Friday, September 02, 2005 - The big disconnect on New Orleans - Sep 2, 2005 - The big disconnect on New Orleans - Sep 2, 2005

The official version; then there's the in-the-trenches version

Friday, September 2, 2005; Posted: 4:10 p.m. EDT (20:10 GMT)

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Diverging views of a crumbling New Orleans emerged Thursday. The sanitized view came from federal officials at news conferences and television appearances. But the official line was contradicted by grittier, more desperate views from the shelters and the streets.

These conflicting views came within hours, sometimes minutes of each of each other, as reflected in CNN's transcripts. The speakers include Michael Brown, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, evacuee Raymond Cooper, CNN correspondents and others....

I find the article itself fascinating. It's almost too surreal to absorb all at once. Lately I feel like I'm living in a George Orwell novel, and that's not the place I'd like to be. I wonder if the same level of response would have been given if the city involved were, say, Washington, D.C.? Newport, R.I.? New York, N.Y.?

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