Myth Busters compiled by

Myth Buster One

CLICK TO ENLARGE Destruction at breach site of the 17th Street Canal.

CLICK TO ENLARGE Destruction at breach site of the 17th Street Canal.

As revealed in a Sunday New York Times story (5/24/15), experts David Rogers and Ray Seed have retracted statements they made in the highly cited NSF-funded levee investigation they co-chaired in 2006 out of U of California Berkeley. The article, due out in August 2015 in Water Policy backpedals on damning statements Rogers and Seed made; namely that the Orleans Levee Board used political ties to force the Army Corps of Engineers to build the inadequate levee system that failed during Katrina. The paper tells the vetted story–the Army Corps doomed New Orleans mainly due to a tragic mistake its engineers made on a large-scale study they did in the 1980s. Click here for the uncorrected proof for Water Policy.

Myth Buster Two

Half of New Orleans is at or well above sea level.
Source: Richard Campanella, Tulane School of Architecture 

Myth Buster Three

Pre-Katrina, more New Orleans homeowners had flood insurance per capita than the rest of the nation.
Source: New Orleans Times Picayune

Myth Buster Four

More than half the United States population lives in counties protected by levees. This information was found in a FOIA request filed by
Source: FEMA (PDF).

Myth Buster Five

Pre-Katrina, there was no warning to New Orleans residents that the hurricane levees could breach and fail. Everyone – including the Army Corps – was surprised when the levees crumbled in 2005.
Source: Digital Journal

Myth Buster Six

New Orleans was the first in the nation to place experts on its local levee boards. When Louisiana passed legislation requiring experts on its levee board, the state had to write it from scratch because there were no other models in the nation.
Source: New Orleans Times Picayune (PDF)

Myth Buster Seven

The widely publicized “drive-by” levee inspections pre-Katrina were a red herring in the flooding story of New Orleans in 2005. The inspections were annual audits by the Corps of Engineers of the levee district’s maintenance. They were not relevant in the disaster.
Source: Water Policy article 10.2166/wp.2015.077

Collapsed sheet piling remains interconnected at the Industrial Canal east side breach site. Photo/Francis James

Myth Buster Eight

After the Flood, commentators fed a myth that conservation-minded groups blocked the Army Corps of Engineers’ original plans for peripheral barriers and forced the agency to choose a second inferior design. In his latest book, Robert Verchick tells the true story.
Click here for excerpt.

Myth Buster Nine

U.S. counties protected by levees are wealthier and unemployment is lower. Levees more than pay for themselves when their cost is compared to the investment they protect.
Source: New Orleans Times Picayune

Myth Buster Number Ten

The majority of major metropolitan areas on this planet, and 39 out of 50 major cities in the United States, are in flood plains.
Click here for more on story.