Isaac vs. $14.5 Billion: The Battle Begins
Hurricane Isaac this week could provide the first true test of the those communication upgrades and $14.5 billion in tangible improvements. Isaac, elevated from a tropical storm when gusts reached 75 mph just after 9 a.m. PDT, appears to be tracing a path barely above that of Katrina's.
The New York Times wrote in June: "While a major storm could lead to street flooding — something New Orleans, much of which is below sea level, sees even with heavy rainfall — the kind of catastrophic, explosive wall of water resulting from the failure of sections of flood wall and the dissolution of poorly-built levees that devastated so much of the city after Katrina should not occur again, (Army Corps of Engineers officials) say."
Unlike during Katrina in 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is already active on the ground. The Chicago Tribune profiled FEMA's boss, who received praise from both Democrats and Republicans for his dealing with smaller disasters during the past three years.
FEMA's failures in 2005 were an embarrassment for President George W. Bush. Poorly built levees overtaken during Katrina were the fault of the Army Corps of Engineers, a court held. The corps admitted that the system in place at the time was "a system in name only."
President Barack Obama warns residents not to tempt fate: