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by Yavni Bar-Yam
The Future of New Orleans
Prof. Yaneer Bar-Yam and USACE strategic planner Paul Seguin at the 17th St. Canal, site of a notorious breach during Katrina.

Challenges and Opportunities

In their meeting at the district headquarters, the Task Force Hope deputy directors briefed Prof. Bar-Yam on many different aspects of the operation. They described it as a massive project with unique constraints and opportunities. The operation requires integration of three areas: navigation, flood damage risk reduction, and ecosystem restoration. It has unprecedented full funding, at $14.45 billion, and the support of a nation eager to make New Orleans safe after the devastation of 2005. The deputy directors explained that the efforts are the responsibility of the entire Mississippi Valley Division of the Corps, with each district of that region providing design or other services for a particular sector within the New Orleans area, while under the overall program management of Task Force Hope.

The deputy directors also spoke about the myriad technical problems and innovations involved in protecting a 350-mile perimeter by means of gated outlets and throughways, levees, floodwalls, and pumping stations. They discussed a review and evaluation of the decision-making processes of the past fifty years, and recommendations about how to improve the decision making in the future.

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