Lb0313 and I are at the NOLA bloggers Rising Tide conference which is about to begin. We will be live blogging!
Blogger Oyster is opening up this get together. There are 50+ people in attendance and more will be coming. It is a bit early on a Sat. morning in New Orleans so ya know.
The keynote speakers are reporters Chris Cooper and Robert Block the authors of “Disaster:Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security”.
UPDATE: Cooper—“Everyone in America should wonder what the government will do for them once the day comes” that a disaster hits somewhere in America.
UPDATE: Block—-The feds say they didn’t have info to respond yet local papers and bloggers were putting info on the internet yet the feds never looked at that. If they had looked they would have found the “ground truth” they said they so desperately needed and said they couldn’t find.
Now it is open to Q & A
UPDATE: Cooper–Matthew Broderick ran DHS info center. What he passed on in his reports went to senior officials. They had info at 7:30 am that levees breached. When he was asked why he didn’t pass that on he said he thought info was hyped and didn’t pass it on. What he did base his reports on was a CNN report that the French Quarter was OK so heck all was well.
UPDATE: Block–Broderick was given the FEMA report of levee breaches, city 80% flooded and hundreds of people on the roofs. Broderick said he would have not believed that report had he seen it at the time because if 80% under water wouldn’t there be thousands on the roofs!
Now question on how media could have done better. They say they should have gotten fixers…local people who could have helped them more. As reporters they do that all the time.
Both Cooper and Block–National Media failed on Iraq but he thinks the national media did a great job…a hall mark moment. Had the media not been there NOLA would have been forgotten. He said the media was reporting what they were told by Nagin and Police Chief Compass and FEMA reps who were obviously considered credivble sources. The media should not be faulted for reporting what turned out to be false by credible sources.
UPDATE: Block- Go back and do Lexis Nexis on Hurricane Andrew and take out FL gov name and put in Blanco and Katrina for Andrew and the story is all the same as last year. The feds learned nothing. But FL made many changes and under Clinton FEMA was greatly improved.
Of course under Bush… FEMA not the same
UPDATE: Now Cooper and Block are talking on how important local blogs are to reporters now in telling them what is happening here. YThey say you bloggers are reporting and we check you out when things are happeing especially at crisis time…like the tropical storm now coming.
UPDATE: A question on how this was allowed to happen with some derision toward failure of local gov’t which Cooper responds to with …. “one of charms of New Orleaninas is ability to hate themselves.” But remember it wasn’t locals who decided how levees were built it was the federal government. What happened here was the result of failed levees and no one was more surprised than the residents of NOLA by what they had thought were the huge monolithic levees massive failure.
UPDATE: Block on Chertoff when he came in…..”I don’t know how things worked before we’ll say it and if we don’t have anything don’t call us.” Block–if they don’t speak then cable news will speculate.
OK I’m back . I was on one of the panels so not liveblogging. But here we go again.
The panel now is on local politics. Panelists include Peggy Wilson a 3 time Republican city council, blogger David of Moldy City, Shane Landrey and Michael D…..sorry I can’t spell his name.
Wilson says quit complaining about Bush and government. Cordial applause. Shane says why are we paying taxes.
Now discussing the planning process. Michael Du spaking…..the planning process was broken before the storm and so now have been starting from scratch. Bring New Orleans Back commission work has been ignored by Nagin’s office. Now the consensus planning vehicle in NOLA is UNOP…Unifed New Orleans Plan. UNOP is in very early stages and probably 9 months away from having an actual plan.
UPDATE:Shane Landry now on oil and gas leases. Shane says we are sinking because canals made through wetlands are destroying our coast and this benifits the rest of the country but not LA as get very small amounts from leases or nothing and the wetlands which are natrual barriers to storms are being destroyed. “We are not getting out fair shake.” He says Blanco is on right track in pushing for greater share of leases. Shane says may have to think of the “S” word..Seccession…Round of Applause to that.
Shane is Cajun and speaking of why this is important to him as this is his land and he will not move his family north becasue people lack the courage to fight for their land.
He says federal government breached the social contract not LA. So just tell us either you want Louisiana or not. Just tell us and we’ll go our way. “We are no longer going to be exploited.” He says this is not anti-American…itis Pro Louisiana. Another round of applause.
Now discussion of Congressman “Dollar Bill” Jefferson. Will he get re-elected? 2 speakers think he will win and then be indicted. One says depends on who he goes up against in run off. Final panelist says his time is past and he won’t win. Now discussing the City Council.
UPDATE: Question on how to fix education system and what do they think of charter schools? Ahane generally parents should have variety of choices. Michael…clearly anything would be better than what we hav had. Peggy….don’t know that state will be any better overseeing schools “as they hate the city”
UPDATE: We’re on the last panel. This is on bloggers and neighborhood planning groups. I’ll have more later.
They are discussing whether people will rebuild in what areas and who will decide that. They are pointing out that there desperately needs to be leadership on this. Hard decisions need to be made
Stay Tuned and Watch For This Video
I’ll be posting some video from the politicis panel in particular of Republican Peggy Wilson making inflammatory remarks, I guess you could say accusations of corruption against Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. It got interesting. Come back later tonight to see the video.
I wonder if there will be a way to get a response from Landrieu. Will see