Archive for the 'New Orleans' Category

Levee Reconstruction Corruption

Posted by mikedaum on August 24th, 2007

Yesterday, bribery charges were laid against Raul Miranda: a former Army Corps of Engineers officials who was overseeing the reconstruction of levees in the New Orleans area. I was at least happy to see that the guy is from Houston, so if anyone actually picks this story up it will be harder to dismiss it as the same old Louisiana corruption. Less happy was I to see that Miranda is cooperating as part of a larger investigation. If the guy who took the $300k is the *small* fish, it’s terrifying to think of what they’re actually trolling for.

You can read more about it at NOLA-dishu, along with many other heartening tidbits about the sorry state of NOLA’s levees.

Marques Colston is my buddy

Posted by mikedaum on August 24th, 2007

Just in case you weren’t already in a pre-season Saints frenzy.  I found this clip of Marques Colston’s greatest hits over at World Class New Orleans. He works, he works, he works.  Moved me nearly to tears.  Have no doubt, this will be the year, and I am ready.

TS Dean becomes worrisome

Posted by mikedaum on August 15th, 2007

I just checked the track for Tropical Storm Dean and the NHC is now predicting he will enter the Gulf missing Cuba and Santo Domingo to the South. Intensity forecast shows that Dean will be a class 3 major hurricane before he even enters the Gulf. Furthermore, the latest Discussion notes that low shear and high surface temps indicate that Dean could strengthen even faster than the forecast predicts.

I’m thinking of jumping down to NOLA to have a few last samples of the food and music…what’s left of them.

More good news from Louisiana

Posted by mikedaum on June 28th, 2007

RoosterFurther showing their commitment to addressing the most pressing issues facing Louisiana in the wake of Katrina, the state legislature has now banned cockfighting — starting in August 2008. So those of you who are currently grooming a particularly vicious specimen…make sure to fight him in the next 15 months, or you’ll lose your chance!

Timely, rapid action by the Louisiana Government

Posted by mikedaum on June 27th, 2007

If only they reacted this fast during Katrina, maybe New Orleans wouldn’t have been destroyed.  Gotta keep your priorities straight though.

Study says New Orleans still at risk

Posted by mikedaum on June 21st, 2007


The Army Corps of Engineers have just released a study on flooding risks in NOLA due to hypothetical hurricanes.  As it is summarized in the New York Times, the study shows that the risk today is basically equivalent to the pre-Katrina risk — though some areas had improved while others had deteriorated.

The article and study make for interesting perusal, but I have to say I’m a bit dubious.  Firstly, though the jury is still out, the concept of a “1 in 100 year storm” &c may be a rapidly moving target due to global warming, making a Katrina-strength storm much more likely in the future than it was in the past.  The science isn’t there for us to know how climate change will effect hurricanes, but I’m afraid that by the time we have a conclusive model it will be far too late.  This is especially relevant as much of the improvement in flood protection seems targeted at the 1-in-100 storms, leaving the 1-in-400 flood risks more or less unchanged.

I’m also skeptical about the accuracy of this elevation-based flood modeling, which more or less assumes that water will be spread over the city in nice even layers.  If we learned anything from Katrina, it was that things fail in unpredictable, uneven ways.

My only hope then from this study is that because the insurers will certainly pay attention to it, it has the potential to affect rebuilding patterns.  To date it seems that so many balls have been dropped, and so many opportunities have been missed, that it’s hard to hope that anything sensible will emerge.  Nonetheless, money talks, and if insurers stop funding development in the flood zones there will be some pressure to do the right thing, which is to build sustainable communities on the natural high ground.

New Orleans Seeks International Aid

Posted by mikedaum on June 15th, 2007

Each and every time I see a headline about my hometown these days I have to steel myself against the seemingly inevitable heartbreak to follow. Today it happened twice.

First I read about FEMA trying to claw back $485 Million in Katrina aid. Now I won’t claim that every dollar in aid was spent in the best interest of the victims’ recovery, but don’t we have better things to do than go after these people when they’re down? How many minutes of the Iraq war will this fund? The recent budget supplemental was on the order of $70 billion as I recall…10 times the total amount of money spent so far on Katrina recovery, and 140 times the amount FEMA is trying to recover here; and the do-nothing Dems let that one skate into law without one single drop or whisper of a check or a balance. So stop nickling and diming and if you can’t help at least have the courtesy to get the hell out of the way.

Which leads us to the question of where the hell should NOLA look for recovery funds? Well, it seems Smarty Nagin has a bright idea: if the feds won’t cough up — maybe other countries will! That’s right…taking his cue from Fidel Castro’s offer of aid in the hurricane’s immediate wake, Nagin has begun talks with no less than 5 foreign countries to see if anybody wants to embarrass the U.S. by throwing a couple of shiny shekels into his hat. And it’s not just Nagin — Mary Landrieu is in the game as well. Get this: she’s talking to the government of Saudia Arabia to see if they’ll fund the reconstruction of City Park. One more time: the Democratic Senator for Louisiana is asking Saudia Arabia for money to fix City Park.

‘Nuff Said

Mark Hurst, BFHS Grad, makes a splash!

Posted by mikedaum on June 13th, 2007

Mark Hurst

I have a morbid habit of following any link which mentions the name of anyone I know. Sort of an interweb version of the old Jewish geography game (Oh, you’re from New York….do you know X?). Needless to say, after the jump I nearly always find that the subject is not in fact the person I know, but some more illustrious individual who happens to have the same name.

So this morning I saw a headline from Rule The Web which mentioned a Mark Hurst. And hey, I knew Mark Hurst from my class at Ben Franklin High School in NOLA. True to my pattern (but sensing the coming disappointment) I followed the link. To my shock after the jump I was greeted by a headshot of the exact man, Mark Hurst.

Seems Mark is now the head of a cool outfit called Good Experience. I went to the website and played some of Mark’s games, and they were really, really good. No surprise, as I remember Mark as the mastermind of an inspired pencil and paper robot hunt game which briefly consumed Franklin’s nerdier segment. I believe the game was named MITCon (Update: Mark points out the name was actually Mitcron). It was named after Mark, who was known in those days as Mit (his intended destination) .

Mark is gonna be on a web radio today. Check it out. Congratulations Mark!