In 2005 hurricane Katrina claimed 1800 lives, leaving 80% of New Orleans devastated and under water. Only one line of defense, the levee, failed the city. Since the disastrous storm hit, there have been concerted efforts to reduce risks from another possible Katrina.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been responsible for the ciy’s structural defense since the 1920s. Mike Park, chief of operations, explains that after Katrina a more robust defense system – the ‘Storm Risk Reduction System’ was built.
The new system consists of higher levees that stretch out over 133 miles, an increased number of flood walls, surge barriers, and pumping stations. Along with the flood engineering on the ground, the Army Corps also conduct studies on the impact of storm surges on coastal vegetation, with the aim of creating an engineered system that can work alongside nature.
Other survivors and Katrina witnesses have adopted more radical views for future prevention. Foster Creppel, who lives in the woodlands outside the ‘Storm Risk Reduction System’ looks to nature for protection. Creppel believes trying to over-manage the river has caused the main problems facing New Orleans today. He urges the restoration of the delta which will eventually form a natural buffer to prevent the future storms from creating the same levels of devastation that Katrina did.
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