Storm Cloud Over New Orleans

Is the Big Easy Ready for the Next Big Storm?

June 2006

This special report from the Institute's Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch program examines New Orleans' storm-protection infrastructure at the start of the first hurricane season after the Katrina disaster, finding a city dangerously unprepared to face a major hurricane.

"If another Katrina were to occur tomorrow, you're going to have six feet of water overtopping some levees," an Army Corps of Engineers official told a National Academies of Science committee in May 2006.

The report looks at four pieces of infrastructure key to the city's ability to withstand another storm of Katrina's magnitude: levees and floodwalls, pump systems, coastal wetlands and the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet. It documents substantial problems with all of these critical systems and calls on the federal government to take immediate action to adequately protect New Orleans residents from another preventable disaster.

For a PDF version of the report, click here.