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"we are identifying some breaches in levees we did not see initially"

PlaqueminesbreachesScary stuff from a military briefing yesterday: Defense Department Briefing on Hurricane Katrina Repairs, Presenter: Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Gen. Carl Strock. (A PDF of the slides from the briefing is available here)

One of the questions that we are dealing with now is the status of the levees.  It's a very important question for two reasons. Number one, we want to make sure that if there are weakened portions of the levee or there are breaches that we haven't identified yet, we know about those.  Because as the decisions are made to move back in to these parishes, we need to understand the level of vulnerability that our citizens have moving back in.  So we've got a very intense effort going out to assess the condition of the levee systems and put in repairs where it makes sense.

The other thing, of course, is we're looking down range a little bit and we realized when we get through our response and the initial stages of recovery, we've really got to understand exactly what occurred here.  So part of our project condition survey is to capture the conditions as the water recedes so we can do the analysis later on to ensure we have the right engineering and we're doing the right steps to protect the people in the future.

So that's it.  It's a sort of a forensic aspect of the effort now, principally for operational and safety purposes, but also so we can go back and understand what happened.  And that's an ongoing effort.

As we do that, we are identifying some breaches in levees we did not see initially.  Our attention was really drawn to 17th Street and London Avenue canal in the inner harbor.  But now we're finding some levee breaches in places like the National Wildlife Refuge up here.  So there are other sections of the levee which breached.  We also have levee breaches down in Plaquemines County.  If I could go to that one real quick.

This is Plaquemines County, which is -- which is south and east of New Orleans.  They have breaches down there which we're working as well.  Plaquemines has been kind of out of the news, but clearly, it's an important area, it needs to be brought back up.  One of the reasons for that is a lot of the support for the oil fields moves up and down this corridor here, so we need to bring -- bring that area back up as quickly as we can.