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The Katrina Video Congress Didn't Want You To See II

[Originally run 8/28/06, I figured it was worth running this year.]

I'm going to warn you now. If you've only heard the news from the mainstream media, everything you think you know about Katrina flooding New Orleans is wrong. If you think you already know everything there is to know about Katrina, then you can safely ignore this post. - If the sum total of your interest in New Orleans flooding is to bash Nagin or Bush, then please... Go to where your intellect will be more appreciated. If you'd like to have your whole understanding of the Great Flood of New Orleans changed, hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

We've all heard the story, in the early morning hours of Aug 29, 2005, the Category 4 Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, overwhelming the New Orleans levee system and flooding the city. If you read Wizbang, you've known since early October of 2005 this story was fatally flawed.

In the months since Katrina, we've learned that the storm was a Category 1 by the time she hit New Orleans. No "Super Hurricane," just an average storm. We've also learned that the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System was not overwhelmed by Katrina, it collapsed. Causing the Corps of Engineers admit they flooded New Orleans not Katrina... An admission that got scant little media coverage. The Great Flood of New Orleans was not a natural disaster but a man made one.

The reason the Corps finally had to admit responsibility was that the floodwall that failed -flooding 70% of the city- basically collapsed under its own weight. It was undeniable. The Corps tried for months to claim the water came over the top of the floodwall and washed it away from the backside. (Which would make it Congress's fault) Everyone who has seen the break or looked at the surge data knew this was a lie; that the wall suffered a catastrophic failure before the water reached the top. Almost a year later, the Corps admitted that the floodwall suffered from multiple fatal design flaws and failed prematurely.

What was not really told to the public however is how high the water got up the walls before they failed. - This is an important question to a city rebuilding ~$250 billion in infrastructure. It is commonly assumed by the public that the water must have been quite high.

The question also has legal ramifications. Sovereign Immunity says citizens can not sue the government for damages unless there is negligence or Congress allows the government to be sued. If the public assumption is that Katrina was responsible for the flooding, Congress would never allow the government to be sued.

Perhaps that explains why Congress confiscated a video of the floodwall collapsing and refused to let the public see it until (a perfectly timed) 10 months after the storm. - Well after the storm passed but a few months before the current 1 year anniversary hype.

You've probably never seen it, but we have video taken by New Orleans firefighters as the 17th street canal floodwall was actually in the process of breaking during Katrina. It answers the question of just how prematurely the walls failed. The video was obtained by the National Geographic channel and aired a few weeks ago. (it took me a while to blog it, so sue me)

The video -if you understand it- is shocking. Sadly, no one at National Geographic or even the local TV station got the significance of the video. -- Because they were looking at the wrong thing.

I'm going to explain what is on the video that no one caught and I'll do my best to give you a good understanding of the whole thing.

Before I type their whole story, watch the firefighters' story as told by a local TV station a couple of months ago. As you watch the video, don't worry about the pictures for now, we'll get to them. For now, listen to the reporter and the firemen tell their story.


You can also see the video here.


Other than the heroism of the NOFD, let's look at the rest of the video and why it is so revealing. As the fireman said, the wall broke before 9AM. I have a picture taken from a house just a few meters from the break and they left a simple message on their gutted house for the whole world to see about the timing of the break.

clock.JPG
This one isn't, but most other pictures are clickable.


As you can see the water was high enough to kill a battery powered wall clock by 8:57.

As it turns out, the wall gave way in stages. (Which is logical if you've ever hit a lump of mud with a garden hose.) Sometime about 8:30AM it started to leak enough to flood the houses across the street from the break. Sometime a little after 9AM (as per the firemen) the wall slipped some more and was in the condition we see it in the video. Later, about 10:30AM a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the wall give way and burst wide open as we've all seen in the now infamous pictures:

NOAA_Katrina_NOLA_17th_Street_breach_Aug_31_2005.jpg
Via Wikipedia, very clickable


So as a recap, the video we have is roughly 30 minutes after it started leaking and about an hour and a half before it gave way all together. The damage is still limited to feet not blocks. Now watch the video again:


You were probably, like everyone else, looking at the wall closest to the camera. If you did that, you were looking at the wrong wall. Look at the other wall across the canal. Here's a screen shot.

breakscreencap.jpg
This is the smoking gun. Go ahead and click on it.
And/Or watch the video a few more times.


If you look at the top of the image in the band where the color is shifted, you see the other wall of the canal. Notice the weeds on the bank? Notice how far from the top of the wall the water is... just minutes after it started leaking but over an hour before it gave way. (BTW- This is a cap from the NGC special, not WWL. Their video was a little cleaner.)

Here is another picture of that same wall -over a week after the storm had passed- after the repair is in place... In other words, with the water at "normal" levels.

17thbreakafterfix.jpg


Look familiar? I reduced it to make it look like the screen cap. It's clickable.


You can watch the video several times and you'll clearly see the water was at this level the whole time. In fact the weeds look taller in this picture because the video was shot form so high up. BTW- If you look at the very base of the weeds in the good picture, you can barely see some white rocks in the water. (it will be more clear later)

Here's a few more shots taken in the few weeks after the storm:

breakatlowtide.jpg
This is right after the repair was made. You'll notice (on right) I was there at low tide.


noscumlowtide.jpg
This is what got me suspicious just a week after the storm. Anyone in the area knew that wall never saw floodwater...(It was a very low tide)


floodmud.jpg
EVERYTHING the water touched was caked in mud.The wall, on both the front and back, was clean. It had to be dry. Notice I got there just after they got the water out of the area... The mud is still wet. I won't tell you how I got in, I'll just tell you that some National Guardsman from South Carolina (with a loaded M-16) never heard of social engineering.


govinchopper.jpg
The Governor had a little bit better view than me. She didn't even wave. (Horrible composition, I know, don't remind me.)


breakfromnearbridge.jpg

This is a great perspective. It is taken at low tide from the break side. In this picture, you can see the white rocks in the water the tide is so low. The wall is so tall BTW that I'm 6'3" and I'm standing on top a pickup truck to take this. And I still couldn't reach the camera above the wall the way I wanted. AND the truck is on a road they built up to fix the break. The top of the wall is probably 15ish feet above the water level.


The bottom line is, Katrina's storm surge did not wash the wall away. As you may remember, water had been seeping under the floodwall at the break location for about a year before Katrina. The ground under the levee was soaked and ready to give at any moment...

New Orleans was doomed with or without Katrina, we just didn't know it. A good high tide puts more water in the canal than this. As the video shows, the water was barely higher than normal levels. The walls could have failed on a decent high tide.

From the looks of the video the fact the wall failed when Katrina was approaching was really coincidence. Yes, Katrina was the "final straw" but so could any winds from the southeast. Or any given winter storm. (we often get winds out the south that "stack" the lake far higher than this.) Indeed these same walls held much higher surges in the past; that is, before they were undermined by seeping water for a year.

Ironically the same flawed walls are incrementally safer now. We'll never have water seeping under them for a year and nobody doing anything. The flaw(s) is still there but now we can compensate for it more effectively. The right answer, of course, is to replace them.

What I will say next will probably completely throw you. Katrina saved probably over 50,000 lives.

That levee was doomed. If it had failed without notice, the death toll would have been measured in tens of thousands. There would be no evacuation, no preparation, no Feds at all. (such that they were anyway) no Coast Guard in choppers etc. Tens of thousands of people would have been dead in hours and tens of thousands more would have died on 120 degree rooftops waiting for rescue. It would have been unimaginable. - More unimaginable.

"Luckily" -and I groan when I say that- Katrina allowed the city to be evacuated.

I've said it for months. Katrina didn't flood New Orleans. She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But what I find just as troubling is the history of this video. It was turned over to Federal authorities just days after the storm. The firemen who took it were told they would be fired if they spoke about it. For months the Corps -who had to have seen the video- claimed the walls were overtopped. For months the firemen listened to the lies and never said a word.

There was no national security reason to hold the video as there might be of a terrorist attack. In fact the video would have helped the scientists studying it determine the cause. Congress had the firemen testify behind closed doors then placed a gag order on them.

I routinely mock conspiracy theorists but I have trouble understanding why this tape was withheld for months. What I also find interesting is that the Corps denied they were to blame until June 1... Just TWO WEEKS before this video was quietly released.

Perhaps, I'm too cynical but it is impossible for me not to notice that if this tape had been released in the weeks after the storm, the media coverage -and the scrutiny of Congress- would have been vastly different.

You may draw a different conclusion but I'll go to my grave believing that Congress withheld this tape intentionally. It was too damning.

What I don't understand is where the media is today on this story... The story of their lives is waiting to be told but they just ignore it. If you didn't read Wizbang, you'd never know the true story of the Great Flood of New Orleans.


Playing Devil's advocate with myself.
I know what some of you are thinking. (I know because I wondered about it myself...) The water in the canal was higher (exerting more force on the wall) before the wall broke but it is lower in the video because of the break. I was planning on doing a fair amount of work - including pictures, graphs and mathematical equations about flow rates- to disprove this; both to myself and to you. But really there is no need. The canal is about 150 feet across and 10 feet deep. That's a big pipe! Just about 4 blocks away is a lake that measures roughly 26 miles high by 60 miles wide. (That's whole bunch of water) There is no way that a hole as small as shown in this video produced any localized reduction in the level of the canal. Just scroll up and look at the aerial picture of the canal and notice the cars on the bridge as scale. Then go back and look at the video and notice the water in the canal was level the whole way and surprisingly calm.

There's no need for complicated analysis. Just looking at the scale killed the theory. I might guess the water was up 1.5 feet and you'd guess 3.5. - Whatever. The video is probably not an exact enough tool to get that precise.. But it does show beyond any doubt the water was at near regular levels when the wall failed. And certainly below where it had been many times.


And a word about the comments: If you're clamoring to talk trash about George Bush or Ray Nagin, please... do it here.

If you are one of the various people who for the last year have ridiculed me in the comments section for saying the Corps flooded New Orleans... Well, I can't help you. I've explained it for a year, the Corps admitted they flooded New Orleans and I just gave you incontrovertible photographic proof.

At this point if you don't believe it, please take to your own blog and prove me AND the Corps itself both wrong.

If you'd like to make the case that I'm overboard when I say Congress withheld the video... well, we'll have to agree to disagree. There was no reason to make the firefighters testify behind closed doors. You're free to draw your own conclusions. As I said, I'll go to my graving believing the tape was withheld on purpose.

I just wish the media would do their job now that it's released. We saw the mediagasm when the AP released the footage of Bush being briefed. This is an order of magnitude or so more important.


And a big hat tip to Laura who emailed me about the WWL report and from whom we swiped the video file.


[Editors Note: This is, in a way, the culmination of our (mostly Paul's) extensive Katrina coverage from the local perspective, going back to before the hurricane hit on this day before the 1st anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. There are approximately 175 Katrina posts in our Katrina archives,including a the devastatingly accurate predictions about riding out Katrina in The Superdome, unused school buses, media failures, government failures, and plenty on the Corps. While the post below contains many links, some times the balance between covering new ground on a story and rehashing previous posts has to be tilted toward the former. We've made perusing the archives easy - if you're looking for more detail you should spend some time digging through the archives.]


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Comments (66)

Paul,what do you think will... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Paul,what do you think will be done about it?

In a word? Nothing.... (Below threshold)
Paul:

In a word? Nothing.

you are so wrong. if you ha... (Below threshold)
dan:

you are so wrong. if you have read IPET, ilit team LA and ASCE you would know better than to post incorrect things on the web

More big gobmint, please! ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

More big gobmint, please! Who has faith it would ever be different?

Dan, you saw the video.... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Dan, you saw the video.

If you think I am wrong please tell me how and provide links. Otherwise you will be deleted/banned.

As my grandfather used to say... "Put up or shut up."

The very first thing they s... (Below threshold)
cirby:

The very first thing they should have done was a complete redesign of the entire system.

A big single-point failure on a bright sunny day would have had the same effect as the multiple points from Katrina.

They need to take out the industrial canals, put a criss-cross system of smaller levees in place (in case of failure, only a small area would be flooded), and create an effective inspection and warning system.

And building better levees won't help as long as they let ships and other big water traffic get anywhere near those levees - look what happened to that mall by the Convention Center a few years back... imagine what would have happened if one mid-sized loaded barge had a problem and hit that same spot at about 2 AM.

Paul,Don't all lev... (Below threshold)
taz:

Paul,

Don't all levees collapse in the way you've described?

I grew up further north on the Mississippi and every levee that collapsed along the river did so just as you say. The water bubbles under, wrecking the foundation and the wall falls into the empty hole.

Good luck trying to get anyone to fix NOLA.

good take cirby---... (Below threshold)
Paul:

good take cirby

-------

taz

>Don't all levees collapse in the way you've described?

Oh goodness no... One of the biggest dangers is that "a little" water will go over the top of the levee and wash it out from the back side.

(as I've really come to learn in the last 2 years) Levees fail for all sorts of reasons.

Excellent and thorough post... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Excellent and thorough post, Paul!

Your original post on this ... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Your original post on this made my eyes go wide.

I pointed people to this blog and said "If you want to see what's really happening(ed) in NO go there, don't be shocked by the what you read and see."

this is dan responding unde... (Below threshold)
dave:

this is dan responding under a different name since you banned me . readers take NOTE of this. YOUR POINT OF THE BLOG IS TO ARGUE THAT LEVEES IN THE 17 STREET CANAL FAILED LONG BEFORE THE WATER REACHED THE TOP OF THE WALLS OR THE MAXIMUM DESIGN HEIGHT, SINCE THE SHRUBBERY ON THE WEST WALL CAN BE SEEN AT THE TIME THE VIDEO WAS TAKEN. YOU GO EVEN FURTHER TO SAY THAT THE WALLS PROBABLY WOULD HAVE FAILED DURING A RAIN STORM OR HIGH TIDE GIVEN WHAT IS EVIDENT IN THE VIDEO. WHAT YOU FAIL TO REALLY GIVE APPROPRIATE CONSIDERATION TO IS THE FACT THAT WATER LEVEL WAS MUCH HIGHER BEFORE THE VIDEO WAS TAKEN BUT RECEEDED BECAUSE WATER FLOWED THROUGH THE BREACH AND INTO THE ADJACENT NEIGHBORHOOD IN SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS. YOU ATTEMPT TO QUICKLY DISMISS THIS POINT BY ARGUING THAT THE SIZE OF THE LAKE AND RESULTING WATER FLOW INTO THE CANAL MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR WATER TO FLOW THROUGH THE BREACH AND INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD AT A RATE THAT WILL RESULT IN A SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION OF THE WATER LEVEL IN THE CANAL. YOU ALSO IGNORE THE DURATION OF TIME THAT WATER FLOWED THROUGH THE BREACH BY THE TIME THE VIDEO WAS TAKEN AND THEN ERRONEOUSLY CONCLUDE WITHOUT ANY PROOF THAT THE FLOW RATE INTO THE CANAL FROM THE LAKE WAS GREATER THAN THE FLOW RATE FROM THE CANAL AND THROUGH THE BREACH INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. IT IS CLEAR THAT THE BREACH ORIGINATED BY 6:30 AM IF NOT EARLIER; AS A RESULT THE WATER HAD BEEN FLOWING THROUGH THE BREACH FOR MORE THAN 2 HOURS BY THE TIME THE VIDEO WAS TAKEN( SEE IPET, ILIT AND ASCE REPORTS).. YOU CITE NO DATA THAT ESTABLISHES THAT THE WATER FLOW INTO THE CANAL FROM THE LAKE EXCEEDS THAT FLOWING INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. IN FACT, THE WATER FLOW FROM THE LAKE WAS RESTICTED BY BUILD UP OF DEBRIS AT HAMMOND.

Paul:Interesting a... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Paul:

Interesting and well researched. I used to work for the Corps. After 17 years, I turned from the Dark Side and joined the private sector.

One minor nit: While the wind speeds of Katrina were nowhere near Cat 5 levels when the storm made landfall, the storm's hydraulic energy was still very much in line with a major storm event.

It was the storm surge that obliterated the Mississippi Gulf Coast and forced the water into Pontchartrain. The SLOSH models, backed up with the data from the storm surge measurements, show that it really was a monster storm.

I measured storm surge levels in Bay St. Louis, MS that were 29 feet above sea level.

um Dave... let me explain i... (Below threshold)
Paul:

um Dave... let me explain it to you in words you might understand...

IF YOU FOLLOW MY LINK CALLED "SURGE DATA" YOU'LL SEE YOUR THEORY IS WRONG. IF YOU LISTEN TO THE FIREFIGHTERS, YOU'LL SEE YOUR THEORY IS WRONG. IF YOU READ THE CORPS' OWN EXPLANATION OF THE FAILURE YOU'LL SEE YOUR THEORY IS WRONG. IF YOU USES YOUR BRAIN FOR A MINUTE YOU'LL SEE YOUR THEORY IS WRONG.

But other than that, thanks for stopping by.

11. Posted by dave... (Below threshold)
11. Posted by dave

Might have read your counter argument if it HADN'T BEEN IN ALL CAPS.

Dave, (sane dave, not crazy... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Dave, (sane dave, not crazy dave)

Yes and no.. There was a "big surge" for a cat 1. Granted.. But it doesn't matter. The was coming down either way.

The surge on the MSG is MUCH higher because they have those shallow beaches that act like ramps. That same storm on the Atlantic side of Florida makes a 12 foot surge for example.

Good post Paul. I may have ... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

Good post Paul. I may have skimmed over some of this info before as you had posted it, but this post is a very good compilation of information that everyone should know. I wish the media would change their tune on this, but it doesn't fit their template of pointing fingers.

i have my civil engineerin... (Below threshold)
dan:

i have my civil engineering degree and have been doing construction litigation as a lawyer for 19 years( and working on the katrina matter in federal court). please leave it to us and stop disemmating bad information. get out of your basement and get some air. in the end you will see that you are wrong. the surge dat show nothing

Good article PaulI... (Below threshold)

Good article Paul

I frankly have little hope for NO as long as the US ACE is anywhere near the town. They are a massive bureaucracy that has operated with political cover for decades.

NO is not the only place they wreak their havoc...it's simply the location of their most monumental failure. The shame is, not one ACE employee will be disciplined as a result of this.

>please leave it to us and ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>please leave it to us and stop disemmating bad information.

Who is this "US" any why do you want to spread bad information. lol

You're not a CE and you're not a lawyer. You're a bull shit troll.

Tell me how I'm wrong and provide actual data or I delete you.

BTW if you follow the links I provided, the Corps agrees with me.

And if you knew half of what you say you did about the area, you'd know we don't have basements in New Orleans.

Now go study your spelling words.

please leave it to us... (Below threshold)

please leave it to us and stop disemmating bad information. ....please, somebody hand me a towel. I'm not impressed. I've seen this movie before...

If you were working for me you would be fired. That you are presently involved in Katrina litigation is irrelevant and certainly does not establish you as an expert. But the huffing and puffing does bring to mind the question of your motive. Why don't you just lurk here and soak up some FREE discovery? Or toss out an innocent question and get a preview of some future testimony. Or maybe learn something.


dave,You might be ta... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

dave,
You might be taken more seriously if you:
a) Knew how to spell the big words
b) Provided any form of linkage or citation to back up your assertions.
c) Understood how the shift and caps lock keys worked. Cummings was the exception that proves rule.

Paul,I think you g... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Paul,

I think you got it right. The point that best demonstrates that the water in the canal never got high is the high water mark.

Without knowing the state the levees were in I can understand why some locals were saying some KKK types dynamited them. At the time that seem to be the most likely explanation, at least to some.

Paul,Two quibbles.... (Below threshold)
notacorpsman:

Paul,

Two quibbles.

You write: "The Corps of Engineers flooded New Orleans." I think you mean to say that "bad engineering by the Corps, and perhaps shoddy construction, resulted in the flooding of New Orleans."

To say "the Corps flood New Orelans" is to suggest that they did this purposefully, and you've provide absolutely no evidence of that.

Bad engineering happens ... all the time, by top engineering firms. The World Trade Center wasn't "collapsed by its engineers," even though bad engineering resulted in its collapse.

Secondly ... New Orleans is situated below sea level. No amount of money can be spent to make the city completely safe from floods.

Any engineer would tell you that.

>To say "the Corps flood Ne... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>To say "the Corps flood New Orelans" is to suggest that they did this purposefully, and you've provide absolutely no evidence of that.

wrong... if I pick up a firearm and discharge it by mistake and the bullet hits you and you die I still "killed" you.

I've been quite clear thru the 2 years I've been blogging this that negligence and stupidity was the currency of the Corps not malice.

Frankly, they where not smart enough to do anything like this on purpose.

>Bad engineering happens ... all the time, by top engineering firms.

Oh well, I guess a whole city destroyed and 1200 people dead is no big deal when you explain that to me. Thanks for clearing that up... I was pissed about it but after your comment I feel so much better.


>Secondly ... New Orleans is situated below sea level. No amount of money can be spent to make the city completely safe from floods.

>Any engineer would tell you that.

You're a fool. No engineer will tell you that..

I guess you've never heard of the Netherlands.

As smart as you are I bet you work for the Corps

notacorpsman ... (Below threshold)


notacorpsman


To say "the Corps flood New Orelans" is to suggest that they did this purposefully, and you've provide absolutely no evidence of that.

I'm not going to turn this into a long treatise on the ACE and its responsibilities. But if the Corp is going to be in the loop on C&E (Construction and Engineering) then they need to be in the same loop of responsibility when something goes wrong.

I understand well the immunity the Federal Government enjoys, but somewhere in this process there should be some accountability for not only private parties but also Federal employees.

Not to be too much the cynic but:

Any engineer would tell you that.

An engineer is no different than a doctor, lawyer, CPA or other licensed professional. The long history of litigation in our country will tell that an engineer can and will tell you anything if he understands that it is his a** and license at risk.


The point here is that the ACE should be held accountable. There should be Congressional hearings determining what ACE professionals knew and when they knew it.


>There should be Congressio... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>There should be Congressional hearings determining what ACE professionals knew and when they knew it.

heh... sit down, take a deep breath and read this link then, when you are totally amazed at your answer, read THIS ONE.

Only then will you understand why I say SOMEBODY should be charged with negligent homicide.

For those who want to under... (Below threshold)

For those who want to understand what real acceptance of responsibility and risk is, see this:

http://www.wilkman.com/SFD/SFD%201.htm

Key Quote:

Aside from the devastating loss of life and property, the collapse of the St. Francis dam brought a tragic end to the career of William Mulholland.

This is the way it was almost 100 years ago.

Today, (instead of having a Mulholland to attach to the tragedy, and I laud him for his courage to step up and take the criticism and its consequences) in NO, we have what? After months of investigation we learn that the only hard wall capable of withstanding enormous outside pressures was a bureaucracy of incompetent engineers. Please, spare me the local political drama. An engineer in private practice stamps a report and puts his name on the line. Where is the federal accountability?

PaulObviously there ... (Below threshold)

Paul
Obviously there is a burr in my saddle on this. Will try to catch up!

NotacorpsmanJust c... (Below threshold)

Notacorpsman

Just curious about WTC. What bad engineering "resulted in its collapse".

You said:

Bad engineering happens ... all the time, by top engineering firms. The World Trade Center wasn't "collapsed by its engineers," even though bad engineering resulted in its collapse.

Expand on that for us. Tell us specifically what "bad" engineering resulted in it's collapse? I thought the collapse was the result of a large fuel filled commercial aircraft impacting the structure and setting off a catstrophic fire that ultimately weakened the structural support of the building.

regarding<a href="ht... (Below threshold)

regarding
http://wizbangblog.com/content/2007/08/29/the-katrina-video-congress-didnt-want-you-to-see-ii.php#comment-641626

not to quibble, but I think he meant that they were NEGLIGENT, not that they weren't at fault at all.

Trust me, it makes them no less culpable.

As a shipboard engineer, if I forget to switch make up feed tanks, and cause propulsion boilers to run dry, causing a boiler meltdown or explosion, resulting in property damage (or personnel damage!), I'm still at fault, and can be held criminally liable even (if someone gets hurt).

The Corps of Engineers is still completely at fault for shoddy design, shoddy construction, or shoddy maintenance.

HughS, it wasn't shoddy eng... (Below threshold)

HughS, it wasn't shoddy engineering, it was shoddy construction.

In my engineering ethics class in college, we saw a video about the WTC, and they interviewed the designer, and a few other people, and it was our "ethics" discussion for the day, about the innovative designs that were included which made the building economically feasible in the first place.

In standard construction, support columns were supposed to be shaped in a grid pattern. Instead, for the WTC, they were shapped all around the outside, and all in the center, leaving a big empty space that could actually be used for rental space. If they were shaped in the grid pattern, maybe they would still be standing today (although damaged).

Also, there was a possibility that the fireproofing material that was "sprayed" on the crossbeams and support columns was only half sprayed on. The company that had that contract MIGHT have only used half the material the design called for.

Plus, as you mentioned, the "raging office fire" possible caused the horizontal support members to expand, loosening the bolts, and allowing them to drop down, no longer supporting the structure (the video in our class had a decent graphic to go along with it), which means it allowed for horizontal stresses no problem (notice the buildings withstood the impact of the airliners easily), but couldn't withstand vertical stresses (upward stresses, probably due to the weakened steel deforming and expanding in length because of the heat, loosening the tension on the bolts, allowing the bolts to drop out, and the horizontal support members no longer "supported" the current floor.

I wish I had a link to the ethics video (I wish it was online), I'll try and look for it.

Paul, while your informatio... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Paul, while your information is very interesting, your rhetoric is indeed over the top. You are substituting emotionalism for thought in your comments.

I do think that your statement "The Corps of Engineers flooded New Orleans" is a poor choice of words as it does infer an intent that you admit was not there.

What is unclear to me in the mish-mash of bureaucracies that ran the New Orleans region levee system, who was actually responsible for the continuing maintenance of that levee.

Henry, another way to look ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Henry, another way to look at the situation was that the engineering of the WTC was good enough that despite the intentional crash of large airliners, each building stood long enough to be evacuated.

We still don't know exactly... (Below threshold)
Tim:

We still don't know exactly what happened. According to your own video, visibility at daybreak (6:35am) was "next to nothing". The video was shot approximately 3 hours later. Maybe you're right, maybe you're not. Until we know for sure exactly what transpired in that 3 hour period, it's all speculation and recriminations.

>I do think that your state... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I do think that your statement "The Corps of Engineers flooded New Orleans" is a poor choice of words as it does infer an intent that you admit was not there.

TSBFY. They flooded the town... Get over it. No PC bull shit will change it.

Your choice of words makes we think you're an idiot. la de da...

>What is unclear to me in the mish-mash of bureaucracies that ran the New Orleans region levee system, who was actually responsible for the continuing maintenance of that levee.

It is unclear to you because (by that admission) you have no freaking clue what you are talking about. Yet you lecture someone who has been studying this for 2 years.

Well played.

>We still don't know exactl... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>We still don't know exactly what happened.

No.. YOU don't know what happened. The reports have all been written and I've read them. YOU don't know what happened. I know what happened.

If you read our archives, you'll know.

Help yourself.

BTW - if you want a shortcu... (Below threshold)
Paul:

BTW - if you want a shortcut to knowing exactly what happened, I linked 2 stories above about what the Corps knew and when they knew it. Read the second link.

You're welcome.

(about 5 of my comments up)

HenryEvery building ... (Below threshold)

Henry
Every building must be economically feasible; otherwise it would not be built. There is a natural tension between engineers and developers and engineers.

You note:

In standard construction, support columns were supposed to be shaped in a grid pattern. Instead, for the WTC, they were shapped all around the outside, and all in the center, leaving a big empty space that could actually be used for rental space. If they were shaped in the grid pattern, maybe they would still be standing today (although damaged).


That is, I suppose, an acceptable after the fact academic argument. What were the C&E standards at the time of construction?

"Also, there was a possibility that the fireproofing material that was "sprayed" on the crossbeams and support columns was only half sprayed on. The company that had that contract MIGHT have only used half the material the design called for."


Then what did subsequent litigation establish?

Henry, what is your point? Why did the buildings fall? Did they fall because some engineer thirty years previous to the event did not foresee that a group of madmen would impact fuel bombs on the structure?

I used to work there so I am always cynnical as to the "reasons" for the collapse. Go see.

http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/videos/index.html#southtower

Just in case I missed somet... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Just in case I missed something, wasn't New Orleans on the back side of Katrina as it made landfall? Early in the storm the winds were probably out of the sotheast but it seems to me the winds would have moved to a direction more likely to lower the surge. Bay St. Louis and Gulfport were both on the bad side of the storm where the surge piles up from winds blowing towards shore. If I remember correctly the storm center would have been northeast of the city even if the failure occured at 6-ish.

You'll never get the brain ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

You'll never get the brain dead left to admit that the 'wall' was falling with or without Katrina. They are brain dead because so many 'wrong' things have been seared, seared in they're mind. Just like Hanoi John still believing that Nixon ordered him to Cambodia for Christmas before Nixon became president. That seared, seared thing must be horrible (worse than cancer) to live with.

Tim:I guess I missed... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Tim:
I guess I missed that. Are we saying that the storm surge was from the lake? I didn't realize that the surge was that high from winds blowing south across the lake.

Tim, you're an idiot... Are... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Tim, you're an idiot... Are you Tim in PA?

The video clearly shows there where no waves in the canal. Further -as I said in the post- the wall did not crumble in one shot... it took place over several hours. This was in the middle.

And for the 500th time they tested the construction and it passed.

Please don't tell me this is the "aftermath" when I clearly explained it in the post you didn't read.

Are you Tim in Pa? He was a nut too.

Either way it doesn't matter... anyone spewing that much nonsense as fact gets deleted. Get some facts and come back.

I guess I missed that. A... (Below threshold)
Paul:

I guess I missed that. Are we saying that the storm surge was from the lake? I didn't realize that the surge was that high from winds blowing south across the lake.

RicardoVerde forget what that nut is saying. If you want to know where the surge came from google Katrina surge funnel effect

Look for work by Dr. Ivor van Heerden, that will explain where the water came from.

And RicardoVerde... watch t... (Below threshold)
Paul:

And RicardoVerde... watch the dates of what you read... anything less than 6 months after the storm is probably worthless.

For best results look for things at least 10-12 months after the storm. -- It took a while to figure everything out.

By the way Tim... You'd be ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

By the way Tim... You'd be much less tiresome if you didn't make one post telling me that we don't know what happened then another post telling me exactly what happened.

Dude, that right there should have told you that you where messing up.

Paul,Good and well r... (Below threshold)
Len-KC Author Profile Page:

Paul,
Good and well researched. My problem, sitting here high and dry in KC, is how it is in my best interest to throw Billions upon Billions of TAX dollars back into N.O. through the hands of our incompetent congress, the incompetent and unaccountable ACE, and the indescribable Ray Nagin, in step with the most corrupt politicians in history. Any guarantees that we're not just buying "more of the same", but at a higher price?

You know, this is really in... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

You know, this is really interesting stuff.

Unfortunately I don't know what to make of it. I was hoping to read through the comments and see if there were any solid rebuttals or information to gather that might put a dent in what Paul has written. Only it seems as though lot's of posts have been deleted and the typical response from Paul is rather offensive.

Perhaps Paul is just too emotionally attached to argue this without name calling.

>I was hoping to read throu... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I was hoping to read through the comments and see if there were any solid rebuttals or information to gather that might put a dent in what Paul has written.

Good luck with that.

For about the 500th time THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS admitted they flooded New Orleans. I linked it above.

All the engineering and congressional reports have been done and the information is out there... The problem is the media has largely ignored it. It didn't fit the mold.

I didn't "discover" anything here that somebody else didn't already do. I just put it all in one understandable post. (1)

If you are waiting for someone to disprove me, you simply won't find it. (again) EVEN THE CORPS admits the flooded New Orleans.

Here... Since you are too lazy to follow the link, I'll blockquote it.

Corps Takes Blame for New Orleans Flooding

A contrite U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took responsibility Thursday for the flooding of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and said the levees failed because they were built in a disjointed fashion using outdated data.

"This is the first time that the Corps has had to stand up and say, `We've had a catastrophic failure,'" Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the Corps chief, said as the agency issued a 6,000-page-plus report on the disaster on Day 1 of the new hurricane season.

The Corps said it will use the lessons it has learned to build better flood defenses.

"Words alone will not restore trust in the Corps," Strock said...

Do you need more proof?

>Only it seems as though lot's of posts have been deleted

NO I deleted Tim who first told me we didn't know what happened and now claims he knows and that I am wrong.

YOU SHOULD ALSO KNOW HIS BACKGROUND

He told me a about a year ago that he and everyone in his office sat around Friday afternoon before the storm hit and where discussing the known flaws in the construction of the floodwalls.

That's pretty good since not only where there no flaws in the ~construction~ of the floodwall, the flaws in the engineering where unknown AND as of Friday afternoon the National Hurricane Center projected the storm was going to Florida.

BUT everyone in his office knew Friday that the storm was really headed 3 states over and the walls where going to fall... and can you believe the bastards didn't call us and warn us.

In short, if you don't want to believe me, don;t I don't care. I have links to everything I say and I'm standing on the shoulders of hundreds of thousands of man hours of effort....

But if you expect me to let a kook on here spouting nonsense, you'll be sorely disappointed.

FOOTNOTE 1- OK I did "discover" one thing that I've never seen anyone discuss. I noticed the back wall and realized what it meant. But that is an interpretation of a video. If you don't agree with it, explain why. But the evidence is clear as can be. The water was hardly elevated at all when the wall fell. You can see that for yourself.

BTW on the deleting people ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

BTW on the deleting people quickly...

Go look thru the archives... I tried for a long time to reason with people and explain things... It didn't matter.

When Hurricane Rita was approaching the coast the patch on the levee in the lower 9th ward broke and there where live shots on CNN of water crashing into the city again.

I blogged it an I had idiots all over the country (who where at their desks with no TV at the time) arguing with me that New Orleans was not flooding again.

I sitting there watching it on TV and idiots are telling me it was not happening.

I had one moron who lived in WASHINGTON STATE tell me, a lifelong New Orleanian, in a condescending way that what I saw was not New Orleans. That New Orleans was not flooding.

I asked him where it was flooding and he told me "the 9th ward."

I'll never forget my reply...

"The 9th ward of WHAT, Chicago?"

===========

I had one woman who LIVED IN HAWAII tell me I was a fool for living where I was surrounded on 3 sides by water.

I explained she not only lived on a F^@&ing island but a volcanic one at that.

She got pissy.

===========

Then there was the famous Tim debacle I gave you.

===========

Two years after the storm, you can still see the brown water line all over town. It's still there.

A year ago I got into an argument with some idiot who told me there was no such line. I traced the persons IP to like Utah or something. It is so prevalent around town some people kinda nicknamed it "that damn brown line" and this idiot 1000 miles away was telling me it doesn't exist.

==============

Do I delete idiots now????

Yeah.

Not to nitpick over an unre... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

Not to nitpick over an unrelated detail, but I used to live in Hawaii (on Oahu) while serving in the Navy.

Living in a city that's below sea level does seem somewhat daft, especially if taken in context of living ABOVE sea level (several hundred feet in most areas) on an island. About as daft as jumping out of perfectly good airplanes or serving on ships DESIGNED to sink (guilty as charged).

I can see why she would be pissy. I would be too.

All that being said, I'd never seen the video you just posted before (though I have read your accounts). Those weeds and high water marks are pretty damning.

I do wish the truth about Katrina "flooding" New Orleans got more playtime. Maybe some day I'll see it on the History Channel. You never know.

If she would have said it i... (Below threshold)
Paul:

If she would have said it in those terms, I *might* have had more respect for her opinion.

But to whine that NOLA is surrounded on 3 sides by water [which is factually untrue btw] when you live on a freaking island was just moronic... especially when the island may blow sky freaking high.

Besides people keep harping on the fact the city is below sea level. Millions of people live below sea-level. Everyone who lives in a valley lives "below sea level" every time it rains. Go read a bit about the Netherlands...

Frankly -no offense- is the coin of the ignorant. They want to find a way to blame the victim and that is the thing they hear everyone else say so they say it thinking that makes them so much smarter than those poor fools in New Orleans...

It's ironic indeed that they feel so smug being so much smarter but to people who actually understand it, they only proved their ignorance.

As far as I'm concerned, th... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

As far as I'm concerned, the fact that NOLA is below sea level is just an interesting factiod. Much like the jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, or sinking perfectly good ships, NOLA was (as I recall from my geography classes in high school) a terrific location for a port, so one was put there. The fact it's below sea level was just something that would have to be dealt with.

Sadly, the plans put into effect were either poorly planned, poorly implimented, poorly maintained or some combination of the 3 (the most likely cause IMO).

"Playing Devil's advocate w... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

"Playing Devil's advocate with myself.
I know what some of you are thinking. (I know because I wondered about it myself...) The water in the canal was higher (exerting more force on the wall) before the wall broke but it is lower in the video because of the break."

You go on to say, essentially, "but... nah, I don't think so." Out of personal experience, I'd have to agree. I spent several summers along the Mississippi during severe flooding and my own observations agree with you.

We've flamed at each other about this before, but good work.

Maybe you should have calle... (Below threshold)
Tim (I'm in PA but I'm NOT Tim in PA):

Maybe you should have called this "The Katrina Comments Paul Didn't Want You To See." Let everyone see my posts and decide for themselves whether they're idiotic or not. C'mon - be a man.

Somewhat off topic - but if... (Below threshold)
J-Ho:

Somewhat off topic - but if the "waves" were overtopping the walls (remember- supposedly they were large waves and the water level was supposedly all the way up to the top of the wall), then why did they only overtop on one side and in one spot? On the Jefferson Parish side of the canal, there was no evidence of large amounts of water pouring over the wall.

Likewise, after the water went down in lakeview, walking along the canal, there were no gulleys or evidence of water pouring over, which would have still been there after being covered in rising lake water. In fact, all down the canal there was (the remnants) of undisturbed grass(covered by tons of mud that stuck to everything in sight, EXCEPT the west wall of the canal). It's "ironic" that the canal was "overtopped" right at the spot where it had been reported leaking.

If the water level had been high up on that wall, it would be obvious. I've been down to the breech 20 or 30 times (starting in early November) - there has never been any evidence of high water on the west wall, yet like Paul says - it's on EVERYTHING else (including that 1965 mustang fastback in Lakeview. That was just another heartbreak)

I wish people would come here and see, before spouting their expertise.

>I wish people would come h... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I wish people would come here and see, before spouting their expertise.

That would go against the idiot credo.

We're all dumb and they have all the answers even if they live 1000 miles away and have never read one decent report on what happened.

We all lived thru it and have been obsessing over every minor detail for 2 years and these idiots who can't spell that name of that big lake that starts with a P, want to tell us how it worked....

And as an added bonus they whine when I tell them they are idiots....

Do they really not understand how dumb they sound?

Do you know what a pussy yo... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Do you know what a pussy you look like when you can't take even a modicum of criticism? I really don't know why Wizbang took you back. You'd think they would have been tired of your act a long time ago. Go ahead and delete me - people have seen the thread. They know. Now go sit out in front of your trailer and wait for the welfare check we sent you. Try not to let the smell get you down.

Apologies hugh, I was mainl... (Below threshold)

Apologies hugh, I was mainly pointing out where negligence was different from direct action.

In my mind it is not quibbling, both are culpable for their actions, (or inactions), but one actively requires an INTENT to harm, while the other just requires a lack of interest.

Why I went into that much detail I'm not sure. I was just attempting to cite examples from the video that was shown in my ethics course for my mechanical engineering studies from memory.

Tim you really have a brain... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Tim you really have a brain the size of a split pea. Wizbang never "took me back" because I've never left. I now mostly blog only when everyone else is busy but I've never left.

I don't know what you're smoking but it must be good stuff.

You might notice Tim [no you really wouldn't, you're too stupid] that I have not deleted your "criticism." You can call me any name in the book, I really don't care.

You can babble on an on about me living in a trailer... it makes you look like the asshole you are.

What I have deleted -and will continue to delete- is you babbling nonsense about the failure mechanisms of an engineered structure you know nothing about.

First you loudly proclaim that we didn't know why it failed and now you're trying to tell me why it failed.

You're a moron Tim.

The fact of the matter is you have no background in why the wall failed, you have no training in the topic and you have not read any of the reports..... But you want to get on the internet and tell people what happened.

It's a free country and you're welcome to do it... just not here.

I've spent 2 years of my life trying to dispel dumbassed myths about Katrina, I won't let you get on here and babble about things you know nothing about, simply making shit up and expecting to be believed.

I've very sorry if that hurts your little feelings. Grow up, get over it and move on.

>In my mind it is not quibb... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>In my mind it is not quibbling, both are culpable for their actions, (or inactions), but one actively requires an INTENT to harm, while the other just requires a lack of interest.

Hugh et al... Knowing what you know about what the Corps did, read this definition in Louisiana law

§14:29. Homicide

Homicide is the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable omission of another. Criminal homicide is of five grades:

(1) First degree murder.

(2) Second degree murder.

(3) Manslaughter.

(4) Negligent homicide.

(5) Vehicular homicide.

[skip to number 4]

R.S. 14:32. Negligent homicide

A. Negligent homicide is the killing of a human being by criminal negligence.

B. The violation of a statute or ordinance shall be considered only as presumptive evidence of such negligence.

C. Whoever commits the crime of negligent homicide shall be imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five years, fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both. However, if the victim was killed as a result of receiving a battery and was under the age of ten years, the offender shall be imprisoned at hard labor, without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence, for not less than two nor more than five years.

Culpable
Ommission

I still don't understand why somebody ain't in jail.

I tell ya what Tim... I ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

I tell ya what Tim... I changed my mind

Go ahead and post. You have one left...

Take as much room as you need, pixels are cheap.

I want you to tell me why New Orleans flooded.

I want you to tell me what broke, why it broke, when it broke and what happened as a result of the break....

You said:

Maybe you should have called this "The Katrina Comments Paul Didn't Want You To See." Let everyone see my posts and decide for themselves whether they're idiotic or not. C'mon - be a man.

OK hotshot, put you pea size brain where your mouth is... If you know so fucking much about it, please tell me why Lakeview flooded. Tell me why the lower 9th flooded. (and tell me why it flooded the second time) Tell me about the City Park area and while you're at it, tell me about uptown and what happened there...

Tell me all about it Tim. List for me every break in every levee or floodwall... Come on hotshot you know so much.... Here's your chance to prove you're so smart and I'm an ignorant asshole.

Tell me about Michoud and Broadmoor and which has flooded more and which is safer today.

Tell me about the soil samples at the toe of the levee vs the crown and how the Corps calculated the relative strengths... Tell me all about it Tim.

Tell me what happened in 1965 that is so important to this discussion today...

What is the MRGO?

What is the funnel effect?

Tell me what happened in 1986 in the Atchafalaya Basin that is so important today.

GIVE ME LINKS to prove your points Tim.

Go ahead Tim, here's your chance. I'll even let you use google!

Post it or shut the fuck up.

once agin deleting people w... (Below threshold)
pete:

once agin deleting people who PROVE you wrong. it is the end of the month your welfare should arrive today. have fun with schiltz beer and mac and cheese

paul: you go to great lengt... (Below threshold)
sam:

paul: you go to great lengths to avoid answering some real questions that disprove your theories. further, you when you do respond, you just cut people down and ask more questions that are irrelevant to the previos and nearest post. when people answer your questions and it does not fit into your theory you delete them, call them idiots, pea brains and other insults. look in mirror and tell me what you see. i know i see insecure human being that cannot take any criticism.

Paul, you're too funny. Al... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Paul, you're too funny. All this angst over 2 minor quibbles. Most of what you wrote I agreed with. Did you not see where I said the levees were 'criminally substandard' or mentioned "piss poor construction"? Not exactly rousing defenses of the COE. I merely voiced the opinion that the video is not quite the smoking gun you think is, and only because it starts after the critical moment. I didn't say the video refutes you, I didn't say it doesn't bolster your argument. I didn't even say you were wrong, because I don't think you are. All I said was it was not definitive proof because it started after the collapse. The only other minor point I made was that the dynamics of the situation were the straw that broke the camel's back. Maybe a levee would have failed in a regular storm when no evacuation orders were in place, I mean, it's obvious there were problems with them. However, it seems highly improbable to me that there would be 53 separate breaches in an ordinary storm or high water event. 53 sure seems to me to be to many to be a coincidence. I'm sorry we don't agree on every single aspect, but that's how life goes.

I just read this on a NOVA ... (Below threshold)
J-HO:

I just read this on a NOVA site about Katrina. It states that after the levee breech "It takes another two days for the floodwaters inside the city and in Lake Pontchartrain to equalize to about three feet above sea level."

Yet, some people want you to believe that this equalization happened in the minutes and hours after the 17th street canal breeched.

And this: "around 10 a.m., floodwaters overtop levees along Lake Pontchartrain near the Lakefront Airport and gush for a few hours into Orleans East. The waters flow over a section of concrete levee that, strangely, lies almost two feet lower than the earthen walls to which it is attached."

Of the 53 breeches, how many were in / around/ from the MRGO and the "Funnel"? What about the breech where the CSX line crosses the industrial canal, where the gates wouldn't close?

You people are funny. You talk out of your ass then pretend to take the "high road" when someone calls you on it. Ignorance truly is bliss.

there were actually over 10... (Below threshold)
sean:

there were actually over 100 breaches. however , that number cannot truly be confirmed as large sections of levees were simply washed away and it is hard, if not impossibl;e to "count" that as one breach or multiple breaches. along MRGO on reach 2 between bayou bievenue or bayou dupree the levees were almost totally washed away. but IPET counts them as multiple breaches with varying degrees of severity. same hold true in orleans east along the lakefront and GIWW( along elaine ave) still countless others by the air products facility and all along the giww west of the confluence of MRGO and intracoastal.




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