UT Dallas President to Discuss New Orleans’
Levee Failures: ‘What Went Wrong and Why?’

Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the New Orleans flood protection system in August 2005, resulting in widespread loss of life and one of the worst catastrophes in the nation’s history.  How can lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina be applied to other extreme, infrequent natural occurrences, including the drought and water shortage crisis in North Texas?

Why the levees failed and what can be done to prevent another such disaster will be the focus of a talk on Monday, Nov. 13, by Dr. David E. Daniel, a renowned civil engineer who is president of The University of Texas at Dallas and head of a panel of experts that looked into the levee breaches.

The presentation – “The New Orleans Levee Failures:  What Went Wrong and Why?” – will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Davidson Auditorium in the UT Dallas School of Management building on the university’s Richardson campus.  The talk is free and open to the public.

Daniel, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, last November was appointed chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers external review panel, which conducted a continuing, expert peer review of the work of a federal interagency task force formed to answer the fundamental questions concerning performance of the New Orleans hurricane protection system.

“Nearly everything went wrong, essentially at all levels,” Daniel said of the levee failures. “Complacency, a lack of priority on protection of public safety and some very poor ‘management’ choices were the root causes.  Avoiding a future catastrophe will not be easy and will require improving everything from the engineering design criteria for levees to the overall management approach.”

Visitors should enter the campus via northbound University Parkway from Campbell Road, stop at the UT Dallas Information Center and request parking directions for Daniel's lecture.