Both institutions knew long before Katrina that good engineering is an expensive proposition. But as with the Corps and its floodwalls, Tulane under Cowen appears to value simple and cosmetic fixes over addressing the true needs of our area.
Cowen has chosen to focus on narrowing a great university down to one college (but one with a new baseball stadium!) while sitting atop ground zero for the greatest and most costly engineering disaster in American history. It is comically ironic that Louisiana's guild of professional engineering firms, many of which were founded and are led by Tulane Engineering graduates, now must ignore Tulane as they recruit engineering talent to meet the challenges put before us by the storms of 2005.
As bad as things were in September 2005, I knew even then that what happened in New Orleans would provide fertile ground for the academe of professional engineering, Tulane included. After all, Tulane's engineers already had a centurylong legacy of achievement ranging from the famous pumps of A. Baldwin Wood to the longest bridge in the world to designing the machines that lofted man to the moon.
Cowen's Tulane has abandoned this legacy. Many of Tulane's alumni now await the true Renewal Plan, the one that we'll embark upon once Scott Cowen is similarly relegated.
W. Stuart Lob
Tulane Engineering Alumnus
Give the Guy a Break
We have always, in the past, admired your work and respected your political insights. We are therefore doubly dismayed at your attack piece on David Vitter ("The Vitter End," Politics, July 17). We would not have expected you to join the slavering hounds in the press baying for his hide.
Besides smacking nastily of a vindictive glee, your criticisms are beside the point. What counts for all of us is that his ambition means hard work on our behalf. And anyone who does not regard his private sins as exactly that -- private -- is making himself companion to the scurrilous company of Larry Flynt.
Do you ever think what a difference it would have made to Louisiana if Livingston had been Speaker at the time of Katrina? And do you think it would have been better for Vitter to behave like Clinton, and have an affair with an intern rather than visit a professional? We don't.
FDR kept a mistress during most of his time in the White House. The press, in those years, had the decency to ignore this. What turmoil would have ensued had he been "outed" during WWII. It would be to the benefit of all of us if the press returned to the slogan "All the news that's fit to print."
David Vitter's statement to the press was made with dignity, sincerity, and strength. All of us who are proud of his work in Washington will continue to support him.
Jean and Charlie Matkin
Look for the Real Cause
Currently condemning fingers are pressing hard upon Sen. David Vitter, but unfortunately, those fingers bear witness to only one side of the coin. Both Jeremy Alford and Clancy Dubos inked scornfully and judgmentally upon Mr. Vitter's actions (News & Views, July 17) while those writers continue collecting checks from the very weekly that advertises and promotes such promiscuous behavior on its back pages.
The public and the media cry out for Vitter's explanation, some even want his resignation. However, neither looks to understand what may well be a serious illness.
In its July 17 issue, Gambit Weekly printed an advertisement regarding drug and alcohol addiction, both of which are noted as debilitating illnesses. Likewise, a sexual addiction is an illness.
If Alford and Dubos, acting no different than Sen. Vitter did with self-righteous convictions, would remove those hard-pressed fingers and flip the coin over, they just may see the side of a very ill man who needs and deserves proper treatment. I further emphasize that Vitter's actions should not be disregarded, nor should he be excused as a public official for his private wrongdoings. I also accentuate that the senator took stances upon issues that represented his constituency, which is his job, even if he may have had different personal views.
Taking matters on a larger scale, if every person who ever committed a misdemeanor, or even a series of them, without being convicted were forced to resign from his/her working position, the role of our government (if such a thing could then exist) would be to fix the enormous rate of unemployment.
So before passing sentence, remember there are always two sides, if not more, to any story. And illnesses need proper treatment.