History Paper on Government-By-Proxy as Used During Hurricane Katrina

Government-by-proxy is a term used to refer to a point in which the State and the neighborhood governments have an agreement to staff and oversee some elected programs (Roberts, 2012). For instance, when Washington pays the local governments and States to administer and staff federal programs. The hurricane Katrina calamity exposed a number of challenges and weaknesses in the system, which triggered several preparedness measures for the metropolitan system of Orleans. It is considered the costliest storm in the history of the United States, and its impacts are still felt today in the State of New Orleans. The historical storm occurred on 29th August 2005, with winding hitting all-time high of 120 miles per hour.

The federal government had purportedly been making preparations to overcome a large scale disaster in New Orleans for over three years. The director of FEMA had, for example, ordered an examination of a potential hurricane hitting New Orleans (Brown, Mistry, & Bigler, 2007). In an interesting revelation, FEMA had conducted a possible hurricane storm, which left the officials almost devastated in 2004. What followed was a series of efforts by the State government in preparation for a storm similar to Hurricane Katrina. Prior to the occurrence of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Governor Katherine Bandeaux had declared a state of emergency and even asked President Bush to declare a state of emergency at the federal level. These pronouncements forced FEMA to mobilize resources to help the citizens of New Orleans. Similarly, the city mayor, Ray Nagin, ordered an immediate evacuation. However, many residents had no capacity to evacuate immediately, so they were caught up by the storm.

After the fall of Hurricane Katrina, a lack of planning was pointed out as the major cause of the storm. In particular, activists, legislators, and observers claimed that there was a deferred reaction on the part of the State Government of New Orleans and the State leaders (Brown, Mistry, & Bigler, 2007).  A heated debate emerged about the role of the neighborhood, State, and federal government in overcoming disasters. Feedback from all corners was welcomed on the best strategies to address disasters like Hurricane Katrina in the future. While many criticized the manner in which the State and federal officials approached the disaster, only a few offered a solution to the millions of displaced residents and the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans mayor was particularly condemned since he deferred the evacuation mission until the last day prior to the storm.

As a result, New Orleans was considered a non-administrative city. Administration includes both legislative and non-legislative participation in managing a disaster. New Orleans had just an interim coalition to manage Hurricane Katrina, which prompted insufficient and wasteful procurement of assets. Bodies such as the Red Cross endeavored to form coalitions, but the inability to collaborate caused shakiness and misconception among the legislative and non-legislative parties (Brown, Mistry, & Bigler, 2007). There was a massive failure in managing Hurricane Katrina, which sparked doubts in both the federal government and the State government’s level of preparedness. It became clear that the reaction of both governments was insufficient. As the storm unfolded, it also became evident that the organizations in charge of rescue missions did not coordinate the activities properly due to a lack of strategies. Finally, it was clear that the State government and the Federal government’s response to disasters needed improvements.



Brown, C., Mistry, R., & Bigler, R. (2007). Hurricane Katrina: African American Children’s Perceptions of Race, Class, and Government Involvement Amid a National Crisis. Analyses Of Social Issues And Public Policy7(1), 191-208. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-2415.2007.00139.x

Roberts, A. (2012). Exploring the Tangled Web of Proxy Government. Public Administration Review72(s1), S56-S57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6210.2012.02625.x