Emergency mismanagement

My favorite Dubya moment involving the Soaking of New Orleans came when he took a look at his soon-to-be-sent-home FEMA director and said cheerily, “You’re doin’ a heckuva job here, Brownie.”

Now, at that point, I didn’t really know that Dub was pulling another one of his memorable bloops (I was still catching up on the Looziana Lowdown, having gone to Black Rock City on the same day the levees crumbled), but my Dubya alarms began tingling nonetheless, sensing that this statement might well go down in the same hallowed annals as “Mission accomplished” and “Bring it on.”

Well, now it’s been well established that “Brownie” wasn’t doing such an exemplary job, after all. In fact, it could be argued that you or me or just about any other American thoroughly unqualified to be the head of FEMA could have prepared New Orleans for the aftermath of Katrina far better than Mr. Brown (I tell you this, I would at least have had cases and cases of water and Pop-tarts in the goddang Superdome. But, being as unqualified in emergency operations as Michael Brown, I have to admit that I very probably would’ve forgotten to have all the toilets snaked.)

One can’t help but wonder what went through Michael “you-say-there-are-people-in-the-Convention-Center?” Brown’s head in that first second after he heard Dub’s compliment:

“Jesus, this guy’s standards are as low as mine!”

“He likes me, he really likes me!”

“Mr. President, your head must be as far up your ass as my thumb is up mine.”

“Yeah, press corps, you hear that? Back off!”

“Thank you for your hollow praise, Mr. President, but somehow, I think the dead guy in front of the popcorn machine in the Superdome might not agree with your assessment.”

It quickly became apparent that Brown wasn’t the head of FEMA, but instead, the head of FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition). Or maybe he was the chief of FUBB (Fucked Up Beyond Belief). Unfortunately for the city of New Orleans, those last two little known government agencies appear to have dominated the federal response to Katrina.

What will happen to Mardi Gras? What will happen to the great New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival that goes on for two weeks every April and May? I sent word to city officials that Fats Domino can come stay at my house for a couple months if he needs to chill. Dr. John, too, for that matter. And the next time you’re with your drinkin’ pals, make sure you raise a glass to The Crescent City, the greatest boozin’ party town in the U.S.A.