Levees still broken

Tom Paine
by Anya Kamenetz

08/29/06

Dr. Stephen Nelson, a Tulane University geologist, often leads field trips of the six major levee breaches that flooded 80 percent of New Orleans a full day after Hurricane Katrina passed. 'People are always amazed at the extent of the destruction,' he says. 'Miles and miles of empty streets with houses gutted or partially gutted, and dead vegetation everywhere.' ... A year after the hurricane, we have thousands of pages of independent autopsies of south Louisiana's flood protection system, and they point to a single conclusion. The American Society of Civil Engineers (PDF report here), the Independent Levee Investigation Team led by U.C. Berkeley, and Team Louisiana, a group of local experts, each reported that the 'catastrophic structural failure' after Katrina wasn't just a matter of crumbling mud. The real weakness was in the structure of the Army Corps of Engineers itself...

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