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The Calm Before the Storm

As still another major hurricane threatens New Orleans, just one year after Katrina, the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA say they are prepared for anything.

Government contractors say they have nearly completed the installation of a top-of-the-line X10 Sentinel camera on the New Orleans levee system. In addition to the camera, the corps will install as many as three motion sensors. “This way we won’t have to wait for the media to tell us if the levee breaks next time,” an engineer remarked. “We’ll be able to tell right away when it’s time to rev up the engines on our getaway plane.”

The Corps will install the cameras for a mere $150 million. That breaks down to $599 for the bandit-priced Sentinel camera, about $200 for the motion detectors and about $149, 000,000,391 (including sales tax) for the government contractor to install the system. The Corps doesn’t believe the installation costs are excessive. “How can you put a price on human life?” he said.

Among the human life to be saved are Corps and government contractor employees. It is not known if the corps will include a video sender within the system that will send the pictures of the levee breaking to an emergency communications center. “The people who were in harm’s way last August are probably still well out of the way,” one official said. “Those who have the means to leave town quickly are likely to take advantage of early warnings.”

There are some in the city who question the installation package. They believe that the $150 billion installation cost might have been used to build a far better levee system and perhaps save the city from future destruction. “These people obviously have never been a part of the entertainment industry,” a Corps of Engineers official said. “Think of the money that has been generated in the past year by Katrina – just in books, films and documentary television alone.”

Entertainment sources say New Orleans could stand to generate billions of dollars in film revenue should Hurricane Ernesto slam the city during this anniversary week. “This will create dozens of chick flicks for the Lifetime Channel alone!”

Not only would a new hurricane generate billions of dollars in film revenue, sources say it could make or break dozens of careers in broadcast journalism. Some may remember that it was Hurricane Carla slamming Galveston, Texas in 1961 that created a career for an obscure Houston reporter named Dan Rather. Last year, Katrina created another powerhouse, Anderson Cooper.

Entertainment industry officials say MSNBC broadcaster Rita Cosby was last seen in a Gore-Tex retailer purchasing numerous rain slicks and a strap-on wind hat.


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