Volume 75
Volume 76
Volume 77
Volume 78
Volume 79

Red tape killed the ‘Big Easy’


Published (Volume 78, No. 2)


We had nearly three days worth of warning before the first landfall in New Orleans. We even watched television specials on the “worst-case-scenario” before the first drop of water from Hurricane Katrina landed on Bourbon Street.

Of course, we’d heard about it for years before then, how a strong hurricane (anything higher than a Category 3) could flood the city. The Army Corps of Engineers had even studied ways to spare the city in such an event. Too bad the required funding for such a project ended up in government contracts to “build democracy” in other countries.

Yes, I just put the blame squarely on our policy- makers for the devastation caused by a natural disaster. Call it “being political,“ but quite frankly I don’t give a damn if or how these citizens voted. I am only echoing the outrage that has come in the wake of this avoidable tragedy.

Add hurricane relief effort to a long list of failed policies. Although at this point, “relief” isn’t the right word. That’s a golf term for what you get if you need a rule adjustment to make the green in two after a horrible tee shot. Right now, the gulf coastal region needs nothing short of a “miracle.”

Many say “they knew the risks when they decided to move there.” Perhaps before we start to judge their choice of locale, we should consider the New Madrid fault, an earthquake-prone area capable of generating just as much if not more catastrophe as any tropical system. We attend college only a stone’s throw away from it.

Forces of God will claim lives, whether it is an earthquake, volcano, tsunami, or hurricane. But in our country, I had always thought that we had the resources to save and comfort the afflicted. We hear stories of people dying in the streets because aid arrived four days too late. For some, aid never came.

When faced with similar carnage on the streets of Baghdad, the party line was to “stay the course.” At this point, the so-called course is under seven feet of water.

Can this really be happening in America?