I didn’t think much about the dire warnings of an approaching hurricane called Katrina…. I attended a Homeland Security principals meeting on Thursday, August 30, and returned to the State Department to check once more on plans for securing our offices in the Gulf of Mexico. Then I flew to New York…. That evening, upon arriving at the Palace Hotel, I flipped on the television. Indeed, the hurricane had hit New Orleans. I called Secretary of Homeland Security Mike Chertoff, inquiring if there was anything I could do. “It’s pretty bad,” he said. We discussed the question of foreign help briefly, but Mike was clearly in a hurry. He said he’d call if he needed me. I hung up, got dressed, and went to see Spamalot…. The next morning, I went shopping at the Ferragamo shoe store down the block from my hotel, returned to the Palace to await Randy and Mariann’s arrival, and again turned on the television. The airwaves were filled with devastating pictures from New Orleans. And the faces of most of the people in distress were black. I knew right away that I should never have left Washington.
The Wounds of Katrina —Condoleezza Rice, in her new memoir, writes about the racially charged disaster that was Katrina and how she failed to anticipate its magnitude.