We share your concerns about the importance of reducing hurricane risk in Southeast Louisiana. Towards that end, the Corps of Engineers and our many partners in the region have worked continuously since Hurricane Katrina, and we are well underway to provide New Orleans with a 100-year level of hurricane and storm damage risk reduction by 2011.
The Corps is currently engaged in a congressionally-directed study to report to Congress what it would take to provide the New Orleans metropolitan area with up to Category 5 hurricane protection. The Corps will provide Congress with a suite of structural (levees, gates, pumps, etc.) and non-structural (renewed and restored wetlands and marshes, efficient evacuation routes and warning systems, etc.) alternatives for a hurricane and storm damage reduction system that will reduce risk from future major storm events.
It is important to understand though that while risk can be reduced, no man-made system can completely eliminate risk or provide complete protection from storms.
The Corps has not yet put a price tag on what a Category 5 hurricane and storm damage reduction system could cost. The ultimate cost and level of protection will eventually be determined by Congress based on the range of alternatives selected from the study and the local citizens who have such a vital stake in the future system.