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Monday, August 21, 2006

Crescent City

You probably can't read this as it is a Times Select article, but John Biguenet is doing a blog of sorts. He is writing articles about moving back into his home in New Orleans after the flood. He has it right when he says that what destroyed New Orleans wasn't a hurricane, but the US Army Corp of Engineers.

The flood waters did not come over the levees, the levees failed. As a civil engineer I think this is deplorable. A failure of a civil engineering structure has destroyed a city and countless lives. Why isn't ASCE or other national civil engineering organizations speaking out on this? How was the Corp allowed to make a mistake? What part of their mistake was bad engineering, bad management, or bad construction? What part of the design was subbed out to other firms? What part did budget play in design decisions?

Will we have these answers? If a building fell down would there be more outrage of the failure of the engineering?

7 comments:

angelq said...

I totally agree, Bubba. Although the city has not been built in the best of environments, the citizens clearly believed that the levee system was there to protect them from such a disaster. Someone really screwed up.

I find it mildly amusing when people suggest they have no sympathy for those that live there because the citizens "should have known". However, look how devastated we all are for those that lose life and home in earthquakes. We are constantly trying to overcome the challenges presented to us by Mother Nature. Why should what happened in New Orleans be any different?

I once had a friend's wife tell ME, in reference to the engineering failure, that there's no way you can safely build on a foundation that is so soft. Nothing could have been done to prevent what happened. Yeah, she works in retail. HELLO?!?

Bubba's Sis said...

I think someone forgot to carry the 2...

angelq said...

I *always* screw up the mundane details!

Bubba's Sis said...

If you keep thinking about boobies and sports, YOU might forget to carry the 2 and your new Yankee Stadium will fall down one day. THEN who's gonna get blamed?

Bubba's Mom said...

Do we think the Corp of Engineers really cared about a bunch of poor, illiterate black people? Sometimes bureauracies don't do much thinking ahead.

Bubba said...

Well, Bubba's mom, if you could read the article, and I understand why you can't because it is part of the pay part of the New York Times web site, you would learn that the storm affected black and white equally. In fact, considering that New Orleans city limit was more black than white, it affected whites disproportionally.

Bubba's Sis said...

That doesn't make sense. There were more blacks than whites in New Orleans, but blacks and whites were affected equally? So there were a bunch of blacks left over that were not affected? How did that happen?

Not that it is about race at all, but I'm just wondering.