For years, it was common knowledge in Louisiana and Washington that New Orleans could be destroyed by a hurricane. But decision makers turned away from the long-term investments that might have averted a catastrophe, pursuing instead projects with more immediate payoffs. Some of those projects made the city more vulnerable.
Saving New Orleans from the inevitable storm was a priority. But it was rarely the top priority. "I don't think anybody threatened to hold their breath until they turned blue about it," recalled lobbyist Jan Schoonmaker, an aide to former representative Lindy Boggs (D-La.).
This article is must reading for understanding what has happened to New Orleans. This isn't a one-time event. The neglect of the safety of New Orleans stretches back for years and many, many people are to blame.