Wednesday, June 11, 2008

THE THREATENING STORM
Michael Grunwald's investigative essay in Time last August paints a foreboding picture of New Orleans' next storm

PERFECT POLITICAL STORM. I remember seeing this Time cover and reading several paragraphs into the cover story last August. I've since read the whole story. It's an investigative report by Michael Grunwald on the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levy breaks that flooded out most of New Orleans for weeks and killed hundreds of people.

NO BETTER PREPARED. Grunwald's article points out that the 2005 disaster was not so much the result of a Category 3 hurricane but of crude politics, shoddy engineering, and environmental ignorance that created the perfect storm for what occurred after Katrina had passed. More importantly, Grunwald notes that these same factors have played into the multi-billion dollar "rebuilding" effort and have set up New Orleans for another disaster when the next hurricane hits. The article is worth reading and contemplating.

THE $1.3 BILLION LEVY. By the way, the Time cover picture is of the $1.3 billion one-mile section of the new levy along the Industrial Canal--the place where the levy broke, flooding the lower 9th Ward and most of New Orleans as the swollen waters of Lake Ponchartrain rushed in the day after the hurricane had past. Today, we stood at the base of this new levy (right about where the Time cover photo was taken) after touring the lower 9th Ward, an area that still looks like a war zone.

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