Chapter 3. Understanding the Unimaginable: Why Collective Sense-making Failed
One of the most perplexing features of this disaster was how uninformed public authorities appeared during that first week: it took almost 24 hours for most officials to understand that New Orleans had flooded, fedderal authorities did not seem to know the difference between the Superdome and the Convention Centre, and many officials had no clue about the deplorable situation in hospitals, the desperation in outlying areas, or the actual level of violence in the city. Even though much information was available, government organizations at all levels could not put the pieces together and thus did not understand what was happening on the ground. This chapter explains why all the pieces of the puzzle were not put together.
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Oprah reports: “Chief Compass says he believes that there are easily thousands of dead people in the city. He is especially disturbed by what he saw inside the Superdome. The horrors there will haunt him the rest of his life. “We had little babies in there, little babies getting raped,” he says.”
Senate hearing pp. 280-284 (transcript): Michael Brown was a guest on CNN Larry King live on Monday 29 August, 2005 at 9:00 PM EST. The transcript indicates that Brown did not have a clear picture of the disaster at that point.