Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Here (or here) is a sweet list of conspiracy-minded questions about New Orleans. I am particularly fond of number 2:

"Who owned the huge barge that was catapulted through the wall of the Industrial Canal, killing hundreds in the Lower Ninth Ward - the most deadly hit-and-run accident in U.S. history?"

On the mystery barge (for more, scroll down to the comments by Brad Ott here and here):

"A loose barge may have caused a large breach in the east side of the Industrial Canal floodwall that accelerated Hurricane Katrina's rising floodwaters in the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish, Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi said Monday.

Naomi said the barge was found on the land side of the floodwall, leading corps officials to believe it could have crashed through the wall and sent a huge amount of water - which was already pouring over the top of the wall - into the neighborhoods immediately downriver.

'We have some pictures that show this very large barge inside the protected area. It had to go through the breach,' Naomi said. 'The opening is a little bit wider than the barge itself. One would think it's the barge that did it.'

If it did strike the floodwall, Naomi said, the barge would have 'precipitated a tremendous collapse' that would have quickly flooded the Lower Ninth Ward and then St. Bernard Parish. The breach is 'ultimately in my opinion what got (St. Bernard) Parish flooded,' Naomi said."

The reason this story isn't getting more play is that the politically-connected corporation that negligently failed to secure its barge would be facing a multi-billion dollar liability claim. You can add that claim to the fact that the storm surge wasn't high enough to go over the floodwalls, meaning that they failed due to negligent construction, presumably due to cost-cutting by corrupt subcontractors employed by the Army Corps of Engineers (for some Army boondoggles, see here). This story is just starting. Watch for Bush to try to sneak in some kind of liability limitation to protect the guilty.