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]