New Orleans Mayor, Former FEMA Head Exchanging War of Words

SEPTEMBER 27, 2005 - Posted at 4:11 p.m. CDT

NEW ORLEANS, LA - New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says it's "unbelievable" to hear the outgoing head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency try to deflect the blame of all that went wrong in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

He also said he doesn't know what Michael Brown meant when Brown today described Louisiana as dysfunctional during the storm.

Brown, testifying to a House panel, said state and local officials bear much of the blame for government failures in responding to the storm.  He also said it is isn't the government's job to provide ice in the wake of a hurricane or other disaster.  Brown said it's wrong for the federal government to be providing ice to keep "beer and Diet Coke cool."

In response, Mayor Nagin says, "We were saving lives, rescuing people, trying to evacuate them.  It was hectic."  He told reporters, "the feds, local, state, all across the board, did not have the processes to deal with a storm of this magnitude."

Nagin also told reporters that "things spiraled" after FEMA officials made promises that "weren't kept."

As for Brown's testimony today, Nagin said its obvious that the former FEMA head is under pressure and that he feels "sorry for him a little bit."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)