I began a long rambling post about the Katrina-ravaged coast yesterday (the anniversary of the hurricane’s landfall), but became bored by my own self-righteousness. I’ve never been to Louisiana or Mississippi so my attempts to personalize what is happening in that region fall flat.
Instead, you, dear reader, should go out and read for yourself from those living it what is going on or, more appropriately, not going on. A link fest is below, but I will add one commentary of my own. As a child of the West coast of Michigan, Lake Michigan was a huge part of my psyche. Living near one of the largest fresh-water lakes in the world really clicked for me and is one of the things I dearly miss living inland. As a one-time sailor and freeloading boater, I also know that the Great Lakes are a large area of work for the Army Corps of Engineers.
The same Army Corps that failed the city of New Orleans so spectacularly. To my Michigan family, friends, and random readers, what happened in New Orleans and all over the Gulf Coast is a signal to us as well. This state depends heavily on the services and projects completed by the Army Corps. You need only think of Holland, Grand Haven, or Saugatuk to envision the immense sea-works that allow shipping to come in and out of those harbors.
The precedents being set by the disaster in New Orleans has ramifications all the way up here. Katrina did not drown the city of New Orleans. Let me say that again. Katrina did not drown the city of New Orleans. The failure of the levees which held back the Mississippi River did that. The levees were not and are not the responsibility of the state, despite all the finger pointing. The levees are a federal responsibility. Just like the sea-ways on our coasts here in Michigan.
So, as you read some of the posts linked below, remember that what happens in New Orleans is not isolated there. The same agency that allowed the disaster to happen there is very active here. Holland may not flood, but the same methodology that allowed much of New Orleans to flood is being used to protect our coastline as well.