The Corner

Subject: Levees, Bush and Looting

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Dear Mr. Lowry,

I read last month John Barry’s “Rising Tide” about the 1927 flood of the Mississippi that devastated Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. That does not make me any sort of expert, but Barry makes it clear that there is only so much man can do and that all attempts to control nature has their costs. New Orleans will always at risk of flooding, no matter how much taxpayer money we spend on building levees higher and higher.

Barry claims that the 1927 flood ended New Orleans’ role as the leading city of the South (although the city itself was not flooded) and concludes with the observation that the Mississippi will over time change course to the west, ending New Orleans’ capabability as a seaport. For decades we’ve been fighting this change in river. Maybe before the US taxpayer begins paying for the rebuilding of New Orleans, we ought to re-consider our policies about levees and the Mississippi.

One final point. In 1906, the very first order Mayor Schmitz of San Francisco issued after the earthquake was that all policemen and soldiers were to kill immediately anyone spotted looting…

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