Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, blamed the president. "The president could have funded it," she said.
Someday, she should read the Constitution. Only Congress can appropriate federal money.
Former Louisiana senator John Breaux also told me the state never got what it asked for. "I'm part of the effort to try and get more money, and many times we were not successful," he complained.
But, surprise! It turns out Louisiana got lots of money for Corps of Engineers projects -- hundreds of millions of dollars more than any other state. Congress just spent it on pork projects instead of on the levees.
I confronted Breaux about his own state's pork, such as subsidies for ship builders and the sugar industry.
"I object to you using words like squander and pork," he said. "What is pork in one part of the country is an essential project in another part."
It's a reason Americans shouldn't filter so much money through Washington. Louisianans don't need Iowa rain forests, and Iowans don't need levees in Louisiana. Maybe the people who want to live in New Orleans should have to pay (through private enterprise or local taxes) the special costs of its exposed location -- or live elsewhere. If all local projects, essential and whimsical, were paid for with local taxes, competition among states and cities would force them to become more efficient.