ood,
were now overplaying it, giving excessive credence to
reports of violence. And federal o cials, including the
military, were taking their cues from the media.
Once back in Washington, President Bush was
tempted to take charge, whether by sending in regular
army troops or by federalizing the Louisiana National
Guard, for which he needed the governors permission
unless an insurrection was in progress. Governor
Blanco declined to grant such permission. Her posi-
tion, with support from her sta, was that Louisiana
could manage law enforcement and need not hand the
Guard over to federal control. Tis issue came to a
head close to midnight on Friday, when the White
House faxed for her signature a document that would
have brought the Louisiana National Guard under the
presidents command so that he could announce the
next day that he had done so.
She refused to sign ( Cooper and
Block 2006 , 212 15; McQuaid
and Schleifstein 2006 , 319 20,
327 30). And she added insult
to injury by engaging James Lee
Witt, President Clintons cel-
ebrated FEMA director, as a
Te White House later professed
to have treated the governor with
deference and political sensitiv-
ity, saying anonymously and
rhetorically to the New York
Times, Can you imagine how it
would have been perceived if a
president of the United States of
one party had pre-emptively
taken from the female governor of another party the
command and control of her forces, unless the secu-
rity situation made it completely clear that she was
unable to eectively execute her command authority
and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?
( McQuaid and Schleifstein 2006 , 276). Republican
governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi had also refused
a request from the White House to turn over his
National Guard to the president ( Cooper and Block
2006 , 212; U.S. House 2006 , 221).
Louisiana asked for and received a great deal of help
from National Guard units in neighboring states,
making its requests not just through the Emergency
Management Assistance Compact but also through
the National Guard Bureau in the Department of
Defense. Here again, interstate cooperation was a
bright spot in the Katrina crisis. When a National
Guard task force secured the convention center on
Friday, approaching the building warily for fear of
violence, it included troops from Texas, Oklahoma,
Nevada, and Arkansas, as well as Louisiana. Te
Guard found a peaceful place, containing people who
were exhausted, hungry, and thirsty but not riotous.
In all, other states would send about 20,000 National
Guard troops to help Louisiana ( Cooper and Block
2006 , 191, 210 11, 223; U.S. Senate 2006 , 70;
EMAC 2006 , 2-15 2-16).
Te Superdome evacuation was completed by 1:00 p.m.
on Saturday and the convention center evacuation by
6:30 p.m. the same day.
Ofcial Aftermath: The Centralizing
So far, the analysis has sought out the eects of the
federal form of government on Katrina, arguing that
the successes to be found in the government re-
sponse I have insisted that there were successes,
contrary to widespread impression depended criti-
cally on intergovernmental coop-
eration. In the space remaining, I
will invert the analysis and in-
quire into the eects of Katrina
on federalism.
Disasters typically have central-
izing consequences. Historically,
major hurricanes have left in
their wake fresh congressional
enactments that enlarged the
federal role in disaster response.
Nonetheless, the basic federal
law, stemming from an enact-
ment in 1974 (P.L. 93-288) and
amendments in 1988 (P.L. 100-
707), has never abandoned the
principle that initial responsibil-
ity rests with state and local
governments. Under the combined impacts of 9/11
and Katrina, this central assumption is for the rst
time subject to serious challenge.
National preparedness planning, as practiced by
the administration of President Bush, the new
Disasters typically have
centralizing consequences.
Historically, major hurricanes
have left in their wake fresh
congressional enactments that
enlarged the federal role in
disaster response. Nonetheless,
the basic federal lawhas
never abandoned the principle
that initial responsibility rests
with state and local
Where Federalism Didnt Fail 45
Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S.
Northern Command, is radically centralizing, at least
in its rhetoric. Characteristic of the post-9/11 Bush
White House, it trumpets a promise of transforma-
tion ( Brooks 2007 ). How it will turn out in practice
is another matter. Katrina, which was a test of cen-
trally planned preparedness, showed just how hollow
and feckless it was on its rst try, but the reaction
of the administration was not to acknowledge the
diversity of both the country and the risks the
country faces but to try harder to plan and execute
from the top.
Te Bush administrations centralizing reactions to
Katrina have been manifest at three points: (1) in the
conduct of the federal executive branch during subse-
quent hurricanes in the 2005 season; (2) in the Les-
sons Learned report of the presidents assistant for
homeland security and counterterrorism, issued in
February 2006; and (3) most seriously, in a rider
attached to the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authoriza-
tion Act that made it possible for the president to
federalize the National Guard in a domestic disaster
without the consent of a governor. Tough the White
House may not have been willing to run the political
risk of confronting Governor Blanco in 2005, a year
later it succeeded in reducing the authority of every
governor of every state.
Two powerful hurricanes, Rita and Wilma, followed
Katrina in the season of 2005, and during both the
federal government acted very aggressively, seeking to
take charge with military task forces and sending
homeland security employees into the states without
advice, consultation, or requests from state o cials.
Rita hit a sparsely populated area of Louisiana and did
relatively little damage, although about 60 people died
in the evacuations, including 23 nursing home resi-
dents whose bus burned when an oxygen tank ex-
ploded. Others died from heat exhaustion and heart
attacks after spending hours in cars without water or
air conditioning. In contrast to Katrina in Louisiana,
the Rita evacuation in Texas was a horror story, with
highways clogged for 100 miles north of Houston
( Cooper and Block 2006 , 269 70).
Wilma, which at its pre-landfall peak was a more
powerful hurricane than Katrina, touched o a major
confrontation between Floridas government and
federal o cials. Te commander of the Fifth Army at
Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio told the head of
Floridas National Guard, General Douglas Burnett,
that he wanted to y in equipment to set up a joint
task force command. Burnett protested to U.S.
Northern Command headquarters in Colorado, and
Governor Jeb Bush called Secretary Cherto to say
that the federal governments actions were insulting to
him personally, to Floridas well-regarded director of
emergency management, Craig Fugate, and to all the
citizens of Florida. Florida appeared to win this battle
when Fugate, in a videoconference three days before
landfall, announced the creation of Wilma Com-
mand a unied incident command that met the
paper requirements of homeland security and intro-
duced Governor Bush as its commander. Florida
o cials had ardent support from FEMA employees in
both Washington and Florida, who had no love for
the Department of Homeland Security. Te U.S.
Northern Command did not call up the Fifth Army,
no military task force was created, and Secretary
Cherto did not appoint a principal federal o cial
( Cooper and Block 2006 , chap. 12; Block and Schatz
2005 ). Floridas government managed the emergency,
though in the end, Bush and Fugate were not fully
satised with their own performance.
Shortly after Katrina, President Bush spoke to the
nation from Jackson Square in New Orleans, promis-
ing to rebuild the city and ordering a review of the
federal response to Katrina. Te resulting report drew
17 lessons and produced 125 recommendations. Te
tone of this rhetorically expansive document is
strongly centralizing. With frequent use of italics, it
calls for a transformation of our homeland security
architecture, a unifying system that will ensure
National Preparedness, and the development of op-
erational capability within the federal government.
Te unied system that it envisions includes not only
other governments in the federal system but also the
private sector, nongovernmental organizations, faith-
based groups, and communities, including individual
citizens. All are to be coordinated from the center,
through planning by the Department of Homeland
Security. Rather than waiting for the next disaster,
DHS planners must develop detailed operational
plans that anticipate the requirements of future re-
sponses and what capabilities can be matched to them
in what timeframe (White House 2006 , 65 68, 70).
Of greatest consequence was a change in law achieved
by the administration late in 2006 through a rider
added to the Defense Authorization Act for 2007.
Tis change amended the Insurrection Act of 1871 to
broaden the presidents authority to use the armed
forces for domestic purposes and to call the National
Guard, which is normally under the command of the
governors, into federal service. Formerly limited to
cases of insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful
combination, or conspiracy, this rarely invoked au-
thority was extended to cases in which public order is
disrupted because of a natural disaster, epidemic, or
other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack
or incident, or other condition ( Elsea 2006 ).
Tat is very broad language indeed. As two congres-
sional critics, Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and
Christopher Bond of Missouri, observed, it under-
mines the optimal, well-proven approach for handling
46 Public Administration Review December 2007 Special Issue
domestic emergencies, which gives primacy to elected
chief executives of state and local governments. More
fundamentally, it makes a constitutional change by
replacing a presumption against invoking federal
martial law with a presumption for domestic use of
the military ( Bond and Leahy 2006 , 1; Mahoney
1986 , 1429 30). Tis revision of law, which is a sharp
blow to federalism and a signicant expansion of the
power of the presidency, received no debate in Con-
gress. Its merits were not argued, nor were they tested
against the actual evidence of governmental perfor-
mance produced from the experience of Katrina,
which in New Orleans was an extreme case a cata-
strophic event in an exceptionally vulnerable and
poorly governed place. At least in public, no one in
Congress argued, against senators Leahy and Bond,
that this added grant of power to the chief executive
of the federal government was warranted. Yet this
change in law is likely to stand as the most constitu-
tionally signicant and lasting legacy of Katrina unless
Senators Leahy and Bond succeed in an eort, under
way as of February 2007, to repeal it.
Newt Gingrich, the Republican former Speaker of the
House, has pronounced a glib summary judgment on
Katrina: Te simple fact is the city of New Orleans
failed, the state of Louisiana failed, and the govern-
ment of the United States failed (2006, xi). At greater
length and with rather more nuance, the federal gov-
ernment has issued three major reports on the govern-
ments performance one from the O ce of the
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and
Counterterrorism, which I very briey summarized
earlier, one from the House of Representatives, and
one from the Senate. Te House report eschews rec-
ommendations and concentrates on fact nding. Te
Senate report ends conventionally with 88 recommen-
dations that are addressed almost entirely to adminis-
trative organization and processes. It recommends the
abolition of FEMA and its replacement with a new
agency, the National Preparedness and Response Au-
thority, within the Department of Homeland Security.
It calls for improved coordination among and within
governments. It takes a more temperate and realistic
approach to federalism than the White House report
by acknowledging that states and localities will
continue to provide the backbone of response the
rst response for all disasters, catastrophic or not
(2006, 612).
All of the reports fail to confront the risk of allowing
ever larger coastal settlements to develop in locations
so exposed that they cannot be given adequate protec-
tion at a reasonable cost. None dwells on just how
vulnerable New Orleans was and is destined to re-
main, given its location well below sea level, made
steadily worse by subsidence ( Foster and Giegengack
2006 ). On instinct in the wake of Katrina, the presi-
dent speaking at Jackson Square only days after the
event, the Louisiana congressional delegation with a
grandiose $250 billion proposal for rebuilding, and
the Corps of Engineers, with quixotic plans for
reengineering the Mississippi Gulf Coast, all have
embraced political business as usual.
With the experience of Katrina in the federal system
as a guide, I suggest the following very general pre-
cepts for federal emergency planning and
First, do no harm to the rst responders. Depen-
dence on them is inescapable. Indeed, they could
become the countrys only functioning and legiti-
mate governments in case of a successful terrorist
attack on Washington, D.C. Continue to think
of federalism in the traditional way, as a source of
strength through cooperation. Enlarge and train the
armed forces of the United States so as to reduce
their combat and operational dependence on the
National Guard, which is in poor repair and needed
at home. Consider, in collaboration with state gov-
ernments, the creation of a volunteer home guard,
not subject to overseas deployment and available
in addition to the National Guard during domes-
tic emergencies ( Korb 2007 ). Amend the Posse
Comitatus Act to remove the restriction on the use
of the army for domestic law enforcement and leave
the National Guard under the governors control in
domestic emergencies.
Second, tend to your own self-preservation. In
this age of terrorism, citizens are entitled to ask
how much has been done to ensure the continuity
of major federal governing institutions and also
what preparations have been made for the evacua-
tion of the nations capital, which every day of every
normal work week, absent acts of terrorism, chokes
on its own commuter tra c.
Finally, look with more discernment to the suc-
cess stories that are buried within Katrina: to the
orderly pre-landfall evacuation of a million or more
residents of greater New Orleans; to the perfor-
mance, both singly and together, of the U.S. Coast
Guard and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife
and Fisheries; to the institutions of interstate coop-
eration, including the National Guard; and to the
ability of the U.S. armed forces to deliver supplies
once they were called upon. Te U.S. government
excels at fault nding through commissions and
congressional committees after a catastrophic event.
Tese study groups typically proer recommenda-
tions for administrative reorganization, with an
ill-founded certitude that such xes will work. It is
also important to take the measure of success and to
locate the sources of it, which I have traced here to
intergovernmental cooperation. Te leading dimen-
sions of such cooperation in Katrina were interlocal
and local state, in planning the Contraow;
Where Federalism Didnt Fail 47
interstate, in planning the Contraow and mobiliz-
ing the National Guard; and federal state, in the
search and rescue work of the Coast Guard and the
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Tese intergovernmental relations had already been
developed prior to the catastrophe, which would
have been far worse and the loss of life much
greater had they not existed.
1. Te factual premise of the question is subject to
challenge. A response took roughly a week in each
case. One could, of course, ask why a domestic
response was not the much quicker of the two.
Associated Press (AP) . 2006 . Death Toll from Katrina
Likely Higher Tan 1,300 . February 10 . http:// [ accessed
August 7, 2007 ].
Block , Robert , and Amy Schatz . 2005 . Local and
Federal Authorities Battle to Control Disaster
Relief . Wall Street Journal , December 8 .
Bond , Christopher S. , and Patrick Leahy . 2006 . Letter
to John Warner, Carl Levin, Duncan Hunter, and
Ike Skelton , September 6 . http://www.leahy.senate.
gov/press/200609/090606b.html [ accessed August
7, 2007 ].
Bourne , Joel K ., Jr . 2004 . Gone with the Water .
National Geographic , October . http://magma.
? [ accessed
August 7, 2007 ].
Brooks , David . 2007 . Yes, Tose Were the Days . New
York Times , March 8 .
Carrns , Ann. 2005 . Long before Flood, New Orleans
System Was Prime for Leaks . Wall Street Journal ,
November 25 .
Congressional Quarterly (CQ) . 1990 . Congress and the
Nation . Vol. VII , 1985 88 . Washington, DC : CQ
Press .
. 2006 . Lieutenant General Carl Strock Holds a
News Conference on Army Corps of Engineers
Disaster Preparedness . News Conference, August 24 .
Cooper , Christopher , and Robert Block . 2006 .
Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of
Homeland Security . New York : Times Books .
Elsea , Jennifer K . 2006 . Te Use of Federal Troops for
Disaster Assistance: Legal Issues . Report No.
RS22266 . Washington, DC : Congressional
Research Service .
Emergency Management Assistance Compact
(EMAC) . 2006 . 2005 Hurricane Season Response:
After-Action Report . http://www.emacweb.
org/?1455 [ accessed August 14, 2007 ].
Fischetti , Mark . 2001 . Drowning New Orleans .
Scientic American , October , 76 85 .
Foster , Kenneth R. , and Robert Giegengack . 2006 .
Planning for a City on the Brink . In On Risk and
Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina , edited by
Ronald J. Daniels , Donald F. Kettl , and Howard
Kunreuther , 41 58 . Philadelphia : University of
Pennsylvania Press .
Gingrich , Newt . 2006 . Winning the Future: A 21st
Century Compact with America . Washington, DC :
Regnery .
Grunwald , Michael . 2005 . Money Flowed to
Questionable Projects . Washington Post , September 8 .
Korb , Lawrence J . 2007 . Over Here . New York Times ,
May 27 .
Mahoney , Dennis J . 1986 . Posse Comitatus Act . In
Encyclopedia of the American Constitution , edited by
Leonard W. Levy and Kenneth L. Karst , 1429 30 .
New York : Macmillan .
McQuaid , John , and Mark Schleifstein . 2002 . Te
Big One: A Major Hurricane Could Decimate the
Region, but Flooding from Even a Moderate Storm
Could Kill Tousands Its Just a Matter of Time .
Times-Picayune ( New Orleans ), June 24 . http://
[ accessed August 14, 2007 ].
. 2006 . Path of Destruction: Te Devastation of
New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms .
New York : Little, Brown .
Roberts , Patrick S . 2006 . FEMA and the Prospects for
Reputation-Based Autonomy . Studies in American
Political Development 20 : 57 87 .
Schwartz , John . 2007 . Court Clears Way for Suit on
New Orleans Flooding . New York Times , February 3 .
U. S. House . Select Bipartisan Committee to
Investigate the Preparation for and Response to
Hurricane Katrina . 2006 . A Failure of Initiative .
Washington, DC : Government Printing O ce .
[ accessed August 14, 2007 ].
U. S. Senate . Committee on Homeland Security and
Governmental Aairs . 2005 . Hurricane Katrina:
Whos in Charge of the New Orleans Levees?
109th Cong., 1st sess ., December 15 .
. 2006 . Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still
Unprepared . Washington, DC : Government
Printing O ce .
Katrina/FullReport.pdf [ accessed August 14,
2007 ].
White House . 2006 . Te Federal Response to Hurricane
Katrina: Lessons Learned . Washington, DC : O ce
of the Assistant to the President for Homeland
Security and Counterterrorism . http://www.
[ accessed August 14, 2007 ].