Last month, I drove up to Denton to watch a documentary about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ culpability in the Katrina disaster. Few things can entice me to drive that close to the Canadian border, but the trip was well worth it. The movie will be screening tonight at 6pm through March 17 right here in Dallas at the Texas Theater and I strongly urge you to check it out.
About halfway through the film, the focus turns to New Orleans’ disasterous Mississippi River Gulf Outlet project, which was responsible for much of the destruction during Katrina. There are unsettling parallels between the ill-fated “Mr. Go” project and our very own Trinity Toll Road debacle: the primary purpose of the Corps’ Mr. Go project was not flood control and public safety, but transportation/economic development (sound familiar?). Only in their case, instead of a massive toll road, they were creating a massive river channel.
Jim Schutze has two great articles on the documentary and its cautionary tale for Dallas: Documentary About New Orleans’ Killer Floods Draws Uneasy Parallels to Dallas and If There’s One Film About the Corps of Engineers You See All Week …
I got to spend some time talking with the man behind the movie, Harry Shearer (who is not only an amazing comedian/actor, but an astute documentarian). He was incredibly cool, and his passion for New Orleans and its people and history permeates the film. I particularly loved his focus on the courageous whistle-blowers (engineers inside and outside the Corps) who risked their careers to do what was right.
This is a terrific film, and a timely one for our city. Watch it.