New Orleans levees pass Ida’s test while some suburbs flood – ABC News

NEW ORLEANS — The levees, floodwalls and floodgates that shield New Orleans held up in the directio…….


NEW ORLEANS — The levees, floodwalls and floodgates that shield New Orleans held up in the direction ofs Hurricane Ida’s fury, passing their hardest look at As a Outcome of the federal authorities spent billions of dollars to improve a system that catastrophically failed when Hurricane Katrina struck 16 years in the past.

However strengthening the flood shieldion system in New Orleans Might not spare some neighboring communities from Ida’s damaging storm surge. Many residents of LaPlace, a western suburb the place work solely recently started on An prolonged-awaited levee enterprise, Needed to be rescued from rising floodwaters.

Marcie Jacob Hebert evacuated earlier than Ida, but she has Little question that the storm flooded her LaPlace house based mostly on what she has seen and heard from neighbors. Her house Did not flood in 2005 all by way of Katrina, However it took on shut toly 2 ft (60 centimeters) of water all by way of Hurricane Isaac in 2012.

“We haven’t had these factors till everyone else’s levees labored,” said Hebert, 46. “It is in all probability not The one problem, but I constructive do assume it contributes.”

Louisiana State College professor emeritus Craig Colten, who has taught historic geography, said A lot of The mannequin new Orleans levee methods has been in place For many years. He said the flooding in LaPlace Might be defined by wind course, not by any floodwater diverted from New Orleans.

“Isaac was actually a minor storm When it Includes wind velocity, However it did drive water into Lake Pontchartrain to the western edge, in the direction of LaPlace, as this storm did. And that simply Goes to pile water up the place LaPlace is,” Colten said. “I haven’t seen something that was carried out since Katrina that’s actually going to make An limitless distinction.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards said a preliminary survey of levees throughout Louisiana conagencyed they did precisely as they implyt and held water out.

“We don’t think about There is a single levee anythe place now That actually breached or failed. There have been A pair of smaller levees that have been overtopped to A diploma for a sure Time interval,” Edwards said.

Two flood shieldion districts oversee the system in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes. Neither district reported any breaches or overtopping of levees.

“The system carried out as designed,” said Nicholas Cali, regional director of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Safety Authority-West, which oversees the west financial institution of Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Safety Authority-East, which covers St. Bernard Parish and most of Orleans and Jefferson parishes, furtherly deliberate To look at its system Monday but hadn’t found any factors, Based on regional director Kelli Chandler.

Tulane College historic previous professor Andy Horowitz, author of “Katrina: A History, ​1915-2015,” said it is “unequivocally good information” that the levees held up in the direction ofs Ida’s surge. That Does not imply that a metropolis as weak as New Orleans Is shielded in the direction ofs flooding “Inside the face of a altering local climate,” he added

A federal decide in New Orleans dominated in 2009 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ failure to correctly maintain and function the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet was An monumental Rationalization for the catastrophic flooding all by way of Katrina. Levee failures shut to Lake Pontchartrain furtherly flooded New Orleans neighborhoods.

After Katrina, the federal authorities spent $14.5 billion on tasks designed To reinforce shieldion from storm surge and flooding in New Orleans and surrounding suburbs south of Lake Pontchartrain. Starting with An monumental surge barrier east of The metropolis, the system is a 130-mile (210-kilometer) ring constructed To maintain out storm surge of about 30 ft (9 meters).

Work recently started on a levee enterprise To shield tens of hundreds of residents of LaPlace and completely different communities outdoors New Orleans’ levee system. That enterprise Isn’t enterpriseed to be accomplished till 2024.

“I’m glad they’re constructing us a levee, but I fear about what occurs to The subsequent group further to the west,” Hebert said. “The water has acquired to go somethe place. We will’t simply maintain funneling it from Particular person to individual, place To place.”

Bernardo Fallas, a spokesperson for Phillips 66, said The agency Didn’t immediately have Particulars about whether or not a reported levee collapse in Plaquemines Parish affected its Alliance Refinery in Belle Chasse. Fallas said the refinery has been shut down since Saturday, forward of Ida’s arrival.

“We’ll proceed to conduct a submit-storm evaluation of the refinery when it is shielded To take movement,” Fallas said.


Kunzelman reported from School Park, Maryland. Amy reported from Atlanta. Associated Press authors Michael Biesecker in Washington; Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; and Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge contributed to this report.