NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Seven years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers was desperately trying to plug breaches in the city's broken and busted levee system.
Since those catastrophic days, the Army Corps has worked at breakneck speed — and at a cost of billions of dollars — to install new floodgates, pumps, floodwalls and levees across New Orleans. The work paid off. A day after Isaac hit New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, officials said the 130-mile flood protection system did its job.
"If I had to give it a grade, I would give it an A-minus, and only a minus because of the small challenges we had," said Tim Doody, the president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, a commission that oversees levees protecting New Orleans.
The only problem came at the 17th Street Canal, the site of a breach during Katrina. When computers that are supposed to turn on pumps failed there Wednesday. Pump operators had to turn them on by hand, causing a delay of an hour or two, Doody said.
Getting the pumps to work is critical.
The 17th Street Canal is one of three major drainage canals the city pumps rain into and flushes out to Lake Pontchartrain. When Katrina hit, those drainage canals proved to be fatal as surge from the lake rushed into them and broke through poorly designed floodwalls. The breaches caused much of the flooding of the oldest sections of New Orleans.
To prevent that from happening again, the Army Corps installed new floodgates and pumps at the mouth of the drainage canals to block water from coming in. The corps' pumps must also be able to keep up with the city's pumps or water gets backed up.
Rachel Rodi, a corps spokeswoman, said having to turn pumps on by hand was not a big deal. "I wouldn't say it was an issue," she said.
A day earlier, a floodgate at another drainage canal, the Orleans Avenue Canal, had to be shut with a crane. That too was not serious, she said.
During Isaac, the corps used for the first time in the face of a hurricane some of the system's biggest new structures.
It closed two large floodgates that cut off surge from entering the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, a place long considered an Achilles' heel in the city.
It also closed and operated a floodgate and pumping system on the West Bank, a suburban area of the city on the opposite side of the Mississippi River from the French Quarter.
Isaac brought storm surge that reached up to 14 feet in the area around the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, just 2 to 3 feet shy of what Katrina pushed in.
"If that surge barrier had not been there, the story would have been a very different story," Doody said.
The corps is not done with its work.
So far it has spent about $10 billion of the $14 billion Congress set aside. The corps plans to build bigger and stronger floodgates and pumping stations at the three drainage canals and armor the entire system with concrete.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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