A writer for the Los Angeles Times works the blame-the-French angle into coverage of Hurricane Katrina. (Registration required.)
In 1718, French colonist Jean Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville ignored his engineers' warnings about the hazards of flooding and mapped a settlement in a pinch of swampland between the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and a massive lake to the north [Lake Pontchartrain].
On the other hand, reading some of the comments to hurricane stories on the BBC's web site, I learned that Katrina apparently is punishing the United States for not spending more on foreign aid.
Ok, so Bienville picked a risky site. Who in 1718 would have guessed that more and more levees would have been built all up and down the Mississippi River and around New Orleans to regulate the water that used to spill into swamps and wetlands and to protect a growing industrial city? I wonder if anyone will have the political guts to say, "Let's rethink the whole plan before we rebuild."