A partial list of strategies and tactics used leading up to, during, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina include the following:
Strategy: Updating disaster preparedness plans
- Conducted the “Hurricane Pam” drills in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 23, 2004. These were exercises using information from and involving the cooperation of the National Weather Service; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the LSU Hurricane Center; emergency officials from 50 parish, state, federal and volunteer organizations; and other state and federal agencies. The purpose of these drills was to “help officials develop joint response plans for a catastrophic hurricane in Louisiana.”
- Created the National Response Plan, a 426-page document, which was to “align Federal coordination structures, capabilities, and resources into a unified, all-discipline, and all-hazards approach to domestic incident management.” (DHS, 2004, p. i)
Strategy: Emergency response procedures
- “Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco issued a state of emergency on Aug. 26 and on Aug. 28 sent a letter to President Bush requesting a disaster declaration for the state in order to release federal assistance” Additionally, “the letter had to travel through points in FEMA before the federal government could respond. FEMA deployed regional responders before Katrina made landfall, but a major federal response wasn’t evident until days later.” (Shoup, 2005, par. 20)
- President George W. Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama two days before landfall and “ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina.” (The White House Office of the Press Secretary, 2005)
- Mayor Nagin declared a state of emergency and called for voluntary evacuation on August 27, 2005
- Mayor Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation for the entire city on August 28, 2005, one day before landfall and opened the Louisiana Superdome as a “shelter of last resort […] for thousands of the area’s poor, homeless and frail” (The Associated Press, 2005)
- On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and the 17th Street Canal broke causing Lake Pontchartrain to flood the city. Michael Brown urged first responders to wait for requests and lawful dispatch before responding, and the American Red Cross was dispatched but did not enter New Orleans
- Governor Blanco announced that the Superdome would have to be evacuated on August 30 and evacuation began on August 31. The Superdome had become home to “scenes of filth and misery” (Roig-Franzia & Hsu, 2005)
- On September 1, the Bush administration sent Governor Blanco “a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans” (Roig-Franzia & Hsu, 2005)
- On September 2, President Bush visited New Orleans. During that time relief copters were grounded.
- Construction equipment on site during the President’s visit was removed from the levees on September 3.
- President Bush announced the employment of active duty ground troops and Marines on September 3.