Levees.org proposes placing Levee Breach Sites on National Register

Press Conference in Lower Ninth Ward announcing nomination of Breach Sites, 8-4-2010. Photo/Stanford Rosenthal

In August 2010, with the Lower Ninth Ward as a backdrop, Levees.org announced its nomination of two levee breach sites to the National Register of Historic Places – the 17th Street Canal and the Industrial Canal (east side north).

The two sites are now National Register Eligible Properties.

In April 2011, the Louisiana State Office of Historic Preservation (SHPO) confirmed that Levees.org’s 28-page documentation of the two levee breaches (how and why they occurred, their significance, etc) has been placed in a public file that federal agencies must use when undertaking any activities under Section 106 that are in the vicinity of the breach sites.

In addition, the information in this file may be consulted by media, groups and individuals interested in the history of New Orleans’ water and levee systems, and the events surrounding the breaching of the levees during Hurricane Katrina.

The Louisiana State Office of Historic Preservation (SHPO) is in the Lieutenant Governor

Levees.org produced the documentation under contract with a professional consultant, Mark Barnes, a 35-year veteran with the National Park Service. Mr. Barnes has worked on over 1,000 successful nominations to the National Register.

Levees.org has formally put in writing to the Louisiana Office of Historic Preservation its intention to amend the nomination to include many more breach sites, including but not limited, to the London Avenue Canal (east and west), the Industrial Canal west, the Industrial Canal east side south, and the MRGO.

————–

There were over 50 breaches of the hurricane protection levees in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish on August 29, 2005. Levees breached and failed for a variety of different reasons. When Levees.org began the nomination process by selecting the 17th Street Canal and the east side north breach of the Industrial Canal, it was always intended that these be first two, not the last two. The nomination process is complex and the amount of work is both extensive and expensive. Faced with a deadline in July 2010, Levees.org was compelled, at least initially, to nominate two breach sites which, we felt if taken together might illustrate the broad scope of the disaster.

An additional six levee breach sections (that retain integrity) that occurred on August 29, 2005 may be nominated to the National Register at a later date following future research on those breach sites.