On August 31, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA public affairs officer Marty Bahamonde emailed his boss, then-FEMA chief Michael Brown, to make sure he understood how dire the situation had become in the Superdome, the New Orleans football stadium that was housing thousands of evacuees. "[T]he situation is past critical," he wrote in one of several emails he'd sent colleagues outlining the emergency. "We are out of food and running out of water." The stadium was overcrowded and undersupplied; there had already been three deaths, and Bahamonde expected more to die "within hours."
There was no response. A few hours later, Brown's press secretary emailed some FEMA employees, instructing them to book Brown on Joe Scarborough's MSNBC show, and to make sure he had enough time to get a good meal at a restaurant, since "restaurants are getting busy" in Baton Rouge. The next day, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco sent in the national guard on local school buses to begin evacuation. On September 2, two days after Bahamonde's ignored warning, President Bush told Brown he was doing "a heck of a job." Three more people died before the stadium was fully evacuated on September 4. A week later, Brown resigned.
Anyway, he's not ignoring the Superdome anymore! The stadium hosted the Super Bowl last night, and Brown was watching:
Someone just told me there was fighting going on in the NOLA Superdome. #shocked— Michael D Brown (@MichaelBrownUSA) February 4, 2013