For reasons that escape me, the mainstream media has completely ignored the fact New Orleans was not flooded by a hurricane but by an act of negligence by the Federal Government.
I’ve known this (and been posting about it) for months. Now evidence is mounting every single day. It is simply amazing that after 1000 people are dead and hundreds of billions of dollars in property destroyed, the only investigative journalism is being done by a small local paper. Is the MSM awake?
17th Street Canal levee was doomed
Report blames corps: Soil could never hold
By Bob Marshall
The floodwall on the 17th Street Canal levee was destined to fail long before it reached its maximum design load of 14 feet of water because the Army Corps of Engineers underestimated the weak soil layers 10 to 25 feet below the levee, the state’s forensic levee investigation team concluded in a report to be released this week.
That miscalculation was so obvious and fundamental, investigators said, they “could not fathom” how the design team of engineers from the corps, local firm Eustis Engineering and the national firm Modjeski and Masters could have missed what is being termed the costliest engineering mistake in American history.
The failure of the wall and other breaches in the city’s levee system flooded much of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore Aug. 29, prompting investigations that have raised questions about the basic design and construction of the floodwalls.
“It’s simply beyond me,” said Billy Prochaska, a consulting engineer in the forensic group known as Team Louisiana. “This wasn’t a complicated problem. This is something the corps, Eustis, and Modjeski and Masters do all the time. Yet everyone missed it — everyone from the local offices all the way up to Washington.”
[and the smoking gun -ed]
“Using the data we have available from the corps,, we did our own calculations on how much water that design could take in these soils before failure,” said LSU professor Ivor van Heerden, a team member. “Our research shows it would fail at water levels between 11 and 12 feet — which is just what happened” in Katrina.
They used the data they got FROM THE CORPS. This is not something new… The Corps had the data all along. They did didn’t use it properly. It can’t get a whole lot worse from an engineering point of view.
But it does:
Several high-level academic and professional investigations have found that the sheet piling used in the design to support the floodwalls was too short for the 18.5-foot depth of the canal. …
The corps has long claimed the sheet piling was driven to 17.5 feet deep, but Team Louisiana recently used sophisticated ground sonar to prove it was only 10 feet deep [Isn’t that the kind of thing the MSM lives for? ed] . …
Prochaska said a rule of thumb is that the length of sheet piling below a canal bottom should be two to three times longer than the length extending above the canal bottom.
“That’s if you have uniform soils, and we certainly don’t have that in the New Orleans area,” he said. “It kind of boggles the mind that they missed this, because it’s so basic, and there were so many qualified engineers working on this.”
And more disbelief from a “non-60 Minutes” expert:
Robert Bea, a University of California, Berkeley professor who led a National Science Foundation investigation of the levee failures, said the mistakes made by the engineers on the project were hard to accept because the project was so “straightforward.”
“It’s hard to understand, because it seemed so simple, and because the failure has become so large,” Bea said.
“This is the largest civil engineering disaster in the history of the United States. Nothing has come close to the $300 billion in damages and half-million people out of their homes and the lives lost,” he said. “Nothing this big has ever happened before in civil engineering.”
This is just another in the long string of damning pieces done by the Times Picayune. But nothing from the MSM.
There is a reason for me harping on this– Other than the obvious that it was an appalling failure by the Corps…
This makes the case against the Corps (ie the Federal Government) seem to be a slam dunk. Contrary to what the arm-chair lawyers will tell you, the government can be sued for negligence. I’ve been saying it since days after the storm, we are going to see a lawsuit against the feds the likes of which we’ve never seen before. (Can you cay 300 billion?)
It simply amazes me the MSM is missing this story. 60 Minutes runs some whackjob who claims New Orleans is sinking but they ignore who flooded New Orleans?!?! I can’t help but wonder who is making those calls.
If there was an engineering failure on a aircraft that made 3 of the same model aircraft crash and it killed 1000 people, the media would be in full circus mode.
In a not so hypothetical situation- A single teenaged girl disappears in Aruba and that gets front page coverage for months. The Federal Government floods a city of a million people and the media ignores it. What am I missing here?
They’ll figure it our sooner or later. When the lawsuit hits and the Feds are facing a multi-hundred-billion dollar payout, the media will act they they’ve been on top of the story the whole time.
But in the mean time, I have some friendly advice for any MSMers who stumble upon this post. There are dozens of journalism awards just waiting to be claimed on this story. The Corps still won’t release some data the researchers want. Isn’t that why we have a media? Are you folks awake in your ivory tower?
Footnote: (after reading some comments and trackbacks) This is not a single story from the TP. They have a new smoking gun almost daily, this is just today’s edition. It is amazing what just 2 or 3 writers have dug up. I must confess, I’ve never much liked the TP… But these guys are doing some of the best journalism I’ve ever witnessed on this story. If you have an interest, dig thru their archives, it will astound you. The MSM is being embarrassed.