AP: New Orleans repeating its mistakes

This AP story ran last week, before Gustav targeted New Orleans:

Signs are emerging that history is repeating itself in the Big Easy, still healing from Katrina: People have forgotten a lesson from four decades ago and believe once again that the federal government is constructing a levee system they can prosper behind.

In a yearlong review of levee work here, The Associated Press tracked a pattern of public misperception, political jockeying and legal fighting, along with economic and engineering miscalculations since Katrina, that threaten to make New Orleans the scene of another devastating flood.

When your city’s life depends — literally — on levies, you ought to take them seriously.  Instead, New Orleans made them part of its system of patronage and corruption.  Apparently it still is.

It’s a little known fact that Katrina probably actually saved thousands of lives.  The Army Corps of Engineers investigation showed that the levies weren’t constructed properly and were doomed to fail eventually.  By breaking the levies when the city was largely evacuated, Katrina probably saved countless lives.  Imagine what would have happened if the levies had given way while the city was full.

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