In loving memory of Al Cahall

Alvin Numa Cahall, Jr.

Alvin Numa Cahall, Jr. (photo dated June 1, 2014)

Anyone who has ever attended a Levees.org event would certainly have noticed Al Cahall’s presence. Al took care of every audiovisual need for the grassroots advocacy group that I founded–with the help of my son–after the 2005 Flood in New Orleans. Time after time, year after year, our events went “without a hitch” due to Al’s dedication to quality.

It started when Al approached me on the evening that Ray Nagin was re-elected Mayor of New Orleans. Al told me his story, that he had lost everything when hurricane storm surge obliterated the levees along the MR-GO and inundated his home to the rooftop. “There were dead crabs on my roof,” he told me. Like many, even though he had flood insurance, the claims payouts plus the little bit of relief he got from the Small Business Administration disaster loans and the Road Home Program went little distance in making him–and his family–whole.

Read More » Leave a comment

Citizens of Louisiana Continue Their Fight Against Big Oil

Sandy Rosenthal at Water Fest at Louisiana Capitol in Baton Rouge March 8, 2014. Photo/Ray Nicholls

Sandy Rosenthal at Water Fest at Louisiana Capitol in Baton Rouge March 8, 2014. Photo/Ray Nicholls

This post is also featured today in the Huffington Post.

When I heard that the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East had filed lawsuit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies, I, as the founder of Levees.org, urged our board to immediately and publicly support the suit which demanded that the energy industry fix the coast that it helped destroy. The lawsuit’s objective was consistent with our mission; that New Orleans flooded due to poorly designed levees and floodwalls, and also due to the ongoing loss of protective coastal wetlands.

Since last July, we traveled extensively to Baton Rouge, worked to build coalitions and launched multiple pro-lawsuit campaigns to counter Governor Bobby Jindal’s dual-pronged attempt to halt the lawsuit. First, the Governor had tried stacking the Authority with commissioners who agreed with him, and then later, he apparently directed the Louisiana legislature to pass bills with the intended effect of killing the lawsuit. We fought both initiatives.

Read More » Leave a comment

Governor Jindal Signs Bill to Kill the Big Oil Lawsuit

Then Congressman Bobby Jindal speaks at a Levees.org press event in August of 2006. Photo/Stanford Rosenthal

Then Congressman Bobby Jindal speaks at a Levees.org press event in August of 2006. Photo/Stanford Rosenthal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal yesterday signed Senate Bill 469, legislation that was written specifically to kill a lawsuit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies for their damage to Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. The suit, brought by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East last summer, was intended to restore wetlands necessary to protect coastal communities from hurricane storm surges.

The legislation was passed despite unprecedented citizen involvement all across Louisiana. It passed despite a campaign led by Levees.org ally Robert R.M. Verchick who believed that the bill could jeopardize the state’s ability to collect claims from B.P. for the 2010 Gulf Oil Disaster. Over one hundred legal scholars joined Professor Verchick. And it passed despite the state attorney general’s recommendation that the Governor veto it.

Read More » 2 Comments