New Orleans levee system performance during Hurricane Katrina

17th Street Canal and Orleans Canal North

Inthuorn Sasanakul, Wipawi Vanadit-Ellis, Michael Sharp, Tarek Abdoun, Javier Ubilla, Scott Steedman, Kevin Stone

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Centrifuge modeling of the 17th Street Canal and Orleans Canal North levees was performed in this study. During hurricane Katrina the levees on the 17th Street Canal failed, leading to breaches in the outfall canal in the city. Two mechanisms were observed in the centrifuge modeling that could cause a breach. First, a water-filled crack formed in front of the floodwall as the water in the canal rose above the top of the levee. The levees on the 17th Street Canal, which were supported on clay foundations, failed when this cracking led to a translational (sliding) failure in the clay layer commencing at the toe of the floodwall. The levees at Orleans Canal North, where failure did not occur, were also modeled to demonstrate that the model tests could successfully simulate failure and nonfailure conditions. The centrifuge model tests identified the importance of the crack formation in relation to the stability of the floodwall. These tests also confirmed that levee geometry, floodwall depth of penetration, and the underlying soil profile were all critical to the performance of the system under flood loading.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)657-667
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
    Volume134
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 1 2008

    Fingerprint

    Hurricanes
    levee
    Canals
    hurricane
    canal
    Levees
    Centrifuges
    centrifugal model test
    model test
    Clay
    crack
    clay
    Outfalls
    centrifuge
    Crack initiation
    sliding
    soil profile
    Water
    penetration
    Cracks

    Keywords

    • Canals
    • Centrifuge model
    • Floods
    • Hurricanes
    • Levees
    • Louisiana

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

    Cite this

    New Orleans levee system performance during Hurricane Katrina : 17th Street Canal and Orleans Canal North. / Sasanakul, Inthuorn; Vanadit-Ellis, Wipawi; Sharp, Michael; Abdoun, Tarek; Ubilla, Javier; Steedman, Scott; Stone, Kevin.

    In: Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 134, No. 5, 01.05.2008, p. 657-667.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Sasanakul, Inthuorn ; Vanadit-Ellis, Wipawi ; Sharp, Michael ; Abdoun, Tarek ; Ubilla, Javier ; Steedman, Scott ; Stone, Kevin. / New Orleans levee system performance during Hurricane Katrina : 17th Street Canal and Orleans Canal North. In: Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. 2008 ; Vol. 134, No. 5. pp. 657-667.
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