Thanks for all the levee e-mails. Here is a good statement from the Corps of Engineers from a while ago that I missed:
The breaches that have occurred on the levees surrounding New Orleans are located on the 17th Street Canal Levee and London Avenue Canal Levee.
The 17th Street Canal Levees and London Avenue Canal Levees are completed
segments of the Lake Ponchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection
Project. Although other portions of the Lake Ponchartrain project are pending,
these two segments were complete, and no modifications or improvements
to these segments were pending, proposed, or remain unfunded.
Three major pending projects are in various stages of development: two hurricane
protection projects — the West Bank and Vicinity project and the remaining
portions of the Lake Ponchartrain project, and the Southeast Louisiana flood
damage reduction project.
Even if these three projects in development were completed and in place, they
would not have prevented the breach and the flooding caused by the breach. Like
the levee that was breached, the hurricane protection projects were designed to
withstand forces of a hurricane that has a .5% chance of occurrence in any given
year. This translates to what is now classified as a Category 3 hurricane.