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7 years after Katrina, New Orleans braces for challenges in running brand-new levee system

By the time the next hurricane season starts in June 2013, New Orleans will take control of much of a revamped protection system of gates, walls and armored levees the Army Corps of Engineers has spent about $12 billion building. The corps has about $1 billion worth of work left.

Engineers consider it a Rolls Royce of flood protection — comparable to systems in seaside European cities such as Venice and Rotterdam. Whether the infrastructure can hold is less in question than whether New Orleans can be trusted with the keys.

The Army Corps estimates upkeep and operations will cost $38 million a year.

Local flood-control chief Robert Turner says he has questions about where that money will come from.

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