Monday, March 25, 2013

~“It’s an incredibly complicated design that will take nine hours to close effectively — and that the corps still can’t operate successfully after repeated tries. I keep seeing us trying to close that hole in the wall with a storm coming — and having nothing but problems.’’ -Bob Turner, Civil Engineer, regional director of the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East.
The story of the barge gate goes back to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Admitting that its own catastrophic engineering failures caused more than 50 ruptures in its levees and floodwalls, killing more than 1500 people and drowning 80 percent of the city in up to 15 feet of water, the corps promised amends. The answer was the $14 billion Hurricane Storm and Damage Risk Reduction System, which was to have been finished ahead of the hurricane season two years ago. The “barge gate” gets its name from its main element: a mammoth, concrete barge 190 feet long, 70 feet wide and 44 feet deep. It is not so much a gate as an emergency dam to be used on a temporary basis during storms. On paper, the design calls for the huge barge to be swung into a 190-foot gap in the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier at its junction with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Once in place, the barge is filled with water and sunk to prevent storm surge from pouring through the city’s eastern defenses. Even as a temporary fix during Hurricane Isaac helped that barge gate plug the hole, members of the flood authority spent anxious days worrying that it might fail.
~Illustration at right curtsey of Da'Masqued E'vinga: Corps officials say there is nothing to worry about; all gates have bugs, and they’re working them out. Hehehehe...

Emergency management officials gather in New Orleans Monday for the 13th annual National Hurricane Conference

Hurricanes offer lessons for builders

Ben Franklin leaders worry about future reserves, discuss possible enrollment caps ~Chenault Taylor, The Lens

Richard Florida Concedes the Limits of the Creative Class ~Joel Kotkin, The Daily Beast
~Creatives may espouse politically correct views, but the effect of Florida’s policy approach, notes Tulane sociologist Richard Campanella, often undermine ethnic communities. As they enter the city, creatives push up rents, displacing local stores and residents. In his own neighborhood of Bywater, in New Orleans, the black population declined by 64 percent between 2000 and 2010, while the white population increased by 22 percent. In the process, Campanella notes, much of what made the neighborhood unique has been lost as the creatives replace the local culture with the increasingly predictable, and portable, “hip cool” trendy restaurants, offering beet-filled ravioli instead of fried okra, and organic markets. The “unique” amenities you find now, even in New Orleans, he reports, are much what you’d expect in any other hipster paradise, be it Portland, Seattle, Burlington, Vermont or Williamsburg.

These birds don’t need to fly South — help keep New Orleans “duck boat tour” free! ~Lunanola, NOLAFemmes

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