Hurricane Rita-driven winds pushed floodwaters from the Industrial Canal into the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans and Chalmette as water topped a section of the levee that was under repair, Secretary of Transportation and Development Johnny Bradberry said Friday.
Bradberry said the flooding was waist-deep near the levee.
He said there have not been any reports of flooding in other parts of the area, such near the 17th Street Canal or the London Avenue Canal, two troublespots during Hurricane Katrina.
This is really, really bad because it looks as if the floodwall system itself may be flawed.
Experts Say Faulty Levees Caused Much of Flooding
Louisiana's top hurricane experts have rejected the official explanations for the floodwall collapses that inundated much of New Orleans, concluding that Hurricane Katrina's storm surges were much smaller than authorities have suggested and that the city's flood- protection system should have kept most of the city dry.The Army Corps of Engineers has said that Katrina was just too massive for a system that was not intended to protect the city from a storm greater than a Category 3 hurricane, and that the floodwall failures near Lake Pontchartrain were caused by extraordinary surges that overtopped the walls.
Workers repair a section of the levee at the 17th Street Canal, which breached and caused flooding.
But with the help of complex computer models and stark visual evidence, scientists and engineers at Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center have concluded that Katrina's surges did not come close to overtopping those barriers. That would make faulty design, inadequate construction or some combination of the two the likely cause of the breaching of the floodwalls along the 17th Street and London Avenue canals -- and the flooding of most of New Orleans.
Meanwhile back at the fort the White House was insisting they'd be much more focused on Rita, not they weren't focused on Katrina, but...
White House Briefing: Reporters Wonder About President's New 'Focus' on Hurricanes
Q So the lessons learned from Katrina will be applied in the case of Rita?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of Katrina, that was a storm that was unprecedented in size and scope and devastation. It is something that we want to make sure all the lessons possible are learned, and we want to make sure that we know exactly what worked and what didn't work. And that's why we are working closely with Congress as they move forward on their investigation. That's why the President has tasked his Homeland Security Council to make sure that there is a comprehensive review of the preparedness and response relating to Katrina, so we're doing that.
Now, in terms of Rita, I just talked about the steps that we're taking. And we're going to make sure that we are doing everything we can to have the strongest possible coordination with state and local governments as we prepared and respond to Hurricane Rita.
Q Well, Scott, continuing with what Steve said, how is what you're doing for Rita different from what you did from Katrina?
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. A couple of things -- one, the President is focused on making sure we have the strongest possible coordination with state and local governments in the path of Hurricane Rita. We hope Rita is not devastating, but we must be prepared for the worst. Coordination at all levels needs to be seamless, or as seamless as possible, and that's what we're working to do.
Homeland Security and FEMA officials are working closely with state and local governments so that resources can be targeted where they are most needed. They are redoubling efforts to make sure we have a full understanding of what the needs are so that we can make sure that those needs are met. And I went through several steps that were already taken to address these issues.
Q So that's -- you think that that's going to be an improvement over what was done in Katrina?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, in terms of Katrina, we're still focused on the immediate needs of the people in the region and working to make sure that they are getting back up on their feet, that we're moving forward on the recovery, that we're moving forward on the rebuilding to help people rebuild their lives and rebuild their communities. We are determined to learn the lessons of Katrina, and that's why we have been assessing what's been working and what hasn't been working and taking steps to address those issues. That's why we're also working closely with Congress, and the President is committed to making sure that there's a thorough investigation so that we can learn those lessons.
Q Well, can you distinguish what you're doing differently?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I just talked to you about where the President's focus is and what we are doing. We want to make sure that we're --
Q And these are things you didn't do in Katrina?
MR. McCLELLAN: We want to make sure that we are better prepared and better positioned to respond to Hurricane Rita and that's what we're doing. That's why I outlined the several steps that we are taking. And that's why I just told you that the President is focused on making sure that we have the strongest possible coordination with state and local officials, and that we have --
Q Which you didn't have before, right?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- as seamless as possible coordination with state and local officials.
Q In other words, better than the last time?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think I just answered that question, Bill.
Q No, not really.
And someone forgot to evacuate the poor. And someone forgot a million people in cars need quite a lot of petrol.