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Monday, September 5, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Official sobs as he tells of woman's fate

The Dallas Morning News

Weeping on national television, Jefferson Parish, La., President Aaron Broussard told yesterday of a woman who pleaded for help but drowned before it came.

It was a single tale from a weeklong series of tragedies, and focusing on her quickly changed Broussard's tone from angry accusation to uncontrollable tears.

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Broussard complained bitterly about the slow federal response to the New Orleans flood, demanding investigations and resignations. He particularly criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Broussard said FEMA turned away three trailer trucks of water sent to New Orleans before the hurricane, refused to allow the Coast Guard to deliver diesel fuel to his parish and cut off emergency communication lines "without notice."

There was no immediate response from FEMA to the criticism.

Broussard said the man who runs the building where he is based spoke every day last week to his mother, who was trapped in a nursing home near the city.

"Every day she called him and said, 'Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?'

"And he said, 'Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday.' "

Breaking into sobs, Broussard said, "And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night."

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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