Leadership Roles During Hurricane Katrina Argumentative Research Research Paper

1378 words - 6 pages

20 November 2017
Leadership Roles During Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina can be considered the most devastating tragedy to happen to America
in the 21st century, killing over one-thousand people and leaving four times that number
unaccounted for. After the storm, victims were left without food, water, and basic supplies for
six days. Approximately 500,000 people were evacuated to various parts of the country. It’s
noted that after the disaster, more than 50% of the evacuees experienced psychological damage
such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It’s evident that in the wake of the tragedy, these victims
were left completely heartbroken, and a lot of things had gone wrong in order to adequately care
for these survivors of the hurricane. This paper will analyze different leadership roles from both
federal and local governments after the hurricane, and how these governments let down our
American citizens between the relief planning failures for New Orleans, inadequate living
situations, and poor communication between from our government with the help of the media.
Author Paul Arjen-Boin analyzes the leadership style of our government after the wake
of the tragedy. He notes that the preparedness and performance of politicians, public officials and
administrators from all levels were criticized, however, former president Bush received the most
backlash. Arjen-Boin writes, “His attempts to deflect the blame (from the ‘unforeseeability of the
levees being breached through to the failings of state and city officials’) only made things worse,
creating the impression of an out of touch, insensitive president ” (Arjen-Boin, pg. 2, para 1). He
then goes on to analyze the political challenges that occur after a crisis, claiming that leaders find
difficulty with how to react to “negative, yet authoritative” responses of their crisis management
performance. He notes that leaders may attempt to conserve their legitimacy either by accepting
responsibility or shifting the blame (pg 3, para 2). For example, Bush did neither of these things
after the hurricane, but rather attempted to change his perception of leadership through the news
media in order to gain the legitimacy from the country. This incident was captured in Spike
Lee’s ​When the Levees Broke ​;​ ​two weeks after the hurricane hit, George Bush had travelled to
New Orleans and spoke in front of a live national audience. In what appears to be a form of
damage control, he stated, “we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help
citizens rebuild communities and their lives. There’s no way to imagine America without New
Orleans”. Joseph Bruno, a resident of Carrollton, New Orleans, recalls having the power back on
that night. The following day, he walked into work and was “fully expecting to be able to turn on
the light”, which wouldn’t turn on. They needed to create a media event... for the president. They
wanted to make it look like the city was coming back together. I make...

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