On August 28, 2005, Category 3 Hurricane Katrina hit the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi. The third-strongest landfalling hurricane in U.S. history, Katrina wreaked havoc on New Orleans with storm surges breaching levees and putting 80% of the city under water. More than 1,800 people were killed, and damages are estimated at $81.2 billion, making Katrina our costliest natural disaster.
FEMA was heavily criticized for its slow or lack of response prior to and following the storm. And despite President Bush's initial support ("Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."), FEMA director Michael Brown was pressured to resign just two weeks later. Many feel Brown was made the scapegoat for the poor reactions of the local, state and federal governments to the seriousness of the storm and their lack of preparation.
One year later, Michael Brown will tell us what happened behind closed doors before and after the storm hit, how the weakened state of FEMA post-9/11 led to its unpreparedness, and what it will take to avert this kind of disaster in the future.