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Profile: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco


Positions that Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has held:

  • Louisiana Governor




Quote, September 1, 2005

   “These troops are battle-tested. ... They have M-16s and are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and I expect they will.” [Reuters, 9/1/2005, BBC, 9/1/2005]




Related Entities:


Kathleen Babineaux Blanco actively participated in the following events:


January 2004: Louisiana Governor Personally Asks Bush to Fund Louisiana Coastal Restoration Project      Hurricane Katrina

       During President Bush's visit to Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Blanco asks the president in a private conversation to include $50 million in his budget to begin construction work on the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) wetlands restoration project. She follows up with a formal letter outlining her request. [Associated Press, 2/3/2004]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, George W. Bush, Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Ecosystem Restoration Study

January 12, 2004: Kathleen Blanco Becomes Governor of Louisiana      Hurricane Katrina

       Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) is sworn into office as Louisiana's first woman governor, replacing Governor Mike Foster (R). [Louisiana Governor's Office, 9/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Mike Foster

July 28, 2005: Blanco Invites Bush and Energy Secretary to See Louisiana's Coastal Erosion Problem      Hurricane Katrina

       In a letter to President Bush, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco urges the president and his energy secretary, Samuel W. Bodman, to visit the Louisiana coast and see first-hand the deteriorating condition of the state's coastal wetlands. She wants the administration to reconsider its objection (see July 15, 2004) to a provision in the House (see April 21, 2005) and Senate (see June 28, 2005) versions of the 2005 Energy Policy Act (HR 6) that would channel oil and gas royalties from offshore operations to coastal states for coastal wetland restoration. In her letter, she emphasizes how Louisiana's disappearing wetlands is making the oil and gas industry's vast network of pipelines increasingly vulnerable to damage. She also stresses that coastal wetlands have historically protected the coast from the full fury of hurricanes and, without this barrier, a major hurricane could devastate low-elevation coastal communities like New Orleans. “Let me show you the fragile wetlands that are the only protection for the thousands of miles of pipelines that connect this nation to 80 percent of its offshore energy supply and to a full third of all its oil and gas, both foreign and domestic. The vulnerability of those protective wetlands is all the more apparent to our two million coastal zone residents during this active hurricane season.” [Office of Louisiana Governor, 7/20/2005; Houma Today, 7/21/2005]
People and organizations involved: Samuel W. Bodman, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, George W. Bush

4:00 pm August 26, 2005: Louisiana Governor Declares State of Emergency      Hurricane Katrina

       Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco declares a state of emergency in light of the threat to the state posed by Katrina. This declaration effectively activates Louisiana's emergency response and recovery program under the command of the director of the state office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. [LA Governor Press Release, 8/26/2005] According to Deputy Press Secretary Roderick Hawkins, Blanco issued the declaration in anticipation of possible damage from Hurricane Katrina, noting that the declaration effectively places the Louisiana National Guard on alert: “It puts us on standby just in case we need to mobilize the National Guard.” [KSLA 12, 8/26/2005 Sources: Roderick Hawkins] . This declaration, in fact, grants Blanco broad powers to respond to the pending disaster, including the power to “[d]irect and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state if he deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response or recovery.” [La. Rev. St. οΎ§766 (D)(5)] Blanco, however, will decline to exercise this power in the coming hours, electing to defer to local officials.
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Early Morning August 27, 2005: Louisiana Governor Asks President Bush to Declare an Emergency For Louisiana      Hurricane Katrina

       Louisiana Governor Blanco, determining that the storm will be so big that state and local governments will not be able to handle it, asks President Bush to declare a state of emergency. The exact timing of Blanco's letter is unclear. The PDF version of the letter is dated August 28. [Letter from Blanco to Bush (PDF), 8/28/2005] However, the Federal News dateline for the letter is 4:27 am EDT August 27. Governor Blanco's office and the Times-Picayune will publish the full text of the letter today. [LA Press Release, 8/27/2005; Times-Picayune Blog, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Morning, August 27, 2005: Alabama Governor Offers Assistance to Louisiana, Mississippi Governors      Hurricane Katrina

       Alabama Governor Bob Riley offers Louisiana Governor Blanco and Mississippi Governor Barbour assistance if necessary, upon reviewing this morning's National Weather Service report showing that Katrina's most serious impact will most likely be in Louisiana and Mississippi. [Alabama Press Release, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: National Weather Service, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Haley Barbour, Bob Riley, Hurricane Katrina

Between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm August 27, 2005: Louisiana Official Describes Status of Evacuations      Hurricane Katrina

       By this time, Louisiana has asked for voluntary evacuations of ten parishes, and mandatory evacuations of St. Charles Parish, according to Jim Ballow, Assistant Chief of Operations of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Local parishes are in conference with Governor Blanco to discuss further evacuations. Ballow explains the challenges of evacuating New Orleans: Evacuating residents “with ... limited evacuation routes and some that are susceptible to high water as well, pose[] a challenge. We need to decide early—certain number of hours out, as per state evacuation plan, to begin evacuating them, so we can effectively remove as many people as possible and then stop the evacuation prior to the storm striking.” [Sources: Jim Ballow]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

(1:30 pm) August 27, 2005: Louisiana Officials Urges Preparation and Evacuations      Hurricane Katrina

       Louisiana Governor Blanco and local officials from Southeastern Louisiana parishes hold a special press conference to urge residents to evacuate. Blanco reports that the parishes are cooperating in following the evacuation plan, and encourages residents to listen to their parish leaders regarding when they should leave their area. Aaron Broussard, President of Jefferson Parish, then outlines the particulars of the evacuations, noting that residents of low-lying regions need to leave immediately, so that other residents can follow. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin warns residents that Hurricane Katrina poses a grave danger to the city: “This is not a test. This is the real deal. Things could change, but as of right now, New Orleans is definitely the target for this hurricane.” Nagin says that New Orleans will follow the state's evacuation plan, and thus, he will not officially order evacuations until 30 hours before expected landfall, to allow those residents in low-lying surrounding areas to leave first. However, he recommends that residents in low-lying areas of the city, such as Algiers and the 9th Ward, get a head start, noting: “We want you to take this a little more seriously and start moving —right now, as a matter of fact.” Acknowledging that many residents have no independent means of transportation, Nagin says that the city might open the Superdome as a shelter of last resort for evacuees with special needs, but advises evacuees who plan to stay there to bring their own food, drinks, and other comforts necessary. Police Chief Eddie Compass states that New Orleans likely will issue a curfew at some point, and the police department will station police officers at shopping centers to prevent looting. Blanco sums up the situation: “We have been very blessed so far. We've escaped the brunt of most of the hurricanes that have been generated. But now it looks like we're going to have to bear some of the brunt of this storm.” [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/27/2005; Washington Post, 9/11/2005; USA Today/AP, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Hurricane Katrina, Eddie Compass, Aaron Broussard, Ray Nagin

2:50 pm August 27, 2005: Louisiana Governor Announces Upcoming Contraflow Order; Police Urge Care, Courteousness      Hurricane Katrina

       Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco orders Louisiana State Police and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to implement the Contraflow Plan beginning 4:00 pm. State Police announce that they have already staged necessary assets in anticipation of the Contraflow implementation. Police remind all drivers to be cautious. If a minor crash occurs, motorists should move the vehicles off the roadway and notify local law enforcement. Traffic will be heavy. Police request that residents “please be patient and courteous to other motorists.” [Louisiana Police Press Release, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Evening August 27, 2005: NHC Director Calls Governors of Louisiana and Mississippi      Hurricane Katrina

       NHC Director Max Mayfield personally calls Louisiana Governor Blanco and Mississippi Governor Barbour. Mayfield tells Barbour that Katrina may be a “Camille-like storm.” He tells Blanco that this one will be a “big, big deal.” “I wanted to be able to go to sleep that night,” he will later recall. According to Mayfield, Blanco is unsure that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has fully grasped the situation and urges Mayfield to call him. [Washington Post, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Max Mayfield, Ray Nagin, Hurricane Camille, Haley Barbour, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

August 28, 2005: Louisiana Governor Asks President to Declare Expedited Major Disaster, President Bush Grants Request      Hurricane Katrina

       Governor Blanco will send a letter to President Bush today, requesting that he declare an “expedited major disaster” for Louisiana in light of the approaching hurricane. According to Blanco, “this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance will be necessary.” [Blanco Letter to Bush/ (PDF), 8/28/2005] Note: A Presidential declaration of a major disaster expands the federal assistance programs available to assist the affected area in recovering from the impact of the disaster, while the earlier declaration of emergency authorizes shorter-term federal assistance to protect lives, property, and the public safety immediately before or after a disaster. [FindLaw]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Between 7:00-8:00 am August 28, 2005: Louisiana Governor Discusses Evacuation Plans on ABC      Hurricane Katrina

       After noting that the Red Cross has predicted that as many as 100,000 people could die if a hurricane would hit New Orleans, ABC reporter Kate Snow asks Louisiana Governor Blanco how the evacuation is proceeding. Blanco responds: “We started evacuations early yesterday. Started encouraging people to voluntarily evacuate from the low-lying areas surrounding the Orleans area. And today we're focusing on the final people who are still in the city, encouraging them to leave. There will be all sorts of modes of transportation available to those who have no transportation. City buses will be available. Other people are bringing buses in. We also, I believe are lining up trains to move as many people out as possible.” Note that Amtrak's last train reportedly left Saturday evening around 8:30 pm .
People and organizations involved: Kate Snow, American Red Cross, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Shortly before 9:30 am August 28, 2005: President Bush Calls Louisiana Governor      Hurricane Katrina

       President Bush telephones Governor Blanco (apparently in response to FEMA Director Michael Brown's request to call New Orleans Mayor Nagin , to urge a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, according to later reports. Blanco responds that Mayor Nagin has already decided to do so, and will make the announcement shortly. [Washington Post, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Ray Nagin, George W. Bush, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Shortly after 9:30 am August 28, 2005: Louisiana Governor Urges New Orleans-area Residents to Evacuate      Hurricane Katrina

       Louisiana Governor Blanco takes the podium to reinforce the need for evacuation: “I want to reiterate what the mayor has said . This is a very dangerous time. Just before we walked into this room, President Bush called and told me to share with all of you that he is very concerned about the residents. He is concerned about the impact that this hurricane would have on our people. And he asked me to please ensure that there would be a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. The leaders at the highest ranks of our nation have recognized the destructive forces and the possible awesome danger that we are in. And I just want to say, we need to get as many people out as possible. The shelters will end up probably without electricity or with minimum electricity from generators in the end. There may be intense flooding that will be not in our control, which would be ultimately the most dangerous situation that many of our people could face. Waters could be as high as 15 to 20 feet. ... That would probably be ultimately the worst situation. We're hoping that it does not happen that way. We need to pray, of course, very strongly, that the hurricane force would diminish.” Blanco then describes the gridlock on roads leading out of New Orleans, and urges residents to take alternate routes. [KATV News, 8/30/2005; WWLTV, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Ray Nagin, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

After 5:00 pm August 28, 2005: Governor Blanco Again Urges Residents to Leave New Orleans or Go to a Shelter of Last Resort      Hurricane Katrina

       Governor Blanco once again urges evacuation and shelter: “To those residents who have the ability to leave, I urge you to leave now. If you cannot leave the city, I urge you to go to one of the city-sponsored shelters in the New Orleans area. I am gravely concerned about reports coming in regarding those who are choosing not to evacuation. I strongly urge you to get to safety while there is still time to do so.” Blanco reports, “I am thankful to say that we've successfully evacuated hundreds of thousands of residents in the last 24 hours. State officials, working with local and parish officials and officials in Mississippi, have worked hard to maintain a safe evacuation process. While many people are still on the roads trying to get out of the city, traffic patterns indicate that everyone who has the ability to leave New Orleans will be able to evacuate by this evening. ....With the exception of Highway 61 and I-10 eastbound at Slidell, all evacuation routes out of the city will remain open for residents desiring to leave this evening. Contraflow loading has ended, but evacuation has not.” [LA Press Release, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Evening August 28, 2005: FEMA Director, Louisiana Officials at Odds on Response      Hurricane Katrina

       According to a later interview with the New York Times, FEMA Director Mike Brown states that upon return to Baton Rouge from New Orleans, he has become concerned about the lack of coordinated response from Louisiana officials. “What do you need? Help me help you,” Brown said he asked them. “The response was like, ‘Let us find out,’ and then I never received specific requests for specific things that needed doing.” Bob Mann, Blanco's Communications Director will assert, however, that during this period, Blanco becomes frustrated with Brown and FEMA for expecting itemized requests before they will do anything. According to Mann, “It was like walking into an emergency room bleeding profusely and being expected to instruct the doctors how to treat you.” [New York Times, 9/15/2005]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael D. Brown

Between 7:00 am and 9:30 am August 29, 2005: Louisiana Governor: Water has Breached the Levee System; Eastern New Orleans is Flooding      Hurricane Katrina

       Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, appearing on NBC, Today Show, reports that “I believe the water has breached the levee system, and is—is coming in. I mean, we've got water in so many areas there that, you know, none of that's a big surprise. It's just a big worry.” (Blanco is likely referring to the Industrial Canal floodwall.) Officials are “hearing of flooding of six-to-eight-foot waters in eastern New Orleans near the parish line of Orleans and St. Bernard. Obviously, our low-lying areas are experiencing a lot of flooding as well.” According to Blanco, the water is rising at about one foot per hour: “And yes, that gives us great concern. The area that we're talking about is a heavily populated area. We're hoping that it—that it was 100 percent evacuated. Eight-foot waters are—are very serious.” Blanco warns that, “We have not seen the last of—of the damage. I expect that it will worsen throughout the day.”
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Before 9:00 am August 29, 2005: Louisiana State Officials: Floodwaters are a Serious Problem      Hurricane Katrina

       At a briefing just before 9:00 am this morning, state officials report that flooding is becoming a problem in Orleans Parish. About six to eight feet of water has already collected in the Lower 9th Ward. Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau reports that emergency personnel stationed at Jackson Barracks have confirmed that the waters are rising, although he does not know whether the flooding is due to a levee breach or overtopping. Extensive flooding already has been reported along St. Claude and Claiborne avenues. Charity Hospital reports flooding on the first floor. St. Bernard and Plaquemines officials also report flooding. Governor Blanco urges residents that they should not return, because their homes will likely be unreachable: “You will hamper search and rescue efforts ... [and it] will be impossible for you to get where you need to go.” [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: Bennett C. Landreneau, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

(11:00 am) August 29, 2005: Emergency Officials Learn of New Orleans Flooding; FEMA Director Arrives in Baton Rouge      Hurricane Katrina

       FEMA Director Mike Brown arrives at the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness, in Baton Rouge shortly before 11 am, and joins a conference call with Louisiana Governor Blanco and other federal and state officials. According to the Times-Picayune, “Researchers watching the storm from Baton Rouge have gotten reports of [six] feet of water at Jackson Barracks in the Lower 9th Ward, as well as flooding along the Industrial Canal.” Kevin Robbins, director of the Southern Regional Climate Center at LSU, states that water should begin receding around the Industrial Canal area, and they have received no reports of flooding in the Uptown area. Because Katrina destroyed or disabled many of the stations that record water surges in lakes and rivers, information about the worst surges is just not available. “We are working in a data poor environment,” Robbins says. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Michael D. Brown, Kevin Robbins

Afternoon August 29, 2005: FEMA Announces Plan to Send 500 Buses to Evacuate Stranded Residents in New Orleans      Hurricane Katrina

       Around this time, FEMA announces a plan to send 500 commercial buses into New Orleans to rescue the thousands of people still stranded there. Louisiana Governor Blanco will later recall that when FEMA Director Michael Brown personally notifies her of FEMA's plan, she assumes that the buses are pre-staged near New Orleans. “I assumed that FEMA had staged their buses in near proximity,” she said. “I expected them to be out of the storm's way but accessible in one day's time,” Blanco will later recall. [Baton Rouge Advocate, 9/18/2005]
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Michael D. Brown

(8:00 pm) August 29, 2005: Louisiana Governor Asks President for ‘Everything You've Got’       Hurricane Katrina

       Louisiana Governor Blanco calls President Bush this evening. Reportedly, she tells him, “Mr. President, we need your help. We need everything you've got.” Blanco later recalls that Bush was reassuring. However, the conversation is rather vague, according to later reports. Blanco does not specifically ask for a massive intervention by the active-duty military. “She wouldn't know the 82nd Airborne from the Harlem Boys' Choir,” says an official in Governor Blanco's office (who wishes to remain anonymous). [Newsweek, 9/19/2005] Blanco will later acknowledge that she does not “give him a checklist or anything.” [Time, 9/11/2005] “Do we stop and think about it?” she will ask. “We just stop and think about help.” [New York Times, 9/11/2005] Blanco's aides will contend that she should not have to provide a detailed list under the circumstances: “That's like telling a drowning man that you are not going to help him until he asks for a life preserver.” [Time, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, George W. Bush

(8:30 pm) August 39, 2005: Louisiana Governor Larry King Live: Whole Parishes are Underwater; Massive Search and Rescue Operation Underway      Hurricane Katrina

       Louisiana Governor Blanco tells CNN's Larry King that entire parishes in southeastern Louisiana are underwater, with many homes flooded to the rooftops, leaving thousands stranded: “[W]e're in full search and rescue operation. We have pulled hundreds of people out of the waters. As we speak we've got boats moving up and down streets that, well, canals that used to be streets and people are beckoning our rescuers.” Asked whether Louisiana has adequate National Guard troops on hand, Blanco responds that, “We have an extraordinary number of National Guard members who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan but we have activated 4,000 members. We have some support coming from Texas as well. Our Guard is really helping us in extraordinary ways in bringing in a lot of search and rescue equipment in the morning. We will be in full swing tomorrow. We believe there will still be hundreds more people.”
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Louisiana National Guard

August 30, 2005: New Mexico, Florida Governors Offer Assistance      Hurricane Katrina

       New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will call Governor Blanco today to offer assistance by providing National Guard troops from his state. Paul Shipley, Richardson's representative, later recalls, “We were ready to go. We had offered our help.” [NPR (Audio), 9/09/2005] Florida Governor Jeb Bush and state emergency officials also reportedly offer their assistance to both Louisiana and Mississippi. [Palm Beach Post, 9/10/2005] New Mexico will deploy an urban search and rescue team to Louisiana on Monday , but its National Guard will not arrive until Friday.
People and organizations involved: Bill Richardson, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Paul Shipley, John Ellis ("Jeb") Bush

'Passive' participant in the following events:

'Observer' in the following events:

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