Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The barge on Belle Air

Why did the floodwalls fail on the 17th St. and London Avenue canals?

The local media report there isn't enough data on what the actual storm surges are to determine if the floodwalls were over topped, causing a failure, or if there was another cause.

CNN's Miles O'Brien reported on a rumor that floating around Lakeview residents that a barge in the canal may have caused that failure, responsible for the flooding of much of the core city from Lakeview to Loyola Avenue.

During the lead in to the story, he said this: " I know there is a barge inside this neighborhood not far from where we stand. The question is, did it cause the breach here, or did it just flow through after the breach occurred. We don't know that, do we?"

A resident of Belle Air Drive who's house backs into the levee confirms that a construction barge was moored inside the canal, part of the construction of a new "hurricane proof bridge" linking West Lakeview and Bucktown.

While negligence in leaving or not properly securing the barge could have been a cause, it would not explain the failure of the similar London Avenue Canal levee/floodwall combination.

But having a bridge sitting among the homes in West Lakeview means that this story will join the dynamiting of the levees in Betsy (and the same rumor spreading about the Industrial Canal after Katrina) in New Orleans storm lore.

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