Do President Obama’s most trusted advisers truly understand what caused the 2005 flood in New Orleans?


Do President Obama’s most trusted advisers truly understand what caused the 2005 flood in New Orleans?

On March 4-5, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano toured New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region on a fact finding mission.

That visit hosted by Senator Mary Landrieu D-LA and others was meant to demonstrate that the new Administration is committed to the Gulf Coast’s recovery and understands the issues the region faces.

Yet last Friday, while answering a question about how she believes the Obama Administration will make good on their promise to assist New Orleans, Secretary Napolitano said this:

“I don’t know that there ever is a levee big enough to withstand a Katrina-size storm…” *

The Secretary’s statement is untrue for 3 reasons:

#1  When the Industrial Canal Surge Barrier is complete in 2011, the Army Corps of Engineers reports that the main basin of New Orleans should experience zero flooding in a Katrina-like storm (400 year event) and very minimal flooding in a 1,000 storm.**

#2  Levees in the remaining metro area can easily be improved to meet 400 year protection.  And there are huge cost benefits to doing so.

#3  Not only does America have the technology to build protection against another Katrina (so-called 400 year storm), the Netherlands has protection against a 10,000 year storm!

Before sending this email to our membership, we chose the road of “caution and cooler heads” by speaking directly with Sean Smith, assistant secretary of Public Affairs for Homeland Security about Secretary Napolitano’s statement.

“Don’t be concerned,” he said. “The Secretary had just been briefed on the Gulf Coast Region and she was referring to the Mississippi coast in her statement.”

Nonetheless, Levees.Org remains alarmed. believes that if the Secretary were, in fact, referring to New Orleans, important gains over the past three years in educating federal officials and the public at-large might be lost.

While the President’s commitment to the recovery is laudable, it would be troubling if the new Administration were unaware of what caused the metro New Orleans flood.

Please take action! Write the President and your Members of Congress and let them know that America DOES have the technology to protect greater New Orleans from another Katrina!  And that there are many reasons to do so.

Please click here.

Thank you,
Sandy Rosenthal
Founder, Levees.Org

* Interview transcript, “Obama Administration Says New Orleans is Not Forgotten.” Scroll to Recent Press. Levees.Org/press.php

** The Corps of Engineers’ flooding maps can be viewed here. Levees.Org/files/LACPR.ppt


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