“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 Read more
I want arrest warrants issued for all US government officials, local and national, who have missed continuous chances to really initiate a true sustainable plan for the gulf coast in rebuilding and properly preparing the coast line for the storms that are inevitable. I suppose as its only a cat-2, the charge for mismanaging Gustav will only be criminal negligence and embezzling relief funds. But I want to see people brought to justice who have not fulfilled their promise as public servants. While we’re at it, we can issue long overdue murder and attempted murder warrants to all those who stood by before, during, and after Katrina only a couple of years ago. Being fired or shuffled from your cabinet position does not count as justice, a trial is still necessary.
Now we watch Gustav pass over the Gulf Coast, it isn’t Katrina in many ways, but the truth that Katrina confirmed, once again shines through — the money hasn’t gone where it should have, the recovery has still not been properly carried out. Levees in places like the West Bank aren’t finished, while others are simply too small.. and in either case, these are known facts. In other words, criminal acts where individuals have failed to do their essential jobs – planning, funding, and carrying out the work that is needed.
As I write this there are levees over topping and spilling over into neighborhoods around New Orleans. Authorities are quick to point out this damage is no problem and that in some cases the rebuilt levees are just barely managing to hold. All this from a category 2 hurricane and storm surge. What would happen with a category 3 or 4? Would the city’s flood protection system be able to handle such storms that will, of course, come eventually? No.
There’s money for political party conventions and sending everyone a check for a few hundred dollars. There’s even money somewhere in Louisiana, set aside for Katrina recovery and properly rebuilding infrastructure, but none of this money goes where it can do any good, towards preserving communities and saving lives.
The storms continue and the criminals, they carry on as if they’ve done nothing wrong.
A recent court ruling may have dropped the case against the army corps of engineers, but it also pointed to them as responsible for the terrible state of the levees in New Orleans before the Federal Flood. Sandy Rosenthal, founder of levees.org joins me on this program to explain what is happening with the legislative and legal battles being fought in the quest for justice and accountability in NOLA.
The controversial video we discuss can be viewed here.
- The Jan. 31st ruling to drop the case against the corps.
- The 8/29 Investigation Act
- What has been rebuilt?
- The Army Corps’ investigation of itself
- The current presidential candidates and what they say about NOLA
note: I had a big technical problem in the recording and that is why Sandy’s audio is so distorted. Still, I fixed what I could and on most sound systems, it should be audible.
It has been said in post Katrina discussions, that you can’t sue the Army Corps. But in fact, you can and New Orleanians are doing just that. Meanwhile people being held at the city jail are reporting the most horrifying and hazardous conditions. Tune in and listen as I visit the Common Ground Legal Clinic and talk with volunteers about the legal issues and prison conditions.
Soleil, advocacy coordinator at the Common Ground Legal Clinic
Wil, volunteer at the Clinic, law student, Capital University-Ohio.
-What the clinic does
-What legal problems residents have
-The Army Corps of engineers
-Public Housing, how New Orleans is selling it all
-Work and poverty in NOLA
-The long term view for the clinic
-The conditions at the city lockup
-People being released and what they say about the experience
-VOlunteering for common ground