Flashback: Bredesen Said One of His ‘Biggest Regrets’ Was Not Being Lousiana’s Governor During Hurricane Katrina

The Tennessee senatorial candidate said in 2015 it would have been the 'ultimate opportunity to manage' a crisis

• September 10, 2018 5:22 pm


Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen, who is running for retiring Sen. Bob Corker's (R., Tenn.) seat, said back in November 2015 that one of his "biggest regrets in life" was not being the governor of Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina hit.

Bredesen appeared on CBS affiliate WTVF's "Inside Politics" where he was asked about his experience in dealing with crisis situations. The question that prompts Bredesen's comment comes at the 3:13 mark in the video above.

Host Pat Nolan said Bredesen was "very good" at dealing with natural disasters, referencing one of the tornadoes that hit in 1998 when he was the mayor of Nashville, and several tornadoes and other natural disasters that occurred when he was the governor of Tennessee.

"There's no manual for that when you are an elected official. Did you know going in that you would handle that those well.  What prepared you to be ready to be the comforter in chief?" Nolan asked.

Bredesen mentioned that his personality and his relaxed demeanor helped guide him through the crises, saying people want someone who can relay information and remain calm. He then shifted to speak about Hurricane Katrina, the deadly storm that killed over 1,800 people in 2005.

"One of my greatest regrets in life is not being governor of Louisiana when Katrina hit. That would have been the ultimate opportunity to manage that sort of thing," Bredesen said before laughing with Nolan.

The governor of Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina hit, Democrat Kathleen Blanco, was widely criticized for her lack of response to warnings about the Category 5 hurricane. Experts warned it would take 48 hours for New Orleans to evacuate, but Blanco did not order a mandatory evacuation, according to NBC News.

Blanco and the mayor waited until Sunday, Aug. 28 — only 20 hours before Katrina came ashore — to order a mandatory evacuation, the first of what disaster experts and Louisiana insiders say were serious mistakes by the governor.

"It certainly appeared that there was a lot of indecisiveness exhibited by the governor in the early stages of the disaster," says Louisiana State Democratic Senator Donald Cravins.

A key criticism: the governor's slowness in requesting federal troops. She told the president she needed help, but it wasn't until Wednesday, Aug. 31 that she specifically asked for 40,000 troops.

Hurricane Florence, which strengthened to a Category 4 storm on Monday, is the latest to threaten the United States. The storm, which currently carries winds up to 130 mph, is expected to reach South Carolina or North Caroline on Thursday.

Published under: Louisiana, Phil Bredesen, Tennessee