KYW Special: Five Years After Katrina, Part V
KYW’s Brad Segall returned to New Orleans last week, five years after he reported from there during Hurricane Katrina. He examined the question asked by a lot of people: “Can it happen again?”
Walking around New Orleans, a lot of people ask that same question. Is there protection in place if Mother Nature decides to send another major hurricane toward southeast Louisiana?
Nearly every levee in New Orleans was breached by the storm surge, leaving 80 percent of the city underwater.
Five years later, work to shore up those levees continues, according to Col. Robert Sinkler (right), who heads up the Army Corps of Engineers’ construction effort:
“One thing that Congress did right after Katrina was fully authorize fully-funded construction of this system, so we are able to execute about fifteen to twenty years’ worth of construction in about 36 months to wrap this up.”
At a cost of more than $14 billion.
The old levees are being fortified, and stronger, higher levees are being built to better protect a city that’s always been prone to flooding.
(Sinkler:) “The potential of flooding — of course from the Mississippi River and from rainfall, because of lot of it is at or below sea level. And there’s always a threat of hurricane storm surge from flooding portions of the city, and then there’s coastal restoration and degradation which brings the Gulf of Mexico closer and closer and closer to the city of New Orleans.”
Completion is set for next year, and Sinkler says residents should be confident in the system.