As a retired structural engineer who has done exhaustive work on bulk liquids retention structures, including dams, dykes and levees; also having audited engineering schematics on the New Orleans levees in the 1994-1996 era, rest assured that federal officials were properly concerned about that situation. The problem was that they were the only ones. We bucked and kicked local officials for years throughout the entire project. The municipality demanded the money, and received millions, but repeatedly, they had more pressing uses for expenditures. The optimal, shear-sloped design for the levee reinforcement was approved in 1995. I tell you truly that in my 40-year career as an engineer, the local authorities in our New Orleans levee project take the prize in the area of callous disregard and their bungling remains notorious to this day. Truly, it was scandalous. Consequently, I find it hard to cast a major portion of blame for this disaster on any other entity than the local representatives of those unfortunate people in New Orleans. The truth is, at least the last three mayors of New Orleans are grossly negligent and in dereliction of duty in regards to repeatedly skimming federal funds allocated for their levee fortification.