Bush's aides are SO afraid of telling him bad news that they practically drew straws to see who would have to tell him, on TUESDAY, that the hurricane was so bad he'd need to come home.
The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until the Thursday night AFTER it struck.
And another quote:
The denial and the frustration finally collided aboard Air Force One on Friday. As the president's plane sat on the tarmac at New Orleans airport, a confrontation occurred that was described by one participant as "as blunt as you can get without the Secret Service getting involved." Governor Blanco was there, along with various congressmen and senators and Mayor Nagin.
There's a precis of the article, here.