Update: flood, solar eclipse..


Two weeks ago Sunday, New Orleans received 6 inches of rain during a period of 4 hours, which was too much for the pipes to handle. As a consequence many neighborhoods flooded, ranging from not so severe sidewalk coverings, to knee-deep water in Mid-city where people were paddling their kayaks. Some people biked through the flood like this one guy whose bike was covered half way as he tried to pedal his way out.

I had not been paying attention to the rain or thunder until I received an emergency warning text.It was hard to ignore it. There was a flash flood warning and it urged people to stay out of flooded areas  I watched the rain fall outside my window, hoping it wouldn’t about too much.  The rain had covered the sidewalks and most of the streets. As it’s common to find in New Orleans, the street are not always leveled so there tends to higher and low area that easily get flooded. Around my neighborhood the water did not get beyond covering our sidewalks. No one was outside at the time since it was raining hard and the streets were completely covered, but once it stopped, cars began passing by. There was still a large concentration of water, so that when cars passed, they pushed the water to the side. I don’t think it went into anyone’s house but it looked like a shallow river out there, as the water moved in waves.


Solar Eclipse

I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve seen a lunar eclipse before, but never a solar eclipse. I found about it several weeks ago, and quickly began searching for the solar glasses, but to no one’s surprise they were sold out on various sites. If you didn’t already have it, you were screwed since experts advise not to stare directly at the sun, because it will ruin your eyes, possibly causing blindness. Also I needed binoculars and camera filters, and those were also sold out. I watched some YouTube videos on how to make a DIY filter, but where would I get the Black polymer sheet? It seemed like a lost cause. Luckily, I knew someone who had the solar eclipse glasses, and so I wouldn’t be watching from home or only when the moon was fully covering the sun. Most people are driving to the line of totality ranging from Oregon to South carolina.

I ended up watching it in Mobile, Alabama, where we were expecting 85% totality. I tried out the solar glasses days before when the sun was out. At first I didn’t see anything because some clouds were in the way. I could only see my eyes, but then the clouds dispersed, and there it was. The SUN. It appeared small, slightly orange, and so benevolent that I didn’t recognize it. I could feel the heat, but my eyes were safe under the solar eclipse glasses.

I wondered how it would be the day of…

Opinion: Nola Floods

Luckily, around our way the water didn’t get beyond covering our sidewalks. I peered out outside—and not a soul wandering around. The water covered the streets then the sidewalks. Once the rain calmed down, some cars began passing. Since there was still a large concentration of water the cars pushed the water to the side making it likely to enter someone’s  house. I don’t think the water went into anyone’s house in my block, but it looked like a shallow river out there, as the water moved in waves. I’m not sure if any of these cars actually had a reason to be outside. In other neighborhoods, people complained about the water being knee-deep. Some kayaked and drank whiskey. Luckily, our place was unscathed, but I wonder if next time we’ll be so lucky. Had it kept raining for longer, how high would the water have risen? Several days after the flood, I biked to Circle Foods and saw it was open, but there was yellow tape around the entrance. A lady outside told me it was closed. “We will be open next week, give us some time,” she said. I told her, I was glad they were going to stay open. Inside a group of men dressed in button ups and suits huddle around the now empty produce aisle.

I went to another market on Esplanade where a lady told me that the water didn’t reach her store, but had it kept raining it probably would have. We talked about the drains, commenting how they were filled with garbage. “The government use to clean them before.” She said. I don’t know why they don’t anymore.”

I find it frustrating that the city doesn’t do enough when it comes to the cleaning and upkeep of the drainage system. As I see it, there are two problems here: the drains are filled with garbage so water can’t pass through and the pipe system needs to be updated, so the water can be moved off the streets quickly. Seeing as how the city government doesn’t clean the drains, a while back me and my partner cut the overgrown plants that covered the closest drain to my house. I also removed some of the garbage that was sitting there, mostly plastic bottles or bags. It wasn’t hard removing the garbage from the top, though arduous in the hot sun, but at some point you couldn’t clean anymore because most of the garbage was mixed in with the soil, and it was too deep to retrieve it.

For many people this was close to home. It reminded them of how the streets flooded during Katrina, especially with the photo below of Circle Foods. The pipes should be able to handle this much rain, even if it was concentrated for a span of four hours. Sadly, not enough is being done to secure New Orleans from another major flood event.


[photo credit]