Hurricane Gustav Recovery – Monday, September 8, 2008


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Friends:

Today, I made some headway in my office, tackling tasks that needed attention before Gustav reared his ugly head. I was able to finish a book proposal (Stories on Board! Crafting Board Games from Favorite Tales) and send it in to my editor. This is a picture of students working on a board game called “Tough Little Cookie,” based on the folktale, “The Gingerbread Man.”

Stories on Board - Working on Tough Little Cookie

Stories on Board - Working on Tough Little Cookie

Around midday, I had to pick up my 8 year old daughter, Eliana, from school. I was anxious to hear how her first day after the storm went. She told me that her classmates and teachers evacuated to various places all over the South: Vicksburg, Mississippi; Jackson, Mississippi; Alabama; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Alexandria, Louisiana; Texas; and Memphis, Tennessee. When Eliana came home, she had loads of homework in every subject: reading, spelling, math, English, and social studies. I guess they had to make up for all the school that was missed! Here is Eliana, doing her homework at her desk in her bedroom.

Hurricane Gustav Recovery - Eliana doing homework 9-8-08

Hurricane Gustav Recovery - Eliana doing homework 9-8-08

On my way to pick Eliana up from school, I passed over the Harvey Canal. This was one of the vulnerable industrial canals on the Westbank that were discussed in the news during the Gustav storm coverage. Construction is under way by the Army Corps of Engineers on the $36 million floodgate to protect 250,000 people in the Westbank of Jefferson Parish in the New Orleans metro area from hurricane storm surges. In addition, a floodwall (which will protect my neighborhood) is also planned.

Hurricane Gustav Recovery - Harvey Canal 9-8-08

Hurricane Gustav Recovery - Harvey Canal 9-8-08

This is what the plan looks like. The area to the east of the proposed floodwall is where my neighborhood is located. We are very concerned about how storm surge may top the canals (there is no levee system in place at this time).

Harvey Canal Flood Gate Plans

Harvey Canal Flood Gate Plans

When we moved into our neighborhood ten years ago, hurricanes didn’t seem like much of a worry. We didn’t evacuate as often as we do currently. Now, it appears that hurricanes have not only increased in frequency, but have intensified in strength as well. We are concerned that our pumping stations may not have the capacity to pump the water out if storm surge occurs. I also wonder what would happen if power to the stations fails.

Hurricane Gustav Recovery - Harvey Canal Pumping Station 9-8-08

Hurricane Gustav Recovery - Harvey Canal Pumping Station 9-8-08

Even with all of these issues, I still love living in the New Orleans area. My husband was born and reared here. I have lived here since I was 18 years old. It is home. It is the place that holds our family’s soul. From the Spanish moss-laden cypress trees in the mysterious bayous to the wrought iron balconies that frame dancing streets all year long, Louisiana is our home. Laissez les bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll!

Hurricane Gustav Recovery - Dianne & Eliana 9-8-08

Hurricane Gustav Recovery - Dianne & Eliana 9-8-08

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne