California Reporter Gets Seal of Approval

These ‘before and after’ photos of a Lower Ninth Ward home communicate the extent of the flooding devastation a few blocks from the east breaches of the Industrial Canal. Photo/courtesy of

This week, a reporter for the Sacramento Bee in California received the’s Seal of Approval for characterizing the metro New Orleans flooding in 2005 as caused by levee failure.

Sean Cockerham resisted using fast easy Katrina ‘shorthand’ and refrained from giving all the credit for the catastrophe to Mother Nature.

Writing about New Orleans resurgence in the past seven years, he wrote:

“…The levees had failed and the city was in tatters….”

Saying Katrina is solely responsible for the 2005 Flood is like saying an iceberg is solely responsible for the Titanic Disaster. Now, at the 100th anniversary of the sunken liner, the undisputed fact is the Titanic ignored seven heavy ice warnings and the ship was going too fast.

We feel that Katrina ‘shorthand’ does a disservice to those who are trying to rebuild their homes, their lives, and their city. And we think it is dangerous to the 55% of the American population who lives in counties protected by levees.

Mr. Cockerham replied to our SOA with this:

“I agree it’s a hugely important fact and one that is dangerous to ignore.”

Meanwhile many reporters in New Orleans continue to distort the facts with Katrina ‘shorthand.’  Today, a reporter for a well known city publication wrote that “…Katrina spilled several feet of water through the doors…” of a property in the St. Roch neighborhood.

The reporter wrote this even though federal Judge Stanwood Duval ruled that the Corps of Engineers was guilty of gross negligence in the failures of the 17th Street and London Avenue Canals which flooded St. Roch.

One day soon, the true facts of the flooding in metro New Orleans will be household knowledge, and such Katrina ‘shorthand’ will be a thing of the past.

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