New Orleans Levees
Were Blown In 1927
Were They Blown in 2005?
Extracts from Another Flood That Stunned America
For days, the rain fell. The rivers swelled, the lakes rose. And when the water could no longer find a place to go, it battered the weakest parts of the levees that had protected thousands of people and blew through, sending a surge of white-capped brown water faster than the spill of Niagara Falls.
So began the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the most catastrophic
deluge ever to hit the South and one of the worst natural disasters in
When the rains broke records in April 1927, the Gulf of Mexico was full
and worked as a stopper to the Mississippi. The Mississippi was full, too,
pushing its own waters up tributaries, breaking levees and causing
flooding as far as Ohio and Texas. All that water had to go somewhere.
To save New Orleans, the leaders proposed a radical plan. South of the
city, the population was mostly rural and poor. The leaders appealed to
the federal government to essentially sacrifice those parishes by blowing
up an earthen levee and diverting the water to marshland. They promised
restitution to people who would lose their homes. Government officials,
including Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover, signed off.
|DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS: This is the actual levee that runs along the
canal on the eastern side of the city. And when the hurricane hit, the
water came through at such force, it was apparently too much. You can see
the massive breach here, and when you look around the corner you can see
what the water did to the Lower Ninth Ward. It completely destroyed
JOE EDWARDS, JR., 9TH WARD RESIDENT: I heard something go BOOM!
MUIR: Joe Edwards rushed to get himself and as many neighbors as possible into his truck. They drove to this bridge, where they've been living ever since
EDWARDS: My house broke in half. My mother's house just disintegrated. It was a brick house. All the houses down there floated down the street like somebody's guiding 'em
|MUIR: Was it solely the water that broke the levee, or was it the
force of this barge that now sits where homes once did? Joe Edwards says
neither. People are so bitter, so disenfranchised in this neighborhood,
they actually think the city did it, blowing up the levee to save richer
neighborhoods like the French Quarter.|
MUIR: So you're convinced . . .
EDWARDS: I know this happened!
MUIR: . . . they broke the levee on purpose?
EDWARDS: They blew it!
MUIR: New Orleans' mayor says there's no credence to this.
Stories Rolling In About Levees Being Blown In New Orleans
New Orleans: Destroyed by Presidential Negligence
What Really Happened