On the same night that I hear Greg Breerwood of the Army Corps of Engineers (thanks to Humid Haney) say Louisiana does not have a comprehensive hurricane protection system, I turn on the 10 o’clock news to find that a bill which would have created a comprehensive levee board was pulled from the Senate floor.
Look, I don’t care if you have one super-board or one hundred mini-boards. To feel safe, I need to see regional cooperation among however many levee boards there are. A comprehensive (all inclusive) hurricane protection system relies on levees, storm gates, and flood control projects in all the districts working in tandem.
Protecting Southern Louisiana is bigger than East Bank versus West Bank or North Shore versus South Shore. The Hurricane Pam exercise (unlike Katrina, Pam was the “worse case scenario”) predicted the fictional category three hurricane would push storm surge all the way up into Livingston Parish. And that’s a Cat 3.
Regional cooperation is essential. The governments of parishes like Livingston, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and the West Bank of Jefferson think *they* can best protect the residents who live inside their borders. Hurricanes respect no borders. And the rest of us need their cooperation to protect all of us.
The Army Corps of Engineers is charged with protecting Southern Louisiana from the next major hurricane. For them to accomplish their mission, it could mean restoring coastal wetlands in Plaquemines, filling the MR-GO in St. Bernard, gating the Rigolets Dutch-style between Orleans and St. Tammany, finishing the almost completed West Bank Vicinity Project from Lake Salvador up to the Harvey Canal, and improving all the levee systems in all of Southern Louisiana. Their work crosses parish lines.
So, c’mon, guys and gals. It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Kiss and make up. Pass the Boasso levee board consolidation bill when it comes up again. Think of it as a blind date. You might not know what you’re getting yourself into. But if you get what you want at the end of the date, it’s all worth it.
I’m talking about protection. Um, hurricane protection. Oh... whatever.