You're right, pedro. But I don't think that figure is cat 5 LEVEE upgrades. It's hurricane protection. It includes projects to protect/restore wetlands which used to absorb the storm surge before it got to New Orleans.
There's a lot more to it than the levees.
This plan would not only protect the port, but also about 8 oil refineries plus at least one gas pipeline. What's the economic impact to the country as a whole if the port fails? Of rebuilding the refineries and pipelines in other locations?
$32 billion is a lot of money, but this project would take at least 10 years. Doesn't have to come all at once. Don't want people to turn away from the project based on the pricetag alone. Let's take time to look at it from all sides.