Katrina Victims' Claims Number in the Trillions

New Orleans residents seek damages from Corps of Engineers
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2008 5:14 PM CST
Thanh Tang works construction after Hurricane Katrina washed away his job aboard a shrimp boat, in New Orleans, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – New Orleans residents have peppered the Army Corps of Engineers with claims for trillions in damages, USA Today reports, asking for sums higher than the nation’s entire economic output. One claim alone seeks $3 quadrillion. In all, the corps has received more than 489,000 claims, with more still coming. “That’s totally off-the-wall,” said one New Orleans lawyer.

The total is unclear. The corps still has 2 tons of paperwork to sort through, and the claimants will ultimately need to present evidence. But even then, how they’ll be handled is a mystery—the government can’t possibly afford to pay them all. One lawyer was unsympathetic. “If they’d built the levees right, they wouldn’t have this problem,” he said.