Judy Walker, food editor for the New Orleans Times Picayune gets the Levees.org “seal of approval” for her characterization of the metro New Orleans flooding on August 29, 2005.
In describing how a house behind hers flooded, Ms. Walker wrote, “…after the levees failed and four feet of water washed in and out of the house…”
Properly attributing the flooding to levee failure by the media takes 2 or 3 more words, but it’s the best way the rest of the nation will understand that the flooding was a manmade disaster.
Indeed, saying Katrina flooded New Orleans is like saying traffic broke the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis. Both Katrina and the traffic exposed structural flaws. Both revealed blatant civil engineering mistakes.
As John McQuaid, author of Path of Destruction has noted, using Katrina ‘shorthand’ carries “…underlying associations of “natural disaster swamps city below sea level – what the heck are those people doing living down there?”
Katrina shorthand is harmful to our region’s recovery, and hopefully all journalists and reporters in metro New Orleans will join Ms. Walker in resisting Katrina shorthand.