Catastrophe in the Making: The Engineering of Katrina and by William R. Freudenburg, Robert B. Gramling, Shirley Laska,

By William R. Freudenburg, Robert B. Gramling, Shirley Laska, Kai Erikson

When homes are flattened, cities submerged, and folks stranded with no electrical energy or perhaps foodstuff, we characteristic the discomfort to “natural mess ups” or “acts of God.” yet what if they’re neither? What if we, as a society, are bringing those catastrophes on ourselves?
 
That’s the provocative concept of disaster within the Making, the 1st e-book to acknowledge storm Katrina now not as a “perfect storm,” yet a tragedy of our personal making—and one who might turn into general.  
 
The authors, one an established New Orleans resident, argue that breached levees and sloppy emergency reaction are only the obvious examples of presidency failure. the genuine challenge is extra deeply rooted and insidious, and stretches a ways past the Gulf Coast.
 
in line with the fake promise of frequent prosperity, groups around the U.S. have embraced all manufacturers of “economic improvement” in any respect bills. In Louisiana, that intended improvement pursuits turning wetlands into delivery lanes. via changing a normal buffer opposed to typhoon surges with a 75-mile lengthy, out of date canal that expense 1000s of thousands of greenbacks, they guided the typhoon into the guts of latest Orleans and adjoining groups. The authors display why, regardless of their geographic alterations, California and Missouri are building—quite literally—toward comparable destruction.
 
Too usually, the U.S. “growth desktop” generates wealth for a couple of and distress for plenty of. Drawing classes from the costliest “natural” catastrophe in American historical past, disaster within the Making indicates why inconsiderate improvement comes at a value we will be able to in poor health afford.

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Extra info for Catastrophe in the Making: The Engineering of Katrina and the Disasters of Tomorrow

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One is that the prairie soils of the Mississippi River basin are rich and well suited for farming. The other is the fact that water flows downhill. It was the second fact that made it relatively affordable to carry even heavy agricultural commodities down the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. Generally, the first transportation downstream was provided by 52 * Catastrophe in the Making “flatboats”—simple wooden barges that could be disassembled for lumber once they reached New Orleans.

For those who wish to learn from this admirable example, one key point is that 42 * Catastrophe in the Making the environmental richness and the cultural richness do not seem to exist in isolation from each other. The individuals who have built communities, raised their families, and earned their living along the coast of Louisiana have a deeply rooted connection to place, interwoven with and dependent upon the rich natural resources of the wetlands. Part of the reason that the region could be home to such a richness of cultural diversity, in other words, is that southern Louisiana is also home to one of the richest concentrations of natural resources on the planet.

The new American businessmen proved to be an exception to the tendency for people in this region to be comfortable with diversity and cultural blending; the new Americans did not share the cultural values and heritage of the established French population, so assimilation became more problematic. Instead, English-speaking or American settlers gravitated “uptown,” meaning upstream along the Mississippi, or across what is now Canal Street and to the west of the French Quarter. 4 The “uptown” elites may not have lived in the same section of the city as the previous French inhabitants, but they soon realized that the kinds of commercial advantages provided by the Carondelet Canal might also be helpful in their part of the city.

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