Cobb said the Manganos were forced to make a difficult decision as Katrina approached: risk the health of the patients — many of them frail and on feeding tubes — in an evacuation, or keep them comfortable at the home through the storm.
Tom Rodrigue, whose mother died in the home, was not satisfied. "She deserved the chance, you know, to be rescued instead of having to drown like a rat," he said.
The attorney general is also investigating the discovery of more than 40 corpses at flooded-out Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. A hospital official said the 106-degree heat inside the hospital as the patients waited for days to be evacuated likely contributed to their deaths.
On Tuesday, President Bush said he took responsibility for the fitful federal response to the devastation. New Orleans' mayor was asked on ABC's "Good Morning America" if he took responsibility for the city's response.
"I'm going to be a man about this. Whatever I did, whatever I could have done better, I'm going to stand up and history will judge me accordingly," Nagin said in an interview broadcast Wednesday.
"But let's make sure that as we analyze what Ray Nagin as mayor did, let's look at what everybody in authority (did) so that this never happens again in this country."
The updated Louisiana death toll was released as Gov. Kathleen Blanco lashed out at the federal government, accusing it of moving too slowly in recovering the bodies. The dead "deserve more respect than they have received," she said.
However, Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman David Passey said the state asked to take over body recovery last week. "The collection of bodies is not normally a FEMA responsibility," he said.
Not all the news was grim. The New Orleans airport reopened to commercial flights Tuesday, the port resumed operations far earlier than expected, and Nagin said dry sections of the city — including the French Quarter and central business district — could be reopened as early as Monday, provided the Environmental Protection Agency determines the air is safe to breathe.
"We're bringing New Orleans back," Nagin said. "We're bringing this culture back. We're bringing this music back. I'm tired of hearing these helicopters. I want to hear some jazz."
In other developments: