But even though all sides agree that the corps has largely achieved its goal, independent engineers say it is the goal that is the real problem. New Orleans is still very much at risk, they say, because the level of protection the corps has reached is still not as strong as the city needs.I hope they hold for the sake of the people living there and all of us who need to feel that this government can do anything about anything right. Let's face it, though, this President and Congress don't want people to expect anything from their federal government other than tax cuts (if you're rich enough) and war (if you're not).
Many experts view this hurricane season, which begins on June 1, with trepidation, and hope that the system is not put to a test like Hurricane Katrina before further improvements can be made.
The degree of vulnerability was underscored on Monday, when an independent team of researchers led by engineering professors at the University of California, Berkeley, and supported by the National Science Foundation released a report that found the hurricane protection system riddled with errors in design, construction and maintenance — a pattern of inattention to safety that caused the system to crumble in a hurricane that should have, for the most part, caused little more than wind damage and a day or so of street flooding.
"The overall New Orleans flood protection system," Professor Seed said in a briefing last weekend, "must be considered suspect."