Equipment requested by Governor Blanco nearly a week ago still hasn’t arrived

On September 2, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco asked George W. Bush for portable radios that would enable emergency personnel to communicate with one another. She also asked for 175 generators and for emergency crews to restore communication towers. None of these things has ever arrived in Louisiana.

FEMA officials say they are “checking on the status of the request,” and FEMA director Michael Brown is assuring Blanco that what she has requested is on the way.

This afternoon, on the way home from our evacutation site, I heard a sympathetic radio station host listen to a caller who was outraged that Blanco had “failed Louisiana.” His real reason for calling, it turned out, was to tell everyone how much better things would have gone if Blanco’s opponent for the governorship, right-wing extremist Bobby Jindal, had been elected governor.

This is the way it is going to go: Take the focus off of the White House and put it on Governor Blanco, who has been begging for help since we first learned that Katrina was heading toward New Orleans. Followers of Bush will believe anything rather than believe that he hired a failed two-bit executive to direct the nation’s disaster relief operations, then spewed embarrassing cliches when he learned that huge parts of Louisiana and Mississippi were destroyed, and that thousands were either homeless or dead.