flood protection

Wallis Watkins / WWNO

For 17 years, residents in parts of East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston parishes have been paying a local tax to help fund construction of the Comite River Diversion Canal, designed to lower the flood risk of nearby homeowners. Then in 2016, record flooding hit the region — causing billions in damage. The incident only ignited the demand for answers from frustrated taxpayers.

An illustration from the Draft 2017 Coastal Master Plan, showing how many residential structures may be eligible for voluntary buyouts in specific areas.
Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

Under Louisiana’s new coastal "Master Plan", more than twenty-four hundred homes may be offered voluntary buyouts by the state. That’s because officials no longer believe these properties—more than a third of them on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain—can be protected from catastrophic storms and flooding.

Orleans Parish is seeing its flood maps updated for the first time since 1984 today. More than half of the city is moving out of the so-called “high risk” zone—this comes with lower flood insurance rates, which many are celebrating. But in June, Tulane historian Andy Horowitz penned a controversial op-ed in the New York Times. He called these maps an “outline for disaster.” WWNO’s Ryan Kailath sat down with Horowitz this week to discuss.

 

 


Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The city of New Orleans just won an award for its efforts to adapt to climate change. The American Planning Association says the city’s resilience strategy sets a model for others dealing with the same challenges of rising seas and extreme weather. Coastal cities across the nation are trying to develop models like it, but there’s no dedicated federal money to do so.

After opening up the Bonnet Carre Spillway upriver of New Orleans on Sunday the Army Corps of Engineers has decided it won’t need to open the Morganza Spillway. The Corps issued a statement Monday, saying that based on current forecasts it won’t be necessary in order to relieve the swollen Mississippi River.

The Army Corps of Engineers used small cranes to slowly begin opening up the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carré Spillway Sunday morning in order to relieve the swollen Mississippi River and prevent flooding in New Orleans.

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Colonel Rick Hansen, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District,  says it’s time to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway in order to divert floodwaters and protect New Orleans.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

As the Mississippi and Red Rivers rise, officials are grappling with how to manage all of the water. The Army Corps of Engineers may open the Mississippi River’s Bonnet Carré Spillway this weekend.

New Orleans District Commander, Col. Rick Hansen, says it is time to open the spillway. Just west of the city, it diverts the Mississippi River to protect New Orleans.

Mississippi River flood stage predictions over the most recent, and next several, days.
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Mississippi River in New Orleans and surrounding areas, effective January 12. This comes as floodwater from devastating winter rain in the Midwest makes its way south.

The river is expected to reach flood stage, 17 feet, in the next week. Rain is also in the forecast starting Wednesday night, adding to the risk of flooding. NWS warns not to drive cars through flooded areas.

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