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Against SecurityHow We Go Wrong at Airports, Subways, and Other Sites of Ambiguous Danger$
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Harvey Molotch

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163581

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163581.001.0001

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Facing Katrina: Illusions of Levee and Compulsion to Build

Facing Katrina: Illusions of Levee and Compulsion to Build

(p.154) Chapter 6 Facing Katrina: Illusions of Levee and Compulsion to Build
Against Security

Harvey Molotch

Princeton University Press

This chapter turns to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast to demonstrate command and disarray in the way that city meets river. It describes how threats from nature become part of the social-political apparatus—with the Katrina disaster the unhappy result. It has become rather common to observe that “there is no such thing as a natural disaster,” and Katrina is surely a poster child for that assertion. Much of the history of the New Orleans area was a kind Katrina in the making. Building levees, canals, and other infrastructural elements for the sake of safety yielded eventual mayhem. The chapter traces out some of the details of the “downward precautionary spiral.” Each effort at a fix leads to a successive effort of the same sort, accumulating not as a series of individual safety features but as vulnerability to events of catastrophic proportion.

Keywords:   New Orleans, Gulf Coast, Hurricane Katrina, levees, canals, safety, security, natural disasters

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