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  1. dan dan

    You purchased a house in a basin.
    The government had warned, many times over, that there were potential problems with the levees holding, given the right conditions.
    Your purchased a house in a basin.
    Everything is the government’s fault right?
    The government/army made you purchase a house in a basin, right?!! Tard.

    Reminds me of a scene from planes, trains and automobies.
    “Sorry Neil, I had no idea those beer cans were gonna explode like that.”
    “You left a six pack on a vibrating bed, what the hell did you think was going to happen?”

  2. Dan,

    I don’t recall such warnings. When were they made? However, the point is that the “right conditions” did not in fact occur. That is, the floodwalls were not exposed to conditions beyond what they were designed for. They were supposed to withstand a direct hit by a Cat. 3 hurricane. Katrina was not stronger than that and passed 30 miles to the east. The flooding of my property was the result of a “design failure” according tot he Army Corps of Engineers, who built the floodwalls, as well as three independent civil engineering associations.

    You say “Everything is the government’s fault right?”

    Um, no, of course not. This particular problem was a result of a federal screw-up. The Army Corps admitted it. But that doesn’t mean everything is the government’s fault. Why would you say that?

    And then you call me a “tard.” That’s not very nice.

  3. B, the link you mean to have in your post goes nowhere, but I found the story I think you meant to reference at the bottom of this page:

    To be honest with you, Bart, I find your assessment to be troubling. As an outsider, I cannot possibly understand what it’s like to be living with the aftermath of what’s happened in NOLA in the past year, but as an outsider, I also believe that I have a different level of objectivity. I’m concerned that folks in the middle of this tragedy are misdirecting their energy into who they can point to when asking themselves what led to the situation they are in. And any answer other than about 1,000 different things seems too much like scapegoating.

    By the way, NOLA was warned in both the cited 1986 Army CoE report and in a 2002 New Orleans Times-Picayune five-part series exploring the vulnerability of the city.

    I think Dan’s point is that this scenario didn’t come out of nowhere. Many folks were aware of the dangers of a Class 5 hurricane hitting NOLA directly – that it could cause Lake Pontchartrain to swell and exert force on Levees that were only built to withstand a Class 3 hurricane forces. Which is what happened. This news appears to state that the levee failed where it was predicted it would under the right conditions. But it’s still these conditions which are more to blame, not a bunch of Engineers.

  4. Thanks, Chris, I corrected the link.

    I was well aware of the TP series back in 2002. I mean, I read it at the time and it was quite alarming. It outlines a worst-case scenario. However, that’s not what actually happened. Although you imply a Cat. 5 hit us directly, that is not what happened. A Cat. 3 passed us about 30 miles to the east. The level of surge and winds during Katrina were within the tolerance the Corps designed for.

    As for the 1986 report, I don’t know that it was ever made public. What I do know is that it was ignored by the Army Corps themselves who conducted the study! They built their flawed design in spite of it. Read more about it here.

    Your point about misdirecting energy is well-taken, but I’m not spending too much energy on it myself. I merely paraphrased what the Corps themselves said. I’m not sure why my comment should be more troubling than the admission that the Corps botched the design. Isn’t that the troubling news?

    As fruitless as it may seem, “the blame game” is an important question with significant ramifications for the future of our city. I ask, as a hypothetical: Is there any level of demonstrable incompetence on the part of the Army Corps that would lead you to conclude they screwed up?

  5. dan dan

    For the army to make a statement like, (paraphrasing here) “We think it should hold up to a direct Category 3, but not a direct hit from a Category 5, but an indirect hit for a Cat 4 or 5 could cause problems, but should hold… etc…” and for you to hold them to that is splitting hairs. That’s all.

    Throughout history, man has been unable to predict, with any degree of accuracy, acts of god. This holds true today, even with all our “advanced” technology. Therefore, I look at the facts before I move to NOLA and say to myself, “Ya know what, they really have no idea what’s going to happen if this bowl of a city in the middle of hurricane alley gets hit by anything. Maybe I’ll move there, but it’s ON ME if the stuff goes down b/c I’m taking a big risk assuming ANY man made barrier is going to withstand an act of god.”

    So I don’t think you can blame the USACE. Nobody is to blame, a hurricane is going to go where it wants to go and mess whatever it wants up. There’s nothing man can do. If anything I disagree with the USACE’s admission. There’s no fault b/c they had no responsibility other than keeping back high tides…. Hurricanes, tsunamis, etc, all bets off, nobody’s fault but mother nature.

    But hey, hind sight is 20/20 right?!?! What happened to your stuff sucks. I’m sorry for that and also the ‘Tard’ comment. I was fired up and that wasn’t necessary.

  6. Again I ask: Is there any level of demonstrable incompetence that would lead you to conclude the Corps screwed up?

    For what it’s worth: I had flood insurance, as did most homeowners in this area. I’m OK — but the city as a whole is not.

  7. Mike The Mathematician Mike The Mathematician

    The question I have is what happens this summer during storm season if another hurricane hits Nola?

    I’ll be leaving Panama City Beach at the end of June, so I’ll miss the bulk of the season. That’s something I won’t miss about living here, fer sure.

    There was a good show on History Channel this past weekend, Katrina: American Catastrophe, about the history of Nola and what contributed over the nearly 300 years of its existence to the destruction of the city last fall. According to the show, the levees themselves were fine, just that they were built on land that should never have been used to build levees on. As the water breached the levees, the water came tumbling down the other side and washed away the earth supporting the levees. That weakened them and allowed them to topple. I haven’t read the article mentioned above…the link doesn’t seem to point to the article referenced, so I have no idea if the History Channel show collaborates with it. But, even the levees aren’t completely to blame because as development expaned over the years, the natural barriers to such a disaster were eroded allowing salt water to go where it was never supposed to go which even further added to the erosion. Pretty much everything we’ve done to the Nola area over the past 300 years has led to the Katrina disaster.

    Would I ever relocate to Nola? Not now. I almost did about eight years ago. I would have never thought about hurricanes back then because it had been a couple decades since any significant hurricane seasons had happened. I had been travelling to Panama City Beach on business for a decade and never even thought about hurricanes until I moved here in 2004 and lived through the first “normal” hurricane season in a long time. Now, I’m painfully aware of hurricanes and their consequences.

    So, I’m moving back to Bloomington so I can get pummelled by a tornado.

  8. dan dan

    No, you can’t “screw up” something that you can’t reasonably expect to accomplish in the first place. That’s like me saying I’m going to solve the Middle Eastern conflict by buying everyone in Palestine a dozen red roses. When the plan doesn’t work it’s not because I screwed up (everyone got their roses!) it’s because the solution never had a realistic chance of success!

    The only “screw up” was that the USACE led anyone to believe that a man made design/barrier would withstand anything but the slightest adverse natural condition. That’s why I take umbrage with your statement that their screw up caused your loss of property. You’re blaming the wrong “screw up”. And i don’t think you can blame the initial “screw up” bc you should have realized the USACE was writing checks it body couldn’t cash, therefore it’s on you when the stuff goes down, no one else.

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