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UC Berkeley News Brief

CNBC to air documentary on New Orleans' recovery after Hurricane Katrina

– Two years ago, UC Berkeley civil engineer Bob Bea made national headlines critiquing New Orleans' levees and flood control system that failed under the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina. Now he is equally damning about the reconstruction efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make the city safer.

In a CNBC documentary to premiere Sunday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. (PDT), Bea says the levee protection system "is infused with a large number of potential defects. Getting all these things . 'remediated' quickly is an impossibility."

The documentary, "Against the Tide: The Battle for New Orleans," examines how the New Orleans business community has recovered from the tragedy of Katrina two years after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

Bea, a professor of civil engineering, survived Hurricane Betsy in 1965, and returned to New Orleans in 2005 with UC Berkeley colleague Ray Seed to conduct a study, funded by the National Science Foundation, on the failures that led to Katrina.

For more on the role Bea and Seed played in understanding why the levees failed, see the NewsCenter story and video, Big hurt in the Big Easy, and the summary of their final report on the failures of the city's flood control system. See also the Fall 2006 Forefront story, Broken Levees: New Orleans to Sacramento, and the Sept./Oct. 2007 California magazine feature on Bea, Mud pies in the sky.

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