(John) Barry said the levees in the metro area are about seven to eight times stronger than those further north.
"The levees we have in the lower portion of the Mississippi are by far the strongest in the U.S.," he said.
He said a key ingredient to their strength is the soil deposited from the river.
"When water runs over it, it actually compresses it, making it tighter," Barry said. "And even if the levees get overtopped, you can run Niagara Falls over it and they won't break."