As part of the Institute's ongoing Gulf Watch coverage, I am headed to New Orleans today to provide on-the-ground coverage of Hurricane Gustav and its aftermath.

A main theme of Gustav media coverage so far is that the hurricane response is going better than it did three years ago with Hurricane Katrina and that Washington"learned from its mistakes."

That fact that what should be routine elements of emergency response -- evacuation buses leaving on time, coordination happening across levels of government, federal leaders actually going to the scene of the storm -- are now treated as big news is a measure of how thoroughly the Katrina response was a failure.

As the Institute documented in a report earlier this year, Washington's Katrina response fell far short -- and