I just (finally) saw a good shot of those levees. I thought they were
earthen mounds, but it looks as though they are just concrete walls.
Somehow that seems unstable at least, particularly in a hurricane
zone. Once again, it looks like poor design.
Reportedly, they are both- raised earth berms capped with concrete.
It's also reported that they were built to withstand cat-3 hurricane.
And ... what's in Ponchartrain? How about all the crap pumped out of
the sewers of New Orleans?
The real poor design was to locate a city on alluvial soils so
incredibly deep, with so little freeboard, knowing full well that the
surface level would continually drop. This was not done up front, but
allowed to continue/expand. Just like allowing residential
construction, etc. along the coast to the east. Somebody profited.
Everybody profited. The developers, the contractors the property
owners, the city's tax coffers, etc.
I really don't understand this line of reasoning. EVERY major
professional organization, trade group, political party, etc., has had
a convention in NO. Where was the boycott then? Not a safe place,
built in a bad location - I ain't going! I never heard that said.
Bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks running around the field...
<shrug> Usually takes a disaster before you can get enough folks to go along
with more stringent building codes. If things in the N'orleans area get
rebuilt to the same standards as before the disaster, then they'll deserve a big
helping of derision.
NO is in a bowl, down to 20 feet below sea level. You can build houses that
resist high winds, but building houses that come through prolonged immersion
in water is harder. A lot of the stuff carried in the water is industrial
waste and human sewage.
This was not the worst case for a hurricane and flooding either. Something
like this or worse will happen, eventually, again.
From a history resource:
New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, sieur de
Bienville, and named for the regent of France, Philippe II, duc d'Orleans.
It remained a French colony until 1763, when it was transferred to the
Spanish. In 1800, Spain ceded it back to France; in 1803, New Orleans, along
with the entire Louisiana Purchase, was sold by Napoleon I to the United
States. It was the site of the Battle of New Orleans (1815) in the War of
1812. During the Civil War the city was besieged by Union ships under Adm.
David Farragut; it fell on Apr. 25, 1862.
Also see: http://gatewayno.com/history/PUMPS.html
And the current calamity was amply forecast in this 2002 report:
another warning from
On 31-Aug-2005, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Since when is a city that's almost 300 years old "designed"?
Cities evolve and change. They get built by thousands of people
over many years. Design has little to do with it - degree programs
in urban planning notwithstanding.
On 08/31/05 06:30 pm Savvy 1 tossed the following ingredients into the
ever-growing pot of cybersoup:
I have never understood this policy. In Australia I used to see
Invitations to Bid on govt. projects that explicitly stated that the
lowest bid would not necesssarily be accepted -- and even that none of
the bids might be accepted. If they didn't like any of the bids, they
could revise the specs. and try again or advertise more widely, or ...
That's standard wording, Perce, and it's the truth, too. Bids to the
government involve a lot of factors, and price is an important one. It's
not always the final factor, though. I don't see any evidence that the NO
levees were mis-constructed, just designed to the wrong standard.
I disagree. they may well be well designed and engineered, but not to the
proper standard. Look through history; they've been predicting this
particular disaster for over 100 yrs, and Cat-5 hurricanes have been known
in the Gulf. It's the Cat-3 standard that was wrong, and it probably saved
a few million dollars at the time.
Any small-town zoning dept in the US would have seen the Cat-5 potential and
insisted on a Cat-6 survivable design. Over-engineering is comical
sometimes, but it doesn't always cost much. Under-engineering is often
fatal, and it's catastrophic in this case.
-> I just (finally) saw a good shot of those levees. I thought they were-> earthen mounds, but it looks as though they are just concrete walls.-> Somehow that seems unstable at least, particularly in a hurricane-> zone. Once again, it looks like poor design.-> -> Mark
I have the feeling they'll be a little stronger once they're repaired/
Well, now that there will be nothing left and the city will be a "clean
If they are stupid enough to leave it in a hole, without backfilling before
No levy/levee will ever guarantee it would not happen again eventually.
Nature has a warped sense of humor when humans believe they can outsmart it.
Next will be the idiots in California who think extra bracing in buildings
will help when the whole state slides into the Pacific
On Wed, 31 Aug 2005 15:12:20 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:
I was in New Orleans for a week during July of 2004 and therefore have
a good idea of the situation described in the TV reports. The current
tragedy is exacerbated by a large and poor black population who
hadn't the means to evacuate ahead of the storm. Now all their homes
are destroyed. All these will have to be cleared to bare ground as
there will be nothing to salvage. The City should use this
opportunity to rebuild a better city that will be able to survive
another hit. The poor will still prefer to live in the city as that's
where they can access the services. This will involve building high
rise apartments which provides the opportunity to have more open park
Looking ahead I think when the City rebuilds it should think of
dividing the city into smaller flood zones that can isolated a levee
breach water to a smaller area. This will require building new levees
within the city. The levees can follow the current arterial roads
with the relocated roads on top of the levee.
I have been thinking that this might be a good time to
move the whole city to higher ground. I figure it
probably wouldn't cost much more than rebuilding it
where it is, and in the long run it would save having to
go through this again.
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