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Floods: Army Corps Says PR Turns Babblers into Spokespersons

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Dangerous trees aside, a visit to the former breach area on Sunday June 22, revealed that the trees may be innocent bystanders, since the USACE termed "little wet spot" is no longer little and appears to have channeled enough water down to street level to provide nesting habitat for a pair of opportunistic ducks.

Wet spot on left...Ducks to right

Bruce Biles, editor of the New Orleans News Ladder, provided valuable background on the history of the wet spot.

Approximately 40 to 50 yards from the base of the levee the "little wet spot" as reported and photographed by the Associated Press in May has grown significantly. A hydrologist would have to do a study to determine the exact flow of the leak, but at street level, not far from the three bubbling source points of the leak, a miniature wetland has formed and is currently inhabited by two friendly ducks. One can only hope that the ducks do not meet the same fate as the pigs and trees.

In the interim, residents in the neighborhood of the 17th Street canal are watching the "little wet spot" expand and begin a slow flow towards their neighborhood. They do not know if the levee is sound, and the American public does not know if the spin offered to media lapdogs by Galloway, the man who investigated and oversaw Mississippi River levee management and construction, is sound.

Therein lies the rub. There is now a vacant lot directly across the street from the little wet spot and the ducks. This house used to be there.


Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is in town today giving a luncheon address in Jefferson. We tried to get her to come out to the 17th Street Canal with us, but her press spokesperson indicated the schedule was too tight, and that the Senator was "aware of the situation. We sent the accompanying photos over to her office.

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Landrieu is set to issue a statement later today and we will update this post when it becomes available.

We are also waiting for a statement from the New Orleans USACE. We will post it if and when it becomes available.

Meanwhile Levee.org's Rosenthal issued this statement to Google News:

"A whopping forty-three percent (43%) of the American population lives in counties protected by levees. And as we have seen, levee failure is devastating no matter how high above sea level the protected area may be.

"Many thought New Orleans flooded because of its geography, however, the flooded towns in the Midwest last week were at least 400 feet above sea level. At the risk of sounding cliché, nearly half of all American citizens are in the same boat as New Orleans.
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"The flooding in the Midwest, like the flooding in New Orleans, is a mainly a failure of the civil engineering profession. And when it comes to the most important levees, the US Army Corps of Engineers is in charge."

After a filled schedule in New Orleans today, Senator Landrieu provided the following statement:

“The situation at the 17th street canal raises concern, and I have already been
in contact with the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that they are monitoring
and addressing this situation adequately. As we face continual reminders that
our infrastructure is declining, I only become more resolute in my efforts to
restore this nation’s levees, bridges and dams so that they are capable of
protecting our citizens and serving the functions for which they were intended.
I will stay on top of the situation at the 17th street canal and work toward a
quick resolution.”

The bottom line.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill (more...)

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I must make certain that OEN's Kevin Gosztola ... by Georgianne Nienaber on Monday, Jun 23, 2008 at 2:54:00 PM
It will take more than PR to get past this obfusca... by Margaret Bassett on Monday, Jun 23, 2008 at 5:17:15 PM
Are you kidding? They are the ones spinning. Glad ... by Georgianne Nienaber on Monday, Jun 23, 2008 at 5:19:59 PM
As a native New Orleanian, naturally I love this c... by David Spence on Monday, Jun 23, 2008 at 6:30:08 PM
Thank you for the important correction. Industrial... by Georgianne Nienaber on Monday, Jun 23, 2008 at 7:48:28 PM
Yean, considering that the Industrial Canal is whe... by Bruce Biles on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 12:14:10 PM
Industrial Canal=Navigationnot drainage.That is wh... by Bruce Biles on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 7:44:50 PM
Neccesity may be the "Mother of Invention&quo... by Bruce Biles on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 12:03:06 PM
I don't think I have ever felt such a sense of... by Jan Baumgartner on Monday, Jun 23, 2008 at 6:53:32 PM
Would have been nice if NPR would have disclosed t... by Kathlyn Stone on Monday, Jun 23, 2008 at 8:35:04 PM
Having had experience with NPR through a campaign,... by Georgianne Nienaber on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 10:57:10 AM
We are in deep trouble with this kind of game... by Mac McKinney on Monday, Jun 23, 2008 at 10:40:11 PM
has probably done more boondoggling on behalf of p... by Jim Freeman on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 9:40:49 AM
Mz Nienaber,thank you for your attempt to cast som... by Bruce Biles on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 11:42:59 AM
BruceIn the “Olden days” of print jour... by Georgianne Nienaber on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 12:14:38 PM
Boswoth is quoted extensively in our article.... by Georgianne Nienaber on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 1:40:54 PM
Georgianne, I have read dozens of your articles, n... by Jan Baumgartner on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 3:02:49 PM
Mz Bumgartner, no one is speaking here of silencin... by Bruce Biles on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 5:11:06 PM
I do apologize for mispelling your name, Mz Baumga... by Bruce Biles on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 5:18:36 PM
They out right contradicted themselves in their pr... by Bruce Biles on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 3:54:05 PM
First let me congratulate you on this amazing repo... by Deborah Emin on Tuesday, Jun 24, 2008 at 12:49:19 PM