Gettin’ High

May 11, 2011 by

Oh, how I wish this post were about smoking a bowl, but alas, it concerns a rising tide in our midst…

Take a gander at the following Mississippi River photos. The top one is Jeffrey’s from this past Saturday. The bottom one is mine, from this morning.  Click on the photos to enlarge.

That white marker by the Natchez‘ pier is disappearing…not to mention the pier itself…

Even though the Bonnet Carre Spillway was opened this past Monday,  the water level at the above pier has risen to 15 1/2 feet from 14 1/2 feet on Saturday.  The Army Corps’ projections are pushing for the Morganza Spillway further upriver to be opened, or else there could be levee breaches in New Orleans.  More can be read about the decision to open Morganza here.

Of course, what is especially freaky about this high water in New Orleans is that we haven’t been having any rain down here these past few weeks, but boy is everybody else’s water from further north coming to visit us now.  My husband jokes that the spillway ought to have been opened shortly before Passover because then the carp caught there would’ve made good gefilte fish for the holiday – there are aspects of this flood, however, that are no jokeCheck Athenae for more – people further upriver are pretty jittery, and with good reason.

Best we can all do is watch, wait, and check the water levels and Army Corps of Engineers bulletins like we check weather reports for hurricane news – only this cone of uncertainty we’re in ain’t originating from the Gulf.


Update, 11:39 AM: A good read by James O’Byrne about the roiling river, obtained via Jeffrey, underscores the seriousness of the situation:

People who live in Southeast Louisiana seem to have an innate sense that, no matter how mighty are man’s accomplishments, no matter how confident are the “worshippers of the machine” that T.S. Eliot speaks of, this battle between man and nature is often a 50-50 proposition. And after what we’ve been through, we know better than almost anyone else: sometimes you end up on the wrong end of that equation.

Each bay of the Bonnet Carre Spillway has 20 pins that are removed one by one by the cranes.

As I watch the Corps workers begin the painstaking, week-long task of pulling the wood and metal pins from each spillway bay – 20 pins per bay, 350 bays, 7,000 pins in all – I know that the war analogy is apt. Each day, across the country, men and women are battling the river, on levees, in boardrooms, at sand bag centers, in homes and businesses, and in front of computers that spit out data about flow rates and river stages and crest models….

…As I watch the water surge through the Bonnet Carre, I think about the floodway 100 miles upriver, and about the people who will have water in their homes if, as is almost certain, the Morganza is opened. I have had water in my home, and I don’t wish that heartbreak on anyone. But I sense that it is inevitable.

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