This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

2011 High Water – Five

Blogger was not working last night so I skipped til now. Also, it temporarily lost the previous post. Odd. But that post is back now.

Tired. It has been a long day, made much shorter than it would have been had it not been for the fabulous group of friends that came here today and pitched in to help pack boxes and carry things to the attic. We ended with 126 boxes all packed, taped (and labeled!), and ready for the truck tomorrow morning. There were times when the energy of youth was very evident compared to the lack of same in those of us not so youthful anymore. One of our friends finished the day by photographing all the outbuilding and major features of the yard, and the house too, of course. We, the elders, sat and let the day wind down instead.

The river is getting serious out there today. It barrels down at a high rate of travel that I have not seen before. Now, there is an almost constant stream of debris down the middle of the current. It does seem to hold to the middle of the river rather than spreading out. In checking the floating dock this morning I noted that it will be necessary to let go the rope that brings the dock close to the bank. The angle that rope takes will cause the dock to be pulled underwater when the water comes up another eight to ten feet, which it seems to want to do. It is at 19.6 feet now and it might actually hit the 29 feet predicted for it. I have other ropes that tie the dock at a very long angle, and they should be all right.

Some of the friends who came today were people from Myette Point. They are catfishermen, now and past. They can no longer run their lines because the force of the current makes the lines so tight that it would be very dangerous to try to run them. It is probable that there are no lines left now anyway. One big tree drifting down and dragging the bottom will take all of the lines with it, and there are a lot of big trees in the water right now. One of my friends pulled a cartilage from a rib last week while trying to run lines that were too tight. Best to let it go, and start over when this statement by the river has been made.

The notice came by emergency phone message tonight. The St. Martin Parish emergency system called all of us and said that the Morganza gates will be opened some time in the next 24 hours. Once they open, we will begin to see a rapid rise in the river after a delay of about a day. If they open tomorrow at noon, we should see water coming up about midday on Sunday, and perhaps a rise of about a foot a day thereafter to the crest about the 24th. That is pretty much what was predicted two weeks ago. We won’t be here to see it. So, no real surprises, other than I will probably be surprised to see so much water even with all the intellectual foreknowledge of it. “I didn’t believe it would really happen” is a probability.

The ants are doing things. They're moving up and down ropes in a frenzied way. We always say that animals know about these big events, that they sense them somehow. Or do we just call attention to it when the behavior and the event coincide? I would like to believe the more mysterious, unexplained explanation, but that may be just the Cajun in my mother’s family looking for something fun and witchy in the world.

The river is at 19.6 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge. The Ohio is not pushing from behind with more water and that is a good thing for those of us in the river’s extended path.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger basinmaster said...

Good Luck Jim,

I like you have never seen the river flow so hard and fast. I have faith that the basin will make a fast recovery. The water is its life blood.
Enjoy reading your blog. I envy your home very much.

May 14, 2011 11:18 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Jim, I'm in upstate NY (near the Adirondack mountains) and have never experienced flooding so I have no idea what you and everyone down south are going through. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all...it really does strike at the soul to know that Louisiana is having to face yet another blow.

Take care and stay safe.

May 14, 2011 12:31 PM  
Blogger jalbert said...

What do you say in the face of the the wild forces of the world?

At this point it's what we do that counts.

May 14, 2011 9:33 PM  

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