June 23, 2010

New Orleans: Hurricane Season!

Hurricane Season is underway again. Just six months each year of your life in New Orleans. It hovers in the back of your mind, and you try not to miss the TV weather. Nowadays, the weather report also includes graphics updating the flow of BP oil in the Gulf and new tar ball landfalls. There are interviews with folks working at cleanup efforts or with others who’d normally be at work in various fishing or tourist industries. Folks are calling their friends: Hey, my cousin’s gonna be on TV!

Maybe on the drive to work you pass by the workers who’ve not yet quite completed reinforcing the levees that hold back the water of Lake Pontchartrain. And wonder, will they be ready if there’s a big storm? It’s been nearly five year since Katrina. How slow can they be? We’ll take a bit of a drive, with pix I took in June….

 

That’s the lakeside reinforced earthen levee above, and London Avenue Canal pumping station. New Orleans’ canals are designed to carry water pumped out of the city to the lake. During hurricane Katrina, rising water in the canals breached levee walls, undermined their supports and poured into the city. This big new pumping station – which is complete! - will close its gates, then keep the water level in the canals from overtopping the walls by pumping it through big black pipes into the lake. The lakeside levees do the heavy work of keeping rising lake water out. DSC05899

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lake bastion includes this wall that places the West End Harbor Master, boat slips, apartments, marine businesses, yacht clubs, and boat house apartments outside the protected area. This wall segment has been torn down and is being rebuilt.

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A marina boat house and New Orleans Marina today.DSC05896

 

 

 

 

  

 

Remembering boats still aground in the marina one year after Katrina; brand new Orleans Yacht Club.New Orleans Marina

 

 

 

 

 

We lived in New Orleans for seven years, and each summer we’d sort of enjoy the tropical storms, happy that we’d all escaped something worse. Mandatory evacuations happened every year but one. Each was a precaution, no storm struck until Katrina. All the “get outa town!” routes have advocates, and everybody’s got a favorite routine, even those who simply don’t leave till the last minute - only to get stuck in traffic jams. Hey, it’s happened to us, leaving as the first rain fell! We’ve gone northeast (bad! that’s a common storm track, it chases you with downpour for days), and to the sunny east (where TV doesn’t show much New Orleans news). Our favorite was to head toward Hattiesburg and re-curve through Jackson to Monroe, LA. There, the weather’s clear and they’ll give you a meal at the campground. You can chat with others about the troubles, and locals knock on your door to offer pies or pastries.

There are always those who stay, too.

We happen to be in Monroe now – Monroe County, Michigan, that is! We’ll be thinking of y’all down there and wishing you a good summer!

3 comments:

Laurie said...

I lived in the marina at West End a few years before Katrina. I had a very hard time when I drove through that area after Katrina. I nearly stopped breathing! Such devastation. Honduras is my home now where Mitch was far worse than Katrina. C'est la vie! Thanks for the pictures of the area.

Laurie said...

I lived in the marina at West End a few years before Katrina. I had a very hard time when I drove through that area after Katrina. I nearly stopped breathing! Such devastation. Honduras is my home now where Mitch was far worse than Katrina. C'est la vie! Thanks for the pictures of the area.

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Good pics, Gigi, very interesting. I feel so badly for the people of LA, first Katrina and the Army Corps of Engineers and now BP.
They are a rugged and resilient people! They will emerge from this too.