Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Broussard Fights Back

Recall the Tim Russert interview with Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard. Broussard emotionally recounted a tragedy involving one of his associates, where his associate repeatedly called his nursing-home bound mother in the week following Katrina. Broussard recalled the associate on the phone saying "I'm coming to get you momma" for four days after Katrina hit. Broussard's intent was to support his opening salvo with Russert, where he stated that "America has abandoned us", and "bureaucracy has committed murder".

The only problem with this story is that the man's mother died on Monday, the day the storm hit. There were no phone calls in the days following Katrina. There was no possibility for federal relief agencies to rescue the woman on Tuesday. So Broussard either fabricated the story entirely, or it's possible these events transpired on the Thursday through Sunday prior to Katrina making landfall. In either case, it appears Broussard was attempting to deflect the the fact that local officials failed to evacuate the nursing home.

These inconsistencies have been pointed out to Broussard, who has said "Somebody wants to nitpick a man's tragic loss of a mother because she was abandoned in a nursing home? Are you kidding? What kind of sick mind, what kind of black-hearted people want to nitpick a man's mother's death? They just buried Eva last week. I was there at the wake. Are you kidding me? That wasn't a box of Cheerios they buried last week."

Nobody's has ignored the tragedy of a woman dying in a nursing home as a result of Katrina. However, that "nitpicky" detail of when the woman died completely undermines your characterization of the relief effort. It's not only legitimate to correct your version of the story, it's imperative, especially if we hope to learn from our mistakes.

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