“We have built a series of structures and walked away from them historically,” said Leonard Shabman, a water resources expert with the think tank Resources for the Future. “If you’ve got potholes in the road, people go out and fix them; that’s not the case with levees.”

Yeah, that’s right. Slowly, but surely the rest of the country is getting a clue.

New Orleans was first and not the last. It all started 40 years ago when the country decided we could afford massive military adventures overseas.

It’s a national problem, not a New Orleans failing.

More: Gaps in Aging Levees Leave Washington DC landmarks exposed

Earthquakes, levees and the fate of California