Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Worse…

Report Indicates New Orleans Floodwalls Stuffed With Newspaper

Well, there is no better way to get back into writing about hurricane related issues than to write about the never ending saga of mismanagement, and ineptitude that has characterized the the rebuilding and repair of the damaged levee system in New Orleans. The Big Easy, the most vulnerable city to hurricanes along the United States coastline from Maine to Texas, is in the opinion of Hurricaneville, no better off than it was the day after Katrina blew through down. It has been almost three years since the devastating hurricane, once a Category Five on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, there has been some progress, but not enough to make one think that New Orleans is in better shape to handle another significant storm.

The Central Gulf Coast has a much higher frequency of tropical storm and hurricane impacts than say the Northeast and New Jersey. Yet, the Army Corps of Engineers, Congress, and the President don’t seem to show any sense of urgency to get this long overdue project done. This levee system was supposed to be worked on in earnest after Hurricane Betsy back in 1965. Like the Green Brook Flood Project that was proposed after devastating floods hit the Bound Brook and Manville areas as well as other parts of Central Jersey back in 1972, the New Orleans levee system has been poorly funded, and as a result, not followed through to completion. The United States was once a country with a can do spirit. In the wake of the devastation from the Long Island Express Hurricane of 1938, Harry Hopkins, of the Roosevelt Administration, got the Northeast and New England back up on its feet toward recovery.

This was the same country that not only got itself through a depression, but also fought a World War on two fronts, and saved the World from tyranny and dictatorship. Several years after that, it flew in aid to much of Europe under the Marshall Plan. Whatever was made in the USA was high in quality, and was worth the price you spent on buying it. There are still some positives that you can say about America and its democracy, but not as much as in the past. The country has been going through a gradual decline for a while now, and there is no sense that anyone in the government whether it is the President or the Congress really grasp that. None of the five candidates that I e-mailed with regard of the Growing Hurricane Problem have responded. Now, we have levees in New Orleans being repaired with what many would say is an equivalent to chewing gum and band aid on a leak in a dam.

According to an article published in the WorldNetDaily, an individual, who refused to be identified, told reports for a local CBS affiliate down in New Orleans that floodwall panels being constructed to protect the city where being filled with newspaper rather than the rubber foam that was called for in the projects specifications. The unidentified resident then confronted the builder about the problem, and the builder replied that “when Congress sent down the money, it would be repaired in the proper way.” After all that has happened, you would think that everything possible would be done to fix the the levees in New Orleans, and make those in the Crescent City breathe with some ease. We are working against time here. The Atlantic is still in an active cycle despite the fact that 2006 and 2007 have been relatively quiet by recent standards.

Now, in all fairness to the Bush Administration, which has taken a good deal of criticism, especially from this web site in regard of how the aftermath of Katrina has been handled, Congress cannot escape culpability here. With an approval rating that is even lower than the President’s, the Congress, which was taken over by the Democrats following the 2006 mid-term elections, have not done much either. The Democratic Party, which was given a mandate by the people in terms of the War in Iraq, and many other issues that have affected the state of the country in the last eight years, have not lived up to expectations. To this web site, it seems that the Democrats have become no better than the Republicans as far as resolving many of the problems that concern Americans. All these recent elections have been is a struggle for power, and nothing more. Nothing more in the sense, of doing something that benefits the average person in this land.

Many people have found fault with the Bush Administration since things such as 9/11 and Katrina happened on its watch. There is truth to that, no doubt. With guys like Brownie running the show at FEMA, President Bush has played a poor hand when dealing with the Gulf Coast since 2005. However, the Clinton Administration, and many others before it share the blame too for not investing the money necessary to make these essential flood projects a reality. The politicians have almost always reacted poorly to these situations. For instance, I mentioned earlier how the FDR Administration reacted quickly to get help to the Northeast and New England after the 1938 hurricane, but it also blundered big time before, during, and after the 1935 hurricane that struck the Florida Keys. There have been good moments for the government such as when LBJ visited New Orleans after Betsy, and let the people know with his flashlight and bullhorn that he was there for them, but those moments have been few and far between.