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Permanent link to archive for Friday, September 02, 2005. Friday, September 02, 2005

Times-Picayune: "The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway sustained no major damage from Katrina’s storm surge, the bridge’s general manager said in the first official report of its condition." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Houston Chronicle: "Four days after Hurricane Katrina struck, the National Guard arrived in force today with food, water and weapons." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Audio of WWL-AM interview with New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

That's a must-listen-to interview. Stunning. People are breaking into hospitals because they're addicts who have run out of drugs.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Time Magazine in 2000: "If a flood of Biblical proportions were to lay waste to New Orleans, Joe Suhayda has a good idea how it would happen." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Forbes: Will Katrina ground airlines for good? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

USA Today, in 2000: "New Orleans, a city of nearly 1.4 million people, sits below sea level, as much as 8 feet lower than water in nearby Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River and its delta, where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Doc Searls: "When the dead are counted, most of them will have been poor." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jason Lefkowitz, via email: "Bill Moyers' PBS show NOW did an entire program on the subject of 'what happens if New Orleans gets hit by a category 5 hurricane' in 2002:" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

John Pedersen via email: "Why are the flags still flying at full staff?" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Scientific American article in 2001: "A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive reengineering of southeastern Louisiana can save the city." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

AP story in 2003: "The levees built to keep the Mississippi within its banks all but stopped the floods that used to lay down new layers of soil over the land." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

MoveOn's hurricane housing matchup site.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named 60Minutes.gifOn last NewsNight yesterday, Aaron Brown corrected President Bush who claimed that no one could have foreseen the collapse of the levees in New Orleans. Brown said that two reporters at the New Orleans Times-Picayune had foreseen it. I'm sure that's true, but it didn't stop there. CBS 60 Minutes had a segment on the issue, not sure when it aired, but it was some time back. It featured a federal bureaucrat in New Orleans, a very colorful guy, who explained eloquently how precarious the situation was. I saw the show and it made a very clear impression. That's why I was covering Katrina from the New Orleans perspective long before it was a national story. It looked like the scenario that 60 Minutes warned of, and in the end what happened was exactly what they predicted would. I've tried to find the piece, but haven't found it yet. If you can, please send me a pointer. We need to find this guy.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named the background are all the other preventable disasters that have been predicted. Recently, I think again on 60 Minutes, I saw a story about a key vulnerability in New York's infrastructure -- the subway system and the rivers it passes under. If there were a breach in one of the tunnels, say a bomb exploded, not ncessarily a big one, and caused one of the tunnels to fail, letting in water from the East River, for example. The entire system would flood, quickly, possibly killing thousands, and turning the city back to the time before the subways. Like New Orleans's levees, this technical innovation allowed the city to grow, from a relatively small concentration of homes and businesses in lower Manhattan, populating the rest of Manhattan and the boroughs -- the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens. Staten Island, which is still relatively unpopulated, has no subway connecting it with the rest of the city. People who argue that we shouldn't rebuild New Orleans would probably say we shouldn't rebuild New York either. Now, the city could be protected against this disaster, with walls that close automatically when there's a breach, and stay closed until it can be repaired. As far as I know, nothing is being done about this vulnerability. Permanent link to this item in the archive.


Last update: Friday, September 02, 2005 at 6:39 PM Eastern.

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