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September 1, 2008

NOLA: The Critical Factor

Bucktown Levee

No matter how many Gulf Coast photos I look at tonight, I keep coming back to this one — the levees fixed at the center of the human and political Gustav story.

NYT slide show: Hurricane Gustav Nears Gulf Coast

(image: Richard Perry/The New York Times.  August 31, 2008.  New Orleans.  caption: Nancy Brown, a resident of the Bucktown neighborhood, just a few houses from the Lake Pontchartrain levee, replaced a few sand bags)

  • jerri

    Looks like a modern day Hans Brinker holding back the flood waters with a finger.

  • black dog barking

    Excellent image of the never-ending battle to keep threatening parts of the universe at bay. The line is drawn and clear.
    John McPhee’s The Control of Nature includes a section on the Old River Control Structure, a series of dams that prevent the Mississippi River from following gravity and diverting its main flow to the Atchafalaya which empties into the Gulf of Mexico about a hundred miles west of the current mouth of the Mississippi. Change would drastically reduce the current flow past New Orleans and Baton Rouge, one of the busiest shipping routes in the country.
    IIRC experts quoted by McPhee question whether the ORCS would weather a category-3 hurricane intact. From the wiki article on the river changing course: “The likelihood of this event increases each year, and will eventually happen in spite of human efforts.”

  • GeorgeF

    I wouldn’t trust this dam! Once the waves would spill over this kind of barrier, they will immediately wash down the rear side – which looks faily unsecured. Knowing the dams/levees along the North-Sea coast (and there had been floodings at the normal winter-storms) it was always the same: not the water-front of a dam is the weak side, but but the inland slope.
    I am pressing thumbs, Gustav will not hit this make-shift “protection”.

  • Kit (Keep It Trill)

    Lol, Jerri said what I was thinking.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    Off Topic
    US military returns control of Anbar to Iraqis : “The U.S. military handed over control of once brutally violent Anbar province to Iraqi forces Monday — marking a major milestone in America’s plan to eventually send its troops home.
    history notes : “Victory”, defined. . . à la fin.
    Yet strangely, literally invisible ~ too ephemeral even to photograph ~ it passes by us almost entirely un-noticed, uncelebrated : a dishonorable discharge, after all.
    Edith Piaf => Non, je ne regrette rien : parce que nous ne nous rappelons rien.

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