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Journalist query: New Orleans levee/floodwall breaches

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I am a reporter for The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. I am researching the engineering issues raised by the structural failures in several canal floodwalls in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina (and the ongoing problems with Hurricane Rita) and am seeking expertise/input from structural engineers and other scientists with expertise in the area of materials science.

Trying to develop a deeper understanding of the forces that would have been acting on floodwalls with high water in the canals, various failure dynamics, etc.

Any help/references appreciated.

Regards,

John McQuaid

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

Washington bureau

1101 Connecticut Avenue NW s. 300

Washington, DC 20036

202-383-7889

john.mcquaid(--nospam--at)newhouse.com