Tuesday, August 30, 2005

One Bright Spot for the Ninth Ward

The flooding of the Ninth Ward from a failure in the floodwall on the Inner Basin of the Industrial Canal has been catastrophic, filling the neighborhood to the rooftops of most homes. However, an airborne videographer captured pictures late today that shows that the water was clearly flowing out of the area through the same breach.

If you didn't hear the reporter on Aaron Brown's MSNBC show last night describing her voyage into the flooded Seventh Ward, it was devestating. She broke down on the phone, describing how people were calling out for help from the attics of their homes as the boats returned to their I-10 exit ramp launches on orders from above, leaving people to spend the night atop the rafters of their flooded homes.

The flooding of Bywater and the Ninth Ward in general, and of St. Bernard, should have been anticipated by everyone. Published analysis of storm surge from Hurricane Betsy showed that the point where the MRGO meets the Industrial Canal was a key stress point.

I saw reported (but can no longer cite) comments by St. Bernard Parish Police Juror Junior Rodriguez --who was on the police jury when I worked for the St. Bernard Guide in the early 80s--who had been complaining for years of this threat to his community. Plans to address this by creating an outside flood protection structure at the mouth of the MRGO remain shelved by federal authorities.

An MSNBC-broadcast flyover of St. Bernard Parish from the Violet Canal to the Jackson Barracks showed a community completely innundate with water to the roof tops of single story homes.

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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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