I had the privilege of seeing the 2010 documentary “The Big Uneasy” at the 7:00 p.m. showing at the Grove in Los Angeles at which the two producers (Karen Murphy and Christine O’Malley), the cinematographer and the Army Corps of Engineers whistleblower were introduced before the documentary unspooled.
And the only reason the documentary didn’t shock the hell out of me, with its overwhelming evidence that Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans was not a natural disaster but a man-made disaster, was because I’ve been reading the 2007 book “The Storm: What Went Wrong and Why During Hurricane Katrina – The Inside Story From One Louisiana Scientist” by Ivor Van Heerden (who lost his job due to his commitment to revealing the truth) and Mike Bryan.
Harry Shearer, the writer/director of the documentary, was in New Orleans at the one-night screening there. (The documentary was shown only on August 30th across the country in select theaters.)
Here’s my unscientific recounting of the man-made disaster in New Orleans:
• The Army Corps of Engineers knew since a 1988 report that the restraining walls of the levees and of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet canal were not sufficient.
• Hurricane Katrina’s surge did NOT cause the immense devastation of human life and property (the levees were NOT overtopped). The breached levees were caused by the insufficiency of the depth and strength of those levees. (Water worked itself under the levees and caused the breaches).
• The most upsetting part of the documentary is the ongoing cover-up being undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers as well as the compelling portrayal that, while the levee breaches are being fixed, the weak levees that were not damaged in Katrina are NOT being re-engineered to withstand the next big hurricane. In other words, the insufficient levees are being left as they are to be breached next time.
If this documentary were to be compulsory viewing by all U.S. politicians (the documentary makes clear why this is such a political matter), perhaps a few courageous members of both houses of Congress would actually demand that the hurricane protection of New Orleans and the surrounding areas be built to the standards of Amsterdam.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.