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December 15, 2005
SOME KATRINA FOLLOWUP:
The interviews, combined with Thursday's testimony, indicate vast confusion about who was ultimately responsible for the levees.
Regulations show that the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for building levees and conducting annual inspections, and the state is charged with training and overseeing New Orleans levee district officials.
The Orleans Levee District, headed by a board of politically appointed commissioners, is responsible for day-to-day maintenance and repair of levees _ usually by staff engineers. An Aug. 16 work order released by the Senate panel, for example, shows that inspection crews did check the levees but also cut nearby grass and green space.
The former president of the commission described a lax _ if festive _ inspection process by its appointed members.
"You have commissioners," former president James P. Huey told investigators in a Nov. 29 interview. "They have some news cameras following you around, and all of this stuff. And you have your little beignets, and then you have _ you go do the tourist and that and you have a nice lunch somewhere or whatever. They have this stop-off thing or whatever. And that's what the inspections are about."
Read the whole thing, which also shows that nobody seemed to know who was in charge.