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Almost five years ago, Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans levees broken and an entire city in need of rescue.
Michael “Brownie” Brown, the former Federal Emergency Management Administration chief whose name is practically synonymous with the government’s bungled rescue response, now says he wants to clear his name for the history books.
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“I remember telling the White House, ‘I don’t think you guys get it,'” he tells ABC News, in a rare interview. “‘This is going to be the big one that I’ve been fighting to get money for, that we’ve all been worried about.'”
Brown also has plans to take his Denver-based KOA-AM political talk radio show to New Orleans for live broadcasts in advance of the fifth anniversary of the hurricane on Sunday, reports The Associated Press.
In a second HBO documentary on Katrina by Spike Lee, Brown says he winced when President George W. Bush praised him in front of news reporters, saying, “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.” Brown thinks the praise was off target because he had just finished telling the president why the rescue wasn’t working.
Even Lee sees Brown as a “scapegoat,” according to a Wall Street Journal interview.
“Still, to this day,” Lee says, “no one has ever explained why it took five days for the United States government to show up and come to the aid of his own citizens.”
And in a new investigation, ProPublica has learned that an order circulated among New Orleans police led some officers to believe they could shoot looters.