Reducing flood risk following Katrina

The stretch in between the two levees is known as the funnel

(WDSU) The costliest natural disaster in history, Hurricane Katrina, required costly changes to reduce the flood risk for the city of New Orleans.

“We’re going around what’s called the surge barrier, which is a structure that runs from the bank of the New Orleans East exterior flood protection, and it ties in to the flood protection on what’s called the St. Bernard side, Lake Borgne Basin Levee District side,” the president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East, Stephen Estopinal, said as he lead a recent tour of some of the improvements.

The stretch in between the two levees is known as the funnel – the area in which storm surge from tropical systems is often concentrated into the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal, which many refer to as the Industrial Canal.

“This surge barrier was built to interrupt that flow, so that it doesn’t get into the Industrial Canal area,” Estopinal said. “But it has to be very robust.”

The 26-foot-tall storm surge barrier, the first line of defense, is part of the $14.5 billion hurricane and storm damage risk reduction system put in place after Katrina. It’s considered one of the strongest and largest of its kind in the United States.

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