Jesse Hardman

Over the last decade more than $14 billion was spent to upgrade New Orleans’s storm protection system. But ask around, and you’ll get a variety of responses as to how safe the city actually is now when it comes to storms and flooding.

Mark Schleifstein is the Environment reporter for Nola.com | The Times-Picayune. He’s been covering all facets of New Orleans’s attempts to shore up it’s natural and man-made defense systems.

St. Charles Parish Government

St Charles Parish officials hope to gain more control over their local wetlands by adopting their own coastal plan.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Ten years after Katrina, the Army Corps of Engineers says it is ready for the next big one. The Corps has built new levees, floodwalls and gated structures over the past decade to protect the city and its people.

Paul Floro / Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting to discuss a new project that will add fabric matting and natural grasses to the top of the levees along the lakefront. The design aims to protect from surges caused by a 100-year storm.

The Corps refers to this project as "armoring" the levees. The existing system is defined to withstand a hurricane with a 1 percent chance of occurring any given year: a "100-year storm." This armoring strategy is being put in place in case there’s an even stronger storm that breaches those levees.

The Pentagon says three Louisiana companies have contracts worth up to $200 million in total to armor levees in the New Orleans area.

The Pentagon says Bis Services of Kenner, Circle of Belle Chasse, and Shavers-Whittle Construction of Mandeville, were among 10 companies that bid over the Internet.

Their contracts are with the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans. They were on a list of contracts released last night by the Pentagon.

The work is to be done by December 2020. The amount paid for each job will be decided individually.

The nominating committee for the South East Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East has made its selection to fill a slot on the levee board. They voted 7-3 a week ago to renominate Paul Kemp — a geologist in the Coastal Ecology Institute at LSU — who’s current term is expiring. 

The ball is back in Gov. Jindal’s court — he can accept or reject Kemp’s nomination or ask the state Senate to consider it — and the fate of the levee board’s lawsuit against oil and gas companies over damage to coastal wetlands hangs in the balance. 

Bob Marshall, reporter with The Lens in New Orleans, has been following all this.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The US Army Corps of Engineers says there is no major threat from debris found inside the 17th Street Canal levee.

Corps critics aren’t so sure.

Chunks of concrete, bricks and glass were discovered during work to install sheet piling.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection District—East has been assured by the Corps that the material is being removed.

Sandy Rosenthal founded Levees.org after the catastrophic levee breaches following Hurricane Katrina nine years ago.

Louisiana State Museum

Each month Richard Campanella explores an aspect of New Orleans’ geography. His Cityscapes column for Nola.com and The Times-Picayune shines a light on structural, often-overlooked or invisible aspects of the city. This month: a flood in 1849. Up until Katrina it was the largest deluge in the city’s history.

Campanella says that disaster 165 years ago had something in common with Katrina.

US Army Corps of Engineers / Wikimedia

The 2014 hurricane season has started, and New Orleans metro area residents are living behind a new, $14.5 billion storm surge system acknowledged as the best they have ever had. 

But an investigation by The Lens shows this best-ever is still not as good as Congress originally ordered it to be.

This week on Le Show, Harry follows-up with John Barry about the Louisiana levees. He also brings more News of AfPAC, Karzai Talk, News of the Olympic Movement, and more!