10/29/2012 11:12 pm ET Updated Dec 29, 2012

Sandy on Hurricane Sandy

When the Governor of Massachusetts recommended that all college classes be cancelled today due to Hurricane Sandy, he also canceled my presentation at my alma mater, Mount Holyoke College.

I had been invited to tell the student body about my leadership of, which I founded in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaks. Spoiler alert: the hurricane's name and mine being the same are a coincidence.

I did manage to catch one of the last planes out of ghostly quiet Bradley Airport in Connecticut this morning and wrote this post since I was lucky enough to get a plane with Gogo internet.

There are things I have observed in hurricane preparation today that give me encouragement. But there are also some things which fill me with dismay.

A disturbing site is folks in New York City using sandbags to protect valuable property and infrastructure in one of the most densely populated areas in the nation. Flood protection for the great city of New York ought to be built to a 10,000-year standard, not the mandated one-size-fits-all 100-year protection.

But I was encouraged that Mayor Bloomberg ordered the evacuation of more than 370,000 people in low lying communities in New York. This apparently was called due to abnormally high storm surge predictions.

I am Sandy Rosenthal, and I watched the people of my city -- the jewel that is New Orleans -- die during a hurricane in 2005.

Fifty-five percent of our nation's population lives in counties protected by levees. It seems that our nations' leaders may be realizing this.


Founded after the levee failures during Katrina, has a mission of education on why New Orleans flooded, and now has chapters in five states including New York.