The largest chunk of construction in the $14.6-billion ring of storm-surge defenses built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers around post-Katrina New Orleans is a $1-billion concrete wall across a marshy bay on the eastern flank of the city. The wall is the backbone of a huge barrier designed to hold back a 26-ft hurricane-induced surge. Wags already have dubbed it "The Great Wall of New Orleans."


The Corps selected a joint venture led by Traylor Bros. Inc. to build the wall. The contractor tapped Wayne Jones, an inventive problem-solver, team-builder and steady leader, as project manager. Jones earned praise from the Corps, the prime contractor's program manager and many team subcontractors for delivering precisely those qualities during delivery of what now stands as the largest design-build, civil-works project in the Corps' history.

Echoing many, Michael Bonin, a geotechnical design manager involved in the job, says Jones' deft management "was real and substantial and a key component in the successful completion of the work."

"There is no way we would have accomplished what was accomplished without his leadership and support," adds Col. Robert Sinkler, the second of two commanders of the Corps office assigned to complete the protections around New Orleans.