Why Weren’t the Levees Reinforced Yesterday?

Harry Shearer at the Huffington Post:

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin just told WWL TV in New Orleans that the project to fill the breach in the 17th St Canal flood wall with sandbags didn’t fail — the sandbags were never tried. Nagin suggested that, after repairing the breach had been made the top priority in discussions with state, federal and Orleans Parish Levee Board officials this morning, someone had apparently “reprioritized” the helicopter earmarked for the sandbag assignment.

The result: unless somebody thinks of something in the next 12 to 15 hours, Nagin said, currently dry areas of New Orleans, including the French Quarter and the Garden District, will be inundated to a point three feet above sea level. Nagin blamed the situation on “too many chiefs”, and darkly suggested that some officials — unnamed — failed to grasp the severity of the situation.

UPDATE: Nagin said basically the same thing to WDSU TV in New Orleans. But he did not repeat the incendiary statements in an interview with CNN’s Aaron Brown shortly afterward.


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