Katrina and the Corps

It seems Boudreaux and Clotile are at it again.

Lawsuits against the Army Corps of Engineers (yes, THAT Corps) stemming from the levee and floodwall breaches in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continue to be filed. The dollar figures are staggering, giving new meaning to “frivolous lawsuit.”

Of the 489,000 claims, a reported 247 have been for one billion — that’s billion with a “B.” The largest filed has pegged $3 quadrillion. (Has anyone ever really even given much thought to what “quadrillion” means?) The 2007 U.S. gross domestic product was a mere 13.7 to 14 trillion or so.

The Corps all but said “Sue me” when it issued its report in mid-2006 saying the flooding occurred because the levees failed, and they failed because they were flawed in design and outdated. Four canal breaches were determined to be from foundation failures causing most of the city’s flooding. These were designed and built by the Corps: So blame the Corps. Most suits have been by individuals; some say the outrageous dollar figures underscore the anger of the residents. We find that naïve and simplistic.

Though a number of good people lost a tremendous amount in that storm (possibly overstated by the anything-but-balanced media coverage Katrina and its aftermath have received) some might be out to get what they can from whomever they can. Heard that and seen it before? It’s an art form there. The federal government has the deepest pockets, and the Corps of Engineers seems an easy target. Nearly one half million lawsuits? C’mon. Government legal teams have to be overwhelmed by this Katrina of paper. (How much does it cost to track a half billion lawsuits anyway?)

If you’re not a local but have lived in New Orleans, maybe stationed at Marine Forces Reserve, Navy Reserve Force, 8th Marine Corps Recruiting District, Joint Reserve Base (formerly Naval Air Station) Belle Chasse, or even Jackson Barracks (though that’s Guard — Boudreaux and Clotile territory), you are in an exclusive club that knows the real deal in the City of Our Lady of Perpetual Decay.

Sadly, the dependence on these and other lawsuits seems to be holding residents back from recovery in whatever form that might take. With 489,000 claims, everyone loses.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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