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Daily archives "March 18, 2019"

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Untold Truth About Levees During Katrina

The levees in New Orleans were almost created to fail. For those who aren’t sure a levee is a natural occurring barrier of protection separating a body of water from land. Natural levees have helped keep out water from land for thousands of years. However since the Industrial Age levees have been feeling more and more stress due to increase in storm intensities, frequency and human influence. New Orleans and Louisiana, a state with rain almost year round and one who has been heavily effected by hurricanes knows this all to well.

In order to compensate for thebstrasors New Orleans and the federal government, the Army Corp of Engineers, decided to reinforce their levees by adding walls of steel into the levees, known as flood walls. This is an example of their efforts:

Unfinished Levee meant to keep water out of the city. This wall you can still visit.

In 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the main “fail safe” (the levees) failed around the city engulfing people and communities if thousands of gallons of water.

One of these levees was the London Ave Canal. Although not as devastating as the infamous 9th Ward flooding, the London St canal still had it’s fair share of breakage by destroying homes, displacing families and killing.

https://nola.piratelab.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/img_0369.mov

This is only one of the countless of stories of these walls failing. Unfortunately these stories are rarely heard about and still till this day no one has been held accountable for the failure of these walls and levees. No museums have a history of this and hardly no records exists highlighting this catastrophe.

Fortunately at the 7th Street canal there is a memorial made by a non-profit called the NOLA Tree Project, that teaches the community and those who go and tour about the event and the untold truth of the New Orleans levees.

Orleans Canal Levee

It can definitely be said that the Orleans Canal Levee was a poorly exicuted plan. As it can be seen in the image above, the end of the levee near the waste water treatment plan does not connect to anything. During the 2005 Hurricane Katrina this opening in the levee, that was designed by the Army Corp of Engineers, allowed a massive surge of water to flood the land that should have been protected. Although it is unknown what would have really happened if the levee was completed, it still shows that there was a lack of competence when designing it due to the damage that the opening allowed.

17th street pumping station

On March 18th, 2019, we went to the Louisiana 17th street pumping station to learn more about how the water drainage system works in New Orleans. Water is pumped from the city to lake Pontchatrain. There are 15 generator that power the pumps that make this possible. Ken, one of the tour guides, told us that the pumping station could be controlled by one person but is extremely hard and that person would have to run around a lot which is not ideal. Resources are needed to support pumping stations in potential flooding times. Below is a picture of these power station. It is important to have these pumping stations in Louisiana because there is so much flooding. The two guides described to us a situation where poor water resource planning caused New Orleans to flood without any hurricane at all, just rain. This cannot be allowed to happen. More information about the need and effectiveness of pumping stations and levees needs to be shared with the public. Especially after hurricane Katrina.

Basin St. Beignets

Dr. Sean Anderson introduces Mark Samuels of Basin St. Records.

3–18–19: We started our day with a very thorough discussion of the New Orleans jazz production scene with Mark Samuels, President of Basin St. Records. Some highlights included Mark’s outlook on the new media of music distribution and enjoyment. He remains an avid supporter of physical copies such as CD’s and Vinyl, but also realizes the importance of releasing music digitally through dozens and dozens of streaming services. Mark Samuels is not only a music producer but a born and bred New Orleanian, and shared his opinion on both the local and federal response to Hurricane Katrina. Overall, it was a great experience hearing from the perspective of someone holds a lot of influence in the dominating sonic art form of New Orleans. After, we enjoyed coffee and beignets at a Cafe Du Monde food truck!