The Mississippi River will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise... Mark Twain
There's a real drama being played on on the lower Mississippi - a "500-year flood event" that is shaping up to be catastrophic for people living along its banks and floodplains (personally, I think these 500-year events aren't very accurately classified given global climate change and you have to love how the Army Corp of Engineers designs for 500-year flood events with 100-years of hydrologic data).
Here's a great article in the DownWithTyranny blog summarizing what's going on. Highly recommended.
Is This the Big One? The Flood That Makes New Orleans A Backwater?
Once again I'll stress that all of this is no surprise to geologists. Anyone who studies fluvial processes knows that these event are periodic and inevitable. What is surprising is how willful ignorance of people who live on the river's banks, the shortsighted stupidity of politicians and zoning boards, and the hubris of the Army Corp of Engineers.