There are several differences between the two disasters when it comes local, state, and federal response.
It should be stated that hurricane Katrina was a disaster when it came to response. It took many people by surprise and the government, especially the federal government, was slow to respond. And most of all, FEMA was unprepared. Therefore, when Sandy hit, all eyes were watching. For this reason, the response was far better.
First, the local government made many warnings. For example, Governor Christie and Mayor Bloomberg were all over the media telling people to evacuate. Second, when the storm passed all local and state people were on the ground to evaluate the damage. During this time, Christie and president Obama worked together. Third, the Federal government was also quick to respond.
I am not saying that all was well, but all parties were much better prepared and they learned from hurricane Katrina.