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  • The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans


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Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans (2007)

Big Easy to Big Empty The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans

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The film begins with an August 21, 2006 White House press conference from President George W. Bush in which he reiterates his commitment to help the city recover.

Palast points out that over half a million people fled the flood and one year later only 170,000 have returned, almost none to their own homes, and sets out his plan to answer the questions;

  • Why did they have to leave? What really caused the flood?
  • Why can’t they come back now?

Palast goes to the offices of IEM a private corporation which the Bush administration had contracted evacuation planning to for US$500,000. He contends that the company had no experience in the field, had failed to come up with a plan, and had only been awarded the contract because it was a major contributor to Republican Party funds. Dr. Ivor Van Heerden of LSU supports some of the claims.

Palast visits the London Avenue Canal levee with former city councilman Brod Bagert to show the results of the levees breaking. Dr. Van Heerden reveals that the levees were deliberately constructed below standards and the Bush administration had been warned. Furthermore the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the White House knew when the levees broke but they failed to warn anybody.

Palast travels to the FEMA trailer park where 73,000 families that fled Hurricane Katrina continue to live locked behind a barbed wire fence. Back in New Orleans, he reveals that all public housing, even those unaffected by the hurricane, have been sealed and residents who try to return to their homes face official harassment as the storm is used as an excuse to reclaim valuable real estate.

Palast’s final revelation is that the private consulting firm contracted by the government to analyse what went wrong with the response to Hurricane Katrina is IEM.



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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.