And then, in the days that followed, it wasn't the devastation that was shocking.
Slowly, more and more stories came out of a people abandoned by their government.
The levees were not the only thing that failed in Louisiana.
The hurricane emergency plan, based on a simulation in 2004, was never completed.
The people of New Orleans were not advised to evacuate in advance of Katrina.
The Louisiana Superdome "refuge of last resort" was not properly prepared to deal with the influx of people.
Corpses were left rotting in the streets for days.
That the American government does not work to support its poorest and most vulnerable citizens is well documented by people like Michael Moore, Naomi Klien and Amy Goodman.
Usually, though, the government's abandonment of its citizens is not so public.
Fortunately, at least for the American government, they're getting a "do over".
In advance of Hurricane Gustav, New Orleans residents were advised to evacuate, busses were available to people who didn't have transportation, and President Bush has been seen taking action.
The Republican party convention this week has been scaled back in deference to the efforts and resources needed for Gustav.
Gustav is being used to rehabilitate the image of the Republican party before the upcoming election.
This hurricane could be the best thing to happen to the Republican party since
Aftermath of Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
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