The Guardian is running a piece suggesting that the improved federal levee system protecting the city of New Orleans may have exacerbated problems downstream in Plaquemines Parish. No one seems to have any data, so the story mostly quotes people speculating according to their own predilections: the problem is those rich people upstream, who don't care about us down here, or the problem is that city folks are doing the usual dirty on the rurals, or the problem is that those uncoordinated local hicks refuse to get with the centrally planned federal system.
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of building at or below sea level in one of the world's great deltas without going up on stilts, and then deciding to ride out a direct hit by a hurricane. On the news they were reporting that after landfall the authorities were just getting around to issuing a mandatory evacuation in affected areas. That included the evacuation of a nursing home, if you can believe it. Can you imagine waiting around for local officials to tell you to get out? When you've got bedridden patients on your hands? The ambulances couldn't even get in there by the time someone hit the panic button. There were people interviewed on camera who couldn't swim.