The biggest emerging Katrina story is that the disaster in New Orleans had been predicted for years, yet no one did anything about it. Plenty of stuff to choose from, but this piece by Joel K. Bourne Jr. in National Geographic – found on the Daily Kos by Media Nation reader Paul – is particularly striking because of when it was published: October of last year. Read this and shake your head:

BOURNE: Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

When did this calamity happen? It hasn’t – yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great.

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