Post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Flooding: The Result of Admitted Levee/Floodwall Design Failure
Make sure everyone you know--and everyone you don't know--(especially beyond New Orleans and Louisiana) is aware of this very important FACT:
The flooding of most of the City of New Orleans was not the result of a natural disaster, it was the result of an admitted MANMADE mistake by the federal government--specifically the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Hurricane Katrina was simply the catalyst to reveal the design error.
Now (over seven friggin' months later) it is the federal government's responsibility, or better yet--it's moral and ethical duty, to right the wrongs of August 2005 to New Orleans and it's citizens. Period. There is no need for debate, Mr. President (see above), Donald Powell, Senator Bennett, Representative Hastert, et. al. If the United States is truly the great country we all claim it to be, then this challenge should not be an impossible one.
Constructing "never again" hurricane flood protection (a la post-the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927) in conjunction with substantial coastal wetlands restoration are the first steps towards mending New Orleans and her citizens, but other key steps must be implemented as well. Two examples would be fair compensation to help citizens rebuild the homes and businesses destroyed by the floodwaters (inlcuding resolution of the ongoing insurance fiascos many remain saddled with) and secondly, the publicly administered rate regulation of the insurance and private utilities industries to ensure New Orleans' viability as an affordable place to live. No one is asking for a handout as certain "pick-yourself-up-by-your bootstrap" pundits insist--the federal government's mistake led to this disaster. Therefore, the federal government must play a major role in correcting it.
The seven-month, 300,000 diaspora-ed citizens later mea culpa:
From today's Times-Picayune:
In the closest thing yet to a mea culpa, the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers acknowledged Wednesday that a "design failure" led to the breach of the 17th Street Canal levee that flooded much of the city during Hurricane Katrina.
Lt. Gen. Carl Strock told a Senate committee that the corps neglected to consider the possibility that floodwalls atop the 17th Street Canal levee would lurch away from their footings under significant water pressure and eat away at the earthen barriers below.
"We did not account for that occurring," Strock said after the Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. "It could be called a design failure."
A botched design has long been suspected by independent forensic engineers probing the levee failures. A panel of engineering experts confirmed it last month in a report saying the "I-wall" design could not withstand the force of the rising water in the canal and triggered the breach.
But until Wednesday the corps, which designed and oversaw construction of the levees, had not explicitly taken responsibility for the mistake.
"We have now concluded we had problems with the design of the structure," Strock told members of the subcommittee that finances corps operations. "We had hoped that wasn't the case, but we recognize it is the reality."
Markus' take at Wet Bank Guide: It makes clear, however, the obligation of the nation to restore us and protect us. This was not a natural disaster. It was a failure of the government to do what is promised. It failed to protect us. The last time the government failed so stupendously, they emptied the public purse into the lap of New York, and declared wars to cover for their ineptitude.
Kinch's take at Building Big Easy: I also hope that this admission sheds light on the government's role in this disaster that public pressure can be put to bear on the government to make ammends for its failure.