LSU Hurricane Center director Ivor van Heerden had warned of severe flooding due to loss of coastal wetlands. However, this modeling and predictions had assumed the levees would perform. They did not. Levees designed and built by the Army Corps failed three feet below design specifications (main basin of New Orleans) and eroded because they were constructed with sand instead of clay (east New Orleans). According to a conservative 2007 study by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the majority of the damage from the flooding was due to the levees failing. And this majority figure is property loss only (residential and commercial capital) and does not consider damage to infrastructure and public utilities. [page 39] On August 25, 2006, Lt Gen Carl Strock conceded that “better communication from the Corps of the risk associated with the existing levee system might have spurred more people to evacuate” in advance of Katrina.
The reported drive-by levee inspections pre-Katrina were irrelevant in the catastrophic flooding in New Orleans.
- The United States District Court in Louisiana placed responsibility of the collapse of the 17th Street and London Avenue Canals squarely on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Source: US District Court
John McQuaid: To label the 2005 New Orleans Flood a natural disaster is a distortion. And it is quite convenient for those who screwed up
Source: Forbes Magazine
Half of New Orleans is at or well above sea level.
Source: Tulane and Xavier Universities
- The federal government’s study of the failed levee system during Katrina was convened and managed by the agency responsible for its performance – the Army Corps of Engineers.
Source: US Army Corps of Engineers
The majority of the United States population lives in counties protected by levees.