Katrina 5 Years Later: The Fall and Rise of New Orleans’ Levees

BY News Desk  August 3, 2010 at 12:00 PM EST

Army Corps works on floodwall; courtesy photo

Five years after sections of New Orleans’ levees fell or were overtopped with water pushed inland by Hurricane Katrina, the NewsHour is looking back at what we’ve learned about their failure, what’s been done to fix them and how vulnerable New Orleans remains to another storm. Take a look:

Sept. 30, 2005: Rebuilding, Bolstering Levees to Take Years
With the city still largely in tatters and engineers studying how to fix the levee system, New Orleans officials and planners are looking at the challenges and opportunities facing a city that looks to rebuild.

Dec. 15, 2005: White House Vows to Build Levees Higher, Stronger
The U.S. government pledged to spend more than $3.1 billion to rebuild the New Orleans levee system that failed after Hurricane Katrina struck, flooding the city and destroying thousands of homes.

Feb. 16, 2006: Rebuilding Levees Sparks Engineering Debate
The Army Corps of Engineers continues its work to rebuild the levees in New Orleans to pre-Hurricane Katrina levels before the storm season begins again in June. But some scientists are questioning whether the Corps is focusing on returning the levees to the same strength of those that failed.

April 7, 2006: Estimates of Levee Repairs Continue to Rise
President Bush’s coordinator for Gulf Coast recovery, Donald Powell, announced that the Army Corps of Engineers needs $6 billion more — more than twice the amount Congress granted it — to make Louisiana’s levees strong enough to meet the standards of the federal flood insurance program.

June 12, 2006: Costly Levee Repairs May Be Inadequate
In the first month of a new hurricane season, the Army Corps of Engineers has completed almost $800 million in repairs to the New Orleans levee system — repairs some say still leave the battered city vulnerable.

June 15, 2007: Slide Show: Engineer Outlines Floodwall Designs
To better protect New Orleans, the Army Corps of Engineers used new techniques to build a stronger flood control system for the city after Hurricane Katrina. Col. Jeff Bedey of the Hurricane Protection Office explains the new floodwalls.