What Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans in 2005 happened on a smaller scale in the Northeast with back-to-back hurricanes Connie and Diane in August of 1955. Without an adequate flood-control system vast swaths of land were inundated; Connecticut alone lost 91 people and had thousand more left homeless and unemployed. Newspapers declared it the largest disaster in the region in the history of the United States. With public pressure to prevent another disaster of the kind, Congress and the White House passed a bill to begin a wide-scale flood control program.
On this day, July 3, in 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Rivers and Harbors Flood Control Bill, allocating funds for multiple overlapping flood control and prevention efforts.
Seven years later the Flood Control Act of 1965 authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to take similar measures around New Orleans, Louisiana. Work was slowed, however, because of the unclear division of power between the ACE and the local levee boards, who controlled flood-control projects historically. For this reasons and various others, only between 60% to 90% of the planned construction was completed by 2005.