“If the Corps didn’t do its job, somebody should be held responsible. Somebody’s got to answer to something.” – The words of a former Lower Ninth Ward resident who lost a daughter to the flood waters that would swallow up his entire house.
The lawsuit filed by New Orleans based Katrina victims against the Army Corps of Engineers has begun, the slow quest for answers and accountability all these years later, has finally landed in the courtroom. The specific grievance, the Army Corps’ failure to maintain the MR-GO channel who’s 20 breaches were largely the cause of flooding in the lower ninth ward following Hurricane Katrina. Between 10 billion and 100 billion $ in damages hang in the balance, but well beyond the money, for victims of the federal flood, this case is about holding government accountable, and breaking the long held assumption that the Army Corps is immune from any legal action for their actions.
I can remember in 2007 when I was in NOLA, visiting the legal clinic where volunteers provided local residents with information about their legal rights, and how indeed – they could take the Army Corps to court. I also remember people explaining to me what the MR-GO channel had done to the Bayou not to mention the security of New Orleans.
Swine flu sounds perfectly scary and worth discussing, but a trial related to one of the biggest failures of a government in history should be worth front page attention as well.