Thursday, November 17, 2005

There was warning of a levee breach a year ago.

A year ago Beth LeBlanc and her neighbors on Bellaire Drive had a problem no one could seem to fix. Their yards, which swept to the base of the 17th Street Canal levee, kept filling with water. Then on Aug. 29, as Hurricane Katrina moved out of the area, that levee collapsed and tumbled into their homes, allowing Lake Pontchartrain and a world of misery to pour into the city.
. . . . . .

They became concerned around Thanksgiving of last year, when LeBlanc’s yard at 6780 Bellaire began to look like a wading pool. Her house is about 100 yards south of what would become the breach that flooded much of New Orleans.

"It was at least 6 inches deep the entire length of the yard -- 80 feet from the front to the levee in the back," said LeBlanc, who was left with half a house after the levee break. "At first we thought it was a broken pipe, so we called Sewerage & Water.
. . . . . .
"The catastrophic nature of the floodwall failures indicate this was a systemic problem, something that had been building for some time," Rogers said of the 17th Street Canal. "It tells us that, in all probability, these levees and the soil under the floodwall were already saturated before Katrina came along. This report of saturated yards only adds weight to that."
. . . . . .
"I can only assume the Sewerage & Water Board dropped the ball."
. . . . . .

"Some of them said they contacted the Sewerage & Water Board, most contacted the Levee Board, but in all cases, no one even came out to investigate," Bea said. "These are all signs that something is wrong. In the case of the sand boils, that something is seriously wrong. It means your system is stressed.

Lots of juggling going on here. And SOMEBODY dropped the ball. Blageur's question: You're a S&WB employee. If you see six inches of water next to a levee, and it isn't drinking water and it isn't sewage, and you think it's canal water, do you
a. warn someone in charge
b. get out floaties and open a free swimming pool
c. go back to Liuzza's for another beer
d. fagedabadit! it's quittin' time

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