Could better inspections have saved New Orleans during Katrina?

Complexity of urban flood protection systems in terms of cost, total population and value of property protected, and infrastructure investment.

Complexity of urban flood protection systems in terms of cost, total population and value of property protected, and infrastructure investment.

The Greater New Orleans urban flood protection system has no peer. On a scale of one to ten, if the GNO system were a ten, the next closest – Cape Girardeau, Missouri – would be a three.

And appropriately, for a system of this scope, each project in the $14.5 billion GNO system has – or soon will have – a highly detailed Operation and Maintenance, Repair Replacement and Rehabilitation Manual (OMRR&R).

The Army Corps of Engineers writes the guidelines. The local levee districts and the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Agency (CPRA) administer them. Nothing is left to chance for this, the most complex urban system in the nation in terms of cost, total population and value of property protected, and infrastructure investment.

Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, the corps rewrote the OMRR&R guidelines for inspections. Maintenance inspections are more uniform, more frequent and utilize modern technology. But the corps’ new inspections tools – more rigorous and frequent as they are – are still only visual.

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Now, it’s our turn to help

Volunteers arranged through Connie Uddo plant native flowers at the Levee Exhibit Hall and Rain Garden. Photo/Kenneth Evans July 9, 2015

Volunteers arranged through Connie Uddo plant native flowers and prepare soil for sod at the Levee Exhibit Hall and Rain Garden. Photo/Kenneth Evans July 9, 2015

When the survivors of the 2005 levee breaches needed help, Louisiana residents outside the flooded region were there.

Now, it’s our turn.

Many groups are providing flood relief, and we’re grateful for them all.

For those looking for a recommendation, the board of Levees.org suggests volunteering with or donating to NOLA Tree Project.

The group’s founder Connie Uddo has 10 years of disaster recovery experience working in post-Katrina New Orleans. Ms. Uddo’s group provided dozens of hours of volunteer labor to plant greenery for Levees.org’s Memorial Rain Garden.

Now she and program director Robin Young feel compelled to jump back in to help families in south Louisiana who are experiencing some of the worst flooding in the regions’ history.

To volunteer or donate to assist Louisiana Flooding survivors, click here. NOLA Tree Project

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Levees.org to convert flooded relic house into historic monument

A relic flooded home can be seen from Levees.org's Memorial Iris Garden. Photo/Sandy Rosenthal

A relic flooded home can be seen from Levees.org’s Memorial Iris Garden. Photo/Sandy Rosenthal

Pending approval from the city of New Orleans, Levees.org intends to preserve a house which flooded to the rafters when the London Avenue Canal burst at 50% of design load during Hurricane Katrina.

The house – just a stone’s throw from a levee breach site – is an authentic flooding artifact.

Here are the details of a press conference on Monday.

WHEN: August 8 at 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: 4918 Warrington Drive in Gentilly neighborhood

New Orleans City Councilman Jared Brossett (District D) will accompany Levees.org at the press event.

The application for a permit – Docket 80/16 – is scheduled 3rd on the City Planning Commission’s agenda the next day, Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., in Council Chambers.

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