If only the levees weren't breached, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina might've been "merely" on the scale of Hurricane Camille.
As it stands now, most of New Orleans is under rising water and the entire city has been ordered to evacuate. Last night, Mayor Ray Nagin announced plans to plug the failed 17th Street Canal levee with airlifted sandbags weren't going to be carried out in time to stop an additional 10 feet of floodwater from possibly inundating the remaining dry ground in Uptown. Fixing the levee system and pumping all that stagnant, dirty water out of the city is just the beginning.
It's plausible that New Orleans proper could ultimately wind up being rendered a historical "shell city" like Venice by the aftermath of this disaster, but that is speculative. What isn't speculative is that hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have been displaced. Some of them won't be able to return for months, and some won't have homes to go back to. They're going to need all the help they can get.
2 hours ago