If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break

Four years gone and the country has moved on.  Or so it would seem as today’s anniversary of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina has been met with a subdued response.

Of course, that level of apathy is not reflected by those directly affected by the events of August 29, 2005.  Residents in the New Orleans area do not need an anniversary to remember Katrina as the lives of those in Louisiana and Mississippi continue to be defined by daily reminders of the disaster and the ongoing recovery.

But the anniversary does mark an opportunity for residents to gather and commemorate Katrina while celebrating the progress defined by significant infrastructure renewal and the return of New Orleans’ population to 75 percent or more of its pre-Katrina level.

To his credit, President Obama spent the majority of his weekly address today discussing the federal government’s commitment to the recovery and lessons learned from Katrina, while pledging to visit the area before the end of the year.

On the flip side, New Orleans’ own Harry Shearer questioned the President’s lack of attention to providing New Orleans with “state-of-the-art flood protection and robust and timely coastal wetland reconstruction” in his recent commentary on CNN.com.

Shearer also takes on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, noting that “the agency that so disastrously failed at building a protective system mandated by Congress may be making some of the same mistakes in rebuilding that system.”

Great points by Shearer and I support his banging of the drum on behalf of the Crescent City.  It’s a cliche, but we cannot forget New Orleans. 

If you wanted to bring someone to this country and take them to the places that still define the eclectic melting pot that is the United States, N’awlins has to be near the top of the list.  To abandon it because of faulty engineering would be a tragedy.

And make no mistake – the New Orleans area has a history of issues that equal or surpass those of the levees and need to be dealt with by the new mayor (to be elected next March after Ray Nagin’s term expires) as well as the state governments of Louisiana and Mississippi.

New Orleans area resident or not, however, the issues associated with rebuilding post-Katrina should be relevant enough to remain top of mind on this anniversary date and for the foreseeable future.

And for a great reminder of Katrina’s immediate aftermath, be sure to re-visit Spike Lee’s 2006 documentary “When the Levees Broke – A Requiem In Four Acts”.  If you have put Katrina out of your mind or never knew all of the details, this epic production will ensure that you will never forget it again.

New Orleans

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~ by acm213 on August 29, 2009.

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