Saturday, September 13, 2008

All storms are different . . .

Terrebonne Parish took a direct hit from Gustav causing 100% loss of power and wind damage to homes and businesses. There was, however, virtually no flooding.

Ike hit Galveston. But because of the trajectory and storm surge dynamics, we got hit again. Early estimates are that 10,000 homes have been flooded in Terrebonne Parish alone. (my apartment was spared) Not to mention that the sustained 40-50 mph winds with gusts up to 60 knocked out power for many again and hampered recovery efforts.

I assume everyone knows that the Louisiana marshes and wetlands are eroding at an alarming rate. Since the Mississippi River no longer is allowed to flood the wetlands with the tons of silt it now carries into the gulf, those silts no longer rebuild the coastal marshes. The natural protection they provide is virtually gone. I've seen it in my lifetime. Vast marshes of my youth are now open water.

I'm afraid it's time for drastic measures. Either we allow the Mississippi to change course as it now would without our levees, or allow controlled flooding to allow the silts to rebuild the marsh, or implement some other erosion aversion plan without which it may be time for a methodical withdrawal from South Louisiana.

Problematic because most domestic oil, natural gas, and seafood comes from Louisiana. Sidenote: Yes, we fish right next to oil platforms and capped wells and pump stations and all other structures dotted across the marshes. The fish love them.

Many people ask: Why live there? Move.

This is not as easy as it seems. What are homeowners to do with a home they can't sell, but still owe on? They can't default on their mortgage and buy a house somewhere else.


Nicole said...

Home, wherever it is, is a tough place to leave. The culture is usually unique to a certain place, and saying goodbye to it puts some folks at a loss to their identity and personal history. It might not be obvious to an outsider why people stay in a certain location, but without roots in the area, leaving is easier.
It's always interesting how often man steps in to change the course or natural habitat of someplace to make it "better" and invariably makes it worse.
The fears about Anwar (sp.?) drilling are a farce as well. The caribou have been known to flock to the areas which generate warmth. It's basically the same principle of dogs or cats preferring the couch or your bed to the floor. They like comfort, too.

Kay Day said...

I didn't realize you got hit again. I have a friend in Houston, too. I haven't talked to her since the storm hit.
I am one of those who wonders why people live there or say, the parts of California that are forever hit with wildfires. But then when I think about having to leave my home... I understand a little more. Like Nicole said.
Home is home. And where you, Dayle, live has an even stronger and more unique culture than a lot of places. I really could feel at home most anywhere in the west. But I still prefer where I am!

I didn't realize that all that was going on down there. I hope something can be figured out soon.

Kay Day said...
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Jennifer L. Griffith said...

It is hard to explain to people where I live in Rockies why people stay in South Louisiana. It's in the blood, the roots, the food, the people, the culture, the music, podnas, family...this list can go on. Leaving the bayou is like moving to a different country. Words can't really explain this phenomenon.

Glad to hear you're all safe and good.

(Someone who left because God said to.)