Katrina's Damage Still Hurts Cities, Reputations
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On Sunday, President Obama is expected to travel to New Orleans to help mark the fifth anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
Around New Orleans, the rebuilding never stops, CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports.
Ken Dorsey is among dozens of volunteers rebuilding five homes just this weekend, one for every year since Katrina’s misery began.
A barge had crashed through a levee and parked itself on top of Dorsey’s house. Five years later, a new, improved system of levees and floodwalls protects New Orleans neighborhoods.
“We would hope it’s able to hold up,” Dorsey said.
It better. Dorsey owns a new house going up by a levee.
Now about half-complete, the city’s rebuilt flood protection system will cost $14.6 billion, but by next year’s hurricane season, it’s supposed to be able to stop a 100 year flood.
Col. Ed Flemming, the new commander here for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said New Orleans is safer.
“It’s a reliable system,” said Flemming. “It’s a resilient system, and it is tied in in all areas.”
But after the levees failed, a federal judge blamed the corps for mismanaging the patchwork barrier system that collapsed for creating the disaster.
It’s not just the corps rebuilding reputations.
Take Michael Brown, who found infamy in a presidential atta-boy when in Katrina’s immediate aftermath President Geroge W. Bush told him, “Heck of a job, Brownie.”
“If you go watch that tape again, you’ll see me kind of wince,” said Brown, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “They ran the bus over me a little bit because I was asking for things. I was telling them what we needed.”
Brown said all government agencies involved in Katrina’s second disaster – the response – learned a great deal from Katrina.
The question from Dorsey – and so many people here – is whether those agencies learned enough.
Brown said he has no doubt in his mind that a disaster like Katrina could happen again.
“Not enough has been done,” Brown said.
The corps disagrees with that, but every time a major hurricane comes into view, many people here will look at their rebuilt levees and wonder.
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