Yesterday there was this from Martin Savidge at NBC’s blog The Daily Nightly…
I’ve been covering New Orleans and the Gulf Coast on a regular basis
since Katrina. That’s about 19 months. Whenever one of my stories makes
Nightly, I get two very different reactions. Locally, people say “Thank
you” to me and NBC for continuing to keep the city’s plight before the
eyes of the nation… from that nation I get, “Enough already! I am
sick of hearing about New Orleans!”
Experts here say instead of thinking of New Orleans as a national pain
in the backside, Americans should realize there are great lessons to be
learned, because it could happen somewhere else. If not a hurricane
into a major city, how about an earthquake, or a massive terrorist
attack that leaves a city and its society in ruins?
Let’s look at the comments to Savidge’s post from those that just didn’t seem to get the point. What is interesting is how many of these folks ought to get it.
First up is this Comment by J Vine from Seattle WA…
Keep electing Ray ‘school bus’ Nagin, I’m sure that will win the rest of the country over.
Let’s look at this on Seattle…
Forget an eruption. The real threat of Mount Rainier is a surging wall of mud that could bury the suburbs and splash Seattle.
The source of that enormous mudflow, which geologists call a lahar, was
Mount Rainier, about 60 miles south- southeast of Seattle. And it could
happen again—maybe even tomorrow. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates
there is at least a 1-in-7 chance during an average human lifespan that
another catastrophic lahar could pour off the mountain.
Certainly Seattle is prepared and won’t rely on school bus drivers to save their lives…
The only problem is that Pierce County has done planning with a nod and
a wink. It has provided citizens with detailed maps of evacuation
routes that experts, off-the- record, admit have little chance of
helping save very many people. While pouring considerable money into
lahar hazard planning, Pierce County has allowed development of
thousands of new homes in the very shadow of Mount Rainier, right in
the volcano’s most dangerous lahar paths. Often only two-lane roads
serve these new subdivisions and many older ones. People trying to
escape a fast-moving lahar in the chaos and traffic would have little
hope of survival.
A judgemental person may not be won over by that plan. It sounds ominous for commenter J Vine’s city
Also for Kerry in nearby Sammamish WA who left this Comment..
It is time to move on and rebuild the city in a different location rather than waste money in a flood prone area.
Are we to move Seattle and Sammamish also?
Then there is this Comment by Rich from St. Louis…
I am sick – of hearing how every taxpayer in America should pony up a
couple grand to subsidize the rebuilding of a cesspool of a city that
will just be wiped out again by the next “unlucky” hurricane.
ST Louis in the Great USA Flood of 1993…In
the Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District 12 of 42 federal levees
and 39 of 47 non federal levees were overtopped or failed.
Photo St Louis:Residents returned
to the homes pictured to find the interiors blackened by mold and mud after
weeks of flooding.
More to the point of Rich from St. Louis’ comment is this though…
Around St. Louis, where
the Mississippi River lapped at the steps of the Gateway Arch during
the 1993 flood, more than 14,000 acres of flood plain have been
developed since then
Pinter said as much as
85 percent of the Mississippi in St. Louis is confined behind levees,
which have raised flood levels 10 feet to 12 feet higher than they were
just a century ago. That parallels the situation in New Orleans, which
suffered catastrophic flooding when levees failed in the wake of
In the St. Louis area,
there has been an estimated $2.2 billion in new construction on land
that was under water in the 1993 flood, Pinter said.
Yes let’s not rebuild in “unlucky” areas…unless of course it is my “unlucky” area.
Then there is this Comment from Sean in
New Orleans knew they needed to fix
those levees and they did not. The
only words I want to hear from New Orleans people are “We’re speaking
to engineers from the Netherlands about protecting our city.”
Here is some history of Torrington CT…
Much of downtown Torrington was destroyed
in the Flood of 1955 that destroyed many CT communities when Hurricanes
Connie and Diane struck and caused rivers to overflow. It was one of
the worst disasters in CT history.
Photos of Torrington after the 1955 Flood…
There is an excellent account hereon
the incredible help CT received from their federal government under the
leadership of then President Eisenhower. The recovery for the area
also included the Bush-McCormick Plan. That’s
Bush as in Senator Prescott Bush, grandfather to George W. The plan
included researching new
dams and other flood controls for the area. Also the Eighth Army
redirected the Farmington River in order to prevent future disasters.
This account of the rebuilding in CT concluded with…
Let the reader remember that in 1955 a flood took place that ravaged
the state of Connecticut and see that the tragedy was great and the
loss of life grim. The people of the state rebuilt their lives and
moved on with the help of fellow Americans who took the time to rescue
and bring comfort to those who needed help.
But if that history means nothing to commenter Sean from Torrington CT perhaps this Feb 2007 news release from the Army Corps of Engineers on deficiencies of the Torrington Local Protection Project will…
deficiencies were noted. Excessive vegetation is present along the
levees, flood walls, and drainage features preventing access for
creating insufficient vegetation buffers along the structures and
controls on the structures. Portions of the levee have a loss of
and width, erosion, and degradation from vehicular trespassing. There
little information on the condition of the drainage features such as
and catch basins and many of the features could not be found due to
The commenters go on..
This is part of a long comment by Mike in Reno Nevada…
Americans are not just tired of the Katrina aftermath they are
dispappointed that the folks elected in Louisiana don’t have the sense
of a muskrat who would move if his habitat is threatened.
I can go on too…
Then there is Clark from Lewiston, ID…
New Orleans has to take credit for re-electing an incompetent mayor and
governor. Billions of dollars wasted, stolen, and put into freezers.
New Orleans, take care oof yourself.
Now there is a system of levees, many maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, to control Snake River flooding. Hopefully for commentor Clark it is not a “system in name only” as was the case in New Orleans.
OK I hope you get the point. What is amazing is most of the rest of the comments were positive and marked by empathy for New Orleans (of course most are/were NOLA folks) and the negative ones above comprise most of the negative comments. Yet the latter come from people who potentially have much to lose if we ignore the lessons of what happened in New Orleans.
What has and is happening in New Orleans is Wrong. Period. I believe the nation should pay attention to the plight of fellow Americans for that reason alone. However there are points of self interest for all of us…if it can happen to them it can happen to us.