Hurricanes Katrina and Rita transformed some 100 square miles of marsh to open water in southeastern Louisiana, according to preliminary estimates by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) based on an analysis of Landsat satellite data from September and October.
Most of the loss east of the Mississippi River is attributed to the effects of Hurricane Katrina's storm surge, although Hurricane Rita's surge appears to have rearranged some of the wrack, or marsh debris, left behind by Hurricane Katrina in the upper Breton Sound area.
An additional 47 square miles of marsh were lost throughout the Pontchartrain, Pearl River, Barataria, and Terrebonne basins. The active Mississippi Delta also incurred approximately 14 square miles of loss. The lower Pearl River basin contains numerous marsh rips south of Highway 90.
Following the loss of approximately 150 square miles of Louisiana, this is the shock Louisianians now face:
BATON ROUGE, La — Louisiana is expecting a $3.7 billion bill from the federal government for the state's share of the hurricane recovery, far exceeding anything the governor had anticipated.
I think someone ought to go over that FEMA bill carefully 'cause it would be a crime to pay the government for those 18 wheelers of ice that were sent north or for the other supplies we never received. It should be the case that Louisiana is being charged a percentage of the total expenses . . . Then, perhaps that same auditor could approximate the charges to the federal government for the losses the state has to deal with due to faulty, shoddy design work by the USACEs "protection" levees. After all, fair is fair.
The state is already dealing with its own crippling budget problems, including dramatic jumps in unemployment, business shutdowns and a state budget deficit of nearly $1 billion in tax revenue alone, and the estimate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was a shock.