Engineering failures exposed by Hurricane Katrina

F. H.(Bud) Griffis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses the overall design of the engineering works that protect the City of New Orleans from major storm events. It briefly describes the history of the drainage of the city, and discusses the natural and engineered flood-protection structures and strategy for major hurricanes. This is followed by an analysis of the failures of the natural system, as well as failures of the levees, floodwalls, pumping stations, and the absence of flood gates on the canals. The paper concludes that the "design storm" specified by congressionally authorized projects deserves reconsideration, and that engineering design reviews should be reorganized and implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalTechnology in Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Engineering failures
  • Flooding
  • Floodwalls
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane protection
  • Levees
  • New Orleans
  • Pumping stations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Business and International Management
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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