Rice Admits to PR Misstep During Katrina Disaster

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regrets having gone shoe-shopping and out for a night at the theater while Hurricane Katrina ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to an excerpt from her book, In No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington, which was published Oct. 23. Rice's statements are a long-delayed mea culpa to what was largely considered tone-deaf crisis mismanagement by the federal government during Katrina.

"I didn't think much about the dire warnings of an approaching hurricane called Katrina," she wrote in an excerpt, saying she had flown to New York for a brief holiday in late August 2005. 

Rice went to see the play Spamalot, and the next morning went shopping Ferragamo, which produced headlines likes "Eyewitness: Sec of State Condi Rice laughs it up at Spamalot while Gulf Coast lays in tatters,” on one political Web site at the time.

"The airwaves were filled with devastating pictures from New Orleans. I knew right away that I should never have left Washington," she wrote, sensing a brewing public relations disaster both for her and for the president, according to AP.

"I'm still mad at myself for only belatedly understanding my own role and responsibilities in the crisis," Rice wrote.
This admission would have carried more weight had it been made while Rice was still in office—and before such an admission was tied to book sales.