I’m a lower ninth ward resident who was most active in opposing the Industrial Canal Project and MRGO. The correspondent you cited is dead wrong on several points.
First, the purpose of attempts to remove structures away from the river and canal was NOT to improve flood walls. The purpose was to facilitate the $700 million purely pork-barrel industrial canal navigation project. Congressional support for the project and its dollars was bi-partisan. there were less not more flood control funds because of $ spent on that project. Yes, we did everything in our power to make sure that historic, african-american communities were not destroyed just because someone’s campaign contributor, family member or “good friend” could get a few more federal contracts. Further, the floodwalls that breached were nowhere near where the Corps proposed moving structures. In fact the places where the breaches occurred was Surekote road, the very site of Corps’ demolition efforts and pile testing. These very recent (within 2 years) activities are what mostl likely left the floodwalls vulnerable.
Second, not even the port of New Orleans or the corps of engineers pretended that MRGO was a viable, cost-effective solution to navigation problems.
Third, any distrust on flood control, navigation or other matters relating to congress, the corps, the port and local politicians has been well earned over many years.