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Struggle of interagency resource management

Today we visited the Orleans Canal just below the sewage pumping station. Here we discussed the creation of the levee reinforcement flood wall that has been constructed along much of the canal. Yet, near the sewage pump station there is a break in the wall spanning approximately one hundred feet. This presents an obvious problem: if the reinforcement wall is meant to prevent flooding of surrounding houses, yet there is a large break in the chain, how exactly will this goal be achieved? One may also find themselves wondering: why invest time and money in creating an incomplete wall? The answer to the latter would be that the management of the sewage pump station believed that if the revetment wall was connected to the sewage treatment plant and a large storm occurred, the sewage treatment plant may be jeopardized resulting in contamination of the water within the canal.

Interestingly, when a storm event did occur this was not the location that was the cause of disaster. The gap between the levee revetment wall and sewage pump station allowed water to flow over the levee and onto the surrounding parkland as the storm surge passed resulting in minimal damage. It was further down the canal wall where failures occurred in several places wreaking havoc on surrounding homes.

It was here that we visited with grass roots organizer Sandy Rosenthal, creator of levees.org. Sandy and her son created levees.org in the days following Hurricane Katrina to shed light on the tragedy at hand and more importantly to ask why? Why did the levees fail when max capacity had not been reached? Why was the local levee board to be blamed for the faulty Army Corps Of Engineers levee design. To this day, the Army Corps Of Engineers has not been found responsible. We are optimistic that in the future agencies that manage public resources will better cooperate to prevent the occurrence of large scale disasters. Sandy Rosenthal of levees.org

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