NEW ORLEANS —
The Army Corps of Engineers designed the levees to be “1% Levees,” meaning they are designed to handle a once-in-a-century storm.
Now, the Flood Protection Authority is paying to raise the level of some of those protective barriers, known as levee lifts, with local tax dollars.
To do this effectively, the Corps is conducting a study that comes down to two things: figuring out if they need to build the levees higher, and figuring out how to pay for it.
The Corps is also trying to decide if it needs to kick in federal money, too. It’s not cheap.
Corps officials told Eyewitness News that to raise the level of levees along the East bank could cost around $390 million. The cost of the Westbank would be around $430 Million. That’s based on a rough estimate from 2010.
The Corps also told Eyewitness News that they’re confident in the size of the levees in place right now, and that they will do the job without additional lifts for several years.
Bradley Drouant, Project Manager with the Army Corps of Engineers said the study is about thinking ahead and playing it safe.
"The levees that we've built are resilient. We have armoring, so even if they're a little bit below what it might need to be for the one percent, we would still expect them to perform, just have a little bit more overtop coming over them. But year after year after year, that little bit could add up and then it could be an issue,” Drouant said.
The Corps held two meetings Tuesday night, where they asked the public about their concerns.
They also want to know what specific things they would like to see the planning team consider.
Sandy Rosenthal, who founded the group levees.org attended the meeting. She thinks the “1%” standard is not enough.
"Actually, I think we should have a 5 percent levee. In other words, we should have a 500-year protection instead of a 100-year protection. Certainly in the area of the city with the most property and infrastructure. Without levees we can't do anything! Without protection, we can't raise our families we can't bring our businesses here,” Rosenthal said.
You can also email the study’s development teams for more information: