It seems to me with all the problems and challenges this country faces, top men put war on terrorism which includes need for extensive surveillance the top priority over other issues. Even if govt were better organized in disaster relief, they still would not able help everyone (that's why it is a disaster) but would not be constantly ridiculed for poor performance. However there were some officials saw impending disaster so they forward based a lot of resources closer to Louisiana knowing the state will be calling for help once the winds die down. However, they were a minority because most were focused on terrorist attacks.
Regarding FEMA, I was talking with a emergency manager for a city, he said FEMA does not have response teams like state, county, or city OES departments. FEMA is mostly a fund provider and insurance for disasters.