"Fashion God" Brownie
``If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire you'll really vomit,'' Micheal Brown wrote to FEMA colleagues the morning of Aug. 29, the day the storm hit the Gulf Coast. ``I am a fashion god.''
This is just one of 23 pages of Brown's emails that was released by a House Pannel investigating the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.
"My eyes must certainly be deceiving me. You look fabulous — and I'm not talking the makeup," writes Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs to Brown on 7:10 a.m. local time on Aug. 29.
"I got it at Nordstroms," Brown writes back. "Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I go home?"
A week later, Brown's aide, Sharon Worthy, reminds him to pay heed to his image on TV. "In this crises and on TV you just need to look more hardworking ... ROLL UP THE SLEEVES!" Worthy wrote, noting that even President Bush "rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow."
"Need to look more hardworking..." I just wish he had been more hardworking. And not hard at work finding a dog sitter.
Brown wrote ``do you know of anyone who dog sits?'' in an e- mail to his assistant on Aug. 30th. ``If you know of any responsible kids lets me know.''
Brown received messages the morning of the 29th that a New Orleans levee had been breached and the city's pumps were failing.
After receiving e-mails about the levee breach, Brown questioned their accuracy, writing, ``I'm being told here water over not a breach.''
On Aug. 31 Brown received this email:
"Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical. Here some things you might not know. Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes...
DMAT staff working in deplorable conditions. The sooner we can get the medical patients out, the sooner we can get them out."
Brown responded, ``Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?''
Brown had already planned on leaving FEMA before the Hurricane struck. Some have speculated that he had already 'quit' in mind and spirit.
"Is this your last hurrah? I'll be in DC the end of next week and would love to see you. Suspect you might still be in La/Ms etc - especially knowing how much you love to hang around DC/DHS/NAC etc." - Betty Guhman, a colleague who just left Homeland Security (DHS), to Brown on Sept. 1.
Brown's response: "Last hurrah was supposed to have been Labor Day. I'm trapped now, please rescue me."
Yet two months after the disaster, he continues to collect his $148,000 per year salary. Why? Head of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff told The Associated Press it's important to let the new people get the full scope of Brown's experience. I hope he's teaching them what not to do.
Here's a couple more excerpts from Brown's emails:
August 26 to Press Secretary Sharon Worthy: “Tie or not for tonight? Button down blue shirt?” (Concerning media appearance)
September 6 to Worthy: (After her e-mail about fast food choices during a trip to Florida) “Order a #2, tater tots, large diet cherry limeade.”
You can read the emails here