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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

The nasty levee situation (or, pick a target)

Sometimes, things are just not what they seem (nor what one may want them to be). From the LA Times (subscription required):

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New Orleans levee officials joined forces in July 1985 to protect the city from a long-feared hurricane, the two agencies could not agree on how to proceed. It was the beginning of a dysfunctional partnership that ushered in two decades of chronic government mismanagement.

Corps engineers wanted to install gates in front of the city's three main internal canals to protect against violent storm surges from Lake Pontchartrain. The Orleans Levee District, the city's flood protection agency, preferred to build higher flood walls for miles along the canals. For five years, neither side yielded.

It just gets worse from there, folks.

You wanted a target for the failed levees? Take your pick. Somewhere between levee board and political cronyism, resentment of the corps’ attitude, apparent laissez-faire approaches toward inspections, funding failures, and total disorganization, you’ll find your answer.

As I once wrote, there’s plenty of blame to go around for the next hundred years. Why am I not surprised?


  • At 8:31 AM, Blogger Mark said;


    First, everyone opposed floodgates because they required shutting down the pumps, which would cause massive flooding in New Orleans anyway in a wet storm.

    Second, I'm just so pissed that even the "liberal" LA Times has jumped on the band wagon of the "New Orlans is corrupt" meme.

    The only way I buy that story will be when the indictments come down for the CoE officials who were paid off. If this was about corruption, then you have to explain the failure of the CoE to do their job.

  • At 8:43 AM, Blogger Polimom said;

    It is somewhat disturbing that (so far, at least), nobody at the federal level seems to be interested in "examining" the corps' actions, but they're deep into the local board.

    It's just such a mess. Ultimately, I suspect corruption will be one of many factors, rather than THE root of it all.

    I am inclined to think, though, that it played a fairly significant part. I'm just not sure all of it was "local".

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