Sandy Rosenthal ~ Activist, Author, Podcast Host

Sandy Rosenthal

Sandy Rosenthal founded the non-profit in 2005. The group’s focus is educating the public that the flooding of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina was due to federal engineering mistakes, not the wrath of nature.

Her book, Words Whispered in Water, (Mango, 2020) is about how––against all odds––she altered the national narrative about the flooding disaster.  

In March of 2019, Rosenthal unveiled the Flooded House Museum at a major breach site. She initiated the installation of three historic plaques vetted by the state’s preservation office, hosts an annual levee breach bike tour, and much more.

For those efforts, Rosenthal has been honored with numerous awards most recently including Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year from Tulane University and Most Influential Woman from Mount Holyoke College. Rosenthal is an advocate for 62% of the American population living in counties protected by levees. Rosenthal has been married to Stephen Rosenthal since 1979, has three adult children, and two grandchildren living in San Francisco. She also has two small dogs named Twinkie and Cupcake.



Words Whispered in Water
The catastrophic flooding of New Orleans in 2005 brought levees into the public conscience. Yet, flooding now seems to be happening almost everywhere. The majority of the nation’s population lives in counties protected by levees. This is an eye-opening talk pulling from Sandy’s personal experience and part of what she shares in her book by the same name. Your audience will learn why all this flooding is occurring, what it means, and what they can do to stay safe.

Being the David in a World of Goliaths

With corporations getting ever larger – and even able to influence the outcome of presidential elections – the power of a single individual might seem lost. But it’s alive and well. Your attendees will learn how, with minimal resources, to harness the energy of outside experts and mobilize citizen participation to accomplish short-term goals.

Your Opposition Might be Paid Actors!

If you’re a small business or a community-based group making the world a better place, you will likely face opposition in the form of a “grassroots group.” But the majority of these are fake – created by elite consultants working for wealthy people or corporations. In this presentation, you will learn how, with shoestring resources, to recognize the fake grassroots group and to pull back the curtain to expose it.



  • Tulane University
  • University of New Orleans
  • US Dept of State International Leadership Program
  • NFIP Reauthorization Conference
  • Tulane Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy
  • American Business Women’s Association
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Liskow & Lewis law firm
  • Society of Environmental Journalists, Annual Conference
  • American Mensa, New Orleans Chapter
  • Whistleblower Tour Event, panelist
  • Society of Professional Journalists annual conference
  • Loyola Institute of Politics
  • National Association of Environmental Law Conference
  • The Great Mississippi River: Restoring Balance Symposium
  • Rotary Club of New Orleans (Downtown)
  • Rotary Club of New Orleans (International Airport)
  • Rotary Club 5160: Benicia, Santa Clara, Alameda
  • Financial Executives Networking Group: San Francisco, CA
  • NMC Regional Conference, Tulane University
  • Featured in HBO Comic Relief 2006 with Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal



“We enjoyed Sandy’s captivating presentation. She was prepared, had great media support, and told an interesting and fascinating story. We highly recommend her for your next function.”
~ Craig Stuart Adams, President, Golden Gate Breakfast Club

“Thank you so much for your time and your presentation to East Sacramento Rotary. Very enlightening. Your advocacy in the area of levees is much appreciated. Your results have a direct effect on those of us living with levees, especially in the Sacramento area. I’m always touched by how one person’s passion can have such a positive impact. Thank you!”
~ Maria Mengotti, President, Rotary Club of East Sacramento

“Sandy is an informed speaker about levees. She even did her own research and became familiar with water issues in our area and state.”
~ Brian O’Neill, Program Chair, Rotary Club of Almaden Valley

“Sandy’s public activism was an inspiration to all. The contents of her presentation connected with Rotarians on many different levels from the historical to the political to the ethical. It was striking to learn that the breach of the levees was closely linked to the breach of trust by the US Army Corps of Engineers.”
~ Pierre Thompson, Program Chair, Rotary Club of Richmond

“Sandy is well versed regarding the levee system in New Orleans. Our biggest takeaway was people should not be afraid to ask questions at any level of government.”
~ André Lewis, Program Chair, Rotary Club of Benicia

“Sandy’s passion and commitment to finding the truth was evident in her presentation. She did an excellent job of telling her story and the truth about the levee issues in New Orleans.”
~ John Becker, Program Chair, Rotary Club of Newark

“Sandy’s work is totally inspiring. Her presentation is interesting and spoke of her passion for accountability and seeking change and progress.”
~ Alice Lai-Bitker, Program Chair, Rotary Club of Alameda 

“Excellent presentation. Well worth listening to. This is the story of Hurricane Katrina ravaging New Orleans. It was classified as an act of Mother Nature but as she discovered is more likely a federal civil engineering mistake. Very interesting speaker. I particularly liked that she tied her presentation in with a discussion of local concerns like the rebuilding of Anderson Dam and Guadalupe River flooding.”
~ Walt Strach, Speaker Chair, SIR Branch 62, Sunnyvale

Download Press Kit Here: Words Whispered In Water Press Kit


YouTube Channel: LeveesOrg

Book:  Words Whispered in Water (Amazon)

Early Praise for Words Whispered in Water: Why the Levees Broke in Hurricane Katrina

Words Whispered in Water Press Kit

Technical book review by Columbia University


NPR’s John Burnett interviews Sandy Rosenthal about her debut book at 2020 Miami Book Fair

Sandy Rosenthal featured in Discovery Channel’s “Deadly Engineering”

Tulane University Honors Founder Sandy Rosenthal (setting the record straight)

A New Generation Learns About the Levee Breaches of New Orleans in 2005

Artists Recreate New Orleans Hurricane Katrina Destruction

AP Articles: Almost 2/3 of Americans live in counties with levees

Sorrow revisited: Re-creating Katrina’s muck in New Orleans

Katrina levee failures subject of new book

Social Media: 





LeveesOrg (Instagram)

Wikipedia Page:  Sandy Rosenthal on Wikipedia


One of only three non-fiction finalists for the Killer Nashville 2021 Silver Falchion Award.