While New Orleans levies pass Ida’s test, some suburbs flood

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While New Orleans levies pass Ida’s test, some suburbs flood

New Orleans (AP) – Leaves, floodwalls and floodgates that protect New Orleans Hurricane Ida’s corner, 16 years ago Katrina passed her toughest test since the federal government spent billions of dollars to upgrade a system that failed miserably in Hurricane Katrina.

But strengthening flood protection systems in New Orleans has not been able to free some neighboring communities from the devastating storm waves of Ida. Many residents of the western suburbs of Laplace, where work on the much-awaited Levy project had recently begun, had to be rescued from the rising floodwaters.

Marcy Jacob Hebert emptied before Ida, but based on what she saw and heard from neighbors, the storm no doubt flooded her Laplace home. Her house was not flooded During Katrina in 2005, But in 2012 Isaac took almost 2 feet (60 centimeters) of water during Hurricane.

“We didn’t have these problems unless everyone else’s levies worked,” said Hebert, 46. It may not be the only factor, but I’m sure it contributes.

Emeritus Craig Colten, a professor at Louisiana State University who has taught historical geography, said most systems in New Orleans have existed for decades. He said flooding in Laplace could be described as windy, not any floodwaters diverted from New Orleans.

“Isaac was indeed a minor storm in terms of wind speed, but this storm carried water into the Pankchartrain lake on the west coast in the direction of Laplace. And where there’s lapels, there’s going to be water, ”Colton said. “I haven’t seen anything from Katrina that’s going to make a really big difference.”

Gov. John Bell Edwards said a preliminary survey of Lewis in Louisiana showed he did as he pleased and put the water out.

“We do not believe there is a single levy anywhere that has actually been broken or failed. There were some small levies that were exceeded for a certain period of time, ”Edwards said.

The two flood protection districts oversee the system in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard counties. No district reported any violations or levies overtopping.

“The system performed as designed,” said Nicholas Callie, regional director of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-West, which oversees the west coast of Orleans and Jefferson Parish.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which includes St. Bernard Parish and most of Orleans and Jefferson Parish, also planned to inspect its system on Monday but found no problems, said Regional Director Kelly Chandler.

Andy Horowitz, a professor of history at the University of Tullen, author of “Katrina: A History, 1915-2015,” said the “obvious big news” is that the Levites stood up against the Ida wave. This does not mean that an unsafe city like New Orleans is safe from flooding “against the backdrop of changing weather”.

“This does not mean that Hurricane Ida’s lesson is that metropolitan New Orleans has adequate hurricane protection. That means it has enough protection from the storm waves, “Horowitz said. “The system has been challenged by stronger and more frequent hurricanes. I think a lot of experts are very concerned about New Orleans’ low level of protection. ”

A federal judge in New Orleans ruled in 2009 that the failure of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to properly maintain and operate the Mississippi River-Gulf outlet was a major cause of the catastrophic flood between Katrina. Levy failures near Lake Pontchartrain also caused flooding in the New Orleans area.

After Katrina, the federal government spent $ 14.5 billion on projects designed to increase storm and flood protection south of Pontchartrain Lake in New Orleans and surrounding suburbs. Starting from a giant wave barrier east of the city, the system is a 130-mile (210-kilometer) ring built to withstand about 30 feet (9 meters) of storms.

Work began recently on a levy project to protect thousands of Laplace and other community residents outside of New Orleans ’levy system. The project is not expected to be completed by 2024.

“I’m glad they’re building a flat for us, but I’m worried about what happens to the next group west,” Hebert said. “The water has to go somewhere. We can’t keep funneling it from one person to another, from place to place. ”

Bernardo Fallas, a spokesman for Philips for, said the company had no immediate information on whether a levy had been reported at the Plekemines parish at the Alliance refinery in Belle Chase. The refinery has been closed since Saturday before Ida’s arrival, Fallas said.

“When the refinery is safe, we will do a post-storm assessment,” Falas said.


Kunzelman reports from College Park, Maryland. Amy reports from Atlanta. Michael Byseker, Associated Press writer in Washington; Jeffrey Collins of Columbia, South Carolina; And Melinda Deslett from Baton Rouge contributed to this report.


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