The Widening of the Canal
"From the shotgun shack to the Superdome, there ain't no help, the cavalry stayed home." - Bruce Springsteen
Fourteen years ago today, the world saw the facade of American prosperity ripped off. In the richest society on Earth, disfavored citizens sat on their roofs for days waiting for rescue from the floodwaters. That week, our neighborhood, the Lower 9th Ward, came to represent our nation's failure to take care of its own people - as Springsteen acknowledged in his anthem "We Take Care of Our Own."
The Army Corps of Engineers was ultimately found to be responsible for much of the flooding that occurred here, due to poorly built shipping channels surrounding our neighborhood. But they didn't pay for the harm they caused. When they are building discretionary shipping projects, the law says they don't have to.
Now they want to do it again.
It's almost beyond belief that the Corps is trying to do the same thing all over again. They are now proposing to widen the very canal that killed almost one thousand people 14 years ago today.
We expect the Corps report recommending this project to come out in October. It will be based on a community impact study completed in the 1990s.
The people of the Lower 9th Ward are saying: 'No more!' Just yesterday our Program Director, MA Sheehan, along with Rev. Willie L. Calhoun Jr. and other members of Citizens Against Widening the Industrial Canal, sat down with Congressman Cedric Richmond's staff members. They requested that the Congressman get answers from the Corps about the damage this project will cause to our community - and who will bear the costs if it fails again.
Thus far the Corps has repeatedly refused to prepare an updated Environmental Impact Statement, taking into account the massive changes brought by Hurricane Katrina or the effects of climate change on the costs and benefits of the project. We are therefore encouraging Rep. Richmond to demand answers to these vital questions:
What are the long-term benefits (if any) for the L9 Community?
What are the economic, social, physical and environmental impacts on the surrounding communities?
Why are no alternative sites being studied?
Call to Action
As this project continues, we may be asking you to call Rep. Cedric Richmond, your own Congressperson, or the Army Corps of Engineers.
In the meantime, you can partner with the L9 Community in the fight against the Widening of the Industrial Canal,by becoming a sustaining donor at www.L9WHA.org/donate.