Category 5 hurricane protection in New Orleans…Not Gonna Happen Under Bush

There is really nothing new in today’s WaPo article on New Orleans hurricane protection but Peter Whoriskey does a good job of laying it out. In summary…

  • The rebuilt defenses of New Orleans could not handle another Katrina
  • The Bush administration remains committed to 100 year flood protection…nothing more. Katrina was a 1 in 400 year event.

100 year protection is not Cat 5 protection. It’s not even strong Cat 3 protection. And to make it all painfully clear here is Donald E. Powell, the federal Gulf Coast rebuilding coordinator…

But he turned aside questions about Category 5 protection, noting
that extensive new studies set to be released this summer will inform
residents how likely they are to be flooded when the new 100-year
project is finished.

“Then they can make their decisions,” he said.

That really is quite astounding. Powell and therefore Bush are saying to the people of a major American city…”You’re fucked and don’t look to us to unfuck ya. You’re on your own.”Oyster elaborates a bit more than I…

Oh, so that’s how it’s going to go down. Powell is basically
saying: “New Orleans is not going to get more than WEAK CATEGORY 3
flood protection (with partially armored levees and pumps built by Bush
cronies). But we will give y’all a map so you can calculate exactly how
f*cked you will be the next time the levees or pumps fail, or when a
major storm hits the area”.

Thanks, Powell. That’s mighty white of you.

None of this is new or surprising but it is so very damn infuriating and sad.

5 thoughts on “Category 5 hurricane protection in New Orleans…Not Gonna Happen Under Bush

  1. Like you said, nothing surprising. Now think of the effects like dominos. For example, how will this affect the homeowner’s ability to get insurance? What construction methods will buildings have to make to protect themselves – that is will the new homes be on stilts so tall that they look like something of of “The Jetsons”? How will the effects change as we continue to destroy the wetlands…

  2. Something of an aside, but… I wonder how long until the idea of a “hundred year event” and “400 year event” will need to be re-calibrated to account for higher water temps, etc., associated with global climate change.
    In other words, was Katrina, here in the early 21st century, really a “400 year event”?

  3. Good point Robert. I doubt Bush would allow gov’t to do that though given his position on global warming

  4. Maybe we New Orleanians should use Republicans for levee material: they are easily bought, and they seem to be impervious to everything (except common sense).

  5. It’s unfortunate the Post didn’t go one little bit further to tell the real impact of the delay of the risk & reliability study. It has pushed the issuance of Preliminary Flood Maps back by months.
    While the risk & reliability study will provide lots of good information, it won’t carry any force of law, but the new flood maps will once they’re adopted. They were supposed to be out by now, but FEMA’s mapping folks have been waiting, waiting, waiting on the Corps’ surge modeling. And of course, that’s one more delay in the recovery.
    Why does that matter? Had the flood maps been issued by now, people (especially out of town investors) would have a much better idea of what was safe and what wasn’t. Instead, those investors (with a December 2008 construction-completion-and-occupancy deadline for their GO Zone tax credits hanging over their heads) have had to make financial decisions based on zero information about risk (a similar criticism has been leveled at the UNOP plan by BGR – “Where’s the risk information?”). Those investors are gonna be awfully surprised when they find out their investment properties are targeted for six feet of water in the next storm, when the 1984 flood maps (the ones that are still in effect) show the area to be outside the floodplain.

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