It's official, the Army Corp. of Engineers has made the agonizing decision to open the Morganza Spillway, about 40 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, to prevent the raging Mississippi River from flooding Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It began today at 3 pm, CST. They called it the lesser of the two evils, as it will divert some of the Miss. River into the Atchafalaya River and Basin, but will flood everything on the west side of the river, all the way down to the Gulf. While this is good news for Baton Rouge and New Orleans, it is the worse possible news for the tens of thousands of residents in the Atchafalaya Basin corridor. Here is a map of the projected inundation. Click to enlarge.
It means that quite literally, 3 million acres will go under water, including homes, businesses, churches, schools, farms and crops, wildlife, and anything or anyone that stays behind. Water levels are expected to crest at 29 feet on the lake side of the Henderson Levee, which means that Basin Landing, Whiskey River Landing, and McGee's Landing will all be totally submerged. These are some of my favorite places on earth, that are only 15 miles away, and it is so very sad and heartbreaking. They've all been moving everything out, and preparing to evacuate, for days now. Imagine it!
And my dear friends in the community of Butte Larose have also had to move everything they own to higher ground and will all be evacuating shortly, if they haven't already. As hard as it is, at least they had time to get out and save their belongings, unlike with tornadoes and earthquakes. Please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers. Here is a video, from CNN that pretty much sums up the situation in Butte Larose and all along the Atchafalaya Basin, in Cajun country.Thankfully, Lafayette is not expected to flood. Click here for the flood tracker site.
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