Louisiana voters approved consolidating the New Orleans area's levee boards, the generations-old agencies whose politically appointed members took criticism after Hurricane Katrina for failing to maintain the area's levees and floodwalls.

The constitutional amendment — passing Saturday with about 80 percent of the vote — will combine 10 southeast Louisiana boards into two — one for each bank of the Mississippi River — and require that their members have expertise in engineering, geology and hydrology.

After Katrina breached New Orleans' levees last August, the existing boards were criticized as disjointed, full of cronyism and patronage, and badly lacking in technical knowledge.