Saturday, May 28, 2011


A tug boat pushes a barge up the Mississippi River near New Orleans Tuesday May 24, 2011.

Based on a drop in the level of the swollen Mississippi River, the National Weather Service on Friday canceled its weeks-long flood warning for New Orleans and points downriver.

Despite this development for south Louisiana, the weather service’s flood warning remains in effect for points upriver, including Baton Rouge, where levee seepage has led the state Office of Transportation and Development to close River Road’s southbound lane from North Third Street to State Capitol Drive.

Although the threat to south Louisiana may seem to be abating, the Corps of Engineers declared the Bonnet Carre Spillway closed to recreation, including boating, until June 26.

Going into that area is dangerous because of the swift current — water is flowing toward Lake Pontchartrain at 293,000 cubic feet per second — and the debris that can get carried along in the torrent.

The damage that this combination can inflict was seen on the railroad bridge in the Bonnet Carre Spillway, where a supporting pier was dislodged. As a result, the legendary City of New Orleans train could get no closer than Hammond to its namesake city, with buses carrying passengers between that city and New Orleans.

The bridge has been repaired.

Water from the Mississippi River washes out part of the railroad bridge that crosses the Bonnet CarrÈ Spillway Tuesday, May 24, 2011.

The folks in New Orleans can breathe a sigh of relief, if not relax completely, about levee failure and flooding from the Mississippi River. The seepage in the levee upriver is worrying. As we saw the other day when we walked along the river in New Orleans, the Mississippi is a mighty river, and she wants to go her own way. Whether man-made controls will work, always involves a degree of uncertainty.

At the link to the Times-Picayune is a fine series of aerial photographs of the Mississippi, the control structures, and other areas near the river.


Rick+ said...

Wow! Amazing photos. I'm so glad things are getting better and you're safe!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Rick, there was never much of a threat to us here in Thibodaux, because Bayou Lafourche, a tributary of the Mississippi River, which flows about a block from our house, is partially dammed upstream at Donaldsonville to prevent the crevasses which happened from time to time in the past.

I'm relieved for the folks in the other areas, but the threat will not be completely over until the level of water in the river begins to go down sometime in June.

"Sir" said...

Glad to hear some good news on that.

Grandmère Mimi said...

"Sir", I am, too.