The e-mail records were requested by a House select committee investigating the government's response to the Aug. 29 storm that battered the Gulf Coast, and obtained by CNN.
There were obvious signs of stress at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is a division of Homeland Security.
Other e-mails indicate the news media was a factor in agency decision-making.
On Aug. 31, FEMA chief Michael Brown wrote, regarding Bay St. Louis, Miss.: "CNN asking where's FEMA. Would like to air drop or do something there."
Brown stepped down days after the storm over his qualifications and amid criticism of the agency's response.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is scheduled to testify before the House committee on Wednesday.