The destruction and misery brought on by Hurricane Katrina has been viciously exploited by the Angry Left, the Hate-Bush crowd, and even the leadership of the Democrat party. The unfortunate truth in this tragedy, despite the lies of the left, is that many of those people killed, or raped, or murdered during and in the aftermath of the storm would likely have been saved had they been properly evaculated.
The emergency plan in place prior to Katrina's strike clearly outlines that the evacuation of New Orleans is "responsibility of the Mayor of New Orleans in coordination with the [state] Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and the OEP Shelter Coordinator." If the people who had no transportation were looked out for as described in such great detail in NO's "Hurricane Emergency Evacuation Standard Operating Procedure", the horrific situation that followed the hurricane could have been avoided. Had the people not been in NO, as ordered by the mayor (but not enforced), then whether federal response was fast or slow would have made no difference.
There is also evidence (though I have not been able to confirm this yet) that the president had urged the governor or Louisiana to formally request federal assistance as early as Friday night before the storm hit, and again on Saturday. It wasn't until Sunday, the day before the storm hit that the governor actually requested federal assistance. Until this request is formally made, the president does not have the authority to order federal troops or other aid into an affected area.
It is also important to remember that the mayor of NO did not order mandatory evacuations until Sunday, the day before the hurricane hit. Had he done so even 24 hours earlier, or on Friday night as apparently urged by the director of the National Hurricane Center, the situation during and following the hurricane would likely have been much better.
It is clear that the federal response to Katrina was inadequate, but more importantly, the state and local response was even worse. Had they not delayed requests for federal aid, and not delayed mandatory evacuations, and had they actually implemented their own emergency plans, federal aid would probably have come sooner, and more importantly, those most vulnerable to the wrath of Katrina could have gotten out of harm's way before the storm hit.
A timeline of Katrina
**Update** A better timeline of Katrina