Europe's Levees and America's Levees
Contributed by Chris Holmes
Here is how
Levees are used in England to prevent water from
flooding London. Looks like they take the problem
Here is the solution in the Netherlands to
protecting a nation that mostly rests below sea
Obviously they've come a long way from that little
Dutch boy sticking his finger in the dike.
Looks like they take the problem pretty seriously.
Italy. The Italians are
intensely concerned about protecting their national
treasure, Venice, which lies basically right at or
slightly below sea level. Venice as you know is
famous for its beautiful canals, but at the same
time it's vulnerable to storm waters and unusually
strong high tides.
And then there is America's answer to the European
tradition of protecting its national treasures.
Behold New Orleans, the Mardi Gras Capital, cultural
goldmine, historically important, and the shipping
center of the mighty Mississippi River and the Gulf
of Mexico!! As we all well know, New Orleans is
basically below sea level
just like Venice and the Netherlands. New Orleans
is so low the thought of creating canals isn't as
far-fetched as you think.
So how did
the richest, most
powerful and technologically advanced nation on
and its renowned Corps of Engineers,
go about making sure this important city - home to
half a million people (most of whom call Houston
'home' now) - was protected from the danger of
hurricane like Katrina? Look for yourself.
The sad thing is that New Orleans took only a
glancing blow from Katrina, the kind of hit the
levees were supposed to withstand. However, as you
can see for yourselves in the levee picture above,
the concrete wasn't any thicker than an average
traffic barrier on the Katy Freeway Contra-flow
If hadn't been for these substandard levees breaking
in the middle of the night, New Orleans would still
be thriving today. Instead countless people lost
their lives, hundreds of thousands lost their homes,
and misery was rampant while the helpless world
watched the images of despair and depravation in
horror. Today much of the city lays in ruins.
Makes you wonder about the politics involved that
would produce such a shoddy effort.