(CNN) — Michael Brown, the Federal Emergency Management Agency leader who quit following widespread criticism of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, is taking his radio show to New Orleans, Louisiana, on Wednesday and Thursday.
Brown, who is on KOA-850 AM in Denver, Colorado, confirmed his plans to CNN.
Brown headed FEMA under the Bush administration and became the target of critics who claimed the administration bungled its initial response. He resigned in September 2005, two weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.
His resignation came 10 days after President Bush famously told him, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”
He later accused then-Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and others of dragging their feet and ignoring his warnings about massive flooding.
Hurricane Katrina’s fifth anniversary is Sunday.
In May, Brown said that the Obama administration wanted to use the Gulf oil disaster as a way to put an end to offshore drilling.
Great idea, Brownie! I’ll bet the people of New Orleans are just dying to see you on the 5th anniversary of a disaster so you can talk about their latest disaster. Maybe you can sell them some of your books! From abc NEWS:
Five years after Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast, the man who has been vilified for the federal government’s bungling of the response effort wants to try to set the record straight.
As Hurricane Katrina approached, Michael Brown said Friday in a rare interview, “I remember telling the White House, ‘I don’t think you guys get it.’
Brown, who was criticized for being out of touch and unaware of the devastation and suffering in New Orleans, is defensive about the blame he still gets for his actions in the hurricane’s aftermath.
But a skeptical Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who now chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, said there’s plenty of blame to go around.
“Clearly, Mr. Brown was head of FEMA,” said Thompson, the committee’s ranking Democrat in 2005. “Clearly, protocols were in place that indicated things that should have been done.”
Brown, 55, now living in Colorado and hosting a radio talk show in Denver, said he is writing a book to tell his side of the story.
He said he was singled out by the Bush administration because he was the low man on the totem pole in Washington, as head of FEMA. “Bush wasn’t going to fire [former homeland security chief Michael] Chertoff for the screw-ups. He’s going to fire me.”
Forget those people who died or who lost everything! Poor Little Brownie was the real victim!
But in the days before Brown publicly resigned, he had become the national face of the bungled response. He appeared on national television and radio explaining that the response was going well and that the government was doing all it could to help the people of New Orleans.
On the ground in Louisiana, however, the military had not arrived, bodies were lying in the streets and survivors were struggling to stay alive.
For days after Aug. 29, thousands of suffering men, women and children sat without food or water at the New Orleans Convention Center, told by authorities that buses would arrive to pick them up and take them to safety. None ever arrived. Children begged for food but there was nothing to eat. At least three dead bodies laid under sheets outside the Convention Center.
Brown said his office didn’t know about the plight at the Convention Center because New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s office told him all of the evacuees were huddled at the Super Dome nearby.
Because back then, televisions, cellphones, and radios had not yet been invented. Besides, he had to pick out something nice to wear!
With the response lacking, Bush staged the now infamous photo opportunity next to Brown, telling him, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”
But moments before the comment, Brown said, he had told Bush that chaos was unfolding in the streets of New Orleans and he knew the false praise would come back to haunt him.
“You could see me sort of cringe on camera when the president said that,” Brown said, adding that he knew that the administration hadn’t grasped the severity of the devastation.
Brown announced his resignation Sept. 12, 2005, saying the negative publicity surrounding his leadership was a distraction from the job at hand.
Brown now admits that he was forced out by the Bush administration.
Congressman Thompson said he knew nothing of Brown’s contention that he had been fired.
Either way, Thompson said, the “question is, are we a better FEMA or a better Department of Homeland Security. … The true test will come with the next Katrina-like event.”
In the meantime, on this 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Brown will return to New Orleans for a brief visit to the place where many people still blame him for city’s chaos and suffering.