The flood control act of control act of 1965 gave authorization to U.S Army Crop of Engineers (USACE) to design and construct a flood protection system to protect south Louisiana from hurricanes. It was called the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project, the reason for this project was prior to 1965. The state of Louisiana design and built its own flood protection, but on September 9, 1965 hurricane Betsy a category five, hit the city of New Orleans. Betsy drove strong storm surge waters into the city of New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain causing the in the industrial canal fail on both side. It took more than ten days for the water level in New Orleans to go down, and people could return to their homes. After hurricane Betsy the 89th congress enacted the flood control act of on October 27, 1965.
Why New Orleans is Vulnerable to Hurricanes? Since its founding in 1718, the city of New Orleans and its surrounding areas have been subject to numerous floods from the Mississippi River and hurricanes and other reasons are, its Location near Gulf of Mexico, Low elevation (below sea-level) Subsidence caused by compaction of river deposited sediments, erosion of inactive delta lobe, sea-level rise due to global warming . A series of levees and other flood control structures built over the years were expected to greatly reduce that threat. The greatest natural threat posed to the New Orleans and south Louisiana area continues to be from hurricane induced storm surges, which is caused by human with Coastal Erosion accelerated by the changes made to the river system. The coastline of Louisiana is eroding at an incredible rate, estimated at 25 square miles per year. (1 football field of area every 45 minutes)
Hurricane surge heights along the gulf and Atlantic coasts can range up to 20 feet or more and there is growing concern that the continuing losses of coastal wetlands and settlement of land New Orleans has made the area more vulnerable to such storms. Because of such threat, a series of control structures, concrete floodwalls and levees. These structures were intended to prevent storm surge from entering Lake Pontchartrain and overflowing the levees within the city of New Orleans.
The lake Pontchartrain and vicinity hurricane protection project was to construct a series of control structures, concrete floodwalls, and levees to provide hurricane protection to areas around lake Pontchartrain .The project was expected to take 13 years to complete and cost about 85 million The project design was developed based on a study done by National weather service, that would equivalent to a fast-moving category 3, hurricane that may hit the southern Louisiana region once in 200-300 years. In 1982, the project cost had grown to $757 million, due to many design changes, caused by technical issues, environmental concerns, or legal challenges and the completion date had slipped to 2008. The USACE was responsible the project design and construction and the cities and states would be responsible for the maintenance of levees and flood control. On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina caused the Hurricane Protection System in New Orleans to fail. Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 storm at the time of landfall, its storm surges were higher than normal for such a storm In addition, Katrina, dumped more than five inches of rainfall on New Orleans in eight hours. The Hurricane Protection System failed in approximately 50 locations and for a variety of reasons. The vast majority of those failures occurred because waters that exceeded the design capacity of the system flowed over the floodwalls. However, evidence gathered by a panel of experts commissioned by the USAC suggests that at least four levees/floodwalls were breached before they exceeded their design capacity.