Some writers, however, offered encouragement. "I am so proud of how well you answered Ted Koppel's questions on 'Nightline,'" one sender-redacted e-mail stated.
Another person from Huntsville, Ala., wrote, "I would like to add my voice to those with praise for what has been accomplished in response to Katrina."
Another e-mail offered this: "Please try to do some yoga or meditate to keep your stress levels down for at least 20 mins each day. ... I don't want you to be having a heart attack or stroke over stupid people who know what was coming and then blame everyone for their own misfortune. So try to RELAX, know that you're amazing at what you do, and don't get shot!!!"
Dozens of e-mails from Sept. 5 and 6 deal with criticism of Brown's qualifications to run FEMA and his previous work as commissioner for the Arabian Horse Association.
One e-mail read, "Mike, Spoke to [name redacted] (note she is the largest breeder of Arabian Horses in the United States), and she indicated that she would be able confirm for any media inquiry that your service as the AHA [Arabian Horse Association] Commissioner was outstanding. ... Hang in there -- I was in Washington for 30 years, nothing but snakes."
Many of the e-mails dealt with numerous media inquiries, "Another call from ABC New NY ... wanting to confirm that you had been asked to leave AHA." And "CNN reporter Lisa Sylvester called form (sic) the D.C. bureau and was doing a story. I again provided very favorable comments on your service with the Arabian Horse Association."
One FEMA public affairs official brought to Brown's attention a Washington Post article titled, "'Refugee': A Word of Trouble," which reported many evacuees took offense to the term "refugees." Brown wrote back, "Just so you know, this is old news. The term refugee is forbidden here. These are Americans who are hurricane victims, they are evacuees displaced from their homes. I am tired, no angered, by charges of racism. You know that neither me nor anyone associated with me is a racist. Grrrr."
As a non sequitur Brown added, "How was that Sonic burger?"
Many of the e-mails expressed concern about pet owners who refused to evacuate in order to take care of their pets, or simply were forced to leave them behind.
On Sept. 8, Brown wrote to his staff, "I want us to start planning for dealing with pets. If evacuees are refusing to leave because they can't take their pets with them, I understand that. So, we need to facilitate the evacuation of those people by figuring out a way to allow them to take their pets. Bill [Carwile] and Ron [Sherman], this may not be an issue for you in AL and MS, but it is a huge issue in LA. Please get some sort of plan together to start handling pets. Thanks. MB."
Brown was being inundated with offers of assistance from other state and federal agencies, including NASA, the Department of Transportation and firefighters in Oregon. Brown responded to one offer with the reply, "Gracias. Send me a margarita, kiddo. ... MB"
Companies including Home Depot and Microsoft made offers of assistance directly to Brown.