If the flooding was caused by an act of man not nature I would think that individual policy holders might have recourse to their carriers flood insurance or no.
Paging Minister Farrakhan.
This has been considered and ruled out, the levee broke a long way up the canal, and any barge that broke the levee would have washed up and over the break, or still be in the canal. No barge. But they do still have to come up with a plausable reason for the newly upgraded levee to break where it did. Where are the concrete specimens, the engineers and the workers who did the upgrade?
Scanned some scandal G2 on the net several days ago regarding mistaken discovery of UDT odrnance residue by salvage crews and heard urban-legend style scuttle from rescued evacuees about deliberate bombing of levees.( That is supposed to be the buzz among former residents.) The woods are full of this kind of thing almost anytime.
No, it was a horse shoe nail that did it.
Even if the barge did cause the break, it could still have been an act of God that broke the barge from it's moorings and flung it into the levee. Only thing that surprises me is that a barge could get enough sideways (relative to the length of the canal) momentum , even pushed by the storm surge and winds, to do that kind of damage to the concrete levee. (or more properly the concrete top to an otherwise earthen fill levee, as you can see fairly well in both pictures in post 15. I've seen other pictures taken from the levee itself, of the barge and the concrete top barrier. The earthen fill forms most of the levee and the canal itself which is elevated above the level of the surrounding terrain, with the concrete slabs just forming th e last several feet of the barrier.
Folks are mixing up barges, levee breaches, and witnesses.
The grain barge shown in the images in this thread punched a hole in the east side of the Industrial Canal and flooded the lower 9th Ward, not downtown.
However, the surge of water that pushed the barge into that levee also topped (not breached) the western side of the Industrial canal and put maybe 5 to 6 feet of water in to a limited (call it 20 blocks by 20 blocks) area just northeast of downtown, in New Orleans proper. This either came from the Intercoastal Waterway or Lake Pontchartrain or both, probably both, also probably more so from the Industrial Waterway.
The levee breaches that flooded downtown New Orleans were near the north end of two canals, one east of the City Park (London Canal breach) and one west of the City Park (17th Street Canal).
The pictures from London Canal indicate that the concrete wall was undermined and didn't really fail so much as its foundation was scoured loose. (If you look at it, you'll probably see a "failed" wall, but an engineer or construction guy will see a scoured foundation as the root cause...most likely.)
Several sections of the 17th street canal breach failed as a unit and appear to have been pushed over from the top. There are no visible barges anywhere near there, and it would be very difficult to get a barge anywhere near there because there is a very low bridge between the breach and Lake Pontchartrain. Also that canal is very narrow for any barges to get into it and have much lateral velocity, if they can get in at all.
Odds are this failure came from one of three causes. Much earlier, around 3 AM, the Kenner police reported that the canal NNW of there was full up and that they had some minor water problems. (Probably water coming up out of storm drains.) Since the winds pushing water west and southwest and then south would have caused similar buildup at the canal easts of that one (including the 17th st canal and the London Canal in succession), and since they both have the same height walls, it is likely that the 17th Street Canal was full too.
It is possible that some water came over the top and undermined the foundation from the inside. I rate this as being unlikely because the remaining sections of the wall do not show evidence of having been topped. No green stuff on top of the wall, no piles of the same kind of debris inside the wall as inside the canal.
That leaves two possibilities. One, the hydrostatic pressure of the deepening water in the canal, and the hydrodynamic pressure of the southward moving crest of water, may have forced water under the wall (percolation and then scouring) and caused it to fail like the London breach, but if so, the end result was very different than the London breach because the whole section of the 17th street canal wall toppled completely flat in the hole. Underwater and invisible flat. At the London breach however, the wall sections were still in place and standing vertically with holes under them and gaps between sections.
Therefore, I believe that the ties between sections of the 17th canal wall were not as sturdy as those used elsewhere, that they failed, and at that point, with nothing pinning the top of the wall in place, the water simply pushed it over.
I find it more than curious that the 17th street failure and the London Canal failure both involved new sections of wall, that other than barge damage, no old walls failed anywhere (be careful to distiguish between a wall and a levee), and that both the 17th street and the London breach were possibly both a result of under wall percolation, scouring and subsequent failure.
However, it is very risky to point fingers on that basis because of the different failure modes (at least in final appearance) but slightly less risky is noting that both were new construction.
Before you run too far with this, if you are looking for culprits, give it a day or so. I have this feeling that some.....revelations....are inbound.