This is Aaron Broussard. He's the president of Jefferson Parrish in Louisiana. On September 4th, Broussard was interviewed by Tim Russert on NBC's Meet The Press. During his prepared remarks (Broussard frequently looked down to his script) he told very emotional tales of the terrible destruction wrought by the flooding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
As a kicker, and the albatross he'd hang on the neck of George W. Bush, Broussard told the world of an acquaintance of his who works in an emergency management/preparedness capacity (oh, the irony) whose mother drowned at St. Rita's nursing home in St. Bernard Parish after waiting days for help to arrive.
His mother was trapped in a St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, 'Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?' And he said, 'Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday.' And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.
Friday night was September 2nd. The New York Times reports that the 32 residents of St. Rita's died on 29th of August; the previous Monday. So Broussard was claiming that his colleague's mother was calling for help for 3 or 4 days after she died.
Broussard is just one of a long line of local officials whose actions and inactions set the stage for so much chaos and human loss, and he's lock-step with Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco, Senator Landrieu, etc., in that 100% of the fault lies at the feet of FEMA & Bush.
Well, two things are true: Broussard's colleague's mother died as a result of the hurricane aftermath, and the Bush-FEMA efforts are full of holes. What isn't true is the account that Broussard laid down, which went unchallenged by Russert, and has since become one of the enduring, politically laden images (scroll down for the drama) of the Katrina aftermath.
So, assuming the MSNBC story is accurate, Broussard's story was at least significantly embellished... Broussard, for all the apparent sincerity in his emotional on-air breakdown, was willing to lie in order to make his story work better as political theater, which in turn makes it harder for me to credit the rest of the slow-FEMA-response anecdotes he described.The whole stinking bayou mess is summed up well at WuzzaDem:
At best, I think Aaron Broussard is the political equivalent of a price gouger; taking advantage of a tragedy in order to gain political capital. He may very well be purposely trying to blame someone's death on an innocent party (or parties). Either way, it's despicable.So, assuming the MSNBC story is accurate, Broussard's story was at least significantly embellished... Broussard, for all the apparent sincerity in his emotional on-air breakdown, was willing to lie in order to make his story work better as political theater, which in turn makes it harder for me to credit the rest of the slow-FEMA-response anecdotes he described.
UPDATE: CNN transcript of Susan Candiotti's interview with Tom Rodrigue, the man who's omther died; it backs up the NYT's timeline. Also, the Louisiana attorney general has chargerd the owners of the St. Regis nursing home with 34 counts of negligent homicide.
UPDATE 2: NBC doesn't seem to retract the story (on Russert's behalf), but MSNBC sorta backpedals on the the Cryin' Cajun.