August National Geographic
I get the August 2007 National Geographic this past weekend and in it is a story about rebuilding New Orleans post Katrina. There were flood elevation maps, building permit maps and overall the article was very well written, realistic and ended on a positive note.
However, the editor chose to describe this article in the front of the magazine and made a critical error stating that the flooding of New Orleans was caused by the Mississippi River. This is incorrect, the flooding came from the north, from Lake Pontchartrain as a result of the storm surge that flowed through the Rigolets and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. Secondly, the editor Chris John I believe, chose to augment the negative side of the story, stating that New Orleans just might be too overwhelming a price tag to rebuild and protect adequately. Lastly, a comment in bold face at the beginning of the article stated how New Orleans’ citizens are determined to rebuild the city without consideration for the lower lying areas that might need to be left alone.
Millions of people read National Geographic, but not all of them will take the time to read the article. They will however read the short blurb by the editor and make a conscious decision to support or derail the rebuilding efforts – this probably does not bode well for the future of New Orleans in the eyes of the rest of America.