Petition to New York Times

Petition to Senior Editor, New York Times

On December 15, 2010, a flood victim in metro New Orleans - who lost everything - wrote to the New York Times.  

Responding to an article by reporter Felicity Barringer, the flood victim said she was shocked that the Times thinks "Katrina" devastated New Orleans.

She included in her note that she had “lost a lifetime of priceless, irreplaceable art, family heirlooms, (her) health, financial and emotional stability.”

Don Hecker, senior editor of the Times replied for Ms. Barringer.  Mr. Hecker said he thought the paper is correct in attributing the cause of the flooding of New Orleans to Katrina.  

"No damage," he said.

WHAT YOU CAN DO. is calling on all supporters to contact the New York Times.

You can sign the petition below urging the New York Times to stop saying "Katrina devastated New Orleans."  


You can write to Don Hecker and tell him how you feel.  Please copy and paste this email address:   


Dear Don Hecker,

To say Katrina devastated New Orleans is fundamentally incorrect.

While the storm did precipitate the disaster, it’s misleading to blame the flooding and devastation on Katrina alone.

Three weeks ago, Mike Grunwald of TIME Magazine wrote, “..It took a while, but the prevailing narrative is finally starting to reflect that Katrina was a man-made disaster, not a natural disaster, triggered by shoddy engineering, not an overwhelming hurricane….”

As hurricane season began in 2010, author John McQuaid (Path of Destruction) wrote: “’s just wrong to say Katrina “would have been an immense disaster no matter what.” If some engineer, back in the 1990s, under time, budgetary, or political pressures, had not made the mathematical errors that later caused the walls to fall down, most of New Orleans would have been spared...”

To say 'Katrina flooded New Orleans' is fast, easy and wrong. It's proven in three independent studies that the canal floodwalls of 17th Street, London Avenue and Industrial Canal collapsed prematurely in a surge that could have been caused by a much less severe storm.

Furthermore, the defense of "no hurricane, no damage" is a dodge. While superficially correct, it dismisses what really happened on August 29, 2005 when a major city went underwater and over 1,600 people died.

I, the undersigned, ask the New York Times to please refrain from using fast and easy ‘Katrina shorthand.’ Please report the facts about the man-made flood accurately.
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1-25 of 1592 signatures
Number Date Name Location COMMENT:
1592 Mon Apr 04 11:48:42 EDT 2011 Frazer O'hara New Orleans, LA Yeah! Get it right, then make it right!
1591 Fri Feb 04 22:33:16 EST 2011 dyane mitchell mandeville, No it was the slipshod leeves
1590 Wed Feb 02 13:31:22 EST 2011 Bub Bishop Eugene, OR I spent 33 years as a newspaper reporter of the "old school," when journalism was about public service. Far too often journalism today is all about the arrogance displayed by this "senior" editor. You More....
1589 Tue Feb 01 15:45:05 EST 2011 Berdalee schepps guerneville, CA
1587 Tue Feb 01 12:15:07 EST 2011 Angela Foley New Orleans, LA
1586 Tue Feb 01 11:10:05 EST 2011 Joan olsen seattle, WA
1585 Tue Feb 01 00:40:15 EST 2011 pamela felth new orleans, LA Can Mr. Hecker explain why only SOME of the levees broke? Why did the 17th St canal levee break 1/2 mile to the west of my house, but the Orleans levee held 1/4 mile to the east? Same hurricane, different More....
1584 Mon Jan 31 22:09:38 EST 2011 Deborah Guidry New Orleans, LA The Truth is Out There!
1583 Mon Jan 10 14:57:39 EST 2011 Beth Levine St. Augustine, FL
1582 Mon Jan 10 07:54:18 EST 2011 Rosemary Senger New Orleans , LA
1581 Sat Jan 08 11:55:16 EST 2011 Anonymous New Orleans, LA
1580 Fri Jan 07 11:28:00 EST 2011 Renualdo Kyzer Columbia, SC 205 -->204Anyone who knows about the topography of New Orleans knows that the storm did not cause the damage! Please get the facts straight! The Poorly built levees were the cause of the devastation in New Orleans!
1579 Fri Jan 07 10:00:15 EST 2011 Anonymous Toronto, ON Please do your research, New York Times.
1578 Thu Jan 06 10:06:24 EST 2011 dot wilson n.o, LA
1577 Wed Jan 05 14:40:05 EST 2011 Douglas Melancon Stafford, Texas , TX
1576 Wed Jan 05 12:34:06 EST 2011 Maria Conceicao New Orleans, LA Mr. Hecker, by now, we would hope that you'd know a simple fact: The devastation of New Orleans was caused NOT by Hurricane Katrina- but by the the failures of the LEVEES! These levees were built and (supposedly) More....
1575 Tue Jan 04 22:14:11 EST 2011 Ron Shultz Pleasant Hill, CA
1574 Tue Jan 04 21:43:21 EST 2011 Angelle Caffery Jefferson, LA
1573 Tue Jan 04 20:09:35 EST 2011 Anonymous New orleans, LA NYT, you need to know the truth.
1572 Tue Jan 04 16:57:44 EST 2011 Karen Coker St. Augustine, FL I am a New Orleans native and have seen firsthand the devastation of Katrina. Help keep it from happening again. Karen Coker
1571 Tue Jan 04 16:34:40 EST 2011 Cathy Hoffman Metairie, LA
1570 Tue Jan 04 15:38:51 EST 2011 Steven Frederick New Orleans, LA
1569 Tue Jan 04 14:40:31 EST 2011 Judy Johnson Baton Rouge, LA
1568 Tue Jan 04 13:42:39 EST 2011 Rosemary Kerrin New Orleans, LA Please report the news accurately - the levees failed due to poor construction, not due to Katrina.
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