I don't know what I can add to the discussion on Katrina in what has been a pretty business-oriented blog to date. I'm willing to wait to assign blame (although blame most assuredly will assigned) or conclude that the looting and other bad behavior was a widespread as depicted.
That said, there's no question that it was a horrible human tragedy on par with what we're used to seeing in the Third World. What's so shocking is the fact that our response to it seemed, for nearly a week, to also be on par with what we'd see from a Third World government.
The media incessently talks about the need to focus on the living, but look at the repeated details of bodies floating in the flood water, or left lying on sidewalks. Inherent in these repeated details? The horror that our organized and clinical culture could break down to the point where corpses are left in the street for a week. It's hard to imagine a more vivid image of how civic order collapsed in New Orleans. It took a foreign paper (The Independent) to do it, but I finally saw a piece today deal with this issue directly. It's worth a read.