First paragraph: Found in the New Orleans City Archives’ Mayor Nagin Collection is a letter written to the mayor in 2004 detailing concerns about the sustainability of the city, in the event of a Hurricane.1 The letter was written by George H. Troxell Jr., a West Point graduate with a Masters in Engineering from the University of Illinois.2 Mr. Troxell, in retirement at the time of the letter, during his career worked for an oil company in Belgium.3 His role at the company was to design and engineer the oil rigs to be able to withstand the rough seas, and waves that sometimes reached close to 100 feet in height.4 In his letter to the mayor, Mr. Troxell expressed his concern that New Orleans was woefully underprepared for a hurricane and, the letter opens with the line, “Once again we have been reminded by a front page article in The Times-Picayune of the fact that New Orleans is a potential death trap in the event of a hurricane of the wrong path and intensity.”5 This underscores Mr. Troxell’s concern which he goes on to express. He believed that the levees, pumps and drainage systems were not up to the task of keeping the city dry in the event of a major storm.6 In an urgent plea, Mr. Troxell called for the mayor to launch an investigation, in conjunction with the Army Corp of Engineers and private firms to ensure that New Orleans was safe and “so that mass evacuation is not a requisite for survival.”7 While it is now clear the warnings in this letter were not heeded, the line about mas evacuation being a requisite for survival turned out to be shockingly prophetic.
Hardin, Eli, "Getting Out: An Investigation into the Failures of the New Orleans Hurricane Katrina Evacuation Process and What Could Have Been Done Differently" (2018). Life of the Scholar Multidisciplinary Conference. 1.