This Just In: News That Stays News
Washington—In testimony before the congressional panel to investigate the response to Hurricane Katrina, former FEMA Director Michael Brown blamed the poor wading skills of the New Orleans poor for most of the problems they experienced.
“You look at the videotapes of those folks,” Brown said to the packed hearing room. “Stumbling, weaving, dropping their food and water, their next of kin. It’s just obvious. If I made one mistake in my response, it was not realizing what poor waders the citizens of New Orleans are.”
Representative Kay Granger (R-Texas) was quick to question Brown’s claim. “You mean to say improved wading skills would have alleviated this disaster?”
“I mean to say,” Brown shot back, “that when you live in a swamp you need to know how to get your asses out of the swamp.”
Representative Chris Shays of Connecticut pressed the issue further. “What,” he said, “in your mind, constitutes good wading technique?”
“Look,” Brown replied, rising from his seat. “These folks were taking long strides from the hip. That doesn’t work. It throws you off balance. A garbage can, a shed, or a dead body bumps into your shoulder--you’re down. Good wading technique requires short, mincing steps.” Brown demonstrated the technique for the panel.
Representative Shays thanked Brown for the demonstration. “Is it your belief, then, that some of the 200 billion dollars in aid should go towards some sort of wading school?”
“Definitely,” replied Brown.
The hearings will continue tomorrow when Mark Spitz, winner, in 1972, of seven Olympic gold medals, will critique the New Orleans residents’ swimming abilities.