Corps Admits They Flooded New Orleans- Not Katrina

NOTE: If you are new to Wizbang, we’ve been following this story since about the day after Katrina hit. You can read our Katrina archive for an incredible amount of background detail on this story. You long time readers won’t be surprised by any of this. I invite all of you to also read my personal note (below this) on blogging on this “conclusion” after following the story for 9 months.

After 9 long months of living in denial, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was finally forced to admit that The Great Flood of New Orleans was not caused by Katrina but by Corps themselves.

Corps Takes Blame for New Orleans Flooding

A contrite U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took responsibility Thursday for the flooding of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and said the levees failed because they were built in a disjointed fashion using outdated data.

“This is the first time that the Corps has had to stand up and say, `We’ve had a catastrophic failure,'” Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the Corps chief, said as the agency issued a 6,000-page-plus report on the disaster on Day 1 of the new hurricane season.

The Corps said it will use the lessons it has learned to build better flood defenses.

“Words alone will not restore trust in the Corps,” Strock said…

No, words alone can not restore trust in the Corps.

Why? Because while they finally admitted responsibility, (only because they were forced) they lied to the people of New Orleans before the storm, they lied to us during the storm and (today’s candor not withstanding) they’re still lying to the people of New Orleans and the rest of the American taxpayers. It’s hard to earn people’s trust while you’re lying to them.

And like any story about the Corps, sometimes this one needs a little translation:

Many of the findings and details on floodwall design, storm modeling and soil types have been released in pieces in recent months as the Corps sought to show it was being open about what went wrong. But the final report goes into greater depth.

That should read: “Many of the findings and details on floodwall design, storm modeling and soil types have been released in pieces in recent months as the Corps sought cover up what happened but through the tireless work of researchers at LSU and Berkley the data was released.

The Corps, Strock said, has undergone a period of intense introspection and is “deeply saddened and enormously troubled by the suffering of so many.”

That should read: The Corps, Strock said, has undergone a period of intense outside inspection and is “deeply saddened and enormously troubled by the suffering of so many that we killed.”

Four breaches in canals that run through New Orleans were caused by foundation failures that were “not considered in the original design of these structures,” the report said. Those breaches caused two-thirds of the city’s flooding. [and killed about 900 people -ed]

Of course we knew that months ago even if the Corps denied it.

Speaking of denial, half way through this report, we get another big ‘ol whopper from the Corps…

In response to criticism after Katrina, the Corps has made fixing New Orleans’ flood protection system a top priority and tried to incorporate the task force findings….

A thorough assessment of the region’s current flood defenses found no “glaring weaknesses,” said Col. Richard Wagenaar, the Corps’ district chief in New Orleans.

heh- He said that just 3 days after this ran in the local paper….

Levee slumps; repairs to take weeks

With hurricane season only three days away, the Army Corps of Engineers on Monday announced that a 400-foot section of earthen hurricane protection levee being rebuilt near Buras High School in Plaquemines Parish slumped by more than 6 feet overnight Saturday, and repairs could take three to six weeks.

Corps spokesman Jim Taylor said the levee section, just west of the main Mississippi River levee and about 60 miles south of downtown New Orleans, seemed to twist in place, losing 6 1/2 feet of height at its top. The earth at its toe rose by 3 feet, he said.

They’re steady building this levee and OVERNIGHT 400 feet of it twists and drops 6.5 feet and they have no idea why! – And they expected it to hold back a hurricane???

But there are NO “glaring weaknesses” in the levees. Nope. Nothing to see here.. Move along.

Why can’t the Corps just be honest and say we have some troubling issues but we are working hard to resolve them? Is it so hard?

I think at this point the people of New Orleans are owed a little honesty.

That denial is almost as bad as when 3 blocks of levee were gone and millions of gallons of water were cascading into the city and the Corps was on TV saying the levees were “intact” that they were “not breeched” and they simply “overspilled a little.”

So it is clear the Corps still has not given up it’s institutional denial but at least on this one day they admitted they flooded the city. And that’s more than we’ve been able to get them to admit so far.

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