Harry Shearer Joins National Levee Safety Campaign

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The Midwest flooding has awakened America to a fact laid bare by Hurricane Katrina but overshadowed by the enormity of the failed response. But once again, the magnitude of failing infrastructure, specifically civil engineered levees, is before the American people. On Friday, a flood protection group founded in New Orleans will launch a campaign to arm American citizens with knowledge on whether they are safe from flooding.

Clearly, levee failure is not just a metro New Orleans problem, and we must get the word out.

At the site of the catastrophic canal breach in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, a flood protection advocacy group will launch a public service website and campaign to promote awareness that communities all across America are at risk of flooding.

"The Midwest flooding has spotlighted the magnitude of our failing infrastructure, specifically with the failure of engineered levees," says Sandy Rosenthal, Founder and National Spokesperson of Levees.Org which began in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. "Once again, levee and engineering failure and the resulting devastation is before the American people."

On Friday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m. actor/producer Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, and Spinal Tap) will join Levees.Org, its supporters, and residents of the metro community for a photo shoot while sporting the new T-shirts.

As a public service, Levees.Org has created a searchable data base so citizens anywhere can find out if they're at risk of flooding by going to AreWeAtRisk.org and entering their zip code.

"Are you as safe as you think you are? What happened here in New Orleans could happen anywhere, to you," warns Harry Shearer in a public service announcement produced by Levees.Org last year featuring the star who volunteered his time.

After levees crumbled and breached during Hurricane Katrina, Congress ordered the US Army Corps of Engineers to inspect levees across the United States. In February 2007, the Corps released a list over 120 levees in 28 states of so-called "maintenance concern."

"I thought people deserved to know whether or not they're safe," says Stanford Rosenthal, 18, webmaster for Levees.Org. "So I wrote a program that converted the Corps of Engineers' list of at-risk levees into a simple searchable data base."

T-shirts can be purchased on location Friday morning for $20. Citizens are welcome and encouraged to purchase their t-shirt in advance by visiting Dirty Coast, 5704 Magazine Street, Mon-Sat 11-6.

The T-shirt theme, that many are "in the same boat as New Orleans" is a cooperative venture. After the official launch and photo shoot on Friday, T-shirts will be priced at $25 and Levees.Org will get $5 for each T-shirt Dirty Coast sells. Tees will be available online by 5 p.m. Saturday CST.

"Forty-three percent of the American population lives in areas protected by levees," says HJ Bosworth, civil engineer and volunteer consultant to Levees.Org. "Clearly, levee failure is not just a metro New Orleans problem, and we must get the word out."

Leeves.Org was founded in November of 2005 by Sandy Rosenthal, 51, and her son Stanford, now 18, while living in Lafayette, Louisiana after evacuating from New Orleans. They returned to the city and grew the organization to over 20,000 members. The non partisan group's mission is education that metro New Orleans was destroyed not by a natural disaster, but by the worst engineering failure in the world since Chernobyl.

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