Lead researcher and senior member of Levees.org – H.J. Bosworth, Jr – weighs in on WDSU TV’s annual report on the state of New Orleans’ levees.
UPDATED May 20, 2016 at 10:35 a.m. ENR has posted an acknowledgement to its story that an error in a earlier version of the story had been corrected
ENR Engineering News-Record recently posted a story about the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers’ levees during Katrina.
But it began with a false statement.
The opening line communicated that Katrina’s storm surge was greater than what the 17th Street and London Avenue canal walls were designed for.
This is false.
According to the Army Corps’ own study (Volume 1, USACE IPET, 40-41), the failure of the canal walls was a failure of the corps to do its job.
“What specific crime was committed?” asks Alexander Koch, writer for MOVIEPILOT. “We’d prefer the show remain more in the true-crime realm,” says CarterMatt.com.
In contrast, my reaction to the producers’ decision could not be more positive. It’s about time for the many crimes of Katrina to be told to a wider audience.
For example, due to poor logistics and planning, FEMA was unable to get life-giving ice to many of the areas that were desperately requesting it. What did arrive were frivolous items like heaters for people with hypothermia. And the list of wasteful federal spending is long: nearly $1 billion on travel trailers that were unusable, temporary blue tarp roofs that cost as much as permanent roofs, and multiple layers of contractors taking their cut for debris removal while local businesses were left out.
But two crimes stand out as the most egregious, yet seem to be the least well known.