September 1st, 2008
07:53 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Levee on the Brink?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/weather/09/01/gustav/t1home.brathwaite2.wwl.jpg caption="A private levee south of New Orleans may fail, official says."]Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Anyone who dared to stay in Plaquemines Parish, just downriver from New Orleans, is being urged to evacuate at this hour.  A private levee could break at any moment, due to the storm surge from Hurricane Gustav.  Crews are working to keep the levee from failing, but "it doesn't look like we're going to be successful," Parish President Bill Nungesser said.

It's a tense waiting game to see what might happen. We're keeping an eye on the levee trouble outside New Orleans and we'll have the latest tonight on 360°. We'll be taking you throughout the storm zone and checking in with our reporters all along the path of the Gustav.

Our other big story of the day comes out of the Republican National Convention, which has been scaled down due to Hurricane Gustav. The McCain campaign reveled today that Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant.

The campaign says Bristol will keep the baby and marry her high school boyfriend. Aides say the announcement was made because there were Internet rumors that Palin's youngest son, born in April with Down syndrome, was actually Bristol's baby.  Sarah and her husband, Todd Palin, issued a statement saying they are "proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents."

We'll have all the angles on this story, including reaction from John McCain and Barack Obama.
What are your thoughts? We'd love to hear from you.

And, don't miss AC360° starting at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. steve clare

    Looking at the water cresting the levee I have to ask, why has it been rebuilt to the same height? Water surge was 23 ft during Katrina. It was 9-12 today and everyone was watching in horror that it would give way again. Seems as if the height could have been different.

    Norway holds back the North Sea with a storm gate that can be opened or closed. We will build one later, why not first.

    It took 3 years to get close to the target reinforse date of 2011 are we missing men, materials or both?

    September 1, 2008 at 11:46 pm |
  2. Kathy Sbarra

    So glad Gustav has not created the damage that was expected. I'm sure Huoma and communities near will show much more damage, as they were in direct path of the storm. But are the Gulf states out of the woods yet? There could be 6 to 12 inches of rain as the storm becomes a tropical storm. Where will that water go? Into the Mississippi River and back down to the drainage basin and into Gulf, possibly flooding communities all the way.

    Regarding Gov. Paline's choice as vice president. I think this was a calculated choice by McCain to bolster the women's vote for the Republican ticket. I think he honestly believes that choosing a beauty queen working woman executive who also has family concerns will cause women to feel they have more in common with Palin. Problem is only a sexist would think like that. Women are more intelligent than that and this won't sell the Republican ticket to them.

    September 1, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  3. Linda Yarbrough

    What an upside down world ~

    Millions of people living in Gulf Coast communities that WILL flood again no matter what 'fail-safe' attempts made – too many gaps like 'private levees'. Mother Nature always wins in the long run and we humans never seem to learn.

    A pregnant teenager thrown into the spotlight by her mother, a national evangelical candidate who does not believe a woman has control over her own body. A candidate who loves to kill innocent creatures and agrees oil and gas moguls should drill in a wilderness preserved for generations to come! Moreover, she is certainly not qualified to lead our country should it be necessary to do so.

    Somebody wake us up so this nightmare will end.

    September 1, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  4. Tyrell

    I am a former resident of Plaquemines Parish and stayed near the "levee". It is not actually a levee. It is a flood gate the separates St. Bernard and Plaquemines. If you look at the shot you will see EBI on a building. It is actually a shipyard where ships are built.

    I believe what the Plaquemines Parish President was talking about was a levee contructed years ago of dirt that separates the Miss. River from the lone highway (HWY 39) on the east side of Plaquemines Parish.

    September 1, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  5. Joan

    Although living in TX now, I was born and raised in Jefferson Parish and it was not until today that I heard about "private" levees. I would be very interested to find out more about where the private levees are positioned and to learn whether the state or federal governments have attempted to purchase these properties from the owners. In the interest of public safety, I would think some measure would exist to ensure upkeep and maintenance of these private levees. Here is a situation where I could see the "eminent domain argument."

    September 1, 2008 at 10:03 pm |
  6. Larry Robinson

    I just cannot understand how some folks think they can actually control the mighty Mississippi or Mother Nature herself. Google Earth reveals MUCH swampy/bayou-laden land down there. Its like building a house on a ski slope in the summer.

    Far as Gov Palin's daughter; God bless her. Far as Gov. Pelin; God help us if she is elected.

    September 1, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  7. Kathi

    I agree that the life of the politician is usually fair game but his/her family should not be and I applaud Obama for his comments...however I do think the Republican party put this story out there for their gain. Now those voters not sure will look at her (Palin) and how she is handling this situation and either sympathize with her or applaud her for sticking by her daughter. I am not at all sure the right thing is marriage either since she is only 17. Giving the child up for adoption should be an option...pushing children into marriage because it is the "right thing" isn't always the right thing and if the CHILDREN aren't ready for marriage it can lead to divorce down the line, then what??? Will she demand her daughter stay married no matter what because divorce is wrong.

    As a Democrat, I agree it should not be an issue but for NEITHER party and the Republicans have already made it one.

    September 1, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  8. E. Joyce Moore

    I applaud Obama's position on the matter of Sara Palin's daughter, telling us we should let it go because it is a private family matter and has nothing to do with the election. Before I let it go, I have to say this: This is really not about Palin's poor daughter's now very public pregnancy. Palin's announcement today told us everything about who Palin is. She did not immediately disclose the pregnancy of her seventeen year old daughter to the public and probably not to McCain's camp. Lying by omission is still deceit. IF McCain did have that knowledge, then they are both guilty of deceiving the public. If it was a non-issue why not fully disclose it at the very beginning? Palin has clearly demonstrated that she is willing to be deceitful to gain power. George Bush deceived us and we went to war over oil and money. AGAIN, is this what we want for our country? Is this the example we want for our youth?

    September 1, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  9. Debbie

    Enough with the Gov Palin "pregnant daughter story"....Barrack Obama said it right...it has no relevance to her performance or prospective performance as a govenor or VP...

    And it seems that is all Wolf Blitzer and now Larry King want to talk about....how about some real news instead....

    September 1, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    A privately owned levee? Who owns it? Who will do the repairs on it and upgrade it like the Corps of Army Engineers are doing to the other levees? I never imagined a levee that could affect a whole parish could be privately owned. I sure wouldn't want to own one – think of the lawsuits that could occur.

    Will this hurricane put pressure on the Corp of Engineers to try to get the levees done more quickly without compromising integrity? The western levees seem to need a higher priority as well.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 1, 2008 at 8:58 pm |
  11. Larry

    Can you imagine if Gov. Palin was black?

    September 1, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
  12. LarryHouston

    I would like someone to ask the forward-looking question....If New Orleans was even close to being breached this time what would happen if even a category 3 came at the city instead of 70 – 80 miles to the west? Watching all this leads me to believe that we are still woefully unprepared for what can....and will happen. Its not if, but when.

    September 1, 2008 at 8:22 pm |
  13. Cindy

    I hope that they can at least control the levee in Plaquemines Parish until they get all of the people out of that area! You would think that even on a privately owned levee that the state would make them meet the same standards that the state has to meet.

    The Palin story won't change how the conservatives feel about Palin. In fact it will make them like her more because Bristol is choosing to have the baby not abort it. And it also shows that Palin and her family are a normal American family. She isn't the first teen to get pregnant and won't be the last unfortunately.

    The Dems and their supporters can bash all that they want but the more they do the more the Reps will back her. It may cause more of a backlash to make the conservatives rally and come out to vote in full force if Palin and her family are picked on mercilessly about a private family matter.


    September 1, 2008 at 8:14 pm |