Monday, May 30, 2011

High Water along the Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers, May 2011

As I described in the previous entry, the Atchafalaya River carries 30 percent of the combined Mississippi and Red total flow. In times of flood, more than 30 percent may have to be diverted to prevent levees being overtopped in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.



One of the towns subject to high water is Melville, Louisiana. The first photograph shows the landing for the former Melville-Pointe Coupee ferry service, which permanently closed in December 2010. Dump trucks were rumbling past to a site just south of the landing, where the levee was being elevated. The second photograph shows how high the water was under the railroad bridge, 14 May 2011.


Morgan City is a historic town near the Gulf of Mexico mouth of the Atchafalaya. Having suffered from many floods in the past, the Corps of Engineers built a levee and floodwall system around the town in 1926. The concrete floodwall is a popular tourist attraction because you can look down on the Atchafalaya on one side and down on the historic city on the other. Normally there are a boardwalk and docks on the river side, but this time, the river was well above the base of the floodwall (15 May). The bridge in the background is US 90


Finally, New Orleans. The levees have been reinforced since Hurricane Katrina and raised in some areas. Along the French Quarter, the levees were well above the water level, even under conditions of the 2011 flood. For tourists, it was a great opportunity to be photographed next to Ol' Man River (or The Big Muddy).

(Photographs taken with an Olympus E-330 camera and Olympus 14-54mm f/2.8 lens)

1 comment:

  1. I visited New Orleans during the peak of the flood, and rode the Algiers Point Ferry into the river. From there, the height of the river was much more clear. There was only a few feet of space between the water level and the top of the floodwall near the ferry terminal. Some waves were even crashing up near the top! Past the floodwall, I think there isn't much more "uphill" to the land before it starts its gradual downward slope into the old marshes and distributaries of central New Orleans.

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