With the worst of Hurricane Ida appearing to be over, it looks like New Orleans’ robust system of levees managed to hold up against the storm, helping keep people alive and their homes safe.
Following the disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the federal government invested $14.5 billion to improve protection from flooding in New Orleans, along with the surrounding suburbs. And in the case of Hurricane Ida, that the work paid off, as the levees held up against the flooding and there were no breaches or overtopping of levees for the system in Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard parishes.
“We don’t believe there is a single levee anywhere now that actually breached or failed. There were a few smaller levees that were overtopped to a degree for a certain period of time,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
But in the fight against climate change, winning the battle doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve won the war. Tulane University history professor Andy Horowitz, author of Katrina: A History, 1915-2015 said that while it was “unequivocally great news” that the levees held up against Hurricane Ida, it does not mean that they will fare as well against future flooding.
“As the system is challenged by stronger and more frequent hurricanes,” Horowitz said. “I think many experts are very concerned about the rather low level of protection that New Orleans has.”
And while the damage done by Ida is nowhere near Katrina, that doesn’t mean it didn’t greatly affect people. As of this morning, nearly one million people in Louisiana are still without power and the official death toll has risen to six. Here are a few organizations that you can contribute to that are helping people who have been affected by Hurricane Ida:
- The American Red Cross has over 600 volunteers in Louisiana and Mississippi, along with opening dozens of evacuation shelters across the states with other organizations.
- The New Orleans chapter of Rebuilding Together is taking donations to help those affected by Ida.
- The City of New Orleans can’t officially accept any contributions but officials have recommended donating to United Way of Southeast Louisiana and The Greater New Orleans Foundation.