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The Gov't did explode levees & flood low-lying poor areas in NOLA

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buzzsaw_23 Donating Member (631 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 06:36 PM
Original message
The Gov't did explode levees & flood low-lying poor areas in NOLA

In 1927, the government did indeed explode the levees to flood low-lying poor (read: black) neighborhoods in downriver New Orleans in order to save the uptown.

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in United States history until the Hurricane Katrina flood of 2005.

The Mississippi River broke out of its levee system in 145 places and flooded 27,000 square miles or about 16,570,627 acres (70,000 km). The area was inundated up to a depth of 30 feet (10 m). The flood caused over $400 million in damages and killed 246 people in seven states.

<snip>

As the flood approached New Orleans, Louisiana 30 tons of dynamite were set off on the levee at Caernarvon, Louisiana and sent 250,000 ft/s (7,000 m/s) of water pouring through. This prevented New Orleans from experiencing serious damage but destroyed much of the marsh below the city and flooded all of St. Bernard Parish. As it turned out, the destruction of the Caernarvon levee was unnecessary; several major levee breaks well upstream of New Orleans, including one the day after the dynamiting, made it impossible for flood waters to seriously threaten the city.

By August 1927 the flood subsided. During the disaster 700,000 people were displaced, including 330,000 African-Americans who were moved to 154 relief camps. Over 13,000 refugees near Greenville, Mississippi were gathered from area farms and evacuated to the crest of an unbroken levee, and stranded there for days without food or clean water, while boats arrived to evacuate white women and children. Many African-Americans were detained and forced to labor at gunpoint during flood relief efforts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Mississippi_Flood_of...


A question I have is who owned the barge?
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WePurrsevere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. Interesting bit of history & rather eerie...
With just a few changes this reads very similar to what happened with Katrina & the levees...

"During the disaster 700,000 people were displaced, including 330,000 African-Americans who were moved to 154 relief camps. Over 13,000 refugees near Greenville, Mississippi were gathered from area farms and evacuated to the crest of an unbroken levee, and stranded there for days without food or clean water, while boats arrived to evacuate white women and children. Many African-Americans were detained and forced to labor at gunpoint during flood relief efforts."

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justiceischeap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
2. When I was down there doing animal rescue I spoke with a resident
Who claims the levees were breached on purpose and that is why she and her boyfriend had to leave their home. They made it through the hurricane just fine but then she said when "they breached the levee to reduce flooding" their neighborhood started filling up with water fast.

I don't know where she got her info, I didn't ask, she was justifing putting her mastiff in the attic with no food or water and no way out in that sweltering heat, so I walked away without asking.
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buzzsaw_23 Donating Member (631 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Again, I wonder-Who owned the barge/ How did it break through the levee?
As is already widely known, money buys altitude in New Orleans, meaning those most affected by the storm were largely poor and black and resided in the lower sections of the city that were completely destroyed as the higher, whiter sections remained untouched.
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mohinoaklawnillinois Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:57 PM
Response to Original message
4. I just finished reading "Rising Tide" by John M. Barry.
Excellent book on the history of the flood problems on the Mississippi River system and the Great Flood of 1927.

It was a fascinating read and very informative.
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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
5. Might help for context to say in your title line that this was 1927 event.
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buzzsaw_23 Donating Member (631 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Unfortunately
the edit time is out and I had to run out after posting. Now it almost seems appropriately provocative to consider the historical patterns and certainly shows without doubt that those who were called conspiracists when they suggested the Levee might have been purposefully blown up had not only good present day reasons/suspicions for such a view but also could point to an exact historical event as evidence for suggesting it could happen.
Ouch!Quite a cumbersome sentence.


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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Is it also appropriately provocative to consider
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 10:11 PM by Emit
That a high-tech computer-simulation program was also available, allowing for detailed analysis and simulation of various, and specific, conditions for the NOLA area?

A couple of weeks post-Katrina, I recalled reading an article in Popular Science magazines about natural disasters. I still had the copy, and re-read this article from the April 2005 issue:

This part caught my attention, because of various posts and articles I had read about the levees being purposefully breached:

To determine exactly where and how high to build these levees, the engineers have enlisted the aid of a 3-D computer-simulation program called ADCIRC (Advanced Circulation Model). ADCIRC incorporates dozens of data pointsincluding seabed and coastal topography, wind speed, tidal variation, ocean depth and water temperatureand charts a precise map of where the storm surge would inundate New Orleans. The category-5 levee idea, though, is still in the early planning stages; it may be decades before the new barriers are completed. Until then, locals had better keep praying to Helios.


http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/22040b4511b84010vg...

Here's more on Naomi of Army Corps of Engineers and this ADCIRC program from 2003.

...Combe is cautious with his work because he knows how much is riding on it. In the coming months Corps engineers will use AdCirc to determine if the levees that have been going up around New Orleans for the past 40 years are tall enough to resist storm surge from an SPH. Perhaps even more important, when the model is ready Naomi will use it to determine what it would take to protect New Orleans from a category 4 or 5 hurricane.

In 1999 the Corps was authorized by Congress to study the feasibility of various proposals for protecting the city against such devastating storms. An obvious possibility would be to raise the current levees to a height deemed acceptable by an AdCirc analysis. That, however, would also require widening the levees, which may not be possible in many areas because of the proximity of homes. Among other alternatives, Naomi will investigate the possibility of creating an immense wall between Lake Pontchartrain and the gulf to keep water out of the lake during a severe storm. Such a project would involve constructing massive floodgates at the Rigolets and Chef Menteur passes, where storm surge would enter the lake.

According to Naomi, any concerted effort to protect the city from a storm of category 4 or 5 will probably take 30 years to complete. And the feasibility study alone for such an effort will cost as much as $8 million. Even though Congress has authorized the feasibility study, funding has not yet been appropriated. When funds are made available, the study will take about six years to complete. Thats a lot of time to get the study before Congress, Naomi admits. Hopefully we wont have a major storm before then.


http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:ms-fFbqJ6soJ:www.pub...

So, seems they had a pretty high tech program in which to study this problem in detail, with computer simulations. In light of your post, and with the powers that be in control, one might have to wonder just how they were using this ADCIRC program.

Okay, I'll remove the tin foil now.

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buzzsaw_23 Donating Member (631 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. A few questions
1. Why did the floodwalls along the 17th Street Canal only break on the New Orleans side and not on the Metairie side? Was this the result of neglect and poor maintenance by New Orleans authorities?

2. Who owned the huge barge that was catapulted through the wall of the Industrial Canal, killing hundreds in the Lower Ninth Ward -- the most deadly hit-and-run accident in U.S. history?

3. All of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish east of the Industrial Canal were drowned, except for the Almonaster-Michoud Industrial District along Chef Menteur Highway. Why was industrial land apparently protected by stronger levees than nearby residential neighborhoods?

<snip>

20. Who is responsible for the suspicious fires that have swept the city? Why have so many fires occurred in blue-collar areas that have long been targets of proposed gentrification, such as the Section 8 homes on Constance Street in the Lower Garden District or the wharfs along the river in Bywater?

http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=24875
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