NOLA's New Interactive Flood Animation Flash Graphics

Charlie Burr

I've been reading historian and New Orleans native Douglas Brinkley's new book, The Great Deluge*, about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. I strongly recommend it -- it's an extremely compelling and invaluable collection of oral history accounts from this largely man-made disaster.

But even if you're already stocked up on summer reading, but want to learn more about the mechanics of the flood, the Times-Picayune has posted this excellent flash animation. Check it out. It's the most comprehensive, easy-to-understand overview of the hour-by-hour breakdown of what happened.

It's been nearly ten months since Katrina made landfall, and there's still a long, long way to before New Orleans is rebuilt. The federal government's response has been a disaster, but as the New York Times rightfully pointed out this week, it's long past time for local officials to step up and get their act together.

*Book profits to benefit the Historic New Orleans Collection located in the Quarter.

  • Fred Heutte (unverified)

    Also recommended: the new version of Chris Hallowell's "Holding Back the Sea," which summarized the research on wetlands deterioration as it stood in the late 1990s and made uncannily accurate predictions about what happened with The Pretty Big One (Katrina was not The Big One, which would have the city under 25 feet of water and-that's-all-she-wrote). And Ivor van Heerden's "The Storm," which is very opinionated but very informative. He's the director of the Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes at LSU.

    Southern Louisiana is both a remarkable cultural treasure for our increasingly mass-media-bland nation and a crucial economic center. The fact that our national government failed to provide the resources to lower the danger from massive storms -- not at all limited to New Orleans itself with its unique below-sea-level terrain -- and then failed to provide the resources needed to help during and after the storm is a major wakeup call for the decay in this nation's self-identity and social fabric. If we can't respond to the obvious danger of major storms on the Gulf Coast, how exactly are we going to respond to the broader dangers of global climate change?

  • Gecko (unverified)

    I can't get the Flash animation to run.

    Does it show Michael Brown single-handedly killing poor people? Can you see the local politicians lining their pockets with Federal subsidies? Does it show the school buses that weren't used during the "mandatory" evacuation?

    Anything on the Kennedy/Johnson/Carter Administration's Corps of Engineers building a levee system that was destined to fail?

  • (Show?)

    Good tips, Fred.

    Although The Great Deluge is primarily an oral history, the book does discuss how money designated for levy protection was diverted into dredging and channel deepening, and how wetland loss (primarily caused by the oil and gas industry) made the storm impact much more severe.

    <h2>Gecko-- if you say local New Orleans officials were inept, hey, no argument here. But profound FEMA mismanagement and incompetence under Bush will forever go down in history as one his greatest failures. The federal government's response was a disaster of historic proportions -- and cost many lives.</h2>

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