The Schoolbuses of Katrina

 

While we are still chattering about Hurricane Harvey and keeping an eye on Hurricane Irma, I saw a couple of comments that are worth a follow-up post of its own.

You all remember how we watched the flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and how we all saw the fleet of schoolbuses that were inundated instead of serving to evacuate the City. Evidently, those pictures were very memorable, but not nearly as memorable as the actual narrative of events. There is plenty to fault the City of New Orleans for, and especially there fault to be laid at the feet of Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, but I do not fault them for the schoolbuses.

Evacuating a big city is a huge problem. Especially so for New Orleans, since there are not many highway evacuation routes available. The likelihood is that an evacuation would cause lots of traffic crash deaths and lead to a politician becoming a laughingstock if the hurricane does not turn out to be so damaging as the weather forecasters had made it out to be. Everyone over 50 on the coast remembers occasions when they were told to evacuate, decided not to, and then experienced a bad storm that had not warranted evacuation.

In the case of Katrina, the National Hurricane Center started the warnings about a week ahead, and the fear that New Orleans would get clobbered was talked about all week. By Friday, the path looked like the storm would pass New Orleans to the east. No evacuation order was issued. The National Hurricane Center then started sounding the extra-high alarm warnings on Saturday, because the storm intensified just before hitting the coast. Mayor Nagin ordered a voluntary evacuation. A couple of hours later he called it a mandatory evacuation. Well, that was too late to corral the schoolbus drivers and implement an evacuation; the drivers and their supervisors were off for the weekend, and some of them had evacuated already.

The storm did pass to the east of New Orleans on Sunday. It made a direct hit that scrubbed Waveland, MS off the map and wrecked the coast of Gulfport and Biloxi. On Monday morning the news was “New Orleans was spared, but the Mississippi Coast got hammered.” Many people expected New Orleans to spend a few days cleaning up and then get back to normal. It wasn’t until late on Monday that it became clear that the floodwalls could not be shored up and would not hold. It wasn’t until Tuesday at midday that New Orleans was flooded. There was no way that there could have been an orderly evacuation on Monday night.

So I don’t think the schoolbuses should be pointed to as evidence of malfeasance. Rather, the malfeasance was slowness to recognize the severity of the situation. The malfeasance was in years of failing to address known shortcomings of the floodwalls and levees. The malfeasance was in shortcuts taken in the initial floodwall construction. The malfeasance was in developing emergency plans that were set on the shelf and ignored instead of being used for training, which was their purpose.

To me, the key thing that came out of Katrina was the exposure of the mass media. They had become full partisans, approvingly providing airtime to celebrities who said “New Orleans flooded because Bush hates black people.” They hid the faults of the Democrat machine in Louisiana and accused FEMA under Bush of being too slow to do stuff that had never been part of FEMA’s purview. Mass media used Katrina to pivot to full anti-Bush campaign mode, and they have only become worse Leftist advocates over the years since then.

There are 31 comments.

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  1. TalkGOP Member
    TalkGOP
    @TalkGOP

    I understand what you’re saying, but to me this sounds a little but like, “We didn’t anticipate any surgery complications, so we didn’t verify we had extras units of your blood type available. Sorry”

    The whole point of disaster planning is to be prepared IN CASE something goes wrong, not to have perfect prediction capabilities of whether it will.

     

     

     

     

    • #1
  2. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    TalkGOP (View Comment):
    I understand what you’re saying, but to me this sounds a little but like, “We didn’t anticipate any surgery complications, so we didn’t verify we had extras units of your blood type available. Sorry”

    The whole point of disaster planning is to be prepared IN CASE something goes wrong, not to have perfect prediction capabilities of whether it will.

    Well, yeah; the inundated schoolbuses were inundated because of a failure to train according to plan, and a failure to implement the plan.  The thing that I wanted to push back on a little is the idea that the schoolbuses were inundated because they weren’t part of the plan or because the government officials did not realize that schoolbuses could be used for an evacuation.

    What happened in the case of Katrina was that the plan was developed for a hurricane, but what actually happened was a floodwall failure that just happened to occur on the day after a hurricane.  It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because the plan was sitting, unused, on a shelf.  So the key problem was a confluence of the unusual event, plus the failure of New Orleans officials to actually do what they had told FEMA they would do.  And all of this compounded by the malfeasances of previous generations of government officials and contractors in New Orleans.

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I too remember the events unfolding that way. Great post.

    In coastal areas, it is hard to get people to evacuate anyway, as you’ve said in the post. Katrina surprised everyone in one way or another. And disaster preparedness committees across the country learned a lot from it.

    I live on Cape Cod, and we have similar issues in terms of inadequate evacuation roadways. After Katrina and some concerns that arose about our local nuclear power plant, the towns got together to review and update their disaster plans. The result was good–the committee put a tremendous amount of time and thought into coming up with a viable plan. Our population goes from around 100,000 people year-round to 300,000 in the summer months. It’s a challenge, especially in the summertime.

    That said, there are now “Evacuation Route” signs up and down the main highway on the Cape that make everyone laugh. There are two bridges off the Cape, and any Sunday afternoon during the summer, one can see exactly what an evacuation exodus would look like–hopeless for most people. :) Everyone who lives here thinks the evacuation plan is just plain ludicrous. :)

    • #3
  4. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    MarciN (View Comment):
    I too remember the events unfolding that way. Great post.

    In coastal areas, it is hard to get people to evacuate anyway, as you’ve said in the post. Katrina surprised everyone. And disaster preparedness committees across the country learned a lot from it.

    I live on Cape Cod, and we have similar issues in terms of inadequate evacuation roadways. After Katrina and some concerns that arose about our local nuclear power plant, the towns got together to review and update their disaster plans. The result was good–the committee put a tremendous amount of time and thought into coming up with a viable plan. Our population goes from around 100,000 people year-round to 300,000 in the summer months. It’s a challenge, especially in the summertime.

    That said, there are now “Evacuation Route” signs up and down the main highway on the Cape that make everyone laugh. There are two bridges off the Cape, and any Sunday afternoon during the summer, one can see exactly what an evacuation exodus would look like–hopeless for most people. ? Everyone who lives here thinks the evacuation plan is just plain ludicrous. ?

    You would be quite surprised how much traffic can move down a highway after it has been converted to one-way outbound and all the traffic signals put on flashing yellow.

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    You would be quite surprised how much traffic can move down a highway after it has been converted to one-way outbound and all the traffic signals put on flashing yellow.

    Good to know. I’ll tell my neighbors the next time we talk about this. Perhaps it will work. :) Our plan was to just stock up on beer and wine and bourbon. :)

    • #5
  6. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    < devil’s advocate mode = on >

    Louisiana has a population of only 4.6 million and a median household income of $46,000 (45th out of 50).  Just how competent should one expect their state government to be?

    < devil’s advocate mode = off >

    That being said, that just means that the governor should have requested federal assistance sooner.

    • #6
  7. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):
    < devil’s advocate mode = on >

    Louisiana has a population of only 4.6 million and a median household income of $46,000 (45th out of 50). Just how competent should one expect their state government to be?

    < devil’s advocate mode = off >

    The soft bigotry of low expectations.

     

    • #7
  8. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):

    That being said, that just means that the governor should have requested federal assistance sooner.

    Yes.  The Opposition Party yammered and yammered for years about how it took Bush “four days” to get federal resources to New Orleans.  They completely ignored the fact that it was the next day after federal assistance was requested, and two days after the flood, which happened a day after the hurricane.

     

    • #8
  9. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Thank you, MJB—admirably fair and clear as always!

    • #9
  10. Drusus Inactive
    Drusus
    @Drusus

    The blaming of Bush for Katrina always burned me up. I took a lengthy tour of New Orleans and surrounding areas on a college Maymester, and our tour guide made a point of emphasizing just how woefully unprepared the city was for just such a disaster, how the levies could not withstand the pressure of a hurricane, and how the pumps would surely fail to contain the water.  This was 2003.

    • #10
  11. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Drusus (View Comment):
    The blaming of Bush for Katrina always burned me up. I took a lengthy tour of New Orleans and surrounding areas on a college Maymester, and our tour guide made a point of emphasizing just how woefully unprepared the city was for just such a disaster, how the levies could not withstand the pressure of a hurricane, and how the pumps would surely fail to contain the water. This was 2003.

    Yeah, and they don’t seem to have learned much.  They had a flood just last month.  It was an ordinary storm, but three of their stormwater pumping stations failed (out of 16).  They were broadcasting a message that said all systems were working normally right up until a couple of neighborhoods were inundated.

    • #11
  12. Gumby Mark Thatcher
    Gumby Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Very well done post.  About a year after Katrina I was in New Orleans for a conference.  An executive with the local utility spoke with us.  He’d been in the city command post during Katrina and told of how on Monday morning they’d breathed a sigh of relief over dodging the bullet as the hurricane moved beyond the city.  Then the phones started ringing with reports that the levees had breached and the streets were flooding.

    He was very circumspect about commenting directly on the officials involved but from a couple of his remarks I gathered he had not been impressed.

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  13. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    I am supposed to give credit for photos I grab off the internet.  The picture of the inundated schoolbuses was the first hit in a Google Images search for “Katrina schoolbuses.”  Google said the picture came from Snopes.  I went to check that out, but the picture is no longer at Snopes.

    The writeup at Snopes is hilarious.  They judge it to be “mixture” (partially true and partially false).  Well, who are you going to believe, Snopes or your lying eyes?   They really trip all over trying to defend the New Orleans local officials and the State of Louisiana, placing all the blame on federal officials.   Really shameful.

    http://www.snopes.com/katrina/photos/buses.asp

     

    • #13
  14. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    I can’t speak directly about New Orleans since I was in the area of Mississippi that Katrina actually hit just after the storm for a month or two.  Suffice it to say, pretty much everything you heard about what was going on down there varied from a little off to completely wrong.   I would say that probably applies to the school buses as well.

    • #14
  15. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Concretevol (View Comment):
    I can’t speak directly about New Orleans since I was in the area of Mississippi that Katrina actually hit just after the storm for a month or two. Suffice it to say, pretty much everything you heard about what was going on down there varied from a little off to completely wrong. I would say that probably applies to the school buses as well.

    Anyone who missed Concretevol’s series on helping the battered Mississippi coast recover after Hurricane Katrina should set aside some time.  It was a great series.

    http://ricochet.com/my-katrina-experiences-part-1/

    http://ricochet.com/my-katrina-experiences-part-2-relief-station-waveland-ms/

    “Every morning and every night Andre, Bruce and I would pray for help and that we could make a difference. I can honestly say I have never been closer to God than in that mess with those people.”

    http://ricochet.com/katrina-experiences-part-3-the-coast-and-a-truck-from-kansas/

    http://ricochet.com/katrina-experiences-part-iv-an-angel-named-renee-and-the-chinese-tents/

    http://ricochet.com/katrina-experiences-part-v-guns-guns-everywhere-and-heading-home/

     

    • #15
  16. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    Anyone who missed Concretevol’s series on helping the battered Mississippi coast recover after Hurricane Katrina should set aside some time. It was a great series.

    More a photo essay…..which is best considering my writing skills.  lol

    • #16
  17. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    MJBubba: There is plenty to fault the City of New Orleans for, and especially there fault to be laid at the feet of Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, but I do not fault them for the schoolbuses.

    I do.

    You see, the City of New Orleans took quite a lot of money from the Federal government in order to develop their disaster plan. A major part of that plan was centered around evacuation. A major part of the evacuation was “we’re going to use school and city buses to evacuate people who can’t evacuate on their own, and while doing so, save few tens of millions in hardware that we’re going to need in the future.”

    The plan specifically called for that. When Katrina started looming on the horizon, all it should have taken was a phone call to the people in charge of the buses, saying “okay, tell your drivers to be ready in a couple of days, they might be needed.” You can’t excuse training, either, since they took money to do that, too.

    The failure to do that was 100% the Mayor’s fault, as were the rest of the most obvious screwups in that state that week, like the idiot Governor refusing to fax out the request for National Guard help. That delayed the NG response by a good solid day, and people were asking her about it every few minutes, so it’s not like she didn’t know.

    On the Federal side, the response, despite popular perception, was insanely fast, considering the situation. At that point, it was the largest and fastest hurricane response in US history, by a good margin.

    A huge amount of the supplies and workers had a 700+ mile detour, because the roads and bridges from the east into New Orleans were blocked or damaged (or still in tropical-storm force winds). Even the bridges that were not obviously damaged had to be individually inspected before they could drive a lot of heavy trucks over them.

    • #17
  18. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    cirby (View Comment):
    The plan specifically called for that. When Katrina started looming on the horizon, all it should have taken was a phone call to the people in charge of the buses, saying “okay, tell your drivers to be ready in a couple of days, they might be needed.”

    OK, I agree that they should have arranged to have bus drivers available for an evacuation if one was needed on Saturday.  By Friday the reason the National Hurricane Center was urging an evacuation was that the storm had held its strength instead of weakening.  But it was also more clear that the storm would pass to the east of New Orleans.  The choice not to evacuate on account of the hurricane was made for good reasons.

    As it turned out, no evacuation was needed for the hurricane.

    The evacuation was needed for the flood, which happened a day after the hurricane went by (Monday night/Tuesday morning).  By then it was too late and too chaotic on account of downed power and phone lines and cell towers and blocked roads and all the other stuff that happens during a hurricane.

    The flood happened on account of a lot of bad choices that had been made over the previous five decades, and which caught up to New Orleans with a vengeance.  Bad choices made by the Democrats in power in 2005 were simply added to the bad choices that had been made by Democrats in power over the previous half-century.

    • #18
  19. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    The flood happened on account of a lot of bad choices that had been made over the previous five decades, and which caught up to New Orleans with a vengeance.

    You should also remember that the floodwalls were a known problem, even assuming they were in top condition (which everyone knew they weren’t).

    I took several college courses in Emergency Administration and Planning in 1988-1990. One of the more-detailed case studies was “what would happen to New Orleans if a big hurricane hit it?” Basically, the answer could have been “Katrina.” The examples were things like “what if the storm surge overtops the levees?” and “what if the not-that-great levees break due to higher water levels?” with a side order of “what happens if the pumps fail due to higher workloads?”

    One of the core principles of modern disaster management is “mitigation.” You don’t just plan for the disaster response, you set things up so that if the disaster happens, loss of life and damage to the affected zone will be reduced or eliminated.

    Mitigation, in this case, would be “hey, let’s move the buses to higher ground a couple of days early, instead of leaving them in place to be ruined if it floods.” It was a very simple and easy to implement plan. You take the not-working bus drivers (school’s out, remember?), ask a few dozen of them to come into work for a few hours, and have them drive the buses to somewhat higher ground, shuttling them back and forth with a couple of the buses.

    The final point is that, by the time they “knew” where Katrina was going to hit, they were about a day past the no-return point on the decision to evacuate – and even without a direct hit by the storm, they knew they were in severe risk from the storm surge and wave action. There weren’t one or two levee failures – there were over fifty. A large proportion of those failures were due to overtopping from the storm surge – and “predicted storm surge” was supposed to be one of the “must evacuate” triggers on any New Orleans emergency plan.

    Almost everything that went wrong in Katrina was predictable and/or avoidable, if they had only followed the actual written emergency plan.

    • #19
  20. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    My college adviser was one of the architects of New Orleans’ evac and emergency response plan. As the disaster was nearing, he told us a well in advance every minute detail that was about to unfold complete with accounts of criminal negligence from elected officials, failed levee’s and body bags. The only thing that happened in N.O. that wasn’t accounted for well ahead of the event was the cell towers failing.

    The school bus fiasco was criminal negligence. The protocol was for them to be automatically staged and ready for use regardless. It was common practice for this protocol to be ignored because it was costly. The same could be said of many other recommendations. A hurricane isn’t something you cautiously wait till all the info is received to act on. Everyone knew the levees were going to fail with a large event and what that would mean. The hurricane itself was never the biggest threat. Even the national news was covering the levee situation before landfall. Everyone new that regardless of where exactly landfall took place, the watersheds would be inundated beyond what the levees could handle.

    Fortunately, those deaths were what prompted places like Houston to take preparedness more seriously. Had Katrina never happened, tens of thousands would’ve died last week.

     

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  21. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

     

    MJBubba: So I don’t think the schoolbuses should be pointed to as evidence of malfeasance.

    How about just incompetence? Afterwards, a school official said something to effect of “Hey, we can’t get drivers to come out on an ordinary day. What makes you think we could get them out in an emergency?”

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    They really trip all over trying to defend the New Orleans local officials and the State of Louisiana, placing all the blame on federal officials. Really shameful.

    Nagin and Blanco were horrible responders. But the Feds, particularly the Army Corps of Engineers, set up the situation to fail, then defended themselves for their designs and actions, and repeated all their previous errors in the rebuild. The levees didn’t overwash, they undermined.

    Harry Shearer’s 2010 excruciatingly well researched 97-minute documentary, The  Big Uneasy, really exposes how there could have been no other result in a high stormwater event, and might well make you haaaaate the Corps.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVS6pZBQ9c4

    • #21
  22. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    I posted a comment mentioning the Katrina buses.  I acknowledge that the matter of the buses is not as cut-and-dried as it may seem.  Leaving aside the question of whether that was an appropriate example of government failure for me to use, the point I was trying to make is that it is crazy to expect a local government to have, and use, resources to assist every person in need; and that is therefore also crazy to disparage the idea of private, voluntary assistance – i.e., neighbor helping neighbor.

    By the way, has any media outlet done a Katrina follow-up on the state of the levees, pumps, and other flood protection measures in New Orleans?  When I dropped off my daughter at Tulane as Harvey approached the coast, I read that a couple of NOLA’s pumps were down.  This strikes me as malpractice.  I wonder what Harry Shearer would have to say about it.

    • #22
  23. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    Eeyore (View Comment):
    Nagin and Blanco were horrible responders. But the Feds, particularly the Army Corps of Engineers, set up the situation to fail, then defended themselves for their designs and actions, and repeated all their previous errors in the rebuild. The levees didn’t overwash, they undermined.

    Sorry, but while some of the more-important levees did undermine, a lot of them did overwash – I saw them on live TV when it happened. In one place, the storm surge was TEN FEET above the levee walls. That overtopping (and subsequent collapse due to the back side of the levees washing out) did most of the flooding damage to New Orleans.

    While I’m sure Shearer meant well, he missed a few things with his film.

    The biggest one was that while the Corps of Engineers did have the most power in the project, it was resistance from local interests that prevented a lot of the system from ever being built. Another was that most of the construction work was locally-sourced, which means those badly-built levees were a local and/or state responsibility. The inspection and maintenance of the levees was completely local, by the way, and if anyone had been doing a competent job, someone would have pointed out that some of them were in trouble years before Katrina happened. There were known reports from the year before about seepage through the levees in several areas – that were ignored by the city’s inspectors.

    Then there was the dredging. The canals need to be dredged from time to time, and (once again) due to local ineptitude, they dredged too much on one side. That led directly to at least one levee failure due to some of the support material for the pilings being removed.

    Another huge problem was that there was a very good Corps of Engineers plan, dating back to the 1970s, which would have closed off Lake Pontchartrain and the other waterways from the storm surge – but which was fought and defeated by environmental groups. The early-1980s Corps plan was the “backup” that they went with when the good plan was stopped. After Katrina, they built something similar to the original plan – the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier.

    One thing that should have been done – and which was turned down by Congress and other political groups – was installing locks at the head of each of the industrial canals, which were to be closed during storms. That was stopped partially because of the cost (hundreds of millions), and partly because of local resistance to the idea (they were worried about having to shut down while the locks were installed).

    • #23
  24. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):
    I posted a comment mentioning the Katrina buses, and I acknowledge that is a controversial example (confirmed by comments above). But the point I was trying to make is that it is crazy to expect a local government to have, and use, resources to assist every person in need; and that is therefore also crazy to disparage the idea of private, voluntary assistance – i.e., neighbor helping neighbor.

    By the way, has any media outlet done a Katrina follow-up on the state of the levees, pumps, and other flood protection measures in New Orleans? When I dropped off my daughter at Tulane as Harvey approached the coast, I read that a couple of NOLA’s pumps were down. This strikes me as malpractice. I wonder what Harry Shearer would have to say about it.

    The flood situation in New Orleans has vastly improved over the last decade – mostly because they took most of the responsibility away from the locals and built what needed to be built, like the Lake Borgne Structure and the Seabrook Floodgate.

    What they really need to do is either build a series of immensely larger levees – or tell people that if they decide to live in the low-lying parts of Nawlins, they’re on their own.

    • #24
  25. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    cirby (View Comment):

    Johnny Dubya (View Comment):
    I posted a comment mentioning the Katrina buses, and I acknowledge that is a controversial example (confirmed by comments above). But the point I was trying to make is that it is crazy to expect a local government to have, and use, resources to assist every person in need; and that is therefore also crazy to disparage the idea of private, voluntary assistance – i.e., neighbor helping neighbor.

    By the way, has any media outlet done a Katrina follow-up on the state of the levees, pumps, and other flood protection measures in New Orleans? When I dropped off my daughter at Tulane as Harvey approached the coast, I read that a couple of NOLA’s pumps were down. This strikes me as malpractice. I wonder what Harry Shearer would have to say about it.

    The flood situation in New Orleans has vastly improved over the last decade – mostly because they took most of the responsibility away from the locals and built what needed to be built, like the Lake Borgne Structure and the Seabrook Floodgate.

    What they really need to do is either build a series of immensely larger levees – or tell people that if they decide to live in the low-lying parts of Nawlins, they’re on their own.

     

    It’s strange that beach houses above sea level are so often elevated and yet houses in New Orleans below sea level are so often not.  If I were to build a house there, I would build it on stilts.  If that’s against zoning codes, it ought not be.

    It’s not surprising that they had to take responsibility away from locals.  This is a city that can’t fill potholes or maintain sidewalks.

    • #25
  26. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    cirby (View Comment):
    What they really need to do is either build a series of immensely larger levees – or tell people that if they decide to live in the low-lying parts of Nawlins, they’re on their own.

    I was dismayed by the well-meaning, can-do spirit that was all about rebuilding NOLA just as it was. It seems insane to rebuild in areas that are actually below sea level. Build on higher ground for those refugees who returned (as so many did not). But apparently that makes me a meanie.

    • #26
  27. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    Suspira (View Comment):

    cirby (View Comment):
    What they really need to do is either build a series of immensely larger levees – or tell people that if they decide to live in the low-lying parts of Nawlins, they’re on their own.

    I was dismayed by the well-meaning, can-do spirit that was all about rebuilding NOLA just as it was. It seems insane to rebuild in areas that are actually below sea level. Build on higher ground for those refugees who returned (as so many did not). But apparently that makes me a meanie.

    One of the recurring reforms suggested for the National Flood Insurance Program is to only allow one claim for a “real” flood. As it is, you can build a house somewhere stupid, get flooded out, build ANOTHER house in the same place, get flooded out, et bloody cetera.

    …and get Federally-subsidized, cheap insurance every single time.

    But for some reason, rich people who build beach houses don’t like that.

    • #27
  28. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Eeyore (View Comment):
    Eeyore

    MJBubba: So I don’t think the schoolbuses should be pointed to as evidence of malfeasance.

    How about just incompetence?

    OK.  I am in agreement with a charge of incompetence.  That is just a shade of nuance, of course.  I just didn’t like people saying that the schoolbuses were overlooked as a way to evacuate.  The schoolbuses were included in the evacuation plan.  It is just that the plan was never implemented.

    Of course, I think a more important incompetence that nearly rises to the level of malfeasance is the way that repairs to the floodwalls kept getting postponed in order to fund more politically useful projects.

    • #28
  29. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    Of course, I think a more important incompetence that nearly rises to the level of malfeasance is the way that repairs to the floodwalls kept getting postponed in order to fund more politically useful projects.

    No, the malfeasance came from the politically-connected people who got the job of “levee inspector,” but who never, you know, actually inspected the levees. It was one of those cushy non-work “jobs” that are so common in places like New Orleans.

    The repairs to the floodwalls weren’t “postponed,” anyway. They were usually paid for, just not done, or not done well. The Corps of Engineers spent over $400 million from 1995 to 2005 on levee and pumping system repairs and improvements, in addition to the regular budget. The budget for levee improvements had actually been increasing after Bush took office.

     

    • #29
  30. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    cirby (View Comment):

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    Of course, I think a more important incompetence that nearly rises to the level of malfeasance is the way that repairs to the floodwalls kept getting postponed in order to fund more politically useful projects.

    No, the malfeasance came from the politically-connected people who got the job of “levee inspector,” but who never, you know, actually inspected the levees. It was one of those cushy non-work “jobs” that are so common in places like New Orleans.

    The repairs to the floodwalls weren’t “postponed,” anyway. They were usually paid for, just not done, or not done well. The Corps of Engineers spent over $400 million from 1995 to 2005 on levee and pumping system repairs and improvements, in addition to the regular budget. The budget for levee improvements had actually been increasing after Bush took office.

    The system must have been in terrible shape if they spent over $400 million from 1995 to 2005 and left so much in bad condition.  I remember watching video of one section of floodwall as a work gang with two big trackhoes tried to shore up a section that was trying to heave.  You could tell it had been spalled for years.

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