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Period

Before Katrina (140)
Pre-Impact Katrina (195)
During Katrina (76)
Immediate Katrina Aftermath (19)
After Katrina (3)

Organization

Federal (140)
Federal: FEMA (64)
Louisiana: State (73)
Louisiana: NOLA (46)
Louisiana: SELA (42)
Mississippi: State (4)
Mississippi: Biloxi (0)
Mississippi: Gulfport (0)
Mississippi: Other Local (0)
Alabama: State (0)
Florida: State (0)
States: Other States (0)
Private Sector (19)
Academia/Professional (0)
Media (27)
NGOs (17)
General Public (9)

Knowledge

Flood Risk (28)
Evacuation Problem (22)
Public Safety Risk (3)
Environmental Risk (5)
Organization Capacity (10)
Levee Breach/Flooding (58)
Sheltering (1)
Response Level (1)
Advisories (81)
Increased Chance of Hurricane (1)

Disaster Management Legislation Relevant to Katrina

Legislation (3)

Emergency Preparedness/Response Plans

Evacuation (13)
Shelter (4)
Response (7)
Recovery (1)

Policies that Affected Intensity of Katrina Impact

Environmental Policies/Programs (16)
Land Development (3)
Flood Control Programs (23)
Disaster Mitigation (12)
Disaster Preparedness (11)
Resource Allocation (29)
FEMA Restructuring (16)
Outsourcing (5)
Political Patronage (9)

Progress and Impact Hurricane Katrina

Florida (3)
Louisiana: State (2)
Louisiana: NOLA (20)
Louisiana: SELA (18)
Mississippi: Local (0)
Mississippi: State (0)
Mississippi: Biloxi (0)
Mississippi: Gulfport (0)
Mississippi: Other Local (0)
Alabama: State (0)

Execution of Emergency Plans

Evacuation (22)
Sheltering (2)
Emergency Response
Other States' Assistance (0)

Response in Wake of Katrina Disaster

Response to Evacuation Execution (0)
Response to Emergency Response (1)
Investigations (0)

Recovery from Katrina

Infrastructure (bridges; roads) (0)
Governmental Services (water, electricity, etc) (0)
Industry (oil industry, etc.) (0)
citizenship (0)

Statements

Policies (5)
Warnings (15)
Plans (0)
Mitigation (4)
Katrina (6)
Execution of Emergency Plans (25)
Response (0)
Recovery (0)

Specific Cases and Issues

Coastal Wetlands (27)

Other

Other (3)
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Hurricane Katrina

 
  

Project: Hurricane Katrina

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Showing 1-100 of 122 events (use filters to narrow search):    next 100

1:00-1:30 pm August 27, 2005: Alabama Governor Orders Evacuation of Residents in Path of Hurricane Katrina

       Alabama Governor Bob Riley orders the evacuation of residents south of Interstate 10 in Mobile County and in low-lying areas of Baldwin County due to the significant threat posed by Hurricane Katrina. The evacuation for areas in Baldwin County goes into effect at 1:00 pm and the evacuation order for areas south of I-10 in Mobile County goes into effect at 1:30 pm. [Alabama Press Release, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Bob Riley, Hurricane Katrina
          

(Midday) August 27, 2005: President Bush Declares Emergency in Louisiana

       President Bush declares an emergency for Louisiana, and orders federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the affected area. This declaration activates the National Response Plan , and authorizes FEMA to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures to save lives, protect property and public health and safety for parishes in the storm's path and to minimize or avert the threat of a catastrophe in multiple parishes. Bush's declaration authorizes FEMA to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, including specifically, “[m]easures undertaken to preserve public health and safety and to eliminate threats to public or private property.” In response to this declaration, FEMA Director Michael Brown appoints William Lokey as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. [70 Fed. Reg. 53238, 9/07/2005; White House Release, 8/27/2005] . As Governor Blanco will later note, this pre-impact declaration is extremely unusual. The last time a president issued a pre-impact declaration was when Hurricane Andrew was bearing down on Florida in 1992. Note that while President Bush's emergency declaration identifies 39 parishes, it does not identify the parishes in Katrina's path, apparently due to a clerical error. [San Jose Mercury News, 9/11/2005] This omission has no practical effect, and a corrected declaration will be issued on Monday. [70 Fed. Reg. 53238, 9/07/2005]
Note 1 - Reuters will later incorrectly report that Bush appoints William Lokey as the Federal Coordinating Officer, and will imply that such action is somehow unusual. [Reuters, 9/15/2005]
In fact, as reflected in the official Federal Register entry, and in the White House release, Brown appoints Lokey as the coordinating officer for Louisiana. This appointment is consistent with standard practice: For each declared emergency, a different ("lower level") individual is appointed as the federal coordinating officer.
Note 2 - Knight Ridder (and other news media) will later incorrectly report that Bush failed to trigger the federal government's responsibility, and that it is not triggered until DHS Secretary Chertoff's August 31 announcement that the Katrina disaster is an “Incident of National Significance.” [Knight Ridder, 9/11/2005; Knight Ridder, 9/15/2005]
In fact, Bush's declaration (a) effectively authorizes FEMA to provide a full and immediate federal response to the unfolding crisis, and (b) makes the crisis an “Incident of National Significance.” [National Response Plan (PDF), 12/2004] , at 7 (“Note that while all Presidentially declared disasters and emergencies under the Stafford Act are considered Incidents of National Significance, not all Incidents of National Significance necessarily result in disaster or emergency declarations under the Stafford Act.”); [70 Fed. Reg. 53238, 9/07/2005] (granting FEMA full authority to respond to the emergency.) The strategy behind DHS Secretary Chertoff's much ballyhooed—and inaccurate—August 31 announcement that his declaration triggers for the first time a coordinated federal response to states and localities overwhelmed by disaster remains unclear at this time.
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Andrew, Stafford Act, Michael Chertoff, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Michael D. Brown, National Response Plan, Federal Emergency Management Agency, William Lokey, George W. Bush
          

August 23, 2005: President Bush Declares Louisiana a Major Disaster Area

       President Bush declares that a major disaster exists in Louisiana, releasing federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by Tropical Storm Cindy on July 5-6, 2005. [White House, 8/23/2005] Louisiana Governor Blanco had declared a state of emergency in light of Tropical Storm Cindy on July 6, 2005. [LA Press Release, 7/6/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tropical Storm Cindy
          

(6:00 pm) EDT August 24, 2005: Florida Governor Bush Declares State of Emergency

       Florida Governor Jeb Bush declares a State of Emergency for Florida in light of the impending Tropical Storm Katrina. [WFOR/CBS TV, 8/24/2005; Florida Executive Order 05-716 (PDF), 8/24/2005]
People and organizations involved: John Ellis ("Jeb") Bush, Hurricane Katrina
          

(10:00 am) EDT August 25, 2005: FEMA Urges Florida Residents to Prepare for Katrina

       FEMA issues a press release urging residents to heed the hurricane warnings, noting that, “Even as FEMA continues our work on recovery from the past five storms, we stand with our partners at the state and local levels encouraging Floridians to take the necessary precautionary measures for the looming storm.” [FEMA Release, 8/25/05]
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

11:00 am EDT August 25, 2005: FEMA Situation Update Leads with Katrina, Activation of Emergency Support Functions

       FEMA's Friday Situation Update leads with Katrina, but does not discuss current FEMA operations related to the hurricane. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/25/2005] According to the Saturday Update, however, FEMA will activate its Red Team at the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) today. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/26/2005] The NRCC, a functional component of the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC), is a multi-agency center that provides overall federal response coordination. [DHS website] The NRCC activates the following Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) and operations to prepare for Katrina:
1-Transportation (with an Air Ops Element)

3-Public Works and Engineering

4-Fire Fighting

5-Information and Planning

7-Resource Support

15-External Affairs

Military Liaison. Note that FEMA does not list ESFs 14 and 15 as standard functions on its FEMA website . [FEMA website, last updated 10/24/2004]
However, these functions are part of the National Response Plan ("NRP") issued by the Department of Homeland Security in December 2004. [DHS website, as of 09/01/2005;] According to the NRP, ESF-15 provides the resource support and mechanisms to implement the DHS's Public Affairs policies and procedures. The Public Affairs policies and procedures, in turn, are intended “to rapidly mobilize Federal assets to prepare and deliver coordinated and sustained messages to the public in response to Incidents of National Significance and other major domestic emergencies.” [DHS National Response Plan (PDF), ESF Annexes, Public Affairs Support Annex, 12/2004] At the same time, FEMA's Region 4 Response Coordination Center (RRCC), which serves Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi, elevates to Level 2. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/26/2005] The RRCC coordinates regional response efforts and implements local Federal program support until a Joint Field Office is established. [DHS website] Region 4's RRCC activates the ESFs listed above, along with ESF-14 (long-term community recovery and mitigation). [FEMA Situation Update, 8/26/2005] There is no mention of Region 6, which serves Louisiana.
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, National Response Coordination Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

Between August 26 and 27, 2005: Northern Command Reportedly Begins Coordinating Emergency Efforts with Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi

       Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré will later report that the Northern Command begins coordinating emergency response efforts with Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana between Friday, August 26 and Saturday, August 27. [Department of Defense Transcript, 9/01/2005]
Note - Honoré does not identify the state(s) in which efforts begin today; nor does he describe what state-specific efforts are initiated. However, given that Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have not yet declared states of emergency, it seems unlikely that the Northern Command is coordinating emergency efforts with these states at this time.

People and organizations involved: US Northern Command, Bobby Jindal
          

August 26, 2005: FEMA Focused on Katrina, but Not on Threat to Louisiana

       FEMA's National Situation Update again leads with Katrina, anticipating that Katrina will regenerate today as it travels across the Gulf of Mexico. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/26/2005] The Update indicates that Emergency Operations Centers in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi have been activated at various levels. However, Louisiana is not even mentioned today's Update. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/26/2005] A team leader critical of FEMA's response in Louisiana will later speak to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, asserting that there was no sense of urgency within FEMA at this time: “Nobody's turning the key to start the engine.” He wondered, “Why aren't we treating this as a bigger emergency? Why aren't we doing anything?” [Washington Post, 9/11/2005; A1] Note, however, that the Washington Post report that FEMA is operating at Level 1 at this time contradicts FEMA's contemporaneous report, which states that it began operating at Level 2 on Thursday. The National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) will not transition to Level 1 until Saturday, August 27 at 7:00 am EDT. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

August 26, 2005: St. Tammany Parish Clear Storm Drains in Preparation for Pending Storm

       Public works employees in St. Tammany Parish clean storm drains and ditches to prevent them from clogging during heavy rains. Emergency Operations Center employees go on standby alert. [Times-Picayune, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: National Emergency Operations Center
          

August 26, 2005: US Army Corps of Engineers Prepares for Hurricane Katrina

       The Mississippi Valley Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers, based in Vicksburg, Mississippi, begins preparations today to support hurricane response operations in Louisiana and Mississippi, according to an undated Army Corps news release. This same release notes that “[w]ith an estimated 500 Corps personnel still deployed in support of the Global War on Terror, it will require an even larger contingent of Corps personnel to support emergency operations if Katrina comes ashore in our area of responsibility as a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. Anticipating potential requirements to pump water out of New Orleans, the Corps has begun discussions with partners to preposition assets to conduct un-watering operations should Katrina strike the southern Louisiana and New Orleans area.” [US Army Corps News Release (undated)]
People and organizations involved: US Army Corps of Engineers
          

August 26, 2005: US Marines Stationed in New Orleans are Evacuated

       Today, 700 Marines stationed at the Marine Reserve Headquarters in New Orleans are ordered to evacuate, according to a Knight Ridder report. [Knight Ridder, 9/11/2005]
          

(12:00 pm) August 26, 2005: NHC Tells Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, and FEMA, ‘This is Real’

       Walter Maestri, Director of the Emergency Management Center in Jefferson Parish, receives a call from Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center. As Maestri later recalls, “Max said to me, ‘Walter, I just want to alert you that a couple of the models are heading this thing right to New Orleans, and I think this thing is going to seriously intensify. You need to be ready.’ At that time, the track was going up the west coast of Florida, so I said to Max, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And he said, ‘No, Walt, this is real.’ ” Maestri immediately convenes his staff to begin preparations. According to Maestri, government officials—at all levels—have prepared for this event for years. During conferences, officials repeatedly have repeatedly discussed the fact that a hurricane could flood all of New Orleans and kill up to 40,000 people. Manuals, spanning hundreds of pages, set forth who (local, state, and federal) will do what and when, when the “monster storm hits.” These officials have repeatedly run hurricane exercises to practice execution of the plans. Mayfield will also warn Louisiana and FEMA officials. He briefs FEMA headquarters in a video teleconference, so that he can see the decision-makers during the call. [NPR (Audio), 9/09/2005]
People and organizations involved: Walter Maestri, Max Mayfield, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

(1:00 pm) August 26, 2005: Maestri Warns State and Federal Officials of Pending Crisis

       As set forth in the emergency planning manuals, Walter Maestri, Director of the Emergency Management Center in Jefferson Parish, calls Jeff Smith, Deputy Director of Louisiana's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Planning. Maestri learns that NHC Director Max Mayfield has called them too. “So I said, ‘Then you know what he's sharing?’ And he says, ‘Yes, but the storm right now ...’ and I said, ‘Please, please. You've indicated you don't know Max. Let me tell you. When he calls you like that, he's telling you you need to be ready, be prepared.’ ” [NPR (Audio), 9/09/2005]
People and organizations involved: Max Mayfield, Walter Maestri, Jeff Smith
          

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

       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
          

(After 4:00 pm) August 26, 2005: Louisiana Officials Discuss Emergency Preparations

       State officials hold a conference call with emergency preparedness directors for the Southeastern Louisiana parishes to discuss the storm forecasts and state plans. The Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (LOHSEP), has already mobilized its crisis action team, although, representative Mark Smith remarks that while they are getting prepared, they are “in a state of flux. Nobody's real sure exactly what Katrina is going to do.” The office plans to activate its Baton Rouge Emergency Operations Center Saturday morning at 7:30 am, with a statewide conference call. [Times-Picayune, 8/27/2005; LA Governor Press Release 2, 8/26/2005]
People and organizations involved: National Emergency Operations Center, Mark Smith
          

August 27, 2005: Several White House Officials Enjoy Vacation

       As Katrina barrels towards the Gulf Coast, most of the top White House staff members are on vacation, taking advantage of President Bush's five-week vacation at his Crawford, Texas ranch. Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff, and a veteran crisis manager who managed the federal response to hurricanes under George H.W. Bush, is vacationing at his lakefront summer home in Maine. Vice President Dick Cheney is vacationing at his Wyoming ranch. Frances Townsend, the White House Homeland Security Advisor who reports to Bush on Homeland Security policy and combating terrorism matters, is vacationing as well. After Katrina sweeps through the Gulf Coast, she will attend several meetings in Washington, before leaving on a previously scheduled trip to Saudi Arabia where she will work on joint counterterrorism projects. Bush will urge Townsend to make the trip despite the unfolding Katrina disaster as a “signal to ... the enemy” that the hurricane has not distracted Bush's attention from terrorists, according to one report. Later, White House representatives will decline to identify the person in charge of preparing for the hurricane in Washington, maintaining that Bush and his aides can run the government just as well from their summer homes. “Andy Card is the chief of staff, and he was in close contact with everyone,” White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan will say at one point. “And the president is the one who's in charge at the White House.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/11/2005] On Tuesday, August 30, when asked to identify the person leading the White House's response to Katrina, McClellan will reply that Joe Hagin, Deputy Chief of staff is the “point person in terms of overseeing efforts from the White House.” [White House, 8/30/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott McClellan, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Andrew Card, Joe Hagin, Fran Townsend, George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina
          

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

       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
          

Early Morning August 27, 2005: FEMA Director Prepares for Hurricane; DHS Secretary ‘Monitors’ Situation

       FEMA Director Michael Brown will spend today working on hurricane preparations in his office. Brown will sign off on two declarations; one releasing federal money for the response to Katrina, the other approving a similar request for money to battle a California wildfire, FEMA officials will later tell National Public Radio. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff will monitor the situation from his home, according to a later statement from Russ Knocke, the Homeland Security representative. [NPR Morning Edition (Lexis), 9/16/2005]
People and organizations involved: Michael Chertoff, Michael D. Brown, Russ Knocke
          

(5:30 am) August 27, 2005: FEMA Update Warns of Katrina Threat to New Orleans; Update Again Silent about Louisiana Response

       FEMA's National Situation Update once again leads with Katrina, noting that the Mississippi and Louisiana governors have declared a state of emergency, due to the threat posed by the hurricane. The Update warns, in bold type, that “New Orleans is of particular concern because much of that city lies below sea level,” and then continues: “[I]f the hurricane winds blow from a certain direction, there are dire predictions of what may happen in the city.” According to the Update, Department of Defense and Rapid Needs Assessment functions “are being activated,” while Region 4 (which serves Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi, among others) remains at Level 2 operations. Curiously, the Update does not mention the status of Region 6, which serves Louisiana. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/27/2005] Leo Bosner, FEMA Emergency Management Specialist (and president of the union representing FEMA staff), will later state that FEMA staff issues this Update at 5:30 this morning, and that they pointedly focused on New Orleans: “We used good, heavy black type. We said there's a storm going toward New Orleans and it's a Force—I think it was a Force 3, expected to strengthen into a Force 4 at that point. And we let them know this is a very serious situation. There were some resources being mobilized but really not quite enough for that kind of a scale. They get these things in person. They go to their office computer and to their BlackBerry.” According to Bosner's later recollection, “We sent the information up and we'd expected that by the time we come in, everything would be swinging into action. We got there, and there was the sounds of silence.” [NPR Morning Edition (Lexis), 9/16/2005 Sources: Leo Bosner]
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

6:00 am August 27, 2005: FEMA's National Response Coordinating Center Transitions to 24-hour Operations

       At 6:00 am, FEMA's National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) transitions to 24-hour operations, activating the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). FEMA also activates several more emergency support functions (in addition to those that were activated on Thursday ), including: communications; mass care (managing and coordinating food, shelter and first aid for victims, providing bulk distribution of relief supplies, and operating a system to assist family reunification); health and medical services; urban search and rescue; food delivery; hazardous materials management; and energy (restoring power and fuel supplies). [FEMA Situation Update, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Emergency Management Assistance Compact, National Response Coordination Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

(6:00-8:00 am) August 27, 2005: Louisiana State Police Open Emergency Operations Center

       The Louisiana State Police activates the Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge, and opens a toll-free hotline. The center will monitor the path of Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, local troops have placed additional troopers on telephone standby in preparations to assist with increased traffic flow. [Louisiana Police Press Release, 8/27/2005 (6:00 am); Louisiana Police News Release, 8/27/2005 (8:00 am)]
People and organizations involved: National Emergency Operations Center, Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana State Police
          

6:10 am August 27, 2005: ‘48-Hour Window’ Closes

       Hurricane Katrina will make landfall in Louisiana in only 48 hours . Governor Blanco has declared a state of emergency , and requested that President Bush declare a state of emergency, to enable direct federal assistance in the potential disaster . FEMA has apparently sent 10-20 staff members to Louisiana by this time .
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina
          

Morning-Afternoon, August 27, 2005: Louisiana National Guard Activates, Pre-Positions

       The Louisiana National Guard is alerted this morning, according to Lt. Col. Pete Schneider: “[A]ll of a sudden, on Saturday morning, the call went out, you know, this thing is in the Gulf. The call still went out to, ‘Hey, we got to keep an eye on it a little bit more now,’ but it was still projected to go into the eastern Panhandle. You know, everybody was keeping an eye on it, but—and then Friday—and then Saturday afternoon was, ‘That's it, you know, it's not making the turn. It's time to roll.’ ” [NPR (Audio), 9/09/2005 Sources: Pete Schneider] Approximately 3,500-4,000 National Guard members called to state active duty, along with along with Guard equipment such as vehicles, generators, and Humvees. According to Schneider, troops fan out to staging areas across the state, where they will wait for the storm to pass, before distributing supplies and maintaining order. The emergency plan anticipates the possibility of looting and violence. The plans call for Guard troops to be pre-positioned with the New Orleans Police Department and with state police troops throughout the greater New Orleans area. [NPR (Audio), 9/09/2005; Salon, 9/1/2005 Sources: Pete Schneider] As of today, approximately 35 percent of Louisiana's National Guard troops are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the National Guard. Approximately 40 percent of Mississippi's National Guard Troops and approximately 23 percent of Alabama's National Guard troops are also serving overseas. [National Guard, 8/29/2005] Louisiana's 256th Infantry and Mississippi's 155th Armored, each deployed overseas, contain hundreds of members who serve in “combat support” roles such as engineers, truck drivers, and logisticians, and thus who specialize in the disaster relief functions. [Los Angeles Times, 9/11/2005] Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, head of the National Guard, will later claim that the deployment of Guard troops and equipment oversees has left troops at home without the equipment and vehicles necessary to respond to a crisis such as Katrina. Most of the Guard's satellite phones, which are essential during power and cell phone service outages that will occur when Katrina sweeps through, are overseas, according to Blum, as is most of the Guard's best equipment. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will state that “once again our Guard is, I don't like to use the word ‘stressed,’ but they are challenged” by commitments at home and overseas. [Chicago Tribune, 9/17/2005] However, top Pentagon officials will deny that the Guard's deployment in Iraq has any impact on the Guard's ability to respond to the disaster. “That's just flat wrong. Anyone who's saying that doesn't understand the situation,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will contend. [Los Angeles Times, 9/11/2005]
Note - The exact number of members called to active duty today is unclear. Several news reports indicate that 3,500 members are called to duty. [Salon, 9/1/2005; National Guard, 8/29/2005; Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]
. Other news reports state that 4,000 members are called to duty. [NPR (Audio), 9/09/2005] The Boston Globe will report that 5,700 Guard members are deployed by Monday. The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that it based on a timeline received from the Louisiana National Guard, 2,000 members are mobilized on Saturday, and 4,000 members are mobilized by Sunday. [Baton Rouge Advocate, 9/09/2005]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana National Guard, Steven Blum
          

(Before 11:00 am) August 27, 2005: Mississippi Governor Declares State of Emergency

       Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour declares a state of emergency for Mississippi. [Mississippi Executive Order 939, 8/26/2005; Mississippi Proclamation, 8/26/2005]
Note - The timing of this declaration is unclear. The official documents are dated Friday, August 26. However, news reports indicate that the declaration occurs on Saturday. [Ledger-Enquirer, 8/27/2005]
Further, while President Bush signs the disaster declaration for Louisiana today , he will not sign the Mississippi emergency declaration until Sunday morning .
People and organizations involved: Haley Barbour
          

11:00 am August 27, 2005: FEMA Deploys National Emergency Response Team to Baton Rouge

       FEMA activates its National Emergency Response Team ("Blue Team"), deploying to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/28/2005] FEMA Director Michael Brown will tell the New York Times that the team arriving in Louisiana today to review evacuation plans with local officials consists of “10 or 20 people.” [New York Times, 9/15/2005]
People and organizations involved: National Emergency Response Team, Michael D. Brown, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

Between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm August 27, 2005: FEMA Director Discusses Emergency Planning for New Orleans; Urges Residents to Evacuate

       FEMA Director Michael Brown appears on CNN to discuss the pending crisis in New Orleans posed by Hurricane Katrina. According to Brown, FEMA has “done a lot of planning for a hurricane striking New Orleans because of New Orleans lying below sea level.” He urges residents to evacuate, warning that there will be significant flooding, and travel will be impossible: “So, people have between now and Sunday afternoon to really get ready and I encourage them to do that right now.” According to Brown, FEMA has already dispatched teams to Mississippi and Louisiana, and “[w]e're ready to respond in every possible way, because we do anticipate this being a very significant event.” Brown states that Governor Blanco is currently in conference with emergency officials, and, “once she gets all the detailed information from the hurricane center, from FEMA and the rest of us,” she will decide when to implement the Contraflow plan to facilitate the evacuation. Brown warns residents in the storm's path: “[Y]ou have about 36 hours now to understand how serious this storm is, and to make your preparations to keep your family and to keep your business safe. You've got to do that now, tomorrow and Monday is going to be too late.”
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Michael D. Brown, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

12:00 pm August 27, 2005: Louisiana Opens Special Needs Shelters

       Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) announces that special triage telephone numbers for residents with special needs who need shelter will open at noon today. The DHH provides a toll-free number for each of the state's seven regions, as well as a special number for the New Orleans area. “Residents in the area who anticipate the need for Special Needs Shelter services must call this number. ... Because of limited staffing, those going to a Special Needs Shelter must have a caretaker to assist with ongoing support and they should bring all necessary supplies including sheets, blankets, and pillows.” [Louisiana DHH News Release, 8/27/2005] As of this afternoon, two shelters well away from Katrina's anticipated path are open, and the state will open more if they become necessary. The two open shelters are in Alexandria (215 miles northwest of New Orleans) and Monroe (330 miles northwest of New Orleans) [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
          

12:00 pm August 27, 2005: Coast Guard Issues Safety Bulletin, Restricts Port Access

       The Coast Guard issues its second Katrina-related safety bulletin, ordering all oceangoing vessels to leave port immediately and reiterating its notice that the affected waterways will be closed no later than 2:00 am Monday, August 29. [Coast Guard (PDF), 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Coast Guard, Hurricane Katrina
          

(Midday) August 27, 2005: States Request Additional Assistance from Northern Command

       Some state governors request additional assistance today, according Army Lt. General Honoré will not identify which specific states (i.e., Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, or Mississippi) request assistance at this time. [Department of Defense Transcript, 9/1/2005]
People and organizations involved: Russel Honore
          

(Midday) August 27-28, 2005: Delta Airlines Cancels All Sunday Flights

       Delta, the second-biggest carrier at New Orleans, cancels its entire schedule for Sunday. The last Delta Flight will take off shortly after midnight tonight. Other airlines will continue to fly planes until early Sunday Evening
People and organizations involved: Delta Airlines
          

1:00 pm August 27, 2005: Last American Airline Flight Leaves

       All American Airlines, flights scheduled after 1:00 pm today have been cancelled. However, American used larger planes for its last two flights, transporting 300 extra passengers out of the area.
People and organizations involved: American Airlines
          

2:00 pm August 27, 2005: Coast Guard Issues Safety Bulletin, Restricts Port Access

       The Coast Guard orders most vessels to leave several Gulf Coast ports and prohibits vessels from entering the ports, in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina. The Coast Guard warns that all waterways will close no later than 2:00 am Monday, August 29. [Coast Guard/ (PDF), 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, US Coast Guard
          

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

       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
          

Afternoon August 27, 2005: New Orleans Officials Prepare for Storm Behind Closed Doors.

       This afternoon, New Orleans officials meet in a closed-door session. Mayor Ray Nagin, Police Superintendent Eddie Compass, the city's department heads, and several City Council members attend. The atmosphere is “calm, routine,” according to Jasmine Haralson, council member Jay Batt's chief of staff, who attended the meeting. City officials assume that state and federal resources will assist the city in responding to the storm's aftermath, according to Batt, who will later recall: “I expected State Police. ... I expected the National Guard. I expected the Marines. I expected federal support, bringing in Black Hawk helicopters, basically locking down parts of the city in turmoil.” [Boston Globe, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Eddie Compass, Jasmine Haralson, Ray Nagin, City of New Orleans
          

Afternoon August 27, 2005: New Orleans Police Headquarters Calmly Prepares for Storm

       Officials at New Orleans' police headquarters, who are receiving reports of the pending storm, remain calm this afternoon, according to later reports. The general feeling is that the 1,600-officer force could handle the storm just as it has handled storms in the past, Deputy Chief Steve Nicholas of the New Orleans Police Department will later recall. The Police department is prepared to lose some radio communication (though not for days on end), and they expect some flooding (though not the massive flooding that will occur). Police officials believe that if their resources prove insufficient, state and federal officials that (they assume) are pre-deployed outside of the city, will step in to meet the need. [Boston Globe, 9/11/2005] According to the Boston Globe, the department has four boats at its disposal, and believes that this will be sufficient. However, the Times-Picayune will report that, according to Mayor Nagin, the city has 30 boats at its disposal, “but may need far more, depending on the water level in the city after the storm.” [Times-Picayune, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: Ray Nagin, New Orleans Police Department
          

Afternoon August 27, 2005: St. Tammany Declares State of Emergency

       St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis declares a State of Emergency, and parish officials prepare for the coming storm, setting up five sandbag distribution stations. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Kevin Davis
          

Afternoon August 27, 2005: St. Tammany Issues Evacuation Order

       St. Tammany Parish issues an evacuation order, asking residents to evacuate by noon on Sunday. Officials announce that two shelters will open at noon on Sunday. Parish President Kevin Davis warns, “The ... probabilities of a strike in our area are increasing. Therefore, I urge residents to make storm preparations today.” [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Kevin Davis, St. Tammany Parish
          

Afternoon August 27, 2005: President Considers Adjusting Schedule in Light of Katrina

       In a meeting with aides this afternoon, President Bush discusses the coming storm. Aides inform Bush that the evacuations are proceedings as planned, and that 11,000 National Guard troops will be in a position to respond to the emergency, according to a senior White House official. (The actual number in position will be less than half of this number, however.) Bush tells senior advisor Dan Bartlett that he may need to rearrange his schedule to add a trip to the Gulf Coast next week. [Washington Post, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Louisiana National Guard, George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina, Dan Bartlett
          

Afternoon August 27, 2005: State Department of Transportation Suspends Tolls on Roads Leading Out of New Orleans

       The Louisiana Department of Transportation (DOT) suspends tolls on the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway and on the Crescent City Connection. Officials warn that the DOT may close ferries and bridges Sunday if high winds begin to occur. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
          

4:00 pm August 27, 2005: Police Activate Contraflow Plan to Enable Evacuation

       Police activate the state's redesigned Contraflow Plan, which allows traffic to use both sides of highways leading out of the New Orleans area, including I-10, I-12, I-55, I-59, and the Causeway . Thousands of southeastern Louisiana residents clog all major freeways as they flee the area for higher ground. [Louisiana Police Press Release, 8/27/2005; Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Louisiana State Police
          

Evening August 27, 2005: FEMA Staff is ‘Aghast’ at Lack of National Response to Pending Disaster

       When Leo Bosner, FEMA Emergency Management Specialist (and president of the union representing FEMA staff), returns to FEMA's Emergency Operations Center this evening, he and his colleagues are “aghast” at the lack of preparations taking place, according to a later interview with National Public Radio: “We'd been expecting that, given our reports and so on, that there'd be some extraordinary measures taking place. So when we come in Saturday night and nothing much had happened—you know, we had a few medical teams, a few search teams were in place, but there was no massive effort that we could see. There was no massive effort to organize the city of New Orleans in an organized way that clearly had to be done. There was no massive mobilization of national resources other than the few that were out there. And I think most of us—I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I and a number of my colleagues just—we felt sort of shocked. ... You assume that if there's a fire, you're gonna pull that lever and—someone will pull the lever, and you assume if you pull the lever that in no time these trucks and sirens are gonna come roaring up to your building and people will jump out and will have hoses and fire extinguishers and rescue equipment and things will be taken care of. Well, you sort of imagine now if your building catches fire and you pull that lever and nothing happens, the lever comes off in your hand, there's nothing there; that's, I think, how we felt.” Senior FEMA officials deny Bosner's claim, although their denial reflects an expectation that state and local officials will handle the emergency. “We pleaded and informed state and local officials of the severity of this and encouraged everyone to take it seriously,” Russ Knocke, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff representative, will later contend, after asserting that, “Without question, there was a significant amount of recognition and appreciation for the magnitude of this storm.” [NPR Morning Edition (Lexis), 9/16/2005]
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Russ Knocke, National Emergency Operations Center, Leo Bosner
          

Evening August 27, 2005: New Orleans Mayor Strongly Urges Evacuation

       New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tells local WWLTV that, “Come the first break of light in the morning, you may have the first mandatory evacuation of New Orleans.” Nagin states that that his legal staff is researching whether he can order a mandatory evacuation of the city, a step he's been hesitant to do because of potential liability on the part of the city for closing hotels and other businesses. [Times-Picayune, 8/28/2005/, 1]
People and organizations involved: Ray Nagin
          

8:30 pm August 27, 2005: Last Amtrak Train Leaves New Orleans, Carrying Equipment, but no Passengers

       The last Amtrak train leaves New Orleans, with equipment—but no passengers. Earlier, Amtrak decided to run a nonscheduled train from New Orleans to Macomb Mississippi to move equipment out of harm's way. Amtrak representative Cliff Black will later assert that Amtrak offered to take New Orleans evacuees on the train, which has room for several hundred passengers, but the city declined the offer. [Washington Post, 9/11/2005] Mayor Ray Nagin, however, denies this claim, asserting, “Amtrak never contacted me to make that offer. As a matter of fact, we checked the Amtrak lines for availability, and every available train was booked, as far as the report that I got, through September. So I'd like to see that report. ... I would love to have had that call. But it never happened.” [NBC Meet The Press, 9/11/2005] The Los Angeles Times will later report that Total Community Action, a non-profit community based agency serving disadvantaged New Orleans residents, had previously secured a commitment from Amtrak to transport residents without cars to safety in the event of an evacuation (see (Spring-Summer 2005)). Most reports indicate that no such transport occurred, although the Los Angeles Times article references “reports that at least one Amtrak train got out of the city with evacuees.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/13/2005]
People and organizations involved: Ray Nagin, Cliff Black, Amtrak
          

August 28, 2005: DOD Deploys Emergency Coordinators to Gulf Coast States

       The Defense Department dispatches emergency coordinators to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi “to provide a wide range of assistance including communications equipment, search and rescue operations, medical teams and other emergency supplies,” according to an Associated Press report. Pentagon representative Lawrence Di Rita says that the states have adequate National Guard units to adequately respond to the hurricane; at least 60 percent of the Guard available in each state. According to Di Rita, the First US Army, based at Fort Gillem near Atlanta, has 1,600 National Guard troops that were there training to go to Iraq, and they will be available to assist the states or evacuate Camp Shelby in Mississippi, if necessary. [Associated Press, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Department of Defense, Lawrence Di Rita, National Guard
          

August 28, 2005: Waterford Nuclear Power Plant Shuts Down

       The Waterford nuclear power plant, located about 20 miles west of New Orleans, will shut down today. [NRC News Release, 8/28/2005; GovExec.com, 8/29/2005]
          

August 28, 2005: US Coast Guard Deploys, Prepares for Search and Rescue Missions

       Coast Guard Admiral Robert Duncan, head of the Eighth District in New Orleans, deploys cutters, helicopters, and other vessels today, and requests additional forces from the commander of the Coast Guard's Eastern Area, in Norfolk, Va., which is responsible for everything east of the Mississippi, according to Coast Guard officials. In response to Duncan's request, Jayhawk rescue helicopters from Coast Guard locations along the Eastern Seaboard take off today. They will follow the hurricane to the Gulf Coast and arrive just behind Katrina. “We don't have to get approval to execute,” according to Richard J. Dein, a retired Coast Guard commander and a search-and-rescue specialist. “The Coast Guard is organized by geography. All of those districts act autonomously. They each have a command and control center. What you [have is] a ready response network.” [Boston Globe, 9/11/2005 Sources: Richard J. Dein] }
People and organizations involved: Robert Duncan, US Coast Guard
          

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

       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
          

August 28, 2005: EPA Dispatches Emergency Crews to Louisiana and Texas

       The Environmental Protection Agency dispatches emergency crews to Louisiana and Texas, to address potential oil and chemical spills. The agency sets up facilities to assess the damage, but will not actually deploy until it can safely send more people into the field. An EPA employee dispatched to Baton Rouge will oversee the agency's after-storm review of petrochemical, wastewater treatment and drinking water plants, according to Sam Coleman, a regional director for EPA's Superfund toxic waste division in Dallas. Colman tells the Associated Press that, “We have the equipment standing by, an aspect plane for surveillance that can see petrochemical spills from the air, but it's not cleared to fly in high winds or dangerous weather.” [Associated Press, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: Sam Coleman, Environmental Protection Agency
          

August 28, 2005: Jefferson Parish Fire Department Blares Evacuation Alerts from Trucks

       Emergency Director Walter Maestri sends the parish fire department to the streets. Beginning this morning, and throughout the day, fire trucks travel throughout the parish, their loudspeakers blaring, “ ‘Alert! Alert! For your information, you live in a low-lying area that is highly prone to flooding. And it is the recommendation of your parish government that you immediately evacuate.’ ” [NPR (Audio), 9/09/2005]
People and organizations involved: Walter Maestri
          

August 28, 2005: Emergency Officials Blanket the Airwaves to Urge Evacuation, Predict Disaster

       Beginning this morning, and throughout the day, FEMA representatives and other officials appear on TV shows throughout the day. When asked to identify the biggest challenge to preparing for Katrina, FEMA Director Michael Brown replies as follows: “Primarily making sure that as many people as possible get out of the way of the storm. The more people that are in the way of the storm, the more potential they have of becoming a disaster victim.” When asked whether it is possible for the area to weather the storm without loss of life, Brown responds that such an expectation is unreasonable.
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael D. Brown
          

August 28-29 2005: Gulf Coast Governors Request Additional Security Forces; FEMA Requests Search and Rescue Support

       Louisiana Governor Blanco and Mississippi Governor Barbour will specifically request additional security forces, beginning today, according to General Honoré does not specifically identify the governor(s) who make this request. According to Honoreé through collaboration between the adjutant general and the National Guard Bureau, additional security force capabilities begin flowing into Louisiana and to Mississippi “approximately around Sunday.” FEMA requests support in search and rescue beginning Sunday as well. [DoD News Transcript, 9/1/2005 Sources: Russel Honore] According to a later New York Times report, FEMA will deploy only seven of its 28 urban search and rescue teams by the end of today, and will send no FEMA staff into New Orleans until after the storm has passed. [New York Times, 9/11/2005] On the other hand, Knight Ridder will report that FEMA will deploy 18 search and rescue teams and 39 medical teams before the storm. [Knight Ridder, 8/31/2005]
People and organizations involved: Haley Barbour, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

August 28, 2005: DHS Secretary Prepares for Storm from Office

       Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff will spend today monitoring the path of Hurricane Katrina from his Washington DC office, according to representative Russ Knocke. [Knight Ridder, 9/15/2005 Sources: Russ Knocke]
People and organizations involved: Michael Chertoff, Hurricane Katrina
          

August 28, 2005: FEMA Pre-Stages Responders, Supplies in Louisiana and Surrounding Region

       FEMA will pre-stage supplies and responders in Louisiana and the surrounding region today. Pre-staged supplies include generators, water, ice and food, baby formula, and communications equipment. The Chicago Tribune will report that FEMA stages its emergency supplies at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, Louisiana, about four hours from New Orleans. [Chicago Tribune, 9/11/2005] The FEMA responders who are pre-positioning today include Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) Teams and Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs). Just how many responders are deployed remains unclear. The Dallas Morning News, will later report FEMA deploys 500 people in search-and-rescue and medical teams to Shreveport, Louisiana today. [Dallas Morning News, 8/29/2005/, A1] FEMA will report that it has deployed 18 DMATs to staging areas in Houston, Anniston and Memphis, including nine full DMATs (35 members per team) and nine strike teams (5 members per team). [FEMA News Release, 8/28/2005] ABC News will report that FEMA pre-positions approximately 1,300 disaster assistance workers landfall. [ABC News, 9/8/2005]
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

Morning August 28, 2005: FEMA's National Situation Update Focuses on Preparations for Hurricane Katrina

       FEMA's Situation Update indicates that it is starkly aware of the dire situation in New Orleans, including the lack of transportation for many of the poorer residents: “Katrina could be especially devastating if it strikes New Orleans because the city sits below sea level and is dependent on levees and pumps to keep the water out. A direct hit could wind up submerging the city in several feet of water. Making matters worse, at least 100,000 people in the city lack the transportation to get out of town.” FEMA outlines preparations as follows: FEMA's National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) Red Team and the National Emergency Response Team (Blue) have been fully activated. Region 4 (serving Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, among others) and Region 6 (serving Louisiana) are also fully activated. At the state level, both Mississippi's and Louisiana's Emergency Operations Centers are fully activated. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Response Coordination Center, National Emergency Operations Center
          

Morning August 28, 2005: Staff Feels FEMA is Still Not Preparing Adequately for Disaster

       Inside FEMA's National Emergency Operations Center this morning, “None of the things that [are] supposed to be happening at the national level are happening. Nobody [is] mobilizing extra National Guard troops or organizing buses to help evacuate New Orleans,” Leo Bosner, FEMA Emergency Management Specialist, will later claim. (Bosner is president of the union representing FEMA staff.) According to Bosner, at one point today, he looks around and counts only 12 people in the office: “We [are] sitting around and somebody [says], you know, ‘Where are the buses? Where are the resources to get these people out of here?’ And I think we all just felt pretty despondent, let down, kind of numb about the whole thing.” [NPR Morning Edition (Lexis), 9/16/2005] FEMA Director Michael Brown, however, will paint a very different picture of FEMA's preparation to President Bush , and to the public later today.
Note - Bosner will be inconsistent regarding exactly when this conversation about buses takes place. He reportedly tells the New York Times that it occurs on Friday. [New York Times, 9/11/2005]
However, given that by his own reports, he and other staff members became focused on the threat to Louisiana on Friday night and Saturday morning , it appears more likely that this conversation takes place on Sunday morning.
People and organizations involved: Leo Bosner, National Emergency Operations Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

(8:00 am) August 28, 2005: Superdome Opens for Evacuees with Special Needs

       The Superdome opens this morning at 8:00 am for residents with special needs. [Times-Picayune, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Bryan C. Williams
          

(8:05 am) August 28, 2005: FEMA Director Urges Residents to Evacuate, Says FEMA is Prepared

       FEMA Director Michael Brown appears on CNN this morning. Brown first assures viewers that FEMA has been preparing to respond to a catastrophic hurricane hitting New Orleans for two years, before turning to the issue of evacuation: “I'm more concerned right now, not about our readiness, but about the individual people in Louisiana. I understand that there are, you know, voluntary evacuations right now. I'll tell you this personally. If I lived in New Orleans, I'd be getting out of there. I think it's time to leave now.” Brown warns that the hurricane likely will bring massive flooding: “[T]he storm surge in a category five, can easily exceed 20 feet. You have areas that are already below sea level. We have photographs that show, graphically show what that means. If you go into the French quarter, we're talking about a storm surge that is on the tops of those buildings. It's very, very devastating. So people need to take the storm seriously. Let me put it this way. I've got rescue teams, urban search and rescue teams, swift water teams that are moving in there right now to be prepared. You don't want them to have to come and rescue you. So you need to get out of the way of the storm now.” If the “devastation is widespread as we anticipate it to be,” people may be cut off from rescuers for up to 48 hours. Brown promises that FEMA is ready: “We're going to respond and we're going to do exactly what we did in Florida and Alabama and the other places. We're going to do whatever it takes to help victims.”
People and organizations involved: Michael D. Brown, Federal Emergency Management Agency
          

(8:17 am) August 28, 2005: Louisiana State Police Announce Mandatory Evacuation for New Orleans

       Although Mayor Nagin will not officially announce the mandatory evacuation for another hour, the Louisiana Police issues a news release at 8:17 am this morning, announcing that that New Orleans is now under a mandatory evacuation order, along with several other nearby parishes. [LA State Police Hurricane Evacuation Status, 8/28/2005] CNN announces the mandatory evacuation around this time as well, reporting that Mayor Nagin will make the official announcement within the hour.
People and organizations involved: CNN, Ray Nagin, Louisiana State Police
          

Before 9:30am August 28, 2005: FEMA Director Asks President to Call New Orleans Mayor to Urge Mandatory Evacuation

       According to a later interview with the New York Times, FEMA Director Mike Brown states that by this time, he has grown so frustrated with Mayor Nagin's apparent refusal to order a mandatory evacuation that he calls President Bush to ask for help. “ ‘Mike, you want me to call the mayor?’ the president responds in surprise,” according to Brown. [New York Times, 9/15/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Ray Nagin, Michael D. Brown
          

Before 9:30am August 28, 2005: FEMA Director Asks President to Call New Orleans Mayor to Urge Mandatory Evacuation

       According to a later interview with the New York Times, FEMA Director Mike Brown states that by this time, he has grown so frustrated with Mayor Nagin's apparent refusal to order a mandatory evacuation that he calls President Bush to ask for help. “ ‘Mike, you want me to call the mayor?’ the president responds in surprise,” according to Brown. [New York Times, 9/15/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Ray Nagin, Michael D. Brown
          

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

       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
          

(9:30 am) August 28, 2005: New Orleans Mayor Announces Mandatory Evacuation of New Orleans

       At 9:30 am this morning, Mayor Nagin announces the first-ever mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. After reading the official declaration, Nagin states: “Ladies and gentlemen, I wish I had better news for you. But we are facing a storm that most of us have feared. I do not want to create panic. But I do want the residents to understand that this is very serious, and it's of the highest nature. And that's why we are taking this unprecedented move. The storm is now a Cat 5 ... with sustained winds of 150 miles an hour, with wind gusts of 190 miles per hour. The storm surge most likely will topple our levy system. So we are preparing to deal with that also. So that's why we're ordering a mandatory evacuation.” Acknowledging that many people will be unable to obtain transportation, Nagin announces that the city has established ten pickup areas for residents without transportation. City buses will transport residents from the pickup areas to the city's shelters. The Superdome will open as a shelter of last resort, although Nagin states that, “I want to emphasize, the first choice of every resident should be to leave the city.” The Superdome is likely to be without power for days—and possibly weeks—after the storm fits, and it will not be a comfortable place. Hotels and their patrons are exempted from the order. Police and firefighters will spread out throughout the city sounding sirens and using bullhorns to tell residents to get out. Police may commandeer any vehicle or building that could be used for evacuation or shelter. Nagin concludes his announcement as follows: “This is an opportunity in New Orleans for us to come together in the way that we've never come together before. This is a threat that we've never faced before. And if we galvanize and rally around each other, I am sure that we will get through this. God bless us.” [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005; New Orleans Emergency Order, 8/28/2005]
Note 1 - Various sources have reported that Nagin issued the mandatory evacuation later than 9:30. [Boston Globe, 9/11/2005 (11:00 am).; Houston Chronicle, 9/8/2005(10:00 am); San Jose Mercury News, 9/11/2005 (10:00 am)]
However, according to the contemporaneous CNN transcript, Nagin makes this announcement only minutes after 9:23 am CDT.
Note 2 - The Washington Post will later report, incorrectly, that Nagin never mentioned the estimated 100,000 residents who had no personal means of transportation. [Washington Post, 9/11/2005]
In fact, Nagin acknowledged this issue as early as Saturday . State and federal officials also acknowledge this problem, and are seeking buses to evacuate these residents. [FEMA Situation Update, 8/28/2005; Dallas Morning News, 8/29/2005, pp A1]
People and organizations involved: Ray Nagin, New Orleans Superdome
          

10:00 am August 28, 2005: Louisiana Opens Fourth Special Needs Shelter

       Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) opens the fourth Special Needs Shelter in LaFayette, about 135 miles west-nortwest of New Orleans. The DHH warns, however, “Due to the uncertainty of the damage that Baton Rouge and LaFayette will sustain from the storm, DHH officials stress that it is very important to move to a shelter further north in Alexandria or Monroe if at all possible.” [Louisiana DHH Press Release, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
          

(10:00-11:00 am) August 28, 2005: FEMA Officials, President Bush, Participate in NHC Teleconference about Katrina

       Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center hosts a teleconference with FEMA officials, including FEMA Director Michael Brown and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. [Times-Picayune, 9/04/2005; Los Angeles Times, 9/05/2005] President Bush receives a briefing via video conference from his ranch in Crawford Texas. [White House, 8/28/2005] Brown assures Bush during this briefing that FEMA is ready for the storm, according to ABC News. [ABC News, 9/8/2005] Bush tells Brown that he is very impressed with everything FEMA is doing, according to Brown
Note - Whether President Bush participates in this particular briefing is not clear from current reports. However, it is undisputed that Bush receives a briefing from Mayfield via videoconference at some point this morning.

People and organizations involved: Michael Chertoff, George W. Bush, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael D. Brown, Max Mayfield
          

Before 11:30 am August 28, 2005: President Bush Declares Emergency in Mississippi

       Responding to Governor Barbour's request , President Bush declares an emergency for Mississippi, and orders federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the affected areas. This declaration authorizes FEMA to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures to save lives, protect property and public health and safety for counties in the storm's path and to minimize or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the surrounding parishes of Louisiana. FEMA is thus authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, including specifically, “[m]easures undertaken to preserve public health and safety and to eliminate threats to public or private property” in southern Mississippi. FEMA Director Michael Brown appoints William L. Carwile, III as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Mississippi. [White House Transcript, 8/28/2005; White House Declaration, 8/28/2005; 70 Fed. Reg. 53238]
People and organizations involved: Federal Coordinating Officer for Mississippi, Michael D. Brown, George W. Bush
          

(12:00 pm) August 28, 2005: City, FEMA, Scramble for Buses to Transport New Orleans Residents to Superdome

       Throughout this afternoon and evening, Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and some school buses will run between the designated pick-up areas and the Superdome throughout the afternoon and evening. “They're using school buses and about everything they can find to get people out of here,” reports French Quarter resident Rob Ramsey. [Times-Picayune, 8/28/2005] Nagin will later explain that the plan is to get people to higher ground: “Get them out of their homes, which—most people are under sea level—Get them to a higher ground and then depending upon our state and federal officials to move them out of harm's way after the storm has hit.” [NBC Meet The Press, 9/11/2005] Neither the number of buses deployed by the city, nor the number of people successfully evacuated on city buses, is known at this time. In the days to come, after publication of a photo showing hundreds of flooded buses, many will question why the city failed to use these buses to evacuate more people. [See, e.g., MSNBC, 9/6/2005] However, as Mayor Nagin will later note, “Sure, there was lots of buses out there. But guess what? You can't find drivers that would stay behind with a Category 5 hurricane, you know, pending down on New Orleans. We barely got enough drivers to move people on Sunday, or Saturday and Sunday, to move them to the Superdome. We barely had enough drivers for that. So sure, we had the assets, but the drivers just weren't available.” [NBC Meet The Press, 9/11/2005] In fact, officials at all levels of government:
(a) know that that many residents will need transportation

(b) know that local officials do not have sufficient resources to evacuate all residents who lack transportation ; and

(c) fail to dispatch the number of buses necessary for the evacuation. [Boston Globe, 9/11/2005; Baton Rouge Advocate, 9/09/2005; Dallas Morning News, 8/29/2005, pp A1]
In short, officials at all levels of government are seeking buses; and officials at all levels of government fail to use the fleet of buses in the city that will be flooded during the hurricane. [MSNBC, 9/6/2005]
Note 1 - MSBNC will later report that it has obtained a draft emergency plan prepared by FEMA, which calls for “400 buses to ... evacuate victims.” [MSNBC, 9/6/2005]
More details regarding this plan are not yet known.
Note 2 - It is unclear whether Passey's post-hurricane statement refers to buses requested before the hurricane or after. However, his report that FEMA is scrambling for buses occurs sometime prior to August 29, when it is reported in the Dallas Morning News. Regardless of which bus request (i.e., pre- or post-hurricane) Passey is referencing, it is undisputed that, along with the city and state, FEMA was scrambling for buses pre-hurricane, and that, along with the city and state, FEMA failed to deploy the many city school buses that will be flooded due to the hurricane.

Note 3 - Although not yet clear, it may be that officials elect to stage people at the Superdome because of their inability to deploy sufficient buses, in order to maximize the number of people that can be evacuated from low-lying neighborhoods in the hours leading up to the storm. Had officials used the available buses to transport people out of the city via the clogged interstates, the total number of people evacuated necessarily would have been much smaller. Each bus likely could make only a single run. Instead, the buses can make multiple trips from pickup areas to the Superdome.

People and organizations involved: Regional Transit Authority, New Orleans Superdome, Rob Ramsey, Ray Nagin
          

Afternoon August 28, 2005: Southeastern Louisiana Parishes Evacuate Nonessential Personnel, Transport Equipment

       Several parishes transport emergency equipment and personnel west, away from the storm. “If the place is destroyed, we will have equipment to restore it,” the Zito fire chief says. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005]
          

Afternoon August 28, 2005: New Orleans Hospital Prepares for Flooding

       Employees at New Orlean's Children's Hospital are moving patients and departments off the first floor, because they anticipate major flooding when Katrina sweeps tomorrow, according to Alan Robson, Medical Director. Roberts reports that the hospital has discharged as many patients as can, but about 100 patients and many medical professionals remain in the hospital this evening. The hospital has enough fuel to last two or three weeks. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Alan Robson, Ralph Lupin
          

Afternoon August 28, 2005: New Orleans, Neighboring Parishes, Announce Curfews

       New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin announces that a curfew will be imposed at 6:00 pm. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005] Other parishes impose similar curfews. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005; Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Ray Nagin
          

Afternoon August 28, 2005: Superdome Begins to Fill

       By this afternoon, several thousand residents have made their way to the Superdome, many dropped off by city buses that are looping between the dome and the pickup sites throughout the city. Residents with medical illnesses or disabilities are directed to one side of the dome, which is equipped with supplies and medical personnel. The remaining residents pour into the other side. “The people arriving on this side of the building are expected to fend for themselves,” says Terry Ebbert, the city's Homeland Security Director, although he does notes that the city has water for the evacuees. National Guard soldiers, New Orleans police, and civil sheriff's deputies patrol the dome. Officials expect that the Superdome's field will flood, and that it will lose power early tomorrow morning. However, Ebbert says, “I'm not worried about what is tolerable or intolerable. I'm worried about, whether you are alive on Tuesday.” [Times-Picayune, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: Terry Ebbert, Louisiana National Guard, New Orleans Superdome
          

Between 4:00 and 5:00 pm August 28, 2005: Traffic Contraflow Ends

       The Contraflow Plan, which was activated 24 hours ago to expedite evacuation of Southeastern Louisiana , ends at 4:00 pm today according to State Police, and the roads return to the two-way traffic. (The Times-Picayune reports that Contraflow ends at 5:00 pm. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005] ) Police warn that the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway will close when maximum sustained winds reach 35 mph. [LA State Police News Release, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Louisiana State Police
          

4:30 pm August 28, 2005: Last Continental Airline Flight Leaves New Orleans

       The last Continental Airlines plane leaves New Orleans with 54 empty seats. Continental has flown 10 of its 12 flights today. Twenty extra employees, flown in earlier to help process customers, are on the last plane out.
People and organizations involved: Continental Airlines
          

5:00 pm August 28, 2005: Alabama Governor Declares State of Emergency; Requests Expedited Major Disaster Declaration

       Alabama Governor Bob Riley declares a state of emergency, and asks President Bush to issue an “expedited major disaster declaration” for six counties in the southwestern part of Alabama most likely to suffer significant damage due to Hurricane Katrina. [Alabama Press Release, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Bob Riley, George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina
          

(5:00 pm) August 28, 2005: Coast Guard Auxiliary Prepares to Respond

       William Crouch, Vice Commodore of the Coast Guard's Auxiliary Eighth District Central Region, states that boats, radios, aviation units will be ready to respond “based on the District's Contingency plan which has been in effect since Hurricane Ivan.” According to Crouch, “units from outlying areas are preparing to depart for the disaster area as soon as the situation becomes clear.” Units from as far away as Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Missouri, and Mississippi and other areas of Louisiana are preparing to respond. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Coast Guard, William Crouch, Hurricane Ivan
          

6:00 pm August 28, 2005: Last Southwest Airline Flight Leaves New Orleans

       The last Southwest Airlines flight leaves New Orleans at 6:00 pm today, according to a company representative. Note, however that at 4:30, the Airport issued a press release stating that all commercial passenger flights had departed from Louis Armstrong International Airport and all flight operations had ceased. [LAIA Press Release (PDF), 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Southwest Airlines, Louis Armstrong International Airport
          

6:54 pm August 28, 2005: FEMA Press Release Urges Residents Katrina's Path to Take Action Now; Says Its Prepared

       FEMA issues a special announcement “warning residents along Gulf Coast states to take immediate action to prepare for dangerous Hurricane Katrina as it approaches land. ‘There's still time to take action now, but you must be prepared and take shelter and other emergency precautions immediately,’ said Michael D. Brown, [FEMA Director]. FEMA has pre-positioned many assets including ice, water, food and rescue teams to move into the stricken areas as soon as it is safe to do so.” [FEMA News Release, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hurricane Katrina
          

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

       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
          

Evening August 28, 2005: New Orleans Expects 4,000 National Guardsmen to Help Patrol City

       More than 4,000 National Guardsmen are mobilizing in Memphis, Tennessee to help police the streets of New Orleans after the storm has passed, according to Terry Ebbert, New Orleans Director of Homeland Security. In the meantime, as the storm approaches, officials are “hunkered down. There is not much we can do tonight,” he says. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005 Sources: Terry Ebbert]
People and organizations involved: National Guard
          

Evening August 28, 2005: Superdome Evacuees with Special Needs are Transferred to Hospitals

       The National Guard transfers approximately 400 people with special medical needs from the Superdome to hospitals in other cities, according to Gen. Ralph Lupin, commander of troops deployed at the Superdome. Additionally, personnel transport another 40 evacuees with serious medical conditions to Tulane Medical Center, after Wes McDermott, from the Office of Emergency Preparedness invokes a little-known rule of the Homeland Security Act to commandeer seven Acadian ambulances. [Associated Press, 8/29/2005 Sources: Ralph Lupin]
People and organizations involved: Wes McDermott, Tulane Medical Center, Louisiana National Guard, Homeland Security Act
          

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

       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: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Michael D. Brown
          

9:32 pm August 28, 2005: Coast Guard Announces Port, Waterway Closures, Outlines Preparations for Rescues

       The Coast Guard announces that it is closing ports and waterways along the Gulf Coast, and evacuating its own personnel and resources from out of harm's way. “Extensive damage and closures to ports and waterways throughout the central Gulf coast should be expected,” the Coast Guard warns. More than 40 Coast Guard aircraft from units and more than 30 small boats, patrol boats, and cutters, are positioning themselves in staging areas around the projected impact area (from Jacksonville, Florida, to Houston, Texas), and they are preparing to conduct immediate post-hurricane search, rescue, and humanitarian aid operations, as well as waterway impact assessments and waterway reconstitution operations. [Coast Guard, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Coast Guard
          

Late Evening August 28, 2005: Most Nursing Facilities Have Failed to Evacuate; Three Facility Residents Die during Evacuation

       Only 15 of the 82 nursing homes in southeast Louisiana will have conducted full evacuations before Katrina makes landfall, according to Joe Donchess, executive director of the Louisiana Nursing Home Association. About five to seven other facilities have moved their patients to area hospitals or hotels. However, at least 40 facilities will have elected to “shelter in place” rather than evacuate. (About 15 facilities have failed to report their evacuation plans, and thus, their status is unknown.) [New York Times, 9/11/2005 (reporting that 70 percent of New Orleans area's 53 nursing homes were not evacuated); Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005 Sources: Louisiana Nursing Home Association]
          

Late Evening August 28, 2005: Louisiana State Workers Seek Shelter in Museum

       Because all Baton Rouge and nearby hotels are full, the state is housing about 20 state employees from New Orleans at the Louisiana State Museum. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: State of Louisiana
          

Late Evening August 28, 2005: Evacuation Appears Successful; FEMA Director Praises Evacuation of Risky Population

       The 2004 Hurricane Pam exercise indicated that approximately 65 percent of the New Orleans-area population would evacuate before a major hurricane . [Washington Post, 9/11/2005] However, initial reports indicate that the Katrina evacuation has exceeded these expectations—significantly. Almost one million people (or about 80 percent of the population) have left the greater New Orleans area, according to Jeff Smith, Deputy Director of Louisiana's Emergency Planning. Later, Smith will note that, “Everyone is kind of focusing on response at this point in time. I don't hear anybody talking about how successful that evacuation was. It probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives, and nobody wants to talk about that.” Smith will acknowledge, however, that up to 100,000 residents may not have evacuated. [NPR (Audio), 9/09/2005 Sources: Jeff Smith] When asked about the evacuation of the reported 100,000 residents without transportation, FEMA Director Mike Brown will say “I think enough was done,” adding that his only question is whether the mandatory evacuation should have been announced sooner. [Wall Street Journal Online, 9/12/2005] Jefferson Parish reports a 70 percent evacuation rate, in part due to a “church buddy program,” which provided rides for approximately 25,000 residents. St. Bernard Parish reports an astounding 90 percent evacuation rate. [Washington Post, 9/11/2005] The Chicago Tribune later reports that the area has achieved 75 percent evacuation. [Chicago Tribune, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Michael D. Brown
          

Late Evening August 28, 2005: Superdome Official Request Portable Toilets, Says Cannot Accommodate Thousands for Four Days

       Doug Thorton, General Manager of the Superdome has requested portable toilets, recognizing that the water pressure may fail, according to an Associated Press report. He also notes that they are not set up to manage the thousands of evacuees for very long: “We're expecting to be here for the long haul,” he said. “We can make things very nice for 75,000 people for four hours. But we aren't set up to really accommodate 8,000 for four days.”
People and organizations involved: New Orleans Superdome, Doug Thornton
          

Late Evening August 28, 2005: Superdome Shelters Thousands; National Guard is on Duty

       Approximately 10,000 residents are now sheltering in the New Orleans Superdome. The Louisiana National Guard has delivered three truckloads of water and seven truckloads of MREs, which it expects is sufficient to provision 15,000 people for up to three days, according to Col. Jay Mayeaux, Deputy Director of Louisiana Homeland Security Office of Emergency Preparedness. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005 Sources: Michael D. Brown] More than 600 people with medical needs are housed at the dome. Some 200-550 National Guard members are inside the Superdome providing security and water. Other Guard engineers will be in the dome to monitor the structural integrity of the facility. ( [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005] reports 200 Guard members on duty; [Baton Rouge Advocate, 9/09/2005] reports 400 Guard members on duty; and [Associated Press, 8/29/2005] reports 5500 Guard members on duty.
Note - Reports vary regarding the number of residents in the Superdome this evening. One contemporaneous report indicates that 26,000 people are sheltered there. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005]
A few hours from now, the same paper will report that the dome is sheltering more than 30,000 people. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005] However, the next morning, the same paper will report that approximately 8,000-9,000 people are there, citing Doug Thornton, General Manager of the Superdome. [Times-Picayune, 8/29/2005 Sources: Doug Thornton] FEMA Director Michael Brown will tell National Public Radio tomorrow morning that 9,000-10,000 people are sheltered there. [Sources: Michael D. Brown] See also, .
People and organizations involved: Louisiana National Guard, New Orleans Superdome
          

Late Evening August 28, 2005: Thousands of Louisiana Evacuees are in Shelters across Louisiana

       By this evening, 3,000 residents have sought refuge in 45 emergency shelters throughout Louisiana, according to Victor Howell of the Louisiana Capital Area Red Cross. The Red Cross is prepared to deploy 750 employees and volunteers from Louisiana, plus an additional 2,000 others from around the country. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/28/2005 Sources: Victor Howell] By early morning tomorrow, over 11,400 evacuees will be sheltered in more than 70 Red Cross facilities throughout the state. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005] A Louisiana Department of Social Services representative will report that an estimated 27,639 evacuees are in state and Red Cross shelters. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: American Red Cross
          

12:00 am August 29, 2005: Louisiana Emergency Officials Discuss Response Plan

       Around midnight, local emergency officials from southeastern Louisiana hold a teleconference with FEMA to discuss plans for responding to Katrina's aftermath. Local officials are so certain of catastrophe that they ask FEMA to include extra medical staff in its first wave of responders to help the expected casualties. At this point, officials are reportedly following a plan drafted only months ago, as a result of the Hurricane Pam exercise conducted in 2004 . [Chicago Tribune, 9/11/2005]
Note - Following the 2004 Hurricane Pam exercise, Innovative Emergency Management ("IEM") issued a Draft Southeast Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Functional Plan ("Draft Plan") on August 6, 2004 . [IEM Draft Hurricane Functional Plan (PDF), 8/6/2004]
Whether local officials are following this draft plan, or a later plan, remains unclear at this time. The Chicago Tribune reports that the plan in place provides that local officials should be prepared to deal with the aftermath of the storm for 48 to 60 hours (or until August 31). However, the Draft Plan expressly contemplates that local search and rescue resources will be unavailable to rescue the estimated 500,000 people in flooded or damaged areas. Thus, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the US Coast Guard are expected to serve as the primary first-responders, while local officials are tasked with requesting assistance. Further, while local parishes are tasked with identifying required support, the Plan recognizes that they may be unable to do so: “State and Federal SAR operations personnel will respond to Parishes without a request if initial assessment indicates that the Parish is severely damaged and is not capable of requesting assistance.” The Plan also contemplates that 500,000 residents will need transport from the initial search and rescue staging area to shelters, and that because the Louisiana National Guard will be otherwise tasked, it will be unable to meet this transportation need.
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hurricane Pam, Draft Southeast Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Functional Plan, Louisiana National Guard, US Coast Guard, Draft Hurricane Functional Plan
          

12:44 am August 29, 2005: Jefferson Parish Fire Department Halts Operations; New Orleans Follows Suit

       Fire Department Units in Jefferson Parish have been ordered to stand down. New Orleans follows suit. After thanking firefighters for all their work Charles Parent, New Orleans' Fire Department Superintendent, orders firefighters to “lock down their gear and head for their refuge of last resort.” [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: Jefferson Parish, Charles Parent
          

4:00-6:00 am August 29, 2005: Flooding, Strong Winds Reported West of New Orleans

       Kenner police receive reports of street flooding in the 900 to 1200 blocks of Williams Boulevard, and reports that the Duncan Canal is close to overflowing. (Kenner is located just south of Lake Pontchartrain, in Jefferson Parish) Armstrong International Airport and St Charles Parish each record winds of at least 80 mph. St. Bernard records winds up to 70 mph and loses power by 5:00 am. More than 348,000 area residents lose power. Some East Jefferson drainage canals already are topping out as huge pumps struggle to drain the rain out of neighborhoods and into Lake Pontchartrain, according to Walter Maestri, Director of the Emergency Management Center in Jefferson Parish. Jefferson Parish streets near Transcontinental Drive and Kawanee Avenue, a frequent trouble spot about halfway between the Suburban and Elmwood canals, are also flooded. However, according to Maestri, “We have had no reports of serious wind damage, and we don't see any indication of tidal surge problems. But of course it's still really early. The next four to five hours will tell the tale.” [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005; Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005 Sources: Walter Maestri]
          

4:45 am August 29, 2005: Kenner Police Halt Operations

       Police in Kenner (Jefferson Parish) halt operations at this time, because gusts have become too intense, according to Steve Caraway, Captain of the Police Department. Throughout the night, police have tried to respond to calls from across the city, many of them from people experiencing cardiac distress, Caraway said. Several people have been taken to area hospitals. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005 Sources: Steve Caraway]
          

Early Morning August 29, 2005: Florida Air Force Unit to FEMA: Ready to Deploy

       Early this morning, Colonel Tim Tarchick, wing commander for the Air Force's Reserve 920th Rescue Wing at Florida's Patrick Air Force Base, tells FEMA and Northcom that his men are “ready to go,” and requests permission to conduct search and rescue missions as soon as the storm subsides. FEMA tells Tarchick that it is not authorized to task military units, according to Tarchick. Tarchick will be unable to cut through the red tape and deploy for more than 24 hours, until Tuesday afternoon, a delay Tarchick describes as “unacceptable.” Within 72 hours of deployment, his men will rescue 400 people in the New Orleans area. “He wonders how many more they might have saved.” [Newsweek, 9/12/2005; Time, 9/4/2005]
People and organizations involved: Federal Emergency Management Agency, US Northern Command, US Department of the Air Force, Tim Tarchick
          

Early Morning August 29, 2005: New Orleans' Industrial Canal Floodwalls Breached or Overtopped by Storm Surge

       Before dawn this morning, as Katrina approaches the coast of Southeastern Louisiana, the hurricane's easterly winds from its northern quadrant shove a rising surge into the marshy Lake Borgne area east of St. Bernard. There, two hurricane levees come together into a large V-shape. Storm surge researchers later say that this point “acts as a giant funnel: Water pouring into the confined area rises up—perhaps as much as 20 feet in this case—and is funneled between the levees all the way into New Orleans.” The water probably tops the levees along the north side adjacent to eastern New Orleans, which average only 14 or 15 feet. The surge reaches the Industrial Canal before dawn and quickly overflows on both sides, the canal lockmaster reports to the Corps. At some point not long afterward, Corps officials believe a barge breaks loose and crashes through the floodwall, opening a breach that accelerated flooding into the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish. [Times-Picayune Blog, 9/07/2005]
Note - Reports about when this breach occurs vary. For example, the Army Corps of Engineers will report this evening that this breach occurs later, “during the storm.” [Army Corps (PDF), 8/29/2005]
The Boston Globe will report that this breach occurs around 9:00 am. [Boston Globe, 9/11/2005] However, it appears more likely that at least one breach of occurred on this canal early this morning. Army Corps engineers will later indicate that this Industrial Canal breach occurs overnight as the storm is barreling towards New Orleans [Times-Picayune Blog, 9/07/2005] ; while the 17th Street Canal levee-floodwall is not breached until sometime around 9:00 am during the height of the storm's pass near New Orleans .
People and organizations involved: US Army Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Katrina
          

Early Morning August 29, 2005: Katrina Wrecks Havoc on Oil Rigs in Gulf Coast

       Hurricane Katrina will damage more than 40 crucial oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico beyond repair, and will inflice extensive damage to at least another 100 rigs. The damage is so extensive, some of the platforms are now lying on the Gulf floor, according to Capt. Frank Paskewich, commander of the US Coast Guard in New Orleans, and weeks from now, the full extent of the damage will remain unclear. [ABC News, 9/19/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, US Coast Guard
          

Early Morning August 29, 2005: Louisiana National Guard Stands Ready to Respond to the Storm

       Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau reports that the Guard is ready to respond to the storm: Aircraft positioned from Hammond to the Texas border are ready to fly behind the storm to check damage after it passes over New Orleans. Search and rescue operations are coordinating with the state Wildlife and Fisheries Department and the Coast Guard. More guardsmen stationed at the Jackson Barracks, stand ready to head into the city with high-water vehicles as soon as the storm passes. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Coast Guard, Louisiana National Guard, Bennett C. Landreneau
          

6:35 am August 29, 2005: Buildings Lose Roofs, Fires Begin

       Kenner police receive a call that a building at the Redwood Apartments on West Esplanade has lost its roof. Due to the raging storm, however, Police are unable to respond. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005] Police throughout the area will receive similar calls of damage and fires throughout the morning.
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina
          

Before 7:15 am August 29, 2005: Water Already Spilling Over Floodwall in New Orleans' 9th Ward

       Water is spilling over the floodwall (part of the levee system) in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward, especially in the Florida Avenue area, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reports, in an early morning interview with a local radio station. According to Nagin, the Florida Avenue pumping station is not working, and there are unconfirmed reports of people standing on their roofs. “There is a significant amount of water in the 9th Ward.” Other residents have reported flooding in the 9th Ward. According to one resident, houses near the Claiborne Avenue Bridge are taking on water. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/26/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Katrina, Ray Nagin
          

(7:15 am) August 29, 2005: New Orleans Mayor Tells NBC that City is Prepared to Sustain Superdome Evacuees for 4-5 Days

       In an early morning interview with NBC's Today Show, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tells Matt Lauer that the city has “everything planned for them to be in there four to five days. And then if it has to extend beyond that, we're going to—we're basically counting on the federal government to supply us with what we need.”
People and organizations involved: Matt Lauer, Ray Nagin
          

Morning August 29, 2005: FEMA Director Learns that Floodwall is Breached

       According to FEMA Director Mike Brown, a field officer calls him on a satellite phone this morning to report that, “It is getting out of control down here; the levee has broken.” [New York Times, 9/15/2005]
People and organizations involved: Michael D. Brown
          

Morning August 29, 2005: Louisiana National Guard, Emergency Officials Immediately Lose Communication

       When Hurricane Katrina strikes New Orleans, the Louisiana National Guard almost immediately loses all forms of communication, according to Lt. Col. Schneider. Louisiana State Police also lose communications as well, according to Sgt. Lawrence McLeary, a state police officer in the Baton Rouge emergency center: “We lost contact with our personnel there. We lost contact with our troupe on the north shore, located in Mandeville. So we had—I mean, it was a pretty tense time, because we had no idea what was taking place in those areas.” The landlines are no longer operable. Cell phone towers have toppled; some are under water. Power is out and so it is impossible to recharge battery-operated radios. Guard generators, which could have charged these devices, are in either Iraq or Baton Rouge, according to a National Public Radio report. [NPR (Audio), 9/09/2005 Sources: Lawrence McLeary, Pete Schneider] FEMA emergency officials will wait days to receive working satellite phones. [Los Angeles Times, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Louisiana State Police, Louisiana National Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hurricane Katrina
          
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