Evacuee Family on Federal Response

Last week, President Bush was commending FEMA director Micheal Brown for the agency's response to Hurricane Katrina, and yesterday, he admitted that he and FEMA could have handled the situation better.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent the federal government didn't do its job right, I take full responsibility," he said.

Is that admission any consolation for the victims? Some say no. We spoke with one New Orleans family. They lost everything to Katrina and are now staying in Thunderbolt.

The Jones family says, although admitting there was a problem is a good sign, it doesn't make up for the hundreds of lives lost and the thousands of lives destroyed.

"What do I think about him saying that?" asked evacuee Sharonda Jones. "Not much."

President Bush admits mistakes were made, but families like the Joneses say that's just not enough.

Two weeks ago, Kenneth and Sharonda Jones, along with their two daughters, left New Orleans with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

"If you can imagine walking out the door on a weekend trip and then not being able to come back," said Sharonda.

And now the Jones family has nothing to go back to. This lawyer and teacher still haven't heard from many of their family members and friends.

"It breaks my heart to no avail to see people suffering, the way they're suffering," said Kenneth.

For the past two weeks, they've been looking at all the images of devastation and destruction coming out of the Crescent City. "You're recognizing areas and neighborhoods and think, 'This is our home,'" Sharonda.

"I knew some people in the crowd stuck on the bridge," added Kenneth.

So why was FEMA slow to react? "Is it because of racism? I don't know if it's racism or classism," said Sharonda.

We may never find out. But whatever the reason, the Joneses aren't sure if the president taking responsibility is enough. "Is what you're doing now enough to fix the damage already done? All the lives lost?" asked Sharonda.

The Joneses are staying with their grandmother. Their daughters have enrolled in school, and now they hope to piece their lives together here in the Coastal Empire.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com