There’s no word in the English language for malicious incompetent criminality, but there should be and when it’s coined, the first use of it should be to describe the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans.

Over 1,000 people were killed, hundreds of thousands were made homeless, tens of billions of dollars of property damage occurred because of the Corps shoddily-built levees. Levees they knew were substandard all along.

Now the Corps has announced that their “rebuilding” plan has re-structured the levee system in such a way that the oldest and formerly most protected parts of New Orleans – key elements of its economic engine – are now at risk of devastation should there be another major storm.

What areas are we talking about? Nothing special…just the French Quarter and the Garden District.

If you’ve never been to New Orleans, let me make it plain: If these parts of the city are devastated by levee failures the way places like Lakeview and the Lower Ninth Ward, there will be no New Orleans as we know it left and one of the greatest cultural gems of North America and the world will be gone forever.

The French Quarter is not all there is to New Orleans, but without it New Orleans is just another struggling, down-at-the-heels US city without a tourism magnet.

Two Rivers, One Heart: A New Orleans brass band visits New
Two Rivers, One Heart: The Hudson River/Mississippi River Cultural Collaboration Project