In e-mails to various FEMA officials, including one to Brown, Bahamonde described a chaotic situation at the Superdome, where many of the evacuees were sheltered. Bahamonde e-mailed FEMA officials and noted also that local officials were asking for toilet paper, a sign that supplies were lacking at the shelter.
"Issues developing at the Superdome. The medical staff at the dome says they will run out of oxygen in about two hours and are looking for alternative oxygen," Bahamonde wrote in an e-mail to David Passey, an assistant to Brown, in late afternoon on Aug. 28.
Less than an hour later, Bahamonde wrote: "Everyone is soaked. This is going to get ugly real fast."
Bahamonde said he was stunned that FEMA officials responded by sending truckloads of evacuees to the Superdome on that day even though they knew supplies were in short supply.
"I thought it amazing," he said. "I believed at the time and still do today, that I was confirming the worst-case scenario that everyone had always talked about regarding New Orleans."
Later, on Aug. 31, Bahamonde frantically e-mailed Brown to tell him that thousands are evacuees were gathering in the streets with no food or water and that "estimates are many will die within hours."
"Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical," Bahamonde wrote.
Less than three hours later, however, Brown's press secretary wrote colleagues to complain that the FEMA director needed more time to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge restaurant that evening. "He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes," wrote Brown aide Sharon Worthy.
"We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you."
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Brownie, you're eating a heck of a dinner
At last, the real story behind the FEMA disaster in Nawlins is revealed: