Flood system: Stronger now; weaker than expectations

Experts: Government built new levees at lower standards

“It’s as if your poorly built, three-story house collapsed, so the contractor said, ‘OK, I’ll replace it with a well-made, two-story house.’ ” Mark Davis, director, Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law & Policy

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers puts the finishing touches on its enhanced $14.5 billion storm protection system for New Orleans, Corps and local officials see it as the best protection the city has ever had.

But some engineers and storm experts familiar with the system’s history see something else. Something less.

They see a system that after Hurricane Katrina was downgraded by Congress from one that had to be strong enough to repel the “most severe” storm to one that had only to qualify for flood insurance, a much lower standard.

This story originally published by The Lens, an independent, nonprofit newsroom serving New Orleans. Continue reading full story here.