New Orleans, Louisiana


What happened in New Orleans on August 29, 2005 was not a result of global warming.  It was a result of human fuckery.  It was the result of the Army Corps of Engineers’ lack of competence in building and maintaining the levees.

Never forget that.

Too many people have forgotten that, or never knew to begin with.

It’s important.

The G Bitch Spot’s post from last year’s anniversary (this year, her only comment is “I don’t even want to talk about it.”) explains:

The day before The Disasterversary, I got an email asking me to sign onto a climate-related petition. Even though I have stopped myself from doing this – I have a long history of rabid letter-writing – I had to email the folks sponsoring the petition:
Though I can’t blame you for using the anniversary of the flooding of New Orleans [also known as “Katrina”] to get attention for climate legislation, your organization is doing New Orleans, yourselves, and the country a disservice by basing this campaign on a lie. Katrina the hurricane did not flood New Orleans. Katrina was a weak 3 when she hit New Orleans; Katrina DID devastate the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the southernmost parts of Louisiana. New Orleans flooded because the Army Corps of Engineers built levees they knew were faulty. Those levees failed after the hurricane passed and flooded over 80% of the city.

Why does this point of distinction matter? Because many US citizens live near some kind of Army Corps of Engineers project, if not near levees and dams built by ACoE. The faulty thinking and contracts behind the disaster in New Orleans are also involved in every other ACoE project in this country.

Coastal restoration-yes! Armored, fortified levees-yes! Katrina flooded New Orleans-NO!

(emphasis in original)

“Many US citizens live near some kind of Army Corps of Engineers project …”

Remember.  Please.


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  1. Nightprowlkitty

  2. Edger

    August 29th 2006 marked the one year anniversary of the devastation in New Orleans caused by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This Special Greg Palast Report brings you exclusive footage, interviews and the stories of the hidden political agendas and the suppressed eyewitness reports.

    In this half-hour film, Greg Palast and his team travel to New Orleans to investigate what has happened since Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

    27 min 46 sec

    Big Easy to Big Empty – The Untold Story Of The Drowning Of New Orleans

  3. RiaD

    just last year …. gha!

  4. AmericanRiverCanyon

    …. and choosing which projects to fund.

    Appropriations Committee in the House

    Dept of the Interior

    Bureau of Reclamation

    Check out all the committees your Congressperson is on, your Senator is on, and then whether or not your local projects get funding in times of need.  Pay particular attention if you’ve got a wing nut who is not only a climate change denier (as in, it’s not happening, or it’s caused by sunspots) but if you’ve got a Blue Dog who was funding stuff in other districts and neglecting his or her own.

    Here in Northern CA we have idjiots still merrily shunting our state’s money to the red states nearby (or to nice big new projects in Utah)  and trying to ignore our needs when the state capitol sits at the Confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers and is massively prone to flood risk- #2 after NOLA. Yet the local Republicans are constantly trying to put new dams up stream where they don’t have the water rights available,  or other hokey projects instead of funding levee maintenance.   They’re also specifically targeting any pro enviro Dems and the state’s energy  bill they passed,  to replace then with anti regulation pro destruction business shills like Fiorina-  I cannot imagine that  puffpiece taking any of this seriously.

    Prevention isn’t sexy or popular but it beats the alternative.

  5. theevolutionarysieve

    callous sob which said that allowing the levees to not be fixed was the best way to get a face lift for new orleans….

    and it is a matter of public record….

  6. tahoebasha3

    Scientists had been warning for years and years that the levees were in a sad state of repair — Bush was fully aware.  So, the already inadequate funds that had been set aside for the levees, Bush defunded further (I have the article on this tucked away somewhere). (Here’s a google!)

    The levees were never ever properly repaired, but now five years later, they are being repaired.  

    And in August, of 2009, an expert who warned the levees would burst, was fired from his job, as Deputy Director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center.

    I don’t get to use the word “heroic” very often. Van Heerden is heroic. The Deputy Director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, it was van Heerden who told me, on camera, something so horrible, so frightening, that, if it weren’t for his international stature, it would have been hard to believe:

    “By midnight on Monday the White House knew. Monday night I was at the state Emergency Operations Center and nobody was aware that the levees had breached. Nobody.”

    On the night of August 29, 2005, van Heerden was shut in at the state emergency center in Baton Rouge, providing technical advice to the rescue effort. As Hurricane Katrina came ashore, van Heerden and the State Police there were high-fiving it: Katrina missed the city of New Orleans, turning east.

    What they did not know was that the levees had cracked. For crucial hours, the White House knew, but withheld the information that the levees of New Orleans had broken and that the city was about to drown. Bush’s boys did not notify the State of the flood to come, which would have allowed police to launch an emergency hunt for the thousands who remained stranded.

    “Fifteen hundred people drowned. That’s the bottom line,” said von Heerden. He shouldn’t have told me that. The professor was already in trouble for saying, publicly, that the levees around New Orleans were no good, too short, by 18″. They couldn’t stand up to a storm like Katrina. He said it months before Katrina hit — in a call to the White House, and later in the press. . . . . (emphasis mine)

    And still they suffer, with BP added to their already sad state of affairs!

    Thank you for this, NPK.  I know how impacting . . . .  !

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