Europe's Levees and America's Levees
Contributed by Chris Holmes
January, 2006


Here is how Levees are used in England to prevent water from flooding London.  Looks like they take the problem pretty seriously.


Here is the solution in the Netherlands to protecting a nation that mostly rests below sea level.

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.

United States

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 also
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 earth, USA, 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 lane.

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. 

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