"It's totally wiped out. ... It's devastating, it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground."
George W. Bush, to his aides while surveying Hurricane Katrina flood damage from Air Force One, Aug. 31, 2005.
As we all now, the way the Prez handled the devastating impact of Katrina will not cut it as a case study of topnotch crisis management.
As always when a vacuum appears, people try to fill it.
Hence the unlikely tandem Bush Sr. – Clinton touring the disaster area with their spouses as if they were on a political campaign, hugging people and being all touchy-feely.
In my humble opinion: they were - Bush the Elder promoting favorite filius Jeb and Clinty supporting “she-who-must-be-obeyed” aka Senator Hillary Clinton the first female president hopeful.
Might work as well – Jeb asked and received millions from Big Bros for rebuilding the Katrina damage in Florida. Jeb baby explained on TV in fluent English and Spanish how he is spending all those dineros on human aid. The governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans were not that lucky.
Pops Bush happily stabbed his son in the back by stating: “as a son, he could have done better, but as a president, it comes with the territory”. This kind of loyalty was last seen among the Borgias.
Thus, after the failure of governmental planning, rescue & aid, the only Superpower in the world turned to private organizations, individuals, and political allies for help.
The Red Cross rose to the occasion, as did many individuals.
Sean Penn flew to New Orleans, pulled up his sleeves, and started working waist-high in polluted water. Other celebrities donated $1M each and John Travolta put his pilot license and plane to good use as well. Even that Paris chick donated $ 200,000. Well not exactly – Her Heiress is auctioning herself off for a $ 200,000 date. No charity with some personal gain! May be she picked that pointer up from her Greek on/off fiance, providing he enjoyed a classical education. (I am referring to the famous Aeneid quote:"timeo Danaos et dona ferentis" (translation: "I mistrust the Greeks even when they are bringing gifts").
Allies such as Israel sent planes full of tents and medication. (Not that there are no tent makers and pharmaceutical companies in the US itself, mind you, but they charge!)
In short, it's enough to make you cry – which is exactly what Celine Dion did on Larry King Live. For all those evacuees and victims of Katrina who were not rich or lucky enough to get out of New Orleans in time, all they can do is finding the courage and energy to rebuild their lives in a city that was once bustling with trade, history, culture and music.