Water levels in the Mississippi River shot up in the past few weeks after a series of strong storms in the Midwest. Flooding has closed roads and bridges and swamped thousands of acres of farmland in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.
But, will the flood waters affect us here in Louisiana?
Each month Richard Campanella explores an aspect of New Orleans’ geography. His Cityscapes column for Nola.com and The Times-Picayune shines a light on structural, often-overlooked or invisible aspects of the city. This month: a flood in 1849. Up until Katrina it was the largest deluge in the city’s history.
Campanella says that disaster 165 years ago had something in common with Katrina.
Capping a rare instance of congressional compromise, President Barack Obama signed a $12.3 billion water projects bill Tuesday, financing improvements ranging from a harbor expansion in Boston to levees and flood control gates in Louisiana.
Obama singled out two of the bill's main negotiators for praise — Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California and Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter.
The new law will pay for 34 new projects over the next 10 years. Its price tag is half the amount of the last water projects bill seven years ago.
Advocates of a south Louisiana flood control board's lawsuit against scores of oil and gas companies over erosion of coastal wetlands are making plans to fight legislation they say could undermine the suit.
Among other things, the bill filed for this year's legislative session would ensure Gov. Bobby Jindal's power to reject an independent committee's nominations for membership on the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. Jindal opposes the lawsuit filed by the SLFPA-E last year.
The idea that grass can armor anything is hard to believe.
But on a recent visit to the Lake Pontchartrain levee, LSU agronomist Jeff Beasley explained how plain old, garden variety grass has earned a reputation with the US Army Corps of Engineers as one of the best armoring materials to keep the huge mud walls of a levee from collapsing during a storm.
"You know how we reinforce concrete with rebar?" says Beasley. "We can do the same with these levees."
The US Army Corps of Engineers is ready to begin work on three new pumping stations.
Residents along the Lakefront are being advised to brace themselves for some major construction work. The Army Corps of Engineers is starting work on three permanent canal closures and pumps at 17th Street and Orleans and London Avenues.