August 31st, 2008
01:54 PM ET

Levee Breaches: Explained

David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer

Three years ago, it was the failed levee system that inflicted the most damage to New Orleans.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his concerns for New Orleans related to areas of potential weakness in the levee system.

There were over 50 levee breaches 3 years ago. Rebuilding the levees is still a work in progress.
In fact, New Orleans’ levee infrastructure is not expected to be complete until 2011.

When you hear the term ‘levee breach,’ what does that mean exactly? A levee breach can come from any number of scenarios. I put together a slideshow to show you all the different ways a levee can fail. Take a look:

Levee Breach slideshow

Filed under: David M. Reisner • Hurricane Gustav • TV
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Bill Dennis

    Let’s start with the current administration in New Orleans. The same Mayor and staff that was in place during Katrina. He did nothing before, during or after Katrina then blamed the Federal Government. The Governor of Louisiana did nothing before, during or after Katrina. Before we blame the Army Corp of Eng. or the Federal Government lets start with the local administration and the state administration. People of New Orleans, please hold your elected leaders accountable for the safety and repair of your city. It’s obvious that they don’t believe that they are accountable to you!

    September 1, 2008 at 12:14 pm |
  2. Richard

    After Katrna 3 years ago all the breached levees and pump stations would (Should) have been repaired. In the river basin were flooding occurs the Goverment has brought out land owners ,why not the same for New Orieans,something to debate about.

    August 31, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  3. Randy S. Mire

    The levee system that protects New Orleans as well as other cities across the nation is one more sign the the infrastructure of the nation is in need of repair. The levees didnt fail all of a sudden ,they had been in disrepair for many years .Every year the levees leaked water through them ,mostly in the spring as the snow melted up north and the Mississippi and other rivers flooded thier banks .
    Everyone that has lived anywhere along these levees can testify to this and government on all levels ( from city hall to the White House )should be held accountable. This has been going on for many years so its both political parties that need to be held accountable .

    August 31, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  4. SMcKnight

    Harvey Levy has a breach. It is not fixed. Hurricane Gustav will flood New Orleans. Get out now. From there. The levy is not built! The levy is open.

    St. Bernard also has serious problem but not already breached. Use your maps to find Harvey Levy in New Orleans. It cannot hold fifteen feet of water in St. Bernard, but Harvey has a breach now. Today it is open. It cannot hold even lower amounts, as it is open.

    Get out now.

    August 31, 2008 at 8:10 pm |
  5. Richard, Cherokee, California

    Very informative slideshow on the levee system – I learned a great deal. Now I am truly frightened for that great American city – New Orleans – and all the cities that depend upon levees. So much can go wrong. Thanks for putting that slide show together.

    August 31, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  6. Al C

    Those individuals that cannot be moved for medical reasons will need support until relief can arrive. What are we doing to support these citizens??Do they have what they will need to survive?Are the brave individuals staying with these people being consulted?

    August 31, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  7. chuck mccune

    mr cooper, you may remember meeting me in on bourbon st. 2005 after katrina. you just mentioned the present gaps in the levees today. the ongoing stupidity of federal response is amazing to us at prizm foundation. the army corp of engineers say they have sandbags ready. why aren't they putting them in the levee gaps before the storm hits instead of dumping them into the breaches when the force of the water will make it difficult or impossible. maybe you could ask the question. thanks, chuck mccune, exec. director, prizm foundation

    August 31, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  8. Vicky, Ontario, Canada

    David, Very interesting slideshow. There were some reports of recent seepage of water through the earthen levees, and wonder how much this indicated weakening of the levees and how serious this will be. In reading Jed Horne's book – Breach of Faith – he used a very vivid description of the cement and metal levees on top of the earthen levees, that they were like "bricks on jello". Though much of the work has not yet been completed on the levees, of course we're all hoping that they will hold. Perhaps because they've been letting the MRGO fill in a bit, it might not be as direct a route of the storm surge to the lower ninth and damage to the walls of the Industrial canal. All of you stay safe... hate to think of anyone trying to wait out this storm in NOLA or along the Gulf coast.

    August 31, 2008 at 2:32 pm |