Louisiana Still Finding Katrina Damage

2015-07-31T12:44:17+00:00 July 31, 2015|
Aerial view of New Orleans, La., where homes were nearly swallowed up by flood waters. (Credit: NOAA)

(Click to enlarge) Aerial view of New Orleans, La., where homes were nearly swallowed up by flood waters. (Credit: NOAA)

The storm is long gone, but Hurricane Katrina is still a disaster in Louisiana.

(From USA Today / Paul Singer) — Katrina made landfall 10 years ago, killing more than 1,800 people along the Gulf Coast and leaving about 80% of New Orleans underwater. The federal government has spent tens of billions of dollars rebuilding communities along the Gulf, but the task is far from over. Louisiana is still uncovering hurricane-related damages that will take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to repair.

Louisiana has thus far doled out around $10 billion in recovery money provided by the federal government for 24,000 reconstruction projects ranging from roads to public buildings and utilities that were damaged by Katrina and Rita, the massive storm that followed a month later, according to state reports. But there remains another $2.5 billion in federal assistance set aside for public reconstruction that has not yet been spent, and thousands of projects remain open. And some projects are getting bigger as time passes.

“We have sink holes occurring all over the city,” said Freddy Drennan, mayor of Slidell, La., a city of about 25,000 people across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. “When we dig them up to fix them, we are finding infrastructure problems underneath,” problems that are most likely related to Katrina. Drennan notes that the hurricane blew over thousands of trees in the area; as those trees went down, their roots tugged on the underground pipes they had grown around, causing small leaks that could go undiscovered for years. Those leaks erode the soil over time, creating unstable caverns beneath the city’s roads or other infrastructure.

The storm is long gone, but Hurricane Katrina is still a disaster in Louisiana.

Katrina made landfall 10 years ago, killing more than 1,800 people along the Gulf Coast and leaving about 80% of New Orleans underwater. The federal government has spent tens of billions of dollars rebuilding communities along the Gulf, but the task is far from over. Louisiana is still uncovering hurricane-related damages that will take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to repair.

Louisiana has thus far doled out around $10 billion in recovery money provided by the federal government for 24,000 reconstruction projects ranging from roads to public buildings and utilities that were damaged by Katrina and Rita, the massive storm that followed a month later, according to state reports. But there remains another $2.5 billion in federal assistance set aside for public reconstruction that has not yet been spent, and thousands of projects remain open. And some projects are getting bigger as time passes.

“We have sink holes occurring all over the city,” said Freddy Drennan, mayor of Slidell, La., a city of about 25,000 people across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. “When we dig them up to fix them, we are finding infrastructure problems underneath,” problems that are most likely related to Katrina. Drennan notes that the hurricane blew over thousands of trees in the area; as those trees went down, their roots tugged on the underground pipes they had grown around, causing small leaks that could go undiscovered for years. Those leaks erode the soil over time, creating unstable caverns beneath the city’s roads or other infrastructure.

Read the full article here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/07/28/louisiana-still-finding-katrina-damage/30459513/