Levees Not War
Make Wetlands Not War.

The Levees Not War Interview Series

Louisiana Anthology Interviews Levees Not War
July 7th, 2014

Usually when Levees Not War is involved in an interview, we do the interrogating. But now, we’re happy to report, the tables have been turned: Levees Not War is the subject of an in-depth interview with the editors of the Louisiana Anthology, Bruce R. Magee and Stephen Payne, professors at Louisiana Tech in Ruston. The Levees […]

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Tom Piazza on Writing for HBO’s “Treme”
December 20th, 2011

“New Orleans has a mythology, a personality, a soul, that is large, and that has touched people around the world. It has its own music (many of its own musics), its own cuisine, its own way of talking, its own architecture, its own smell, its own look and feel. . . . “It may be […]

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When Harry Met a Cover-Up:
Shearer Talks about “The Big Uneasy”

October 14th, 2010

* [ cross-posted at Daily Kos ] We sat down recently with Harry Shearer—that is, we sat down and e-mailed him some questions, and he sat down and wrote some thoughtful replies—to talk about his new film The Big Uneasy, which tells the real story of why New Orleans flooded in Hurricane Katrina. (Click here for […]

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Interview with Mark Schleifstein
Pulitzer Prize-winning coauthor of
‘Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans
and the Coming Age of Superstorms’

November 1st, 2007

Mark Schleifstein joined the Times-Picayune in 1984 as an environmental reporter after five years at the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Mississippi. Since 1996 he and his Times-Picayune colleague John McQuaid have written numerous major environmental series for the paper, most recently in January 2006. Schleifstein and McQuaid won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their series “Oceans of Trouble: Are the World’s Fisheries Doomed?”—a comprehensive eight-day series about the threats to the world’s fish supply, including the effects of coastal wetlands erosion on fish in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. In 1998 the Picayune published their series “Home Wreckers: How the Formosan Termite Is Devastating New Orleans,” a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer.

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Interview with Christopher Cooper and Robert Block, authors of
‘Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security’

September 1st, 2006

Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security is a superb, authoritative work that focuses on the federal response to the disaster-a catastrophe within a catastrophe-but also gives an excellent background on the history of FEMA and of the levee system around New Orleans. Cooper and Block know New Orleans (Cooper lived there 10+ years as a Times-Picayune reporter) and they know FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.

This is a book of reportage that readers of any (or no) political persuasion can appreciate: Cooper and Block keep their opinions to themselves and let the facts do the talking. They show that the 80-percent evacuation of metro New Orleans was a resounding, unprecedented success; that the Bush administration severely and repeatedly cut federal funding for ongoing reinforcements of the city’s flood protection system; and that the U.S. government through the Army Corps of Engineers failed to protect the city, whose citizens never imagined the canals’ floodwalls would ever collapse.

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Interview with Ivor van Heerden, author of ‘The Storm:
What Went Wrong and Why During Hurricane Katrina:
The Inside Story from One Louisiana Scientist’

June 1st, 2006

IVOR VAN HEERDEN of the LSU Hurricane Center is familiar to millions who watched the Katrina news reports as the straight-talking hurricane expert with a Dutch accent (actually he’s South African). In The Storm, he has written a detailed, analytical, and compelling account of Hurricane Katrina and its terrible impact on Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. He shows what happened-and what didn’t have to happen.

What sets The Storm apart from other Katrina books is that van Heerden, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, goes on to propose a workable and affordable plan for Category 5 strength storm protection, modeled on the Netherlands’ successful system: a combination of reinforced levees, storm gates, and coastal restoration, including barrier islands.

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