I was going to expound on this but I see Lynne beat me to it:
The Bush administration's policy of turning over wetlands to developers almost certainly also contributed to the heightened level of the storm surge. In 1990, a federal task force began restoring lost wetlands surrounding New Orleans. Every two miles of wetland between the Crescent City and the Gulf reduces a surge by half a foot. Bush had promised "no net loss" of wetlands, a policy launched by his father's administration and bolstered by President Clinton. But he reversed his approach in 2003, unleashing the developers...
And for those of you who live in North Carolina, well, the news there isn't a whole lot better in terms of protecting your coastline.
BY THE WAY: Lynne also has an enlightening piece on this whole "sympathy" shtick.