We certainly don’t need to remind PopTort readers of the magnitude and human suffering caused by this catastrophe: 1,400 deaths (with many more unaccounted for), millions displaced, hundreds of thousands left without jobs or income. And you may also recall that but for the failure of the levee system built by the Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans would not have suffered catastrophic flooding during this hurricane.
To make matters worse, Congress immunized the Corps from liability for flood-control failures in 1928, which has left Katrina victims with no ability to hold anyone accountable for this destructive, man-made blunder – or so they thought.
Turns out that the navigation channel built by the Corps in 1968, known as MR-GO (and pronounced “Mr. Go"), was built to help ships reach the Gulf of Mexico – not to control flooding. In fact, critics have long referred to the canal as a “hurricane highway,” because it increased flooding by carrying storm surges into New Orleans. According to the Times, “One geological expert testified on behalf of the plaintiffs that the channel was ‘one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the United States.’”
Luckily for the hundreds of thousands of Katrina victims, a judge has ruled that the government can’t be immune for the damage MR-GO caused. Now the case is going forward.
Jonathon Beuregard Andry, one of the attorneys representing flood victims, said his clients “don’t want sympathy, and they don’t want something for nothing….[t]heir whole life is changed and they should be compensated for that.”