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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2011 High Water – Three

Put out (at the curb) a prodigious number of cans full of waste today. Garbage pickup tomorrow. Somehow getting rid of stuff makes you feel safer, or lighter in the sense of being buoyant, maybe.

Looking out of the bedroom window the view of the water rising in the yard is surreal. It just doesn’t seem possible for water to cover our whole yard. Those of you who have stood on our deck will note that you would be hip-deep if you stood there now, and the water will be about eight feet over your head by the time the crest reaches here around the 24th.

It was not a good day for seeing a brighter tomorrow. The authorities met with the Butte La Rose community at the firehouse this evening. At first there was the thing the politicians had to do, the thing they always do. And then the National Weather Service made some announcements dealing with the latest approximations for water levels. They increased the prediction to 29 feet, from a previous estimate of 27 feet. Twenty seven was bad enough, but possibly not reaching the floor of our house. The new forecast of 29 feet just kind of took all the stuffing out of us. It will very probably cover the floor of the house. This will mean we will definitely be out of the house for months.

The New Orleans COE District commander was there, Col. Ed Fleming. He tried his best to instill in the crowd a real understanding of how much water is coming, and what it means to people who live in Butte La Rose. He made the comment that he wouldn’t be surprised to see 15 feet of water where we stood at the firehouse. The crowd gasped. It was a very effective way to get across how serious the situation is. He said that he almost certainly will exercise his authority to open the Morganza spillway gates. The water will take one day to reach us here, one more day to reach Iberia Parish, and on the third day it will reach Morgan City. And he will give us a three day warning before he opens the gates. At least now we can see some events that will trigger actions like final packing. No, 29 is not a good number for us.

The contractor who built our house 11 years ago has said he is standing by if we need him to do repairs, and that makes us feel a little less anxious. And the electrician who wired the house originally called me tonight and said he will be ready to come out as well. We are grateful for knowing these things.

There is not much debris in the river yet, even though it is pretty high. When the Morganza water gets here it will carry 38 years of accumulated trees and everything else that has fallen to the ground in that vast area in that time. It should be quite a sight. I believe we won’t be able to see it, at least not from where we live.

The river is at 18.4 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge. More will come.

Rise and Shine, Jim


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