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One Year Ago Today: Barbara Bush's Infamous Remarks About Hurricane Katrina Evacuees

Editor and Publisher | September 5 2006

One year ago, on Sept. 5, 2005, with the Gulf Coast still reeling -- to say the least -- from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, former First Lady Barbara Bush appeared with he husband in Houston at a relief center for some of the tens of thousands of evacuees from New Orleans.

There she was interviewed for American Public Media's
"Marketplace" program, not aired everywhere. An E&P contributor happened to be listening in the New York area and wrote down her remarks, in which she seemed to suggest that, thanks to the disaster, things were actually working out "very well" for underprivileged evacuees.

After some checking, E&P quickly launched a online story that became one of the most popular in the history of the web site. The former First Lady's comments soon were quoted elsewhere, from Drudge to CBS, and became part of the official history of the period, ending up, among other places, in Spike Lee's recent HBO film on the flood.

Here is the original story.

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Accompanying her husband, former President George
H.W.Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers in Houston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to the poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "This is working very well for them."

The former First Lady's remarks were aired this evening on American Public Media's "Marketplace" program.

She was part of a group in Houston today at the Astrodome that included her husband and former President Bill Clinton, who were chosen by her son, the current president, to head fundraising efforts for the recovery. Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama were also present.

In a segment at the top of the show on the surge of
evacuees to the Texas city, Barbara Bush said: "Almost
everyone I’ve talked to says 'we're going to move to
Houston.'"

Then she added: "What I’m hearing which is sort of
scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is
so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you
know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this (she
chuckled slightly) is working very well for them."

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