Jim Geraghty of the National Review, responding to an op-ed written in the New York Times by the famous writer and New Orleans native Anne Rice, nails it:
We failed you? No, oh brilliant creator of Exit to Eden, you failed. You might not think of it this way, but: Your leaders failed to upgrade the levees. You elected a bunch of weepers and blame-shifters who lost their head in a crisis.
Over the past decades, your elected officials have let a criminal element incubate and grow until they ruled the streets, instead of the forces of law and order. In pop culture, a New Orleans thief is always a charming rogue with a devilish smile. In reality, they’re a bunch of thugs.
His entire article is at his most inspired, and communicates all the feelings and thoughts that I've shared since Hurricane Katrina passed by. Read the whole thing.
And speaking of Congressman Bobby Jindal, here's an insightful article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal that details the harmful effects of bureaucratic red tape when enacting relief efforts. Jindal lost his own home from the storm but was nevertheless fully engaged in serving his constituents in any capacity.
There have already been a number of instances in which an overly inhibitive bureaucracy prevented an appropriate response to the disaster. For example, on Wednesday of last week a company called my office. With only three hours before rising waters would make the mission impossible, they were anxious to send a rescue helicopter for their stranded employees. They wanted to know who would give them a go-ahead.
We could not identify the agency with authority. We heard that FEMA was in charge, that the FAA was in charge, and that the military was in charge. I went in person to talk with a FEMA representative and still could not get a straight answer. Finally we told the company to avoid interfering with Coast Guard missions, but to proceed on its own. Sometimes, asking for forgiveness is better than asking for permission.
He goes on to note that coordinating with private companies was far easier than with government agencies, and points to the weakness in the suggestion that more government is the answer in ensuring a more effective response. Expanding the size and scope of government agencies simply leads to sclerosis and results in the needless death of thousands of victims.
Like Geraghty's artice, read the whole thing from Jindal.