David Edelstein

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Le Screw-Up: Harry Shearer Charts the Flooding of New Orleans in The Big Uneasy

Tonight—and only tonight, in many theaters—you can and you should see The Big Uneasy, Harry Shearer’s surprisingly even-tempered response to hearing over and over that the flooding of New Orleans was “a natural disaster.” The thesis, glibly stated, is that the flooding of New Orleans was no-ho way-hay a natural disaster. The word “Katrina” barely comes up. The film is, instead, a judicious analysis of inadequate levees, faulty pumps, eradicated wetlands, egregious shipping routes, catastrophic water funnels, and the agency that has gone to enormous lengths to conceal the magnitude of its screw-up: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.