Much to everyone’s surprise, a second hurricane visited New Orleans only seven years later. Most of us believed that a hundred year storm couldn’t possibly return in seven years. We further learned that the improved New Orleans levees, that now protect that city, were planned and built within only six years. Someone jokingly said it was done on the rule of 15: length 15 miles, cost $15 billion and height 15 feet. In two different studies, storm surge barriers to protect much of New York City, is estimated to cost $10 billion. The storm damage to New York City of a category 3 or 4 hurricane is estimated at $200 billion.
Governor Jindal of Louisiana now wants to spend $50 billion more on a coastal master plan. When NYC gets hit by a major hurricane we will have to stand in line with all the other coastal cities that have also been hit to secure federal funds. An encouraging remark was made by Robert A. Turner Jr., regional director for Greater New Orleans, who said “Unless you have a large population at risk and great economic assets at risk, its difficult nowadays to get those kinds of projects authorized and funded by the federal government”. That quote describes us. Maybe we should get moving now and get SSBs studied and built by the Army Corps of Engineers before a major hurricane hits.
My thanks to the New York Times of Friday, September 7th, Section A, page 20, for much of this information. The article is entitled: New Orleans Levees Hold, And Outsiders Want In.